To me, the crux of the “Fat Acceptance” movement is a core belief that hating yourself, and specifically hating your body, is a bad, bad thing. I see it more of a “Body Acceptance” movement, to be honest. All of us, fat, thin and everyone in between needs to be a little kinder to ourselves. None of us are doing ourselves, or anyone else any good by hating our own, or other people’s bodies.
We all know that body-hate is fashionable. Many of us in FA World also realise that body-hate is really damaging, and that it’s an epidemic sweeping our society that’s doing a heck of a lot more damage than the supposed “Obesity epidemic” the media is so fond of talking about.
Sometimes it seems as though this particular form of hate has become so acceptable it’s considered normal. So normal, in fact, that it seems it’s a suitable riff for a paid blogger on a national media site.
Case in Point: Alison Godfrey, and her recent rant on her blog “The Naughty Corner”. Her blog entry is entitled, “Third trimester pregnancy – what it’s really like.”
At the time of writing her entry Alison was 35 weeks pregnant, right in the home stretch of pregnancy. Unsurprisingly, she’s uncomfortable and cranky.
So cranky, in fact, that she didn’t have time to spell check her entry, let alone determine the difference between “your” and “you’re”, but we can forgive her these minor infractions. After all, she has a new life growing inside of her, and as any woman who’s ever been pregnant can tell you this is not only a wonderful, joyous time, but also an extremely uncomfortable time, physically.
In the third trimester, one would expect that morning sickness (who ever named it that, clearly never had it) would be well and truly over, thankfully. Unfortunately Alison seems to be choosing to continue to erupt with bile right through her pregnancy, and this vitriolic outpouring of hate directed at fat people is just as odious and unpleasant as anything that nausea-causing-hormones might make you produce.
Apparently it’s not the muscle-relaxing hormones flooding her system, causing every bone joint to loosen and ache that’s making her uncomfortable. It’s not the baby inside of her, dancing a tango on her bladder and digestive tract, altering her centre of balance and pushing her stomach acids upwards for heartburn and reflux fun that is the cause of her grief. It’s not the fact that she has a small person occupying some of the space where her lungs used to be that’s causing her to huff and puff if she exerts herself. It’s not the fact that her entire body is using all of its energy to GROW A WHOLE NEW HUMAN BEING INSIDE OF HER that’s making her feel utterly exhausted…
Oh no, it’s because she is “Fat”. And in her newly “Fat” state, she has gained an intimate understanding of what it is like for all people everywhere to be fat.
It would not take a genius, one would think, to realise that having a living, moving little person occupying your abdominal region is a vastly different physical experience to having fat deposits in various places all over your body. This simple fact seems to elude Alison. We’re treated to several paragraphs of how what she is experiencing must be in all ways similar to the living hell that any fat person must be residing in on a daily basis – in her dystopian fantasy world.
WHY would anyone choose this, she asks plaintively. Why indeed, Alison? Let’s ignore the irony that Alison perhaps chose to get pregnant and definitely chose to stay pregnant, wilfully and stubornly exposing herself to these various physical discomforts.
Why would anyone choose to be fat, when they are ridiculed, scorned, and when hating them is so accepted by society that something like this makes it to publication?
Perhaps, dear Alison, it’s because they don’t actually have a choice. Perhaps, and I know this sounds an utterly LUDICIOUS idea, but try to contemplate it for a moment.. perhaps they are accepting of the body they have, and not consumed with self-hatred. Perhaps, even.. they’re fat and healthy, and NOT experiencing symptoms day-to-day that are the same or similar as a woman in the third trimester of her pregnancy.
Some women experience the darkening of their skin when they are pregnant. This can be quite pronounced. Some women get what’s called a “mask of pregnancy”, and their skin gets all blotchy, with light and darker patches. Would it be acceptable for a woman who was experiencing this symptom to rant and rave on a national news site about how she had a new understanding of the lives of other darker-skinned people? “I’ve got a confession to make – having Cholasma faciei/melasma makes you intolerant of black people. I can’t find a makeup base to match my skintone, it’s terrible! Why would anyone choose to be dark-skinned, it’s just so hard, why don’t they do something about it?”
Would that have made it past the editors to publication? Would that induce anything but horror and rage and disbelief in all who read it?
It would have been completely, utterly unacceptable to publish – as this nasty piece of hatred should have been.
She admits in the first line of her entry that what she’s saying is blatantly discriminatory. In the same way that any sentence that needs to be begun with “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic, but…..” should not be uttered at all, let alone published, this collection of ill-informed hateful words should also never have made it past an editors desk.
Shame on you, News Ltd, and shame on you, Alison.