Friday, January 10, 2014

Fat Shaming

Hey everyone,

This wasn’t my originally planned post, but I just need to talk about something.  Last month I posted about Fat Talk – talking down to yourself.  Today I want to talk to the bullies who partake in Fat Shaming.

Every day – honestly EVERY DAY – I see posts on Facebook by people who joke about those who are overweight.  Let me tell you something – you are NOT helping!  In fact you are a bully!  I see two main categories here:

1)      People who used to be overweight

2)      People who have never been anything but skinny – healthy or not

To those people who used to be overweight – I want to ask you this.  Do you not remember how hard it was being fat?  The emotional and physical challenges you experienced.  Did you just forget about all of that? 

It is absolutely none of anyone’s business how or why Person A is overweight.  It could be medical, it could be because of depression (eating to soothe/feel better – even if only temporary), or it could be because they really fucking like McDonalds.  Either way you have no idea and you are not owed an explanation. 
Really though, what makes you think you have the right to comment on a person's size?  Would you feel as comfortable talking about the colour of their skin?   The country they were born in?  The religion they practice?

Being overweight is not a desired state for most people.  Sure there are people out there who enjoy it – to each their own.  But for the most part people don’t actually enjoy the sideways glances, the snickering behind their back, or the judgement people place on them.

Maybe you think it is as simple as deciding to lose the weight.  Let me be really open and honest with you… I have made that decision time and time again.  You know what happens?  I open my Facebook and see some GIFs or meme’s that people have posted on Facebook about the fat girl who is doing something that only a skinny girl can do without being judged – eating a burger, wearing a bathing suit etc.  That makes me feel pretty shitty because maybe they think I am like that girl.  Maybe people think I am gross.  Maybe when they look at that meme, they think it looks like me.

So I go to the gym and immediately wonder if everyone here thinks the same thing… Then I spend most of my workout wondering - am I sweating too much? 

Some days I have high enough self-esteem to ignore those people, and some days I can’t overlook it.  I am getting stronger as a person each day and have channeled that emotion into something positive.  I refuse to spend the rest of my life feeling like I am unworthy because my body doesn’t match my beautiful heart.  I struggle daily but I have committed to changing my life!  I really don’t need anyone making this any harder. (and neither does anyone else who is trying to lose weight)

Every winter, nearing the New Year, posts about “New Year’s Resolutions” start showing up on Social Media – and a lot of people say something about “OMG the gym is going to be SO busy—but don’t worry everything will be back to normal in February”.  Seriously?  Did you ever stop to think that that overweight man or woman is intimidated or even scared to go into “Your House” and feel like an outsider?  You look like you belong there – you know what you are doing.

There has got to be something that makes you feel unsure of yourself – think of a scenario in which you wouldn’t be the most comfortable or the most skilled.  Take a minute and think about that.  Then think about how you would feel if people passive aggressively called you out on it all of the time.  They post stuff about how you won’t succeed anyway etc.  Does that feel nice?  Maybe you don’t give a shit about what other people think – good for you!  But empathize with those who do care – try to put yourself in their shoes.  Do you think that helps them?

I encourage all of you who call the gym Home, to help the newbies – make them feel welcome.  I am not suggesting that you walk up to the biggest person in the gym and start telling them what to do.  I am simple suggesting that you smile, say hello – make them feel like they aren’t stupid for showing up.  Make them feel like this is an OK place to be.

You have no idea how powerful and how influential your actions are – and this goes for everyone in all parts of your life.  Be nice to people.  You don’t know everyone’s story.  You might just change someone’s life for the better with one smile :)

I am trying to think of all of the comments or thoughts people will have regarding this post, so I just want to say one more thing.  It is true that you cannot control how other people feel about things in life.  Some people look for a reason to have a problem with someone ex.) You are zoned out and happen to be looking directly at someone but you don’t notice until they say “Can I help you?!”.  You weren’t giving that person the stink eye lol it was a mistake.  But some people just jump at the chance to create drama. 

I am not talking about those situations.  I am talking about the situations where you choose to behave in a manner that can offend or hurt someone, and you know it.

We are all adults here and bullying in any form is wounding.  I challenge you to think twice and stand up when your buddy says something rude about another person – in person or behind the keys of the keyboard.  We aren’t in high school anymore where we need to worry about our friends accepting us.  If they truly are a friend, they will appreciate and respect your opinion.

With that being said, all of us can stand up for one another.  If you see someone being rude, stop them.  It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic; you can just let them know bullying isn’t cool.

I honestly hope that you read this and take something from it.  And if you think I am just "too sensitive" and making "too big of a deal" out of this, then I encourage you to read this again and pay attention this time.