Fat Shame

by Brittany on January 25, 2013

in Chubby Girl

Obesity is an epidemic. We see it all over the news. Overweight people with their heads cut off walking down the street. Fat kids with faces blurred just enough to maybe protect their identity, but not enough to tell they are actively eating food.

You see, we need to see that. We need to be told that this is what fat looks like, and oh, isn’t it gross. Because I swear to God, that is the only we any of us can possibly justify the way we treat and approach obese people.

I’m not here to talk about the effects of obesity on health, because I don’t know your health, and you sure as hell don’t know mine. But, I do want to give my totally honest and personal opinion on how we need to treat weight in this country.

I’ve seen Dara-Lynn Weiss doing the media tour this week, promoting her new book that chronicles her experience with putting her seven year old daughter on a diet, a topic she wrote about in Vogue magazine. I watch her interviews, and I hear over and over again how she treated her daughter’s medical issue with all the specialists, diets and calorie counting she could throw at it.

But she never once talked about how any of this made her daughter feel. Was she eating because she was bored? Being bullied at school? Ignored at home? Depressed?

Because that’s the thing, we have feelings. Not just hunger cravings or exhaustion, real life feelings.

Reminding me I’m fat, threatening me with being bullied because of my weight, providing me with no fashion options, shaming me at restaurants, mocking me on national television; that didn’t scare me into thinness, it locked me in a closet with my emotions and a secret stash of food.

Oh, you don’t want to see me eat, awesome, I’ll do it alone. And I did. I hid what you made me afraid to do. You solved nothing.

So what changed?

I’m healthier and have lost more weight in two years (psst. still a size 16, hope we can still be friends), than I have in my life, because I finally felt like I respected myself enough to be worth it.

Because when we teach people that they have value, that their feelings matter, and they have a beauty inside them worth respecting, they begin to believe it. True story.

I’m more active because I’m less afraid to leave my house. I eat less because I have shit to do, in cute clothes no less. I make better food choices because I finally, finally, love and appreciate the body I walk around in. Every fucking curve and dimple.

It took me way too long to figure that out by myself.

So, I’m here right now because I’m passionate (and pissed) about having someone who looks like me able to tell someone that looks like you, that you are good enough, as is. Period.

Where you go from here, up or down, it doesn’t matter, your happiness is not hinging on any of that. Right now you deserve love and friends and clothes and happiness and to never feel like you should be ashamed or disgusted with your body. People have a problem with it, it’s on them, you’re not the weirdo walking around staring at people’s skin, they are.

You see, that’s so much of the answer. Worth, compassion and respect. Show people how to respect themselves, by respecting them. This is kindergarten level shit, y’all.

Not Fat Shamed

And the next time you want to video tape a fat person for a news story to illustrate how gross we are, use me, but don’t you dare cut my head off in an attempt to make people forget I’m a real person, not to mention, my hair’s fucking fabulous.

 

crystal January 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm

This post is fantastic and perfect and exactly what I’ve wanted to say, but am not quite in love with my “fluff” yet. I used to be “tall girl skinny” then got married and had a baby and gain some LBs… but I love that this give us permission to love ourselves when others say we’re gross. Thank you!
xo

Jen Smith January 25, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Rock on with your bad self!!!!! AMEN!!!

Rachel January 25, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Your hair is fucking fabulous. Along with the rest of you.

Moontaj January 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Thank you!

Rachel G January 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Tears streaming down my face at work right now. I heart you so hard right now!! Thank you for giving a voice to, not only yourself, but to all of us that feel unworthy because someone else has an issue with how we look. Just thank you – you are awesome and inspiring!

Amy January 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

You’re the best!

Elaine A. January 25, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Oh Brittany, YES!

I was watching American Idol the other night and the first contestant was SO beautiful and she had an AMAZING voice. Well, they had to play the “It doesn’t matter what size you are, you CAN succeed!” card. She was MAYBE size 12 or 14. And yeah, it was nice and all but I just kept thinking, “WHY DO THEY EVEN HAVE TO GO THERE?!?” Why do they even have to point out her “size”. It just irks me to no end.

I think you (and I) are gorgeous no matter our size and you make some really great points in this post.

Thank you for THIS.

Jennifer January 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Amen!!!!!!

amy January 25, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Exactly.

