7/6/2017 0 Comments
I used to be really skinny. In high school, and even during college. But the weight started to rise, year after year, stealthily and slowly, and I am now overweight ( I was more overweight a few years ago but due to some health problems, surgery, and trying harder to exercise and eat better, I have lost about twenty pounds, but would like to lose more)
The body positivity movement has it right when they complain that society makes women of any size feel bad about themselves - I was a skinny, pretty girl in my twenties who felt absolutely AWFUL about myself and constantly thought I was fat and unworthy
When I gained weight and was no longer considered thin, the body positivity movement happened to be emerging, and this was extremely fortunate, because it really helped me cope; it was like a large blow up mattress that helped cushion my fall. It was extremely comforting, and it was ironically the first time I ever felt good buying clothes. When I was thinner I never felt so good! I guess because I didn't appreciate my thinness and never thought I was good enough. But now I was fat, I was "the unacceptable" becoming acceptable, I was being celebrated, and these fat women were expressing what I had always felt as a thin woman who could not accept herself. I was the unacceptable fat woman and yet clothes were being made for me anyway, in spite of this, and I would not be abandoned, I could be a part of something...I didn't feel so horrible about myself and I felt like a human being; the flaw was acknowledged and it was being accepted, and addressed, and it was totally political to boot: I was part of a movement!
So there were all these great clothes, and brands that were now willing to cater to larger sizes ( although this has hit a plateau recently), and all these writers like Jess Baker, and these fashion bloggers like Gabifresh, and fashion models like Ashely Graham and Crystal Renn and Tess Holliday strutting their stuff! The landscape was starting to change!
Or was it?
During the peaks of my attempts at this brain transition, I did say insensitive things to women who were much larger than myself One time I told the owner of a plus size store that I was glad I had gained weight, because now I knew how it felt to be rejected by society ( can you think of a more demented liberal thing to say?) And how demented considering I had in reality always been rejected by myself, even in my thinness?
I was constantly posting "fat-spo" on my Facebook ( when I was involved with that horrible, soul-destroying rubbish, but I am now no longer), memes and affirmations proclaiming my acceptance of my body and the bodies of other fatties, but a co-worker didn't approve of me doing this: she claimed "I wasn't fat enough". She told me that she would always get irritated every time I posted "fatspo" ( I don't know if it's really called that, but I call it that) thinking 'there she goes again" because, and she'd say it with a really big sigh, "you do realize that you're on the smaller side of "plus size??? you're really not that big"
This was disappointing to me, and put me in an odd, hurtful position. "Straight-sized" people do not consider me thin, and they do not even consider me average (my BMI also puts me in the obesity range). This bitch hypnotherapist I used to see took one look at me and recommended a hypnosis weight-loss program without my even having inquired into weight loss. My father constantly calls me obese, and prospective male suitors are always wondering aloud "When are you gonna lose weight? You'd look so much better..." (Oh, and the male suitors who won't date me, because I'm too fat, forgot about them...) Plus the fact that most department stores don't offer clothing I can fit into anymore...
But when I tried on clothes at the new plus size clothing store, the one that had just recently opened in town to much fanfare, being on the smaller size of "plus size" meant I had size access to virtually every piece of clothing in the store! The owner hadn't bothered to buy sizes into the twenties (really hadn't bothered to cater to the actual, "real ladies of plus size", oh the irony). I went in and out of that fitting room to show off to my friend ( this same co worker who had previously criticized me, and was also good friends with the owner of the store ) and unfortunately to a panel of very obese women who had nothing else to do but to stand there outside the dressing room in an awkward huddle and watch me model my finds in a store supposed to have been designed for them. But none of the clothing fit them ( again, very ironic for a plus size store, and very incompetent for the owner of the store who was claiming to be an activist for body positivity) and the clothing mostly fit me, the girl who really isn't plus sized...( I think this store does have much bigger sizes now, and I may have been too harsh)
And I don't know if it was meant to be an insult or an actual helpful hint, but one of the very sad-looking (because quite frankly they looked SAD and disappointed, like how fucked up was that lady? ) obese women suggested I wear a pair of spanks with one of the dresses I tried on to hide my bulging belly; I think she was being helpful, but it kinda felt like a snub at the time...
So at the same time that I'm devouring plus size fashions, scouring through websites of Torrid and forever 21 and Modcloth and Simply Be and Asos and all the brands that were being created for plus size or which already existed and were starting to cater to plus size, I was also doing online classes and reading articles and books and basically filling up my head with all the rhetoric that I could muster that was de rigeur at the time and trying desperately to be more accepting of fat bodies, fat female bodies mostly ( I had never had prejudices against fat men and have had relations with a few of them) but subconsciously the realization that this was not really sticking was seeping in, my brain rejecting the new mindset
If you want to detox from harmful self-negativity inspired by society, avoiding fashion magazines works. Avoiding images of waif-like models WORKS. Seeing more and more images of fat ladies in a positive light WORKS ( hell, getting older works, you just stop caring as much). But one of my ultimate goals had been to condition myself into accepting and actually getting as much of a rush at seeing a beautiful fat woman as I did from seeing a beautiful thin woman, but this simply wasn't and isn't happening
I think it still could happen, if there was a higher percentage of fat ladies being displayed prominently and ubiquitously in mainstream media - the ideal is still thin women, and they are still plastered all over the place, and they are still preferred, even with recent developments in catering to bigger women
But then another thing happened: my health suffered
Gallstones might not be necessarily obesity-related, but they are definitely related to eating a diet that is off balance, so back again with reigning in my eating, and back again with reigning in my weight
Just trying to be healthier! And this did result in some loss of weight, to where I wear a size twelve now, as opposed to almost wearing a size 18! ( I was getting up there, though I have never managed to break two hundred pounds)
"Healthy At Any Size" is a nice idea, but I used to be in their Facebook group, and some of those ladies would get really upset when someone would try to tell them about health food, and I heard a lot of them defending junk food, because it was cheap, and convenient, and talking about health food was considered "shaming". But it is not true that the body positivity movement completely eschews healthy living, exercise and good, quality food
I don't like how I feel, and maybe it's the media, but I don't want to be fat anymore
I want to look "better". I want to wear smaller clothes. It just makes me feel better, although it makes me feel REALLY BAD to say this
It's a huge betrayal, and not only to these other women, but to myself
But I think it's honestly what I want, as much as it hurts me to say it
So I guess body positivity has worked, because it's basic message is that we are all human beings who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity in our society, and that's why saying I want to deviate from being fat hurts me. But I don't want to be fat anymore! ( or at least not gain any more weight)
I don't feel comfortable, and i want to be healthier, and I want to look good in clothing, and being a certain size prevents you from really pulling that off
Or at least it prevents ME from pulling it off, because I see big ladies who can pull it off fine, but again, they are the lucky ones who don't have double chins, or outrageously large arms, or bulgy bellies with tiny buts, or straight waists, totally disproportionate bitches - you can get away with being bigger if you have an hour glass figure, hell, if you are pear shaped! If you have accentuation in all the right places...I mean Tess Holliday doesn't have "Fat Face"
Maybe body positivity has worked a little bit for me, but it still has a long way to go. And the people who are mired in it, the truly fat women, they can have their clan; I don't belong in it, and that's okay. I will just go stand in the corner over there, hopefully lose some more weight, eat healthier, walk those miles I have allotted for myself everyday, take control of my health, but yet continue rooting for the women out there who are bigger than I am and who are forging their way into acceptance in this mad mad world.
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