Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Good Fatty"

I've written about this blog before, but if you're interested in health at every size, I HIGHLY recommend you check out Dances With Fat. She has some really great stuff going on over there.

Today, she wrote about what it means to her to be a "good fatty:"

To me a “Good Fatty” is a fat person who is viewed (by the faction of our society who have decided that they are Judgey McJudgersons of health) as taking “appropriate steps” to lose weight or, at the very least, “struggling” with their weight, thereby earning a modicum of very contingent respect from someone who would otherwise be a fat hater.
If you read this blog regularly you know that I support and respect other people’s decisions about their bodies and health just as I require respect for my decisions. This is not about bashing people who have chosen weight loss. The “Good Fatty” title as I understand it is not a self-identity, but rather a conferred title indicating that the the fat person is behaving as the fat hater thinks they should.
The whole post is definitely worth a read and overall reminds me about how our fat shaming culture continuously sends the message that bigger=bad. However, it can also create a lot of self-loathing for an overweight person (ie me.) Sometimes, the fat person her/himself tries to play into "good fatty." I have found myself trying desperately not be viewed as a "bad fatty." For example, this summer when training a group of high school girls, we did an activity where we talked about how people view us on the outside vs. how we really are on the inside. One of my outside identifiers was being overweight and I balanced that with my inside attribute which was loving classes like yoga, Zumba, and Turbokick.

You know what? It's really great to want to break down the stereotype that fatness automatically = laziness, but if I really, truly think about my internal motivations of sharing this information, they probably weren't pure and they probably contributed to fat shaming. I was trying to differentiate myself from other "bad fatties" who eat too much and move to little and are just EWwehatethem!

Not good...not good at all.

I'm trying to take a more health motivated and less size motivated approach to viewing myself, my body, and my life. I think I'm making strides and actually growing in this area, but damn it can be easy to fall into wanting to be a "good fatty." People constantly praise others for weight loss or attempted weight loss, even when those attempts might be downright unhealthy. It can be really hard being the person in the room trying to remind everyone that life's not just about shape and size.

It's also really hard to be a "bad fatty." All too often the perspective is that fat people's food choices are open for public ridicule. You're eating donuts for breakfast? Well here, let me make some asinine comment about calories in order to "educate" you...because well I just want to help! And yet, a thin person eats a donut in front of that same "helpful" observer and the comment changes to "Oh, how do you eat so bad and stay so small? I could *never* eat like that. You are *so* lucky!" Somehow when the thin person eats it, there's no "concern" for their health...because ya know...they couldn't possibly have atherosclerosis! Never! They're thin! (Cue eye roll.)

Anyway, I guess my point is that while it can be really hard being the person who's trying really hard not to focus on size or shape, someone's got to do it--it takes people jumping on board with any movement for it to pick up steam.

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