Have you heard about the new weight loss “guru” who is trying to make fat shaming a tool to motivate others to lose weight? They were talking about it on the radio because of how controversial it is. The premise is really that the only way to motivate many people to not be obese is to shame them into weight loss. They say nothing else has worked so the next step is to start publicly shaming people for being fat.

As you can imagine, this makes me think of all the poor young people out there who already feel enough pressure from society and the media to lose weight let alone a push for increased fat shaming.

Jamie January 25, 2013 at 5:29 pm

That is absolutely heartbreaking :( I imagine these poor people are going to need a lot of therapy to undo everything that’s going to be said to them.

Robin M. January 25, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Someone needs to tell guru-boy that that shit ain’t new…ask any one of us who has ever DARED to be overweight. And shame is not the way, as mentioned.
Great blog!

Christine January 25, 2013 at 4:54 pm

My daughter is 12 and is a size 5 (Jrs) a size 9 shoe and is between 125 130 pounds. She is almost bigger than me. She has always been larger than her peers and I hoped and prayed she wouldn’t become a victim to bullying when she started middle school. I can’t say she hasn’t been a victim, but I can say I doubted the little girl I’m raising. And for that I feel a little ashamed. Everyone in the family makes remarks ‘She’s so big!’ ‘She’s like an Amazon!’ And my daughter hears this and scoffs. She knows her size, and frankly she doesn’t give a shit. Lol She likes to eat! She eats many different thing, isn’t picky and helps me make ‘bomb.com’ (as she calls them) meals. She’ll grab her tummy and say ‘yea sometimes I wish this was smaller…oh well. I LIKE ALL THE FOOD’ She cracks me up. I hope she will continue developing her strong character…maybe some day she will be in your footsteps. Raising her voice to the masses and promoting self acceptance. A mom can dream.

Jana Frerichs January 25, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Brittany, I really don’t know what I would do without you. Seriously. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Chrissie January 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I feel like the overweight are the only marginalized group lacking solidarity. I see hate for the right and the left and various religions and cultures and language diversity, whatever. But anyone getting negative comments in these situations have backup, people who agree with them. But when an overweight person sees another overweight person, the first response is something along the lines of “ew” and that is wrong. Brittany, you are beautiful. So many of us are wonderful, beautiful people, and maybe this is a step in the direction of understanding instead of judgment. Curve pride.

Christal January 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I just read this while finishing off a sleeve of saltines and a Diet Coke. No shame.

Losing weight is all mental, and listening to what your body is craving. People who think otherwise are ridiculous. Also, who in their right mind would EVER want to limit carbs?

And yes…I am jealous of your hair.

Megan January 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I forget that I’m a real person sometimes when I’m busy beating myself up and making excuses and torturing myself. This post was fantastic…thanks Brittany!

Jana Frerichs January 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm

ME TOO! I feel the exact same way. And Brittany is right (and awesome of course), I am a person deserving of all the things she described. I’m tired of beating up and torturing myself. I’m sick of laying in bed at night and telling myself what a failure I am because I went over my WW points again. We are all worthy of all this, and I am going to really try to love myself. Thank you Brittany for reminding me that I can.

Kerry January 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I second what Rachel G said. Thanks for writing this. I hope someday to stop feeling unworthy because of my weight.

kelly January 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Amaze balls!

Josie January 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Ya know what pisses me off? These recipes you see all over the internet (I’m looking at you, pinterest, you judgy bitch) labeled as “skinny.” “skinny” coctails, “skinny” desserts, and so on. What happened to healthy? Actually, I hate the word “skinny” as a general rule. I mean honestly, eat yourself skinny? No see, that’s how I got fat in the first place. I would rather be healthy than skinny. I’d rather not buy into the whole, “look at me, I’m a martyr, what with the workouts and the skinny food, this is why I’m worthwhile” bullshit. I would rather be the “look at me, I’m awesome and it has nothing to do with my size and what I eat, because honestly, that shit is between me and my stretchy denim.” And if it means I look more like Adele than Gaga, totally fine. Adele is bad ass, anyway.

Karen January 25, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Preach!

Amy January 25, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Aaaaand crying at my desk. A-mutha-effing-men. I read this piece of trash this morning: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/a-case-for-shaming-obese-people-tastefully/267446/ and actually threw my phone across the room. Thank you for being a voice of reason and empowerment and kick-assery in this world.

