Friday, February 7, 2014

A Fat Girl Rant

My body is not a canvas on which you are allowed to paint your hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities, curiosity and envy.

My body is a sacred temple, subject to the will of the divine and to my own will only.

Why do I have to tell people this!? Why do I have to explain it to anybody?

And yet, I am reminded on a fairly regular basis of this simple fact: I live in a world in which women are not granted bodily autonomy or bodily integrity. Rather, I live in a world in which women's bodies are treated as public property and subject to the stated views of any and all who happen to see them.

I was reminded of this rather strongly when a woman at work, whose name I do not even know, asked (yet again) where I was in relation to my weight loss goals. As if it's ANY of her fucking business.

But there it was, that message, loud and clear: Your body is not yours and you have no right to maintaining boundaries concerning it.

Without really thinking, I answered honestly, "I'd still like to lose another 100 pounds."

To which she responded that this was ludicrous and I couldn't possibly be serious, it wouldn't be healthy.

Being tired and NOT wanting to invest any more energy AT ALL in this conversation, I simply answered her, "I'm not interested in being healthy. I'm interested in weighing 87 pounds. I know that doing so will result in my starving to death, and I'm okay with that."

The reality is, I am presently in no danger of starving to death. Furthermore, I do not know that I have the dedication to fully commit myself to doing so, even if I were within reach of such a goal.

While there are plenty of problems with a woman who stands 5'10" in height wanting to weigh 87 pounds, the reality is, a lot of those problems are a result of living in a world that treats women's bodies as objects for consumption.

They are systematically abused, broken, destroyed, policed, and no body is ever good enough.

When women aren't being overtly abused (beaten, molested, raped), women are being told that their bodies have to meet very specific standards which are ever-shifting and impossible to achieve.

Women are always either too fat or too thin. The online response to the winner of the television show, The Biggest Loser, amply demonstrated that this week. Not only do we treat all obese bodies as sources of entertainment (regardless of when or how one cheers on the competitors), but at the end of this season, the winner was subject to a significant online response when viewers felt she had lost too much weight and was no longer too fat. She had become too thin.

Women are always either too tall or too short.

Too young or too old.

Their hair is either too long or too short.

With too few highlights or too fried looking.

I could continue, though I'm sure others can fill out the list as they see fit.

The reality is, we live in a world in which women are granted neither bodily autonomy nor bodily integrity; a world in which women's bodies are not permitted to be their own; a world in which women are pressured constantly to be different than how and who they are because women as they are are never enough.

Some women go crazy trying to meet these ever-shifting, impossible-to-attain standards.

If all of this wasn't bad enough, you have the added pressure, when it comes to weight loss, of being an inspiration to others. As if this is some huge privilege and not a colossal fucking burden.

Because when people make your body their inspiration, they are seeking to make your body responsible for their accomplishing their goals. Every bite of food, every workout cut short, every time you do not work out until you collapse in exhaustion, you are one step closer to failure, and then where would they be?

It's too much pressure. Rather than leaving me feeling complimented and my efforts appreciated, their focus on my body leaves me wanting to eat less, work out more, and grow thin enough to disappear completely. Maybe then, my body will no longer draw their attention.

What does leave me feeling appreciated and complimented is when people remark upon my dedication and efforts;  when people tell me that they are proud that I committed to making healthier choices and continue to dedicate myself to those changes.

But my body....

My body is nobody's business.

My body is not a canvas on which you are allowed to paint your hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities, curiosity and envy.

My body is a sacred temple, subject to the will of the divine and to my own will only.

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