Thursday, 16 January 2020

Don't Bring Fatphobia into 2020

Sarah looking and smiling at phone in restaurant, there is a coke and milkshake on the table in front of her


TW: Diet talk, eating disorders

I realise we're half way through January but still....The 'new year, new me' bullshit has begun. The soar in diet culture and the memes about being fat are polluting social media sites, and its gross. I'm quite frankly sick of logging into Facebook and seeing 'friends' share such damaging and hateful pictures about eating too much over the festive period and putting on the dreaded two pounds. Just stop.


It's comments and memes like this being shared that enforce the idea that being fat is bad. Being fat is ugly, it's wrong, it's disgusting. This reinforcement that being thin is superior is ridiculous. We're all worthy of love and happiness no matter our size.

How about, new year, same me, awesome me?

And it's not about being healthy, the faux health concerns need to stop. I know plenty of fat people that are extremely healthy and strong. We've been conditioned to view fatness as bad and unhleahty but what's bad is shame, stigma and hatred. If a person is fat, it has absolutely nothing to do with you. Ask yourself, does another persons body have an affect on my life? Is it any of my business? Should I shame them for looking differently? No. No. No.

Furthermore if you're sharing or laughing at fat jokes, you're fatphobic. You're laughing at people like me because we don't live up to societies toxic beauty standards. You're ridiculing someone because of the way they look. I don't know about you but as a child I was taught to treat everyone equally, no matter how different they were. Were people not taught that or have you simply forgot?

Imagine if someone you love became fat for whatever reason, they have negative body image and they're seeing you, someone they love, spouting hateful remarks about how bodies like theirs look. Imagine how damaging that is! Imagine the impact that will have on their mental health!

I grew up thinking that being fat was the worst possible thing I could be, so much so that I'd starve myself, then I'd binge-eat a shit-load of biscuits and crisps and then do sit-ups in my bedroom at midnight whilst crying because I was so ashamed of myself. I think that is the first time I've ever admitted that...

Even at my smallest I hated myself, being thin did not make me happy. I look back at pictures of myself at a size 12 and recall how desperate I was to be smaller, how ugly I thought I looked, how unhappy I was. I used to dream of winning the lottery and having all the cosmetic procedures possible to make me thinner because I associated it with (like most of society do) being pretty.

At school, I was a size 16, the biggest out of all my friends and when my size 8 friends would complain about being fat, I used to go home and cover the mirror in my bedroom because if they thought they were fat, what did they think of me? I must have been massive. Intrusive thoughts like that stemmed from other peoples negativity towards themselves. These throwaway comments my teenage friends made might not have meant harm but they did harm. And they still do, it's still happening today.

No matter what size I have been, no matter how small, I have never been happier than I am now. I am the fattest I have ever been and I love myself because I realised my happiness wasn't about my body, it was about my mind. I changed how I thought about myself and learnt to love every part of me, wobbly bits and all.

But not everyone is on the same journey I am, not everyone finds a way of loving themselves and so the constant fatphobic content and comments is demoralising and damaging. Weight stigma is a thing and more people need to be aware of it and how it affects people.

Unhealthy attitudes towards food and ones own body can have a detrimental affect and can lead to eating disorders, negative body image and worse. I've never had a healthy relationship with food, I always eat my feelings and end up giving myself a hard time because I've eaten too much. I'd have an internal battle with myself because I was trying to hold myself up to unachievable standards. My relationship with food has changed over the years but I still struggle.

As a society obsessed with diet culture and being thin, nobody talks about how toxic it all actually is. Your diet isn't interesting, you losing weight isn't the greatest accomplishment. We're not your 'before' pictures. Fat people can be happy with their bodies, we don't all hate ourselves as much as you'd hate to become us.

So before you share your meme on 'nothing tastes better than skinny feels' or some other shitty fatphobic nonsense, consider the people that aren't skinny and how that makes us feel.

And don't get it twisted and try and come for me about promoting an 'unhealthy lifestyle' because I am just existing. I am not telling anyone to go and eat twenty burgers, unless you really want to, I'm simply stating that fatphobia is so ingrained in our society that we need to change it. Fat people deserve better, we deserve respect and we deserve to be treated like someone of a smaller size.

And don't even get me started on medical fatphobia - that'll have it's own dedicated post!

Fat and proud. Fuck fatphobia!

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