No, you do not have to answer that question. Nor do I want some of you to.
I can be an emotional eater. I am also considered overweight, no, morbidly obese for my height and weight. Though you wouldn’t know it by looking at me. But I eat mostly healthy (I have a sweet tooth but I bake my sweets myself) and do my best to exercise. And there are too many times when I don’t like my body.
But I’ve read too many articles about health, see too many articles, blog entries, etc. lately. And too many are based on one rule: you must hate your body. And that rule has been around a long time. And it’s entirely geared towards women.
Women are born into a world where they are judged on appearance and looks from birth. Girls learn from a very young age how to dress to please others. They are also taught that they do not have real bodies or that they inhabit these bodies. They are taught that they are objects to be judged. Girls are told what to wear or not to wear, how to behave like a proper girl, how to be submissive, how not to express their emotions, how to be nice all the time, how to be an object, what they can and cannot eat, and how they must constantly judge themselves against other women and how are they are always failing. Girls are forced to cut themselves off from who they really are from a young age. And it’s their mothers leading the charge against them, inflicting the same abuse and suffering on their daughters that was inflicted on them and that society and advertising keep inflicting on the female half of the human race.
Girls are cut off from their bodies. Then they may have to deal with the added burden of being told that they must dress a certain way or they are leading men into sin. So purity culture rears its ugly head. But popular culture says a woman is only a body but only if she is a Victoria’s Secret model but really only a sex object. Or not a body or person at all if she is not model perfect ot society approved.
For me, I grew up always hearing how I was fat. Constantly, by my mother who couldn’t face her own body issues so focused on mine. Now, I was never a skinny child but nor was I truly fat. I have always had a little extra weight but it didn’t bother me too much. And when my mother meant fat she meant xxx-large when I was a medium. So many years I had clothes that were too big and almost always second-hand while my sisters got new clothes more often. And I’m the oldest.
Then there was the time my step grandfather told me I was a glutton (not the word he used) and that men didn’t like women who eat. (All because I took seconds.) So I needed to stop stuffing my fat ugly face or no guy would want me and I should be put on a strict diet immediately. Thankfully my parents didn’t listen but my mother kept calling me fat. Granted, this was the same man who gave me soap for Christmas one year, then told me I had to pay for it, then took it way because I was unworthy of such a gift and couldn’t appreciate all that he done to get me this gift. My sisters got actual gifts but I got free soap (it was a sample) that was taken away. I’m glad the man died when I was 17.
I’ve been body shamed for so long. And not just by my mother. I see in the cover of magazines at the grocery story, the new diet books at the library, the blog posts, news articles, other peoples bodies. We women are told hating our bodies is a good thing, that by hating our bodies other people will love and admire us. That we will fit in. That we will be accepted.
What a lie.
We hate our bodies and hate ourselves but nothing changes. But now we are carrying a lot of hate and see ourselves not as people who are loveable but as objects to be used and discarded. We are told that this outfit or this diet or this exercise will fix everything but nothing works. And the hate stays, taking root, growing, festering.
And companies love it because that just means they can sell more clothes, more diets, more exercise equipment, more beauty products to fuel the hate. The cycle continues.
So, am I fat? Some stupid, useless guideline and certain people I don’t trust say so. But do I consider myself “fat”? Some times, yes. Sometimes, no. I do know that just because it is written in an article or on a blog doesn’t make it true. But I’m working on fighting the lies I’ve been told about myself, about my body.
But every women needs to stop hearing these stupid lies about hating their bodies or that they need to be objects and instead get to know their real body and self. Women are people too.