I often get messages from people who are looking for help because their friend or family member has done something that hurt them. Maybe they were fat shamed at a family dinner, or a friend who they thought understood size acceptance posted a fat phobic Facebook meme. Sometimes it’s a friend or family member who challenges them every time they post something size positive.
I think it’s important to remember that Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size are revolutionary movements. If you espouse these things then at some point you are almost certain to meet resistance from someone in your life, maybe lots of people in your life. How you handle it is completely up to you and there are lots of options.
I have one friend who ended a friendship because the person posted a fatphobic Facebook meme again – after they had a conversation about how much those things upset her.
I have another friend whose boyfriend believes that to be healthy you have to be thin and doesn’t support her HAES practice at all. He also tells her that he loves her for who she is “in spite of how she looks.” I asked how she made that work and she said that they just “agree to disagree on the whole fat thing”
For me it comes down to a basic question. One of my favorite songs is Defying Gravity from Wicked. One of my favorite lines from that song is “Well, if that’s love it comes at much too high a cost.” I always think of that lyric when this kind of situation comes up in my life. I ask myself – at what cost to myself am I willing to maintain this relationship?
It may differ from relationship to relationship – for some people the concept of family is so important that they are willing to deal with poor treatment because the person is their mother – that’s totally reasonable. I’ve never been like that – I have a threshold of respect and if people can’t meet that threshold then they don’t get to be in my life no matter who they are. Anything else it just too high a cost for me.
In my dating days I had a number of criteria that were deal killers if they weren’t met – for example the person had to be supportive of my size acceptance practice, love me for my body and not in spite of it, and not give money to organizations (including churches) that actively tried to limit people’s civil rights legislatively. I have friends who didn’t meet all those criteria and I was ok with that – that wasn’t too high a cost, but dating someone who didn’t meet those criteria was just too emotionally expensive. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I may have missed out on dating some incredible people, but for me it has all worked out in the end.
My point is that, as a revolutionary, there will be situations to negotiate with people who don’t get it, and you get to decide how to negotiate those situations and, like so many other things, it’s nobody else’s business how you do it.
Like the blog? Here’s more of my stuff:
Become a member: Keep this blog ad-free, support the activism work I do, and get deals from cool businesses Click here for details
The Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
Dance Classes: Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details