Friday, July 21, 2017

FAQs with a Body Positive Woman

“Don’t wear horizontal stripes, it makes you look fatter than you are.” 

“So what if I look “fatter” than I am?”
“It looks bad. You should dress to accentuate your best features.”
“How is my size a feature? How can my size look bad?”
“Hey come on! Have you ever seen fat people being praised for how they look?”
“I haven’t, and that’s the whole problem. Looking good is about one’s confidence and not how big or small or fat or thin they are!”
“Okay now you’re being ridiculous. Fat is just plain ugly.”
“Okay… now THAT is ridiculous. How can you determine that fat is plain ugly? It’s unfair of you to label a person, (a) judging their looks and (b) being so hurtful. Fat is a body shape, it’s not a basis for hate or determination of looks!”  
“I don’t know, there’s a whole industry that is built on getting people to be the right size. If you grow too fat, you can’t find clothes to fit, besides,
“What is this industry you speak of? Who makes that industry what it is?”
“Look, just look around you – models, actresses, everyone around us – they’re all super fit and thin. They are the industry, they set the benchmark! Besides, being fat is unhealthy.”
“Being fat is not necessarily unhealthy. Fat is a body shape and a nutrient group – but you’re making the classic mistake of mixing both up and using them interchangeably. As a body shape, being fat is not necessarily the function of accumulated fat (the nutrient), or because one is unhealthy. There are people who are fat but are perfectly healthy. There are people who fall under the bracket of “thin” but may be grossly unhealthy and may have cholesterol and other lifestyle issues.”
“That’s rare…”
“I’m afraid not. It’s far more common than you think. By looking at a body size or shape and deciding that someone is fat and therefore unhealthy, you make a judgment without a basis. Do you know about their lifestyle? Do you know if they’re healthy or not?”
“Not for everyone, but the few that I know are unhealthy…”
“If they’ve been medically evaluated as unhealthy, don’t judge them. Be a good ally rather than to give them judgment. They know what they need to do – and instead of hurting them with judgment, support and encourage through positive reinforcement.”
“Anyway, the point is not all this. It’s just that you must dress right.”
“The point IS all this. Dressing is an expression of one’s confidence and choice, and comfort. If I like horizontal stripes, I like it, and I will wear outfits with it.”
“So… how can I be a good ally? I was only trying to watch out for you!”  
“You seem to have good intentions to want to watch out for another, but the way it’s playing out is not necessarily helpful. So a good idea would be to start understanding that bodies come in all shapes and sizes. You are not responsible for the larger portrayal of the ideal body shape, but you are responsible for joining others in the world in feeding into it – which you can stop doing. And then, look beyond a person’s body as a subject of conversation. There’s so much more you can talk about. Ask me about my life. Ask me what’s happening – and if I open up, tell you something that’s bothering me, ask me if you can help, and how. That makes you a sounder ally.”
“Makes sense, then.”