I blog about body image and women’s health for NBC’s iVillage. Recently that gave me the opportunity to interview the stars of the new Sundance reality series Push girls. The series is about four women in LA who, due to accident or illness, use wheelchairs.
During the interview I asked Mia what she thought was the biggest myth/misconception that people have about those who use wheelchairs. She said:
People feel like the chair is something that’s depressing to us or it’s our biggest hurdle or that we wish we didn’t have to deal with. In fact it makes our lives a lot easier. and lets us be inspirational. It allows you to connect with somebody – every single person has obstacles and they are all overcome-able. If people saw that this is a positive thing that would be more accepting.
That really struck me, because – though I’m not comparing using a wheelchair to being fat – I feel the same way about my fat.
I despise the assumption that I must hate my body. I am offended when people at the gym ask how much weight I’ve lost or what my weight loss goal is. I become enraged when someone suggests that my body is something to be pitied or ashamed of.
First of all, my body is amazing. Heartbeat, blinking, breathing, my body does a million things a day without me asking, and it does everything I ask it to from giving hugs to doing the splits. My body deserves nothing less than my undying love and devotion. I am fiercely protective of my body.
Me and my fat body live an amazing life full of great friends and amazing experiences. The only thing that interrupts my big fat fantastic life is the crap that comes at me from people who choose to give voice and form to their prejudices, preconceptions, stereotypes and bigotry about fat people.
When I do interviews I’m often asked “if you could be thin with no negative side effects, would you?” My answer is always “No. But if I had a wish, I would use it to end fat stigma and weight bullying – my body is fine, the world is messed up.”
Being fat is not the worst thing, Being fat is not even close to the worst thing when you consider how awful it is to be a bully and a bigot, and that fat is just a body characteristic like being tall or short or brunette.
Our fat bodies are fine, the world is fucked up. It’s not our fault but it becomes our problem. That’s where fat activism comes in – to me fat activism is about sticking up for the body that I live in 100% of the time and that let’s me do every single thing that I can do. I don’t know about you, but I’m certain that my body deserves nothing less that my complete support.
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