Well my lovelies, I’ve been hit by a whole plethora of trolls from some sad bodybuilding forum that feel to build themselves up, they have to tear other people down. If any slip through overnight, my deepest apologies and I’ll clean them up as soon as possible. They’re a pretty sad bunch, who seem to think they can hurt me or silence me somehow, but all they do is create an irritation factor (kind of like a rash) and give me fodder for Trollapalooza. Many of them prove my point beautifully.
Anyway, that’s not why I’m here tonight. I’m here tonight to let you know that there’s something you no longer have to do. You don’t have to prove anything about your body or your health to anyone. I want you to give yourself permission to completely stop justifying your body, your health, your fatness, your weight… anything to do with your body or health to ANYONE at all.
We do live in a culture that seems to encourage people to demand others justify their bodies, what they eat, how much (or how little) activity they do, their health, their weight – pretty much everything about their bodies. Particularly women – so often our bodies are objectified and seen as public property, which people feel is acceptable to question and even physically handle without invitation. Ask any woman who has been visibly pregnant how many people touch her belly, or ask personal questions about her health and the birth of her baby.
When you’re a highly visible fat woman, as we fat activists are, people are constantly demanding you justify your bodies and health. They want you to PROVE you’re just as worthy as any other human being by divulging your eating and activity. They demand proof that you’re not costing the taxpayer money/driving up health care costs. They ask personal questions about your menstrual cycle, your skin, your strength, your joints, your heart, your blood pressure or blood sugar levels. They demand you prove that you’re not in pain, that you can walk, that you can do the things you mention you do. I get people demanding proof that I ride my bicycle, because you know, fat people can’t ride bicycles.
How the fuck is any of that anyone’s business but the person who owns the body in question? I mean really!
Besides, how much ableism is tied up in all of that as well? As if anyone is under any obligation to be illness free or fully able-bodied.
We spend so much time justifying our place on this earth by proving that fat people can be active, can be healthy, are contributing members of society and such. I see blog post after blog post, tweet after tweet, facebook status after facebook status, you name it, pushing back against this constant demand of “Explain yourself, fatty!”
I’m afraid I’m not playing that game any more. It’s not our job to educate people about fatness. It’s not our job to justify our existence. It’s not our job to prove that we are worthy of the basic, fundamental human right of dignity and respect, and the right to live our lives in peace without discrimination and stigmatisation.
We do not owe that to anyone.
We have more important shit to deal with in our lives. What’s important in your life? Is it proving that you’re a worthy, valuable member of society? Or is it your family, your friends, your career, your hobbies, your passions, your pets, your time?
No more will I be answering to that call to “Explain yourself, fatty!” It’s pretty much flogging a dead horse anyway – no matter what we tell these people who demand we explain ourselves, they’re not going to listen. Not to mention that they only accuse us of hostility anyway – as though it’s ok for them to demand we justify our health and our bodies, but are offended when we tell them to mind their own damn business.
Instead I am here for YOU, my peers, my fellow fatties. I am here to show you that you ARE valuable, you ARE worthy members of society. I am here to show you that you CAN be happy, confident and fulfilled, without losing an ounce.
I am here to live my life visibly, so that there is a representation of an unapologetic fat woman somewhere in the world (there are in fact, lots of us!), and encourage you to live your lives. Anyone who wants to hold you or I back from that can kiss my fat arse.