Hands up if you’ve had this question. If you’re a fat activist I’d say the likelihood is pretty high. I hear it pretty regularly myself.
It’s usually followed by “Of course you would!” before I even get the chance to respond. Which tells me from the outset that my answer to the question was actually irrelevant, since I wasn’t even given the opportunity to answer for myself.
I’ve just had another round of that question fired at me. Anonymously of course, though it hasn’t always been so. This time the asker hit me up in several places (Tumblr, Formspring, in the comments on this blog…) with the same question. Seems they really want to tell me that “Of course you would!”
The thing is, it’s a redundant question. There IS no magic way to become thin, either overnight, in a week, a month, a year, a decade. The asker assumes that the concept is really worth entertaining because they believe that if I really, really wanted to, I could become thin. But I know, and it’s becoming increasingly documented in science, that no matter how much a I could possibly want it (if I did), I can no more become thin than I can become a unicorn, the President of the United States of America, or marry Hugh Jackman.
Well, there is an outside, remote, very distant chance I could marry Hugh, but even that is more of a likelihood than my becoming thin.
However, there are some things I would like to happen, and I do believe are possible right now, without any magic, is for people with fat bodies to be treated with dignity and respect. For our bodies to exist without being treated as objects of derision, fetish or ridicule. And for fat people to be allowed to live their lives without the intrusion of strangers and the general public on our own private matters, such as health, sexuality and comfort.
I would like to see all bodies, regardless of their size included in all aspects of life. I would like to see all bodies included in public spaces, on transport, in education and health without moral value being attached to them. I would like all bodies to have access to clothing, furniture, safety gear and sporting/recreational equipment equally.
But most of all, I would like to see people in general focus on the wellbeing of their own bodies, rather than intruding on the wellbeing of other people’s – even fat people.
This is what could happen, without “magic”, and without wishing for something that is simply a fairytale.