Sunday, August 5th, 2012
Cross Post- I also posted this to fiercefatties.com. I just really felt the need to rant about it to more people! I’m tired of being told to go workout, but only in what we, the bigots, pre approve and even then you’re probably not safe. If I walk down the road and get cans thrown at me in a T shirt and long pants, then why the hell not give ‘em something to really look at and sport a hot pink sports bra while I’m at it?
As Ragen Chastain writes in her new book, Fat The Owner’s Manual,
If you don’t work out, we will complain that you are sedentary. If you do work out, we will make fun of you for how you look working out. Now, go out there and exercise because it’s good for your health!
This is a point which she reiterates often, in fact, and for good reason. Fatties just can’t win. If you don’t work out, you get treated like shit for it, but if you do, someone help you, you’re an eyesore to the world. Fatties experience stigma and abuse both verbal and physical and that’s not even mentioning the non verbal stigma such as sideways glances, looks of disgust, or man handling. I’ve been circulating some photos of me at my gym, working out. I’ve posted them and had requests to post them in several places, especially the body positive spaces on reddit.com. Here’s a sample:
You know what the number one comment I get on these photos is? Something along the lines of “My God, why would you wear that?! No one wants to see that!”. Pardon me, but I’ve never actually had a complaint. This may be because I work out at a women’s only gym or that most people are too busy with their own workouts to notice what I’m wearing. People don’t avert their eyes or avoid looking at me, but even if they did, guess who’s problem that is? That’s right- not mine! I’m entitled to wear anything I damn well feel like wearing including a sports bra which, I’ll remind people, I see thin people working out in all of the time.
I’ve even gotten these comments from supposedly body positive people. That I should dress to flatter my body- I’m sorry, I thought I was dressing to workout, not compete in a fashion show. Now, I dressed specifically in this top because it would be going on my body and fat positive blog. It’s only one thing that I wear- my collection also includes several T shirts and stretchy black shirts that I enjoy wearing. This bright pink top makes me feel confident and energetic- just what you need for a work out! There are lots of reasons for me to wear something.. but none of them are to please anyone but myself. If you don’t like what I’m wearing, look somewhere else. If you have to look where I happen to be standing, get the hell over it, I don’t exist to beautify your world, I exist to enhance my own.
If you want to see the full set of photos visit my blog.
Monday, October 5th, 2009
Being a fat acceptance blogger doesn’t mean you won’t feel down sometimes. It doesn’t mean you will come across things that make you question what you believe. It doesn’t mean you can brush off all the hurtful words as ignorance. But that’s OK.
So over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling a bit anxious here and there when a few medical symptoms have come on. Also during the last few weeks, I’ve been really into myself about being fat yet again. I’ve equated fat as being bad and that to be healthy I need to not be fat. That doesn’t sound very fat accepting, and it isn’t. However I went there and I’m happy to admit to my flaws.
I’m fairly new to the fat acceptance concept compared to some of the other bloggers on AoF (like my wife) and so I still sometimes struggle with the idea. I still have thoughts of “well it’s not healthy to be fat, that’s why I’m sick” or “I feel so tired – if only I wasn’t so fat!” What is important to remember is that even the best of us at some stage can go back to old, more familiar habits without realising it.
When I think more clearly, the issue is clearly a health one. If I exercised more, I would be healthier. If I ate better (fresher foods; foods that don’t upset my reflux; smaller portions which is also important for reflux) then I would be healthier too. Doing these things would help me to be healthy.
“So?”, you say. That’s a weight loss program.
Yes, it is. But what if I lost no weight? You can eat the perfect diet, and do the perfect amount of exercise and still be fat and healthy. What’s so wrong with that? If I have a general level of fitness and a generally good, nutritious diet, then so what?
Weight loss isn’t the goal. Healthiness is the goal. If I aim for health and achieve it, it doesn’t matter if I’m fat or not. What matters is that you accept me no matter what shape I am, or what level of health I have.
To me, that’s fat acceptance as I understand it.
Disagree? Talk to me.
Monday, September 21st, 2009
In my moments of drifting off to sleep, I like to imagine that I’m running. I run all over my neighbourhood, up the hills and through the streets without regard for any body looking at me. In my reality, I am faced with many Australians who not only wish ill on me, simply because I’m fat, but wish not to see me. On nights like tonight my imaginings turn to anxiety and I am kept awake with panic, so I’m turning to blogging to express a few things on this particular topic. Hear my rage internet, indeed!
