Body Image

Size (Shouldn’t) Matters

This morning, I had a conversation with a friend (We’ll call her Betty) that made me rage.

Betty has a friend on Facebook (A lady who is, admittedly, on the larger side of the spectrum) who is pregnant. 4 months along, by my count, and clearly over the moon. Everyone has that Mom-to-be that litters their Newsfeed with ultrasound pics, cheery status updates, and belly-bump photos. Betty’s friend is no different.
Now, I don’t know if Betty woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, but off she went on a tirade about this woman.
“She was already fat!” Betty said. “And now she’s posting belly photos. Ugh, that’s not a pregnant belly, that’s fat! She shouldn’t be posting this, nobody wants to see it!”

Now, pre-coffee Jessica (thats me!) stood there, mug in hand, with a grimace on her face. That’s when I hit Betty with this doozy: “So?”
I was met with blank stares.

Because really, so what?

Is it so difficult to fathom that maybe, just MAYBE, there are people in Betty’s friend’s life that DO want to “see that”? People that are probably just as excited as she is about the new baby grandson/niece/nephew/daughter/cousin that will enter this world in 5 months time? There might even be people who can *gasp* see beyond this woman’s size and look at the real person who is beneath the surface.

Size-ism is a nasty thing. It’s a sad world we live in where the first thing that gets commentary is the number on the tag of a pair of pants, and not the content of one’s character. Achievements come second to cellulite. Six-pack abs take precedent over being a decent human being. We are inundate with media portrayals of “perfection”, and somehow these unattainable ideals are more important to society than just being kind to one another.

Which reminds me! Here’s a special shout out to those who make rude comments because of some “concern for a fat person’s health”. To you all I say:

Pipe the fuck down.

Seriously. If you are TRULY concerned for the health of a complete stranger, go befriend them! Go for runs, prepare healthy meals together! Learn about their mental and emotional health as well as their physical well-being, because if you are really so concerned about their level of fitness, all three of those factors play a key role in overall health. Don’t want to do all of those things? Okay, that’s fine too. Just drop this façade that you give a modicum of shit about their health an lives, and admit the truth: you’re a jerk. You’re a jerk with bad self esteem, and you get your jollies off making other people feel badly about themselves.

Ahem. Moving right along.

If I had my way, we would live in a perfect world. A world where high-end lingerie grew on trees, smiles could be traded for dresses, and people didn’t treat other people like a lesser life form just because they’re fat.

I’ve been saying this for years: You can’t take your body with you when you die, so why all the focus on what it looks like? Sure, be healthy, be fit. That’s wonderful. But spend just as much time on broadening your intellectual horizons and making the world a better place. Because if I had to choose, I’d rather be a good person with a fat body than a jerk with the body of Adonis.

(Oh, and Betty? If you’re reading this, get your shit together. Prioritize, woman! I love you to death, but seriously, life is too damn short…)

2 thoughts on “Size (Shouldn’t) Matters”

  1. I love this first post (besides your intro), Jess! I totally agree. It seems like these sorts of statements say more about the person commenting than about the person being objectified. I do think that’s what it really boils down to: seeing a person as an object that can be criticized without censure rather than as a human being with thoughts and feelings. I’m not saying that Betty did it intentionally, even. People have been inundated with judgments on women’s (and men’s) bodies in media and in the general public until they think it’s perfectly OK to judge, when it’s actually not. Adding “health” to an argument doesn’t change that, either. (I actually wrote a blog “letter” to those “I’m only concerned about your health” people, and it was very cathartic :-).) Seriously, if your life is somehow made worse by seeing people you deem “too fat” or you feel a compulsion to talk about how much someone *else* weighs, it’s a bit sad and begs the question, “Don’t you have more important things to focus on in your own life, anyway?” Like the friend having the baby- share in her joy instead of focusing on something that *you* don’t like about her appearance! Thinking that a body represents anything about a human’s worth is a very depressing outlook on life. We inhabit our bodies; they don’t inhabit us.

    Sorry, yes, I do tend to rant. But that usually means that I found the reading very interesting :-).

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