I have had about enough of fat bodies being used to represent everything from greed to laziness to a supposed health crisis. Pictures of headless fatties – who were typically not compensated or asked for their permission – litter the internet accompanying articles about rising healthcare costs (even though the CBO’s independent report showed that we’re not at fault), representing over-consumption of fast-food, even though there is no proof that fat people eat any more fast food than people of other sizes. Our bodies are freely used for whatever the negative metaphor, comparison, or representation of the day is. As if we have no feelings about seeing people who look like us constantly used to represent everything bad in the world, as if those feelings aren’t important.
People don’t take care of things that they don’t think are worthy of care, and so I consider the use of headless fatty pictures – which are designed to show fat bodies as shameful and bad - to be detrimental to public health.
Our bodies are not yours to photograph and throw all over the internet as a metaphor for anything. We are PEOPLE, these are our BODIES, and EVERY BODY deserves respect.
So I propose a little bit of simple at-home activism. Every time you see a picture of a headless fatty on the internet representing something negative, leave a comment like “No More Headless Fatties – Every Body Deserves Respect!” If you want to take it one step further send an e-mail to the source of the story – tell them your personal story, send them this blog whatever, but let’s teach people that this behavior isn’t ok. Also, this kind of activism can reframe this issue for us – now instead of feeling angry or hurt or ashamed when we see a headless fatty picture, we can look at it as a chance to educate and stand up for ourselves.
If you e-mail me the website where you find the picture (to ragen at danceswithfat dot org) I will send it out to my contacts (and add a list to the bottom of the blog) and I bet that we can get a network going, and get more and more people leaving comments and e-mailing the sources. The bully doesn’t take your lunch money, you give it to him because he seems more powerful than you, and you are scared. It’s the same with body hatred – nobody makes us hate our bodies – we buy into their bullshit and we can stop. Let’s take a stand and demand the respect that we deserve.
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