Well, maybe not as scientific as the HuffPo article I posted the other day, but still. Good old Everyday Feminism posted this wonderful piece called Before and After: Why Weight-loss Commercials are Dangerous and how Fat Acceptance Saved My Life.
This story is basically my story, and I LOVE it. My favorite quote:
“Weight loss commercials are powerful purveyors of fat-hatred because they construct the popular image of the fat body. These media representations reinforce the view that the fat body is “other,” that it is defective, abnormal, and abject. Without hatred of the fat body, diet companies cannot profit or recruit new members. Without the condemnation of fatness, there can be no consecration of thinness; they are interdependent and one cannot exist without the other. If fatness is not repulsive or gross or indicative of moral failing then thinness, likewise, cannot become a symbol for discipline, self-control, and virtue. The “before” must be vilified, the fat body must be condemned.”
Caitlin tells her very personal story of how rapid weight loss nearly killed her mother, and yet they were both lauded for their efforts by the nurses at the hospital. The very same clinicians who should be providing care and encouraging the healthiest practices, are the ones who are prescribing the weight loss that doesn’t work in the long term, and it is the weight loss-gain cycle that might actually be leading to the increased instances of disease so many healthcare professionals and the diet industry loves to shove in our faces. Nevermind that all of those illnesses that I’m threatened with all the time- diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, joint replacements- happen to skinny people too. My favorite thing to point out is how it’s socially acceptable for an athlete to need a knee replacement in his 20s, but I would be absolutely CRUCIFIED by everyone I know if I did.
There is something seriously, seriously wrong with our society, people.
I remember my mom saying that she noticed me flinch when a weight loss ad came on when we were watching TV, and how that made her a little more aware of how much fat shaming there really is (not that I’ve changed her mind to accept HAES or even just accept me as a fat person versus wishing I would Just Lose the Weight and be whatever it is she wants me to be in her head. But that’s a whole other post or six…)
The diet industry is a 60 BILLION DOLLAR ANNUALLY industry. We are constantly assaulted by images of what we should be striving to attain, somewhere in the ballpark of over six thousand a year, that at this point is photoshopped beyond the point of what is physically possible. We are never skinny enough. We’re supposed to ALWAYS be on a diet, always hungry, self-aggrandizing, listening to people fat-shame and blame us for healthcare costs and all kinds of other things, and just hang our heads and apologize for being fat.
I will not apologize for my body. I will not apologize for taking up the space I take up, because it is exactly the right amount of space. I will not be fat-shamed or let people talk about diets around me, at least not without countering with HAES facts if they insist on doing it anyway. I will continue to change the subject when my mother and sister- both of whom are skinny- talk about their body goals and what they want to look like for my sister’s wedding this summer.
You know what I want to look like? Myself. In a kick-ass dress.
And I think that’s exactly what I should look like. Though the kick-ass dress might take some time to find and save up for. I might have to go with one of the kick-ass dresses I already own (all two of them) or start combing Goodwill at this point…