1. You are not obligated to be thin, healthy, or pretty.
It’s bad enough that our culture assigns moral value to foods: celery is “good,” donuts are “bad.” Now, being healthy is itself considered a sign of your moral fortitude. Never mind the gap between the wealthy and poor and how that affects access to unprocessed food and the time and resources to exercise; never mind genetics or mental illness or stuff like, you know, character and behavior toward others. Thin people equal healthy people and that means good people.
Here’s a thought I’m sure will shock people: You don’t owe anyone good health. You have sovereignty over your body and that means it is no one’s responsibility but your own.
Now, there are larger issues involved in our food supply such as workers’ rights, animal rights, and environmental devastation to be considered, but I can’t make other people’s food choices for them, and I wouldn’t allow anyone to make mine for me. Evangelizing about any kind of diet or “health plan” is presumptuous and unlikely to make you any friends; showing that the way you live makes you happy is a far more effective long-term persuasive technique.
Let’s assume that being fat is morally reprehensible. Okay, fine. Let’s assume it’s the worst thing ever and every time a fat girl eats cake God kills a kitten. Whatever. How are shame and hatred going to fix that? How is discrimination and making people loathe themselves going to make them healthier? Obviously this doesn’t work or the number of overweight people would be rapidly declining, wouldn’t it, given how we’re treated? Has hate ever made anyone a better person?
Besides, how exactly does looking at someone tell you their state of health? There are millions of unhealthy thin people, but the automatic assumption is that they’re healthier than I am just based on my size.
We also have this idea that our bodies are only worth their value to other people. Guess what? MY VALUE AS WOMAN IS NOT DEPENDENT ON WHETHER OR NOT MEN WANT TO **** ME.
Even in the Pagan community where you’d think body acceptance would be assumed, there’s been a rise in anti-fat prejudice lately with all these really weird “you’re using up too many resources! Mother Earth is sad that you’re fat!” ideas behind them. Of all the environmental issues that are mounting up today, that’s the one you have a conniption over? You really think my big *** is worse for the Earth than Big Oil? You need to sort out your priorities, Dances With Unicorns.
2. Don’t talk **** about your body.
Aside from the fact that it makes conversations awkward, would you let a friend – or anyone – verbally abuse you? Then why allow yourself to do it?
It’s hard to follow this rule given that body disparagement is not only the norm, it’s expected. A group of women is supposed to talk about diets and shoes and how much they freaking love yogurt. I’d rather listen to my relatives talk about Obama than my coworkers talk about calorie counts. In such a situation you can:
A. Change the subject
B. Try to change people’s minds by making body positive statements (only do this if you like to argue)
C. If you’re totally stuck, entertain yourself: mentally replace words like “carbs” with “balls.” It’s way more fun to listen to people discuss good balls versus bad balls and whether or not they’re getting enough balls.
Before making a statement about your body, ask yourself if you’d say the exact same thing to the kindest, gentlest friend you have. If the answer is yes, I’d be surprised if you had any friends at all; you’re certainly no friend to yourself.
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