Jamie January 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

sooo… your smoking a cigarette next to me, in a confined space, giving me allergies, a terrible smell, and possible HEALTH issues is the same as me sitting next to you eating a Big Mac??? So glad you pointed that out, sir. I’ll make sure to wear rain gear so the calories can’t escape from my person and cling to you! I had no idea that what I was eating was causing YOU harm O_o

noted

Sara Jo January 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Fuck yes. I don’t understand why size (big or small for that matter) plays such a huge role in how we see ourselves and others. I am SO much more than my body. I am caring, compassionate, smart, sarcastic, funny… the size of my body plays only the smallest part in the scope of who I am. I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to pass judgement on me or shame me based on that one part. And you know what? If they decide they need to do that, I don’t need them. I have had enough years of judging and shaming MYSELF, I don’t need someone else to do it for me. I’m done with that.

Monique January 25, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Thank you so much for this! So many women feel like they are less than their worth because of what society deems acceptable. Thankfully I found self-acceptance a few years ago and just like you said, I love every curve on my body. Do I desire to lose weight? Absolutely. But at my own pace.

jaclyn @ www.lilmsadventures.blogspot.com January 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm

thank you! this post is fabulous!! seriously!! no one ever talks about the emotional rollercoaster a “fat” person is going through! and why do they always congratualate when you lost weight? today my co-worker just told me that i look great because i lost weight! and how before i was too chubby? so before she thought i was disgusting?

Deborah N January 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm

WOW – as a fellow human being that has spent most of her life on the high end of the scale I can totally identify with all of this. I’ve been working on losing weight and over the last two years went from a 22 to a 16. I have more to lose but I love what you’ve said and I love that you didn’t mince any words. Thank you!!!

Nuala Reilly January 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm

In tears, lady. For reals. Bravo

Becca January 25, 2013 at 5:28 pm

You seriously just made my day with this…. thank you :)

Tiffany January 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Thank you. I needed to hear all of that today. You are fabulous! I am fabulous! Just the way we are!!

Kel C January 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm

You (and yo hair) ARE….FUCKING….FABULOUS!!!! =) So glad that you feel good about yourself because you should. You are beautiful, hilarious and just awesome and no one….I mean NO ONE…should shame anyone about anything about their bodies. Everyone is beautiful in their own right and FUCK ALL the assholes who try to say otherwise.
AHHHHH-MEN!!!! =)

Greis January 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm

I fucking love you more than life itself!! Thank you!!

Tasha January 25, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Best. Post. EVER.

Thank you.

Andrea January 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Years of anorexia & therapy – wish you’d been my best friend 15 years ago! Seriously printing this out & taping to my mirror to read every day! God bless you!

Ron Morse January 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Perfectly said and you are so freaking awesome!

Leah January 25, 2013 at 5:54 pm

AMAZING!!!!!!!

Jenn January 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Brittany, I freaking love you. Also, you are hot. Not in spite of your weight, but BECAUSE of it. Damn girl.

Cindy January 25, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Thank you. You are the first person to ever say I was good enough as I am. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for every single thing you said.

Nanette January 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Yes, yes, yes!

kate January 25, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Funny how we’re at a healthy place physically when we’re there mentally. I’ve personally come to realize many pieces of cake hAve been eaten as sort of a “Screw you” to all the dieting pressure I grew up with. Rock on, girlfriend.

Kimberly January 25, 2013 at 7:15 pm

And this is why I continue to love you!

Audra January 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Thank you for pointing out that feelings need to be addressed, regardless of size in my opinion. I don’t know many women at all who like their bodies. This is why I admire you so much Brittany. You do! And you’re younger than me!! So what the hell is my problem?

Carrie January 25, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Equally offensive and upsetting to me is the plethora of images circulating the internet of private citizens in an attempt to make fun of them. Most commonly found on sites like, “the people of walmart”, but also reposted on FB statues and emails. The people in them are often larger, and it is as if people feel that makes it OK to humiliate them. Even when they aren’t large, what kind of people are we that get off on this kind of bullying. Whenever I see things like that I always think about that moment when the person in the photograph sees it online, being passed around, realizes they are the joke? What a pathetic civilization.

