Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tired Weight Related Nonsense

Once you become someone who believes in body acceptance and health at every size, you start to notice just how infused our society is with weight charged statements. And you begin to find these weight charged statements utterly eye roll inducing. They've become cliches. It's boring. It's tired. It's helping no one. So I advocate for a few of these particularly annoying statements to just end. Here's my short list:

1) "Skinny bitch," or any other disparaging statement about thin women, which I wrote about in great detail before.

2) Baby bodies--these statements are the ones which hit at any of the weight related impacts that pregnancy has had or will potentially have on your body. Being someone who has not yet had kids, I know that I'm chastising others for something I haven't directly experienced, but hear me out. It's often in the context of, "Pregnancy made my _____ (examples: hips wider, stomach fat, skin stretch marked). If I wouldn't have been pregnant I'd probably still ______ (examples: fit a size 0, be able to see my abs)." As someone who's pre-baby body already has wide hips and a non flat stomach, I experience these statements as: "Your body sucks. I'm not supposed to have this body. It's not my fault." Another context that I hear the baby bodies statements goes a little something like this, "My body's the best right now it will ever be. In 5 (10, 15, what have you) years when I have a couple of kids it will never be like this again!"

The critical issue in each of these cases is the disparagement of a certain type of body. The relationship to the pregnancy is just incidental. See, if we accepted all bodies, then there wouldn't be the same level of hatred directed at post-pregnancy bodies. It's also a perspective which is overly focused on the aesthetic/sexuality of the female body and ignores the amazing function of bringing babies into the world. (Not to say that's its only purpose, of course!) I mean, can't we just take a minute to appreciate that those changes are the byproducts of a pretty damn impressive process?

3) "I can't eat like that." This statement is usually directed at a thin person who tends to eat non nutritious foods but not gain weight, the idea being "YOU can eat like that, but I can't." It's closely related to the skinny bitch stuff and falsely promotes the idea that health and weight are the same thing. Other statements like this include, "If I eat ____ (fill in fatty food) it will go straight to my hips."

The truth is that no one "can eat like that." It has nothing to do with your weight. If you eat really crappy foods (high in saturated fats, sugars, and salts and low in nutritional value) it will eventually catch up to you (heart problems, high blood pressure, etc) regardless of your weight.

So please, next time you are tempted to make one of these tired weight related comments, I beg you to reconsider. Not only because body acceptance is such a happier way to live, but also because that other stuff's not even clever, new, or interesting. Seriously.

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