No one has ever called me fat.
A boy named Howard called me “bean pole” and “Mother Goose legs” in the 5th grade. I was skinny and my legs were long, in case the Mother Goose reference confused you.
(It still confuses me. I thought Mother Goose was an old woman who was not particularly tall. Tell me if I’m wrong.)
But I’ve never been called fat. Not even once. Unlike millions of other people, I bear no scars from fat-bashing bigots.
So why is it that whenever I see a person being humiliated, shamed, or otherwise treated badly because of their size, I feel outraged to my core?
Why do I rush to intervene when someone makes a disparaging remark to a stranger about her body?
Why was I offended by the ridiculously tiny bathroom on a recent domestic flight? I managed to use it, but there are plenty of people who would’ve had to hold it till we landed, because there’s no way they’d fit inside.
If that doesn’t strike you as wrong, we need to talk.
“Fat on the Inside” Manifesto
I am fat on the inside. And I’d like to believe I’m not alone.
If your friend is rude to a fat person in my presence, I will have words for your friend. You might want to warn them that not every fat person is identifiable on sight. Some of us travel incognito. And we will stand up for ourselves and each other.
If you feel the way I do, please speak up when you witness discrimination.
Complain when things are too small, whether in clothing, bathroom stalls, or anything else that should make life more (not less) pleasant.
Don’t stand by and watch someone be insulted, ignored, or otherwise disrespected. Be an advocate.
If you’re thin and you dislike fat people, please educate yourself about obesity. If its only cause were a lack of self-discipline, you and I would be as big as houses. It’s not that simple.
If you’re fat and you dislike fat people, you’ve been brainwashed. Self-compassion, along with education about the complexity of weight gain and loss, may help. They’re a start in the right direction, at least.
Please try not to bash your own body, or anyone else’s. I know it’s hard to resist in a society that demands punishment for being fat. But every time you fat-bash, even yourself, you’re upholding a reprehensible system.
If I’ve offended anyone by claiming a status I have no right to claim, I understand and I’m sorry. I just don’t know how else to convey the strength of my solidarity. Calling myself an ally doesn’t quite capture it.
I expect to get hate mail for this post. There seems to be a lot of hatred aimed at fat-positive messengers.
I wonder where all that hatred comes from.