I've been mulling over this post in my head for a while now, thinking about what to say (and what not to say) and wondering if my thoughts as of late are too negative and, more importantly, not appropriate to unleash into the world given the recent reams of positivity. However, if I don't say it now it'll potentially lose its relevance to the aforementioned current positivity, so I'm just going to go with the flow and see what comes out.
Fat people are damned if we do and damned if we don't. We're told to bend the knee to the socially defined hierarchy of 'the perfect body', and then told that we can't possibly bend the knee because 'OMGZ teh health problemz'. We're constantly demonised, sexualised, discriminated against and hated for nothing other than our weight. On top of all this, fatness is intersectional and I am well aware that being white, cis, heterosexual and a 'smaller' fat makes me comparatively privileged.
How is this relevant to positivity? Well, you're probably aware of the recent social media frenzy over Jamelia's fat shaming and the subsequent #WeAreTheThey movement (see Debz of The Not So Secret Diary of a Wannabe Princess' post here for more information), in addition to the recently aired #PlusSizedWars documentary on C4. Both have invigorated the spirits of the body positive community and perhaps more, but as time has gone on I can't help but notice the pitfall; that is, the barrage of negativity, fat shaming and hatred that follows it. If you think that the previous paragraph sounds dismal, multiply it by ten and you'll be roughly on the level of the aftermath. Nothing stirs up the anti-fats more than a bit of positivity.
Concern trolls, social media bellends, celebrities with their heads up their own arses; I'm not flowering it up (as you can see), whatever you want to call it, it's everywhere. There's not a day goes by that I'm not deleting comments and blocking people on Twitter and Instagram, or receiving friend requests and messages from 'admirers' (AKA heterosexual cis men who think that I owe them my friendship and/or more) on Facebook. Pretty shit, isn't it? That's the shallow end of the pool. Many fellow bloggers, activists, etc, are publicly attacked not only by peculiar tinterwebz individuals but also by 'the media'; people in a position of power who exploit said power in order to share their fat shaming and discriminatory tactics with the public.
Which brings me nicely on to my next point; we (the fats) are constantly dehumanised. Whether it's being the 'other' or 'they', or having our heads chopped off in images on the latest 'obesity crisis' newsflash. Don't get me started on the glorifying obesity lark, either; but please do let me know if reading this makes you want to gain 10st, because if you can read this post and decide that you really want to be barraged with this bullshit on a daily basis then I salute you.
I shall end on a personal note. I'm 27 years old and, in those 27 years, I cannot remember not being fat; I also cannot remember not being fat shamed, bullied, discriminated against, hated, blamed, etc, because of my weight and/or appearance. If you're not in the same boat, I'd like you to take a moment to imagine what that's like; imagine just how much damage that does to your self esteem and self worth. Imagine what it's like to live with chronic depression and anxiety, probably for the rest of your adult life, because of the abuse you received as a child for being nothing more than yourself. Now imagine being 27 years old and still receiving the same abuse, but now it's not from other children, it's from adults. It's from the magazines. It's from the newspapers. It's from the online articles. It's from people on every social platform you can imagine. It's on your computer. It's on the street. It's at the club. It's in your home. It's everywhere.
Now, ask yourself honestly, am I the one with the problem?