A few days ago I came across this article on my social media about a girl who went from 100kg to 64kg with pure determination and that her story was bound to truly inspire the reader. (I choose not to share the article here)
Curious to know what the story was, I read through the article and then found the girl’s social media pages with her personal comments and responses. My mind was already processing the story, the circumstances and coming to my personal thoughts on it (that I share here) – and, needless to say, I did not exercise my privileged right and power to hit the Like button.
The report began with this:
And I disagree – because it is not a given, it is not a free-ticket, and it is not true for everyone.
I agree that fat shaming is a global, social epidemic. It exists and yes, we experience the effects of it – from clothing to ridicule or even the assumption that being overweight equals to being less active or mentally & intellectually slower that your lighter counterparts. Yes, that list exists and there is a movement happening around for it… and that is not the reason for this post.
Here was my observation:
For all the inspiration that this article was supposed to generate, the journalist, the commentators and most importantly, the inspiring girl herself, in my opinion, failed miserably by adding salt to the injury of those who are still being fat shamed. The story was an blaring indication that she not only succumbed to the fat shaming, but, in fact, still continues to fat shame herself. Her motivation to lose weight because fat was ugly, shameful and needed to be taken off was a slap on the face of those she was supposedly speaking up for.
So what is fat shaming after all?
Here is the Google dictionary quick ref:
To lose weight / shed a few pounds / trim up – these are terms everyone hears. I guess there is a place and reason for those discussions especially where the health and well-being of the individual is concerned. These discussions are serious, however, and are meant to be taken in a professional context discussing the repercussions of poor lifestyle choices.
Fat-shaming, or body shaming, is different. It is not a professional approach, but a categorical discrimination and social or psychological torment of an individual based on their weight or size… based on someone else’s misguided or misinterpreted purchase of a social stereotype of what a right body shape or size ought to be.
Body shaming is never in anyone’s best interests – it is a prejudiced, slighted perception intended to humiliate and denigrate another human being.
But… yes, there’s always a BUT…
But… if we notice, in these ideas, the definition is always one of finger pointing towards the perpetrators. We are all pointing fingers at the shamers for passing nasty comments and designing clothes with sizes that begin in XXS and end at M because they feel that XL is not even a body type!
But hey!!! What about the fat-shaming that some of these victims are subjecting themselves to!?
This motivating drive of this inspiring weight loss champion was the ‘appreciation and support of her friends and family about her weight loss’ and ‘fitting into smaller size clothes, which she always wanted to, and now she does’.
Technically, I should rest my case – but no, I have some more thoughts on this entire ‘shame the shamer’ nonsense.
At the end of the day, who is conforming to the social stereotypes? Not just the shamers but these victims too, who feel that they are inadequate because of their weight, shape or size. And when they achieve their self-obsessed weight loss, they join the bandwagon and body-shame too?
Is it only about the clothes that we want to wear? I agree that the fashion industry is still largely walking the pre-dated ramp, but we have more than enough bespoke designers, and I personally know some really good ones, who create fabulous designs and prêt-à-porter for the body you are in. (Message me, I’ll connect you!)
So it isn’t about fashion!
So what is it about then?
Health? Ok.. let’s talk about health for a mo…
Is it really about health?
In other words, health is a state of well and happy body and mind. Good health is not necessarily not being skinny or not being heavy. Yes, biophysics and science indicate that weight plays a big role in the effort taken and toll on the body systems, but hey! I’ve been a big, curvy girl for most of my life and I still do a helluva lot of stuff and have the brains to justify my work!! (I’ve registered for the Pinkathon next month and I teach yoga .. to yoga teachers, for crying out loud!)
So what now? Does health refer to longevity? And does longevity really equal to a predefined number, or could it just be a predestined time? If we are uncertain of that fact, maybe we should just concentrate on being healthy for the sake of a joyous and balanced life – complete with the ability and accessibility to do the things we love and enjoy – with happy relationships with the persons we love and harmony in the social circles we exist in.
Wouldn’t good health mean a healthy respect for our bodies and treating them with care, respect and nurturing, providing it with good food, fresh air and movement? But no, our proposed role model goes on on to hashtag a delete carbs promotion too, so now apart from insult to injury, there’s a crazy fad diet involved.
I am upset at the misrepresentation. I am upset because we are now given a story that is asking us to make choices that are downright obsessive in nature. Spending the entire day (morning, noon and evening) walking and running to keep any stray fat away is scary. I was impressed, though, that she chose to run – but in her words, she chose to run away from all the negativity surrounding her and ended up on the road to transformation.
The transformation that would force the people around her to finally… accept her.
So there you have it – what it all boils down to … acceptance… Body acceptance.
But… here’s the catch, does she accept her body as it is even in this shape and size? I don’t know. I hope she does, eventually, because her words are still echoing the loud whispers of lack of it. And the people she has inspired and all rowing the same boat – the conformation to what they should look like and be like or feel like based on what media or social stereotypes define.
Here’s my final point, if you’re taking a call to action for specific health goals – and if weight loss or gain plays a significant role in that goal – and when you approach that goal with a balanced plan that includes your body, mind, emotions and spirit, all being happy, I believe that you can and are entitled to lasting change and a healthy quality of life.
Minus the ‘obsession‘
But if, for whatever reason and as a backlash from the fad diet and crazy weight loss regime you choose to endure, you find back the weight that you lost (you get it right? to lose it and then find it?)… if you go all mental over it, then seriously… wtf?!
Hello!! People of the media!! There is enough and more of inspiration, healthy inspiration, out there that the world can do with – inspiration from skinny, toned, overweight as well as not-bothered-about-weight-at-all individuals. People making a real difference. STOP making heroes out of people who actually need HELP in making better lifestyle choices. STOP setting unhealthy and ridiculous benchmarks and trends that our youth, children and lesser informed audience may make. It is a responsibility we all share!
That’s it… rant complete (for today)…
Disclaimer: These are my personal thoughts and opinions.