Last year when I was training for the marathon I would often see a woman in my neighborhood walking her adorable dog. I would pet the dog and we would chat, it was always lovely. For the first time since the marathon I saw her again last night on my run/walk and we had this conversation:
Her: How did your marathon go?
Me: I finished it! It took me almost 13 hours! (I almost always round up my age, weight, and marathon time.)
Her: How much weight did you lose?
Me (in my head): WTF?
Me (outloud): None.
Her: Oh, I’m sorry.
Her: Well, you did all that walking…
Me: Yes, to finish the marathon. I have no interest in losing weight, I wanted to finish a marathon and I did.
Her: [looks really confused] Well, congratulations on your marathon…
The idea that all fat people want to/are actively trying to lose weight is extremely common. You may remember that in my debate with Dr. Howard Shapiro he became downright aggressive about it. While I understand how the deluge of advertising that we get from the diet industry could certainly give people this idea, and I understand people’s kneejerk reaction that I should try to solve the stigma, bullying, and oppression that comes at me as a fat person by changing myself and I try to take that into account when I deal with this because I understand that this is the product of a messed up society, the truth is that the cure for stigma, bullying and oppression is ending stigma, bullying and oppression – the solution for me is not to try to change myself and hope that the bullies will stop taking my lunch money.
I despise the assumption that I 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 completely reject the idea 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 so many things that I do ask it to – from giving hugs to doing the splits. My body deserves nothing less than my love and full-throated support. I am fiercely protective of my body.
Me and my fat body live an amazing life full of great friends and fabulous 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, whether ill-intentioned or not.
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.”
Our fat bodies are fine, the world is seriously screwed up. It’s not our fault but it becomes our problem. For me that’s where fat activism comes in – to me a big part of my 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.
Fat Activism Conference
The schedule and workshops descriptions are out for the Fat Activism Conference! Three days, 38 speakers, teleconference style so that you can listen on the phone or computer from wherever you are, only $39 with a pay-what-you-can option to make it accessible to as many people as possible. Check it out!
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Here’s more cool stuff:
My 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