This is Laura, a friend of mine. I whole-heartedly support her message.
Laura also recently posted a note on facebook talking about weight and beauty. It was from an article she wrote for Totem Park residence newspaper at the University of British Columbia. I asked her if I could share it here because I thought it was such a great example of how you can move beyond the number of pounds and see the beauty that doesn’t show up on the scale. Here it is below, enjoy:
“The F- Word
Muffin top, thunder thighs, and other reasons why we love to hate ourselves
A few weeks ago, after insisting I didn’t believe in calories for the holiday season, I stepped on the scale to reveal a five pound increase.
I weigh 176.5 lbs.
By the way, this is not an article about fitness, health, or how I lost my holiday eggnog gut. In fact, I am pretty comfortable with my weight. Consequently, unlike most other women, I am willing to reveal that dreaded number which continues to haunt the human existence.
Some of you will read that number, 176.5, and automatically label me with the word “fat”. I have been called many names, from fatty, to elephant, from Jigglypuff to humorless quips about the size of my ass. And with a BMI of around 33, I can’t really argue. I am a fat-assed Jigglypuff.
Somehow I survived grade school with fantastic self-esteem. Somehow I avoided an eating disorder, except for that brief period of skipping breakfasts and lunches (I called it “vegetarianism”), and that one time I stuck a toothbrush down my throat.
So why was an eleven-year-old girl with fantastic self-esteem reduced to sticking a toothbrush down her throat?
There are a few reasons, and my story is not unique, nor the most severe. Social media and advertising sells us our vision of sex appeal, what we are and are not allowed to perceive as sexy. A California girl with big breasts is a plus. Washboard abs is almost a necessity if you want a girlfriend. But having a fat girlfriend makes you a “chubby chaser”. You may try to insist you are somehow different, but be honest: your first lessons in sex probably came from magazines and television, reading articles about what men really want and watching movies where breasts are both big and perfectly symmetrical (for your learning experience, breasts are commonly saggy and different sizes. But it doesn’t matter whether they’re “sexy” or not, because boobies are always fun to play with).
Another reason is body policing. We love to talk about the things we hate most on our own bodies, but even more than that we love judging others. We love to assess and compare; Facebook stalk acquaintances to see who got fat after high school, look at pictures of celebrities who lost weight, and ridicule Robert Pattinson’s own asymmetrical nipples and airbrushed abs in Twilight: New Moon. We notice and praise weight-loss in a light of glorification because the F-Word (re: FAT) has been blacklisted as an epidemic, a deadly virus, in our own country.
I want to be perfectly clear in this next sentence, because it is not a popular opinion, especially in our health-conscious, fat-free, low-sodium society:
Fat is not the enemy.
Fat acceptance is an unpopular idea because many will argue that it promotes obesity and compliance with an unhealthy lifestyle, that obesity related illness is taking up tax-paying dollars. It is true that our society needs a lifestyle change. Yet directly linking fat to health issues promotes the assumptions “Thin must = Healthy” and “Fat always = Unhealthy”. This is simply untrue.
Why is weight-loss or gain something we talk about constantly? Why should being sexually attractive be our first, if not only, priority? I think we sell ourselves short by defining our self-worth by a number. Why is it wrong to make fun of the shape of eyes, or the colour of skin, yet it is still OK to ridicule the shape of a body? Why is FAT an accusation, as if having this soft, pliable flesh is a crime?
When you look into the mirror, don’t see a roll. Don’t see fat thighs or a double chin. Don’t see “who you really are” trapped under a layer of evil fat. Don’t chop yourself into pieces and disfigure your body in that way. Don’t exercise because you hate your body; exercise because you LOVE IT. Exercise because it feels like a breath of cold mountain air, like a natural high. Grab your fat, squish it between your fingers, and hug it. If you have no fat to hug, hug your ribcage, or your washboard abs, or your liver and whatever you look like, love your whole self.
Never deny anyone the human right of loving their whole self.
My name is Laura and I weight 176.5lbs. I am fat, and just so you know, I love my whole self; thunder thighs and all.”
I love this piece. Thanks for sharing Laura.
(Note: If you want to hear more from Laura, she has a tumblr here.)