Why do I choose to write about being fat? Why do I choose to spend my creative energy on this particular endeavor? Why do I “go there”?
Because it matters. Because people deserve to know the truth. Because every single day of our lives, women and girls are lied to. We are told that fat is bad, thin is good. We are told that if we were just thinner, we would be happy. If we were thinner, then people wouldn’t body-shame us. Because the messages our society sends children about their body leads to first graders on diets, and 8-year-olds becoming anorexic. Because these messages lead to girls and women, men and boys who hate themselves and think that they, and those around them, would be better off if they were dead.
I do this for every person who has been told “You’d be so much prettier if you just lost weight”. I do this for everyone who has ever been yelled at, harassed, and insulted by perfect strangers, just for being fat. I do this for every child whose food is policed by “well-meaning” parents, teachers, and relatives. I do this for every child whose parents buys them diet pills, because being fat is worse than the health risks of diet pills. I do this for every child who is forced to have their weight or BMI checked in front of their classmates.
I do this for everyone who has ever looked in the mirror and cried because they have internalized so much shame and hatred that they can’t see their own beauty. I do this for everyone who avoids eating in public, for fear of being humiliated. I do this for everyone who has been fat-shamed by friends and loved ones. I do this for everyone who has tried diet after diet, pill after pill, never losing the weight, only to feel like THEY are a failure, instead of knowing that they are BEING FAILED by our society. I do this for everyone who has been LIED to by the 65 billion dollar diet industry. I do this for everyone who has avoided clothes that made them feel happy and beautiful, because they were told that they weren’t flattering, or that fat people shouldn’t wear such things.
I do this for EVERY single fucking person who has DIED because of the shame, discrimination, harassment, and hate that is heaped on fat people each and every waking moment of their lives. I do this for every person killed by an eating disorder, because they were less afraid of death, than of getting fat. I do this for every person who died on an operating table or from complications after surgery, because they were told that the risk of death was better than the risk of staying fat. I do this for every man, woman, and child who killed themselves, rather than live with the shame of being fat.
I do this because so many can’t speak out for themselves. Too many people are too mired in shame to even know that what is happening to them is wrong. Too many people have been met with hateful vitriol when they finally found the strength to speak out. Too many people can’t say a goddamn word because they aren’t here anymore.
I do this because “fat” is just one more minority that finds itself on the losing end of society’s fight for the “ideal”. I do this because women, people of color, fat people, tall people, short people, differently abled people…anyone who doesn’t fit in society’s narrow standards of what is acceptable, is expected to do whatever it takes to conform to what our culture calls “normal”, and to hate themselves until they do.
I do this because I am DONE. I am done believing the lies. I am done hiding. I am DONE hating, and done seeing others hate themselves.