Every single time I’m in the media. Every single bloody time. And I’m sure that other fat activists get it whenever they’re in the media…
“There’s no way she’s happy with herself.”
“Nobody could be happy like that.”
“I bet any money she’s really unhappy.”
“I’m not as fat as her and I’m in pain and miserable, there’s no way she can be happy.”
“She won’t be able to walk at that size, and her knees will be really painful. Nobody could be happy like that.”
I want to say something to all of those people – there are enough of them commenting on my blog (who are not being published because I want to spare the rest of you their misery and hate.)
Look, I get it. You aren’t happy with yourself. Or you think that if you got any fatter than you currently are, you wouldn’t be happy. Your body might hurt and you might feel sluggish at whatever size you are, so you’re assuming if you were my size, then it would be worse. You hate how I look, so you think I must hate it too. Maybe you hate how YOU look, and you reason that because you’re not as fat as me, then there’s no way I could be happy with myself.
But here’s the thing. We’re all different. What my body can do and how it feels at my size isn’t the same as what your body feels and can do at whatever size you are, or whatever size you have been in the past. You’re not in my body. You don’t know what it feels like for me. I’m not in your body, I don’t know what it feels like for you.
I get that you’re really miserable and you hate yourself. But that doesn’t mean I hate myself and am miserable by default, simply because I’m fatter than you. Perhaps, instead of being SO determined to convince yourself and everyone else that I must be as miserable and self-loathing as you, you could focus on learning to find the happiness and self esteem you so desperately need. It would make your life a WHOLE lot better, and people around you would be so much happier to be in your company. Constantly trying to prove to yourself that I must be unhappy, in pain or somehow broken harms nobody but yourself.
Now, to the rest of you, my fellow fab fatties, who I am sure have been on the receiving end of this in some form or another, I want to send support. This kind of gaslighting is so common and is designed to make you “prove” yourself. But the truth is, no amount of “proof” will ever appease these people. After all, I’ve been doing this shit for 5 years, a quick Google image search brings a plethora of photographs of me laughing, smiling, having a great time, riding my bike (for some reason the media LOVE those photos) etc. There’s a whole website devoted to photos of myself and my local fat activist colleagues living our lives to the full. But still people want to convince themselves that I must be unhappy, in pain and not able to move my body.
Besides, we owe nobody “proof” or justification of our existence. I’ve said it a million times before, health/fitness is not a moral obligation. Lots of people suffer illness or disability, fat or thin. Myself included. There is no need for anyone to be ashamed of illness or disability, EVEN if they are fat. Proving that “fat can be fit” or any variation of such only feeds the stigma that fat people get. We have to be in this fat liberation for ALL of us, not just those who fit in a narrow definition of “acceptable”.
Every one of us are valid, worthy human beings. We owe nobody proof that we are “acceptable”. The only person you owe proof of your happiness to is yourself. The rest of the world should be considering your visible joy a gift, not something they can demand from you.