I highly recommend reading the full thing because she talks about this issue brilliantly and clearly. What I loved most was the way she positions how we think and talk about fatness, appearance and our personal relations to our bodies – timely and so relevant to what I’ve been thinking and talking about lately.
She calls attention to those “love your body” / “love the skin you’re in” campaigns being run by brands like Dove and Victoria Secrets. Outwardly, their efforts are to be well applauded as they encourage people to love themselves just as they are, whatever size they are. But why is it then, she asks (and we wonder), after our initial oohing and ahhing over these adverts, do we still wish we were thinner?
Then, she says this:
“Eventually my relationship with my body did start to change… when I finally realized I can get the guy, the job, the cute clothes in the window right now, regardless of my weight. Women with “non-traditional body types” are not disabled from creating what they want in the world, we’re just taught that they are.
One could argue that’s why Lena Dunham is so successful — she’s not just saying “beauty at any size;” she’s saying “you can have it all at any size.“
(emphasis is mine)
And that’s it – that clinched it for me. It’s the fact that really, believe it or not, all you slaves to your scales, your size is not a single determining factor for success, happiness, love, peace, fun and all those lovely things.
In the grand scheme of things, size is actually irrelevant. It’s us who make it such an overwhelmingly central force/hindrance in our lives.
In all this obsession with our weight, we’ve come to believe (or been made to believe) that fat girls can’t be as successful or happy as thin ones, they won’t be as popular or well liked, it won’t be as easy for them to find a partner, they won’t be as happy as if they were just 10 pounds thinner. We may not voice this openly, but it becomes enmeshed in the way we think, act and pursue our goals, probably without us even realising.
So Isabel asks further down the article, “What are YOU making “fat” mean?”
Just that one question is an awfully huge one and our answer to this alone can entirely change our relationship to weight and to our bodies.
I’d like to add to that and also ask,
What is it that you hope to achieve / get / feel by being ‘not fat’?
(and conversely) What do you feel you’re limited from achieving / getting / feeling by being ‘fat’?
Me – I’d like to be a successful writer whose writing inspires and makes people happy;
I’d love to find someone to love who loves me back (would be great if he looked like Adam Levine, but let’s not be too choosy!);
I’d like to be interesting and have fun every day that I’m alive;
I’d like people to think I’m a great, inspiring, funny, beautiful human being;
I’d like to be happy and peaceful, and be able to inspire others to be the same.
So here’s the magic realisation – I don’t actually have to be even a single pound thinner to achieve those things. Right?
Well, of course. D’oh. That’s obvious.
But oh, how easy it is to think that those 10 extra pounds (okay, more like 20) I’ve got on will get in the way of all that. There’s a long way to go, to replace the 90% of my brain that’s filled constantly with fat thoughts, weight thoughts, size thoughts, 20-pounds-to-lose thoughts.
Let’s refocus then – stop thinking so much about how much our ‘fatness’ is stopping us from achieving and doing, and start thinking instead of what it is we want to achieve and how. Realise and remember that body size is more often than not irrelevant to what we’re trying to achieve in the wider scheme of our lives.
As a friend commented under one of my FB posts about fat & fat shaming some weeks ago, (and repeat after me):
“you are much more
than your body”
I couldn’t have said it better (thanks, Peter!) nor found a more perfect conclusion to this post.
So now let’s start the week with the resolution not to stand on the scale or fuss too much in front of the mirror… and instead, to do something fulfilling, interesting and happy. I’m off to cinch a sub-editing job with one of the country’s most popular magazines!