Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Short Love Letter to My Coworkers this Holiday Season

[Content note: Weight stuff]

Dear Coworkers,

I don't know if many of you will ever see this, but please know that I love you. I love you always, but especially this time of year. When there are a million fat shaming messages all around, y'all don't have any of it.

Here's something that has been said in my office before, "I just wear comfortable flowy stuff instead of pants all the time. It allows my body to fluctuate in size more easily."

Here's an actual thing I just heard in the hallway said by someone at one of the other companies in our building while wearing something flowy, "I can't dress like this too much otherwise I'll gain weight and not even notice!"

In so many offices, phrase B would be the norm and it wouldn't even stand out to me. But I work with y'all and that sounded straight up odd and awful.

So thank you. I'm lucky. Happy Holidays!


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  1. I think it's important to be body positive, especially around young people. But there is nothing inherently wrong with wishing to maintain a certain weight or wishing to not gain or lose weight. As long as you don't shame other people for what they do with their bodies, intentionally or unintentionally, there is nothing wrong with caring about your size or shape.

    1. Of course everyone can feel however they want about their own bodies. But comments made like this do not exist in a vacuum...they come from and contribute to our fatphobic culture.

      For some more context--that was the woman's response to someone complimenting her knit dress. Instead of really acknowledging the compliment, she explained how she can't dress like that regularly or she will get fat.

      Now, I wrote this post because my workplace really IS different from the rest of the culture (especially during the holiday season where we are culturally expected in "indulge" in treats but also express guilt about it all the damn time.) I exist as a fat woman in many spaces and I almost continually hear that my body is bad or wrong either flat out or by implication from people who are afraid they will gain weight or they "look fat." Because the contrast is so stark in my office, I wrote a little shout out. My coworkers don't just talk the talk of our girl empowerment message, we walk it too. Are there women in my office who probably DO want to lose weight? Sure!

      But do they make body negative comments? No...not really. And that's special and I appreciate it.

      So wanting to change your body isn't bad, but how/if you talk about/frame that desire matters to the environment and the people around you. For example, you never know when your fat shaming/food policing comments meet the ears of someone who is in recovery/struggling with an eating disorder. I'm so incredibly thankful that my office is a *mostly* safe space in that way.


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