Lizzie Velasquez – My Hero

Size Acceptance means accepting people of ALL SIZES.  Fat acceptance does not exist without thin acceptance, without bodies-of-every-size acceptance.  A sure way to absolutely enrage me is to claim to be for size acceptance and then say something nasty about thin people.  It’s stupid and hypocritical beyond all human reason.  When I see shirts that say things like “fight anorexia, eat a skinny bitch” it makes me want to scream, very loudly.  I’ve talked about this twice before, in the posts “Things I’ve Heard About Thin Women” and “The Road to Self-Esteem is Probably Not Paved with Hyposcrisy” but I’m saying it again.

Why?  Because I just heard of Lizzie Velasquez and already she is one of my heroes.  I’ve been watching some videos of her speaking and our lives have a lot of parallels.  When she walks into a room people make assumptions about her eating and exercise habits.  They make assumptions about her health.  They judge her.  The same thing happens to me.

There are some differences between us as well.  I’m 5’4 and 280lbs.  Because of the current OMIGODDEATHFATISCOMINGFORYOU media blitz, I’m just one of the hundreds of thousands of obese people walking around.  Everyone thinks that they know how to fix it.

Lizzie is 21 years old and weighs about 61 pounds. She has such a rare disease that she is only 1 of 3 people in the world who have it.  There is no diagnosis.  Nobody knows how to fix it.

With all of of our similarities and regardless of our differences, we have one major thing in common: Nobody has the right to judge us or our health by looking at us.

One of the things that breaks my heart is that people who look like me, and would throw a fit at the treatment that I receive, are judging Lizzie and other thin women, and feel somehow justified in doing so.   They are calling them names, making assumptions about their health and their eating habits, and basically doing to thin women every single thing that they don’t want done to them.

Thank you Lizzie for being brave, for being an inspiration, for living your life out loud and refusing to bend to pressure or break under  judgment.  Please accept my apology for anyone in the fat acceptance community who has ever judged you, made assumptions about you, or put you down in an immature bid to feel better about themselves- we can do better.  You deserve better.  We all do.  Thank you for helping make sure that we get it.

You can check out Lizzie’s website at http://www.aboutlizzie.com/

If you want to hear an interview with her, a fabulous woman and friend of mine named Abigail Mahnke has a radio show called Inner Views.  I’ve been a guest on her show and she is a fantastic interviewer.  She will be interviewing Lizzie next Wednesday.  You can find Abigail’s website here:  http://www.innerviewslive.com

In the meantime, today might be a dandy day to do a little internal check about judgments that you might be making about other people based only on what you see and not on what you know.

Published in: on August 6, 2010 at 6:48 am  Comments (4)  

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you, Ragen, for this terrific blog. While Lizzie is almost half my weight, I too get crap about being too thin. I eat large volumes of food – super healthy food – but people can’t see past, well, what they see.

    I appreciate the mention of my upcoming show. I’m really looking forward to having her on the show.

  2. I read about Lizzie a little while ago. She’s amazing for speaking publicly about her condition and bringing awareness to how people can be so judgemental without knowing any of the facts for thin folk as well as we fatties.

    I’ve never understood the whole idea of hating on those who have a different body type to mine. It’s the old “two wrongs don’t make a right” thing for me.

    I don’t see it a lot in fat acceptance because it’s usually called out as hypocritical in the rare occasion it does happen. But on the fringes, on the “curvy” and the “real women” set… yeah, I see it there quite a bit.

  3. Ohmigod moment! I totally judge my husband because he is so thin! I cloak it in love, but I know it bothers him and I’ve never stopped. I needed this slap upside the head to see this is a two-way street! No one should be judged for their looks!

    Thank you!
    xo Susie

  4. One of the reasons I like your blog so much is that you both avoid and call out thin-bashing, which is really refreshing. People who struggle to keep their weight down may find it hard to believe, but not every thin person is thin because of dieting — and not every thin person likes being as thin as they are! “Cry me a river” is the most common reaction to that, but I can tell you from personal experience that being unable to gain weight when you want to is difficult, and distressing, and all the other bad things. Some people have health issues that make it difficult or impossible to lose weight; others have health issues that make it difficult or impossible to gain weight. And looking in the mirror and thinking “ugh, I look like a famine victim — I hate being able to see my ribs, and I hate seeing where my ribs join my sternum” sucks, just as looking in the mirror and thinking “ugh, I look fat and flabby” sucks.

    My mother was fat. She did an amazing job of raising me with as few body image issues as possible, whether about my own body or anybody else’s. (How she managed to raise a daughter in this society who doesn’t hate her body, especially since she herself had dealt with anti-fat prejudice all her life, astounds me, and I am grateful for it every day.) As a teen, I read my mom’s issues of Radiance cover to cover, repeatedly. When I hear anybody bodysnarking or healthsnarking somebody else, my reflexive response is “You shouldn’t judge them. You don’t know their story.”

    And when thin-bashing starts, it feels like all I can do is shut up and try to ignore it. (I don’t want to be like a man in a discussion of feminism saying “but what about the poor suffering men?” or a white person in a discussion about racism saying “but white people suffer from racism too!” or anything like that, you know?)

    Thank you for working towards accepting and celebrating all bodies of all shapes and sizes.


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