When I finally accepted that I am a Fat person, a shift changed within me. As I began to identify as a fat person and living a fat existence, I spent a lot of time focused on my experiences. This week though I’ve been thinking a lot about those people who are Fatter than I. Am I serving them? Am I being an ally or am I simply living in a world where I think the word fat stops with me. How can I give those who are bigger than I more exposure. See even within the scale of fat people there are levels of privilege within and a hierarchy that isn’t serving any of us.
Someone who is a size 14 won’t know the struggles or stigmas a size 30 person faces. Point blank the fatter you are, the harder your life may be and it is important for us fatties small, medium, large and in-between recognize that we HAVE to be inclusive of all fat people.
Not just ‘good’ fatties, not just ‘semi-socially acceptable’ fatties, not just mobile fatties. If you’re fat you’re in the fat club and it means you need to respect and support every fatty.
I’m not proud to admit that as I was recovering from an eating disorder I still struggled with massive judgments around fat people, specifically fat people larger than I. I used to think “Well at least I am not as fat as her”, “God they should lose weight” while I still considered fat by society, I felt ‘Better’ than others simply because I was smaller than they were.
Fat acceptance and Fat Activism doesn’t have a size cut off and if you’re limiting peoples involvement and ability to be heard you’re not being a fat activist at all. What you are doing is watering down the community and using your privilege to alienate and hurt others. If you are saying it is okay to be fat… ‘BUT!’ Than your creating another standard be it beauty or otherwise. There is no level in which someone cannot join the community and be body positive.
It isn’t good enough to wear your labels of ‘smaller fatty’ privilege and then attempt to speak for all fat people. We simply all do not have the same experiences and this differs between many inter-sectional groups. A size 16 Fat White Woman will not face the same roadblocks and lack or privilege that a size 26 Black Woman will face. The first step to being inclusive is actually recognizing that.
Definitely use your voice to connect and speak about your experiences but if you are someone who feels superiority over fat people who even fatter than you – STOP! You need to check your privilege, understand that by you feeling superior your buying into the absolute bullshit you’re fighting against! Your creating another hierarchy of good vs bad, of right vs wrong – you’re dividing a community that welcomes you with open arms.
If you’re someone who judges anyone on their bodies large or small you are simply aiding to your discomfort and the comparison monster present in your head. Your size and being is not superior in any way to anyone. Similarly if you act as though those people do not exist within the community you are stunting the amazing work and respect those people deserve.
There is a tendency to judge others that is human nature, but if you’re someone who is secretly gaining confidence, self love and feeling good by thinking you’re better than the Size 30 fatty who has diabetes and can not move easily. If you’re thinking yeah well at least I get dressed up, I run a fashion blog – I’m a beautiful fatty. You are still living within a mind frame, that makes you confined to following certain rules, engaging in internal or external body shaming and ultimately still not loving yourself or others unconditionally.
You are not better than anyone, neither am I. Our weights, our lipstick, our jobs and cars and sexual orientation does not make us better than anyone. Rating yourself by those things will never create more happiness. Comparing to anyone and gaining self esteem of your perceived ‘better-ness’ is a sick twisted cycle of self abuse that you may not even realise. You may think it is making you feel better, or feel happier but it isn’t. Hateful and toxic judgement even internally makes you less open, less approachable and ultimately someone who believes that certain people aren’t as worthy as you.
Comparing and creating a hierarchy within a group who is already judged, stereotyped and shamed does one thing. Places those who are dealing with extreme lack of privileged to feel even more isolated, miss-understood, forgotten and left out. You are playing the mean girl games that are present in nearly every teen movie. You are denying others to feel accepted. You are essentially saying ‘Society accept me’ but yeah don’t accept them. Your leaving those who like you are marginalized out in the cold.
Maybe you don’t do it out loud, maybe it is a side ways glance you give the bigger than you lady at the bus stop, maybe you don’t follow fatties you consider “Unhealthy”, maybe you internally judge and shame without uttering a word. Isn’t that what you feel the world does to you? Isn’t that what we are fighting against.
Be inclusive. Be understanding. Never stop listening, learning and understanding that involving others is essential to also feeling free from judgement yourself. Also don’t feel ashamed if you are still harboring judgement, it is brave and hard to combat the awful things our society has made us believe from a young age. You can change – if you want to. I have.
To the person fatter than I am, I am here, I am listening, I will do anything I can to help you.