Leigh January 25, 2013 at 9:37 pm

What pisses me off so much is that they say obesity is costing the country so many $$$$$$ but they never go near what sports is costing the country, in terms of injuries etc every weekend someone I know goes to hospital due to sports injuries but no-one I know goes to hospital for fat problems every weekend.

Gween January 25, 2013 at 10:17 pm

I love you.
That is all.

LouisianaMeredith January 25, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Slow clap…repeatedly.

I love you!

Kim January 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm

I want to hump both of your fabulous legs.

Sher January 25, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Not just your hair is fabulous — all of you is gorgeous, and perfect.

wendy January 25, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Brittany you are amazing! There are tears of joy running down my face. You just get it and Thank God someone does! I guess you could say Im a late bloomer and its taken me a little longer to figure out the things you speak of for myself. However, im getting there. In the last 2 yrs Ive lost 160 lbs. Im still me but many things have changed in my life. I only share this because I want you to know Im one of those blurred faces you are speaking of and I Thank You! ROCK on sista and damn straight your hair is fucking hot! ; 0)

jessica January 25, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Oh how I love this post.
As much as you encourage me to love myself the way I am, I still have that evil little voice in my head that says things I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy. There are times when I can quiet that voice to a whisper, but then I see something about how gross being over weight is or how being thin is being beautiful and the voice yells at me again. It’s nice to read words of encouragement every once in a while. I know for sure I’m not the only one that struggles with this problem. Thank you for being so wonderful.

kat January 26, 2013 at 2:04 am

I’ve been everything from what society considers heavy-ish (size 18) to what society considers to be more or less acceptable (size 4). I have suffered anorexia and bulimia along the way, and have long-lasting permanent fucked-up ideas about how I REALLY look versus what I see in the mirror.

I am finally learning, at the ripe old age of almost 42, to say “fuck y’all” to the world because I am getting to the point where I don’t give a shit about what anyone thinks any more. Wish I’d had this kind of clarity when I was 18 and starving myself or barfing or punishing myself with hours of exercise for eating (and retaining) a piece of candy. It’s MY body and I have to love MYSELF.

Xoxoxoxo you are the bomb, said in a mostly non-lesbian way.

Nikki Mohamed January 26, 2013 at 2:42 am

I have a girl-crush on you.

I’m so so so glad that you are taking this topic LOUDLY to the ignorant masses. I try but not enough people read my blog. THANK YOU.

Jen@whenpigsfly January 26, 2013 at 8:04 am

I grew up with a mother who was over weight when I was very little and then did the Weight Watchers thing and got very thin. She dealt with depression whether she was thin or fat. But, I just remember there was such a premium on being thin. I looked at myself around 10 or 11 and thought I was fat. How terrible. I ended up being anorexic for a time in high school. While I’m a healthy weight and I’m sure what others would consider thin, the perceptions of myself never go away. It’s so sad how we are molding our children. At the end of the day, it has to be about understanding and knowing our self worth. Nothing else matters.

Kaitlyn January 26, 2013 at 8:49 am

Brittany, I’ve never commented before but I guess I just wanted to share this with you. After my mother died, I gained a lot of weight, and was the heaviest of my life for my wedding which follow the next year. (This is 2011-2012 timeframe) Currently, I am now 196 lbs at 5’4 but I don’t feel like I look “fat.” I don’t feel like I look like that number at all because I think I’m so misled about what obesity even looks like.

You look fantastic. You always have since I’ve been reading this blog for… years, now. I appreciate this post and all the work you’re doing.

Brittany January 26, 2013 at 8:57 am

Thank you. Truly. I don’t think a lot of us know what obesity looks like. I think we’re all told a lot of things that simply are true. I think we all need to redefine it, not for them, but more for us.

Al_Pal January 26, 2013 at 9:38 am

SUCH an awesome post. *applause*
I’m incredibly fortunate–I’ve never been skinny, and always appreciated my body. Fat-shaming hurt as a kid and tween, of course, but it didn’t destroy my self-worth. I spread the We Are All Worthy message whenever I get a chance. Rock on!

Stephanie @ Steph's Miles January 26, 2013 at 10:00 am

I just came across your blog – you are beautiful and I love your hair! Snaps for self-acceptance!

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