Any online news story on fat issues, or the “OMGbesity crisis” (thanks Fat Nutritionist for that one) will have a herd of representatives from the hive mind piling crap on fat people. “What about your health?” “What about my health care premiums?!!” “TRY A DIET, FATTY!” (As if we HAVEN’T!) This abuse extends beyond the URL into the IRL – many of my fat friends have experienced abuse hurled at them from automobiles while they are literally treading the footpath. Uh, hello… is there a supplement for irony deficiency?
Right now, the issue of exercise is something I’m battling with. I can’t afford a gym membership (nor am I sure I want one), home exercise equipment is too bulky for my unit, but worst of all I’m developing a severe phobia of exercising outside by myself. If I’m honest with myself, I can admit that I have never been abused while out exercising. I’ve had beeps and yells of appreciation (at least, that’s what my self esteem registered them as!) but I’ve never experienced the horrid displays of abuse that some of my friends have experienced. Yet… I fear them.
When I was trialling the services of a personal trainer (something I don’t have access to any more, much to my sadness) I felt like it was totally ok for me to be running in public. Because someone was there instructing me, someone I trusted to back me up if I did encounter that special brand of arsehole who doesn’t want people to focus on themselves and their fitness. Now and then when my husband and I can match up schedules we’ll go out together and have a clandestine run… through patches of footpath that are heavily shaded from view of the very busy main road.
But wait – that isn’t fair. It’s not fair that, in the act of doing something perfectly normal and healthy, I feel I have to shield myself from public view. It’s not fair that I’m afraid of exercising for fear of abuse. It’s not fair that making fun of fatties is acceptable, and it’s completely screwed up that people feel they are justified in making fun of a fat person when they are exercising.
Beth Ditto is on the cover of Italian Rolling Stone this month, licking her toes in a pose that requires an incredible amount of flexibility. Regardless, the Perez Hilton post is full of half-wits bleating on about how fat people are disgusting (as well as how unladylike the pose is – which is ANOTHER rant for me!) If you are honestly offended by someone exercising, stretching or using their body in any matter of ways – please GTFO off my planet. What kind of sensitive snowflake are you that you feel another person’s body should modify itself to fit your worldview?
I want to reclaim my world, my body and my health. I want to trot down the main street wearing skins (i.e: tights) and not give a shit. I know my body can do amazing things, but somehow… sometimes… I feel the world doesn’t want to see me doing them. And that’s really unfair and harmful to my mental and physical wellbeing.
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
Health is something that I take to be very important. I am happy with being fat as long as I know I am healthy. Just like skinny Joe will want to go walking or running to improve his fitness, I have these wants too. Wanting to be fit and healthy isn’t a fat man’s problem, it’s a human problem. So why am I telling you this? Because I want to admit right now that I’m not very fit and therefore probably not as healthy as I could be.
“Woah, Nick! But you all for fat acceptance! You CAN’T say that‽” Of course I can.
My acceptance of my fatness has nothing to do with my acceptance of being fit and healthy, or my realisation that I’m not. They are not linked like the tides and the moon, or whatever metaphor you would like to go with. I can be fat and not be happy with my fitness. I don’t want to you misunderstand though and think I’m wanting to lose weight.
Exercise is important to me, even if I don’t make enough time or effort at the moment. I’m not motivated by weight loss, but by the wish to live a happy and healthy life. I’m thinking that I’ll end up losing a kilo or two while I walk my way to fitness. I’ll also gain cardiovascular fitness, stronger bones and muscles, better stamina and energy levels and a whole lot of other positive benefits.
Last night I read this short article about back pain and core strength. I thought the idea of strengthening my core muscles by sitting on an exercise ball was an interesting concept. So while on my computer last night and while watching Le Tour de France (One day I’m going to do some long distance cycling) I sat on the ball. I didn’t feel too much pain and it wasn’t uncomfortable. I couldn’t lay back and relax, but then I don’t really need to.
I noticed the difference this morning though. Slight tinges of “oh, you worked me out you bastard” were being felt in the back and side region as I wandered around first thing this morning.
Regardless of how much exercise (fun, incidental or otherwise) I do I’ll still be fat, but I’ll be healthy too. That’s my goal, not some unobtainable weight as listed in the Weight Watchers Guide to Self-Flagellation. Starting with my core strength seems like an easy one, and will kill off one of my real fun killers – my back pain and weakness.