I need you to listen closely. I need you to believe me when I tell you what happens.
I need you to say the word “fat.” About me. Because I am. I’m a size 26 — fat enough that some stores for fat people don’t carry my size. Fat enough that some doctors will refuse to see me. Fat enough that getting on an airplane makes my blood run cold, because they might kick me off, without a refund for my ticket, or they might charge me double, and then I will have to explain to my friends, job, family why I can’t make it on that trip.
Every discussion about bodies — whether in the media or amongst friends — is about how to avoid the horrible fate of looking like me. I need you to hear that this all hurts, and happens all the time.
LISTEN: It’s time we champion body positivity warriors. (Post continues…)
I know that this stuff is hard to talk about. But when I talk about fat, I am not talking about feelings or self-esteem or body image issues or inner strength. I am talking about the way individuals and institutions treat me and people who look like me. I need you to acknowledge that you and I have different experiences because I am fat.
I need you to consider your audience. When you say you hate your body for being so fat, or that you are afraid of becoming fat, or when you say that you shouldn’t have eaten that lunch or dessert, or when you announce your new year’s resolution to lose 5, 10, 25 pounds, you are saying that you don’t want your body to end up like mine. Your feelings are real and true and valid. And you still should not say them to the fattest person you know.
I know that all of us are impacted by body shaming, and that everyone has real, valid, deep, hard feelings about our bodies. I still need you to stop perpetuating it, especially when talking about yourself. No amount of caveats or prologues make it hurt me less. I need you to know that I’m taking it personally because it is personal.