I recently watched a video (posted below) hosted by JCPenney empowering plus-sized women to feel proud of their bodies, no matter what size they are. As a woman who has spent her whole life struggling with her weight, I felt a gamut of emotions while watching the three-minute video: I felt heard, I felt strong, I felt confident, and for once in my life, I felt like I wasn’t alone. For a simple video, it really had a positive effect on my self-image.
Plus-sized women like myself have struggled between two worlds. The world where we are self-confident because we’re smart, we’re funny, we’re educated, we’re strong, we’re ambitious, we’re successful, between the world where we’re less, we’re shamed, we’re hiding, we’re avoiding, we’re ugly, we’re always wishing to look like someone else. Being fat feels like the last physical trait that has not gone through a movement of acceptance, and watching that film made me believe, and made me proud, that I would be alive for this movement.
And then I started reading the YouTube comments. Wow. The hatred of fat people is disguised as “they’re just not healthy.” This is such an invalid fact! I am fat, and I do not have diabetes, my blood pressure/cholesterol/triglycerides are all perfect, but thank you for showing concern by asking for my medical records. I felt sadness, but then mostly just rage. Why is it so easy for everyone to accept other differences and maladies, but fatness – no, we’re just disgusting.
The problem is the culture we live in. It seems like people are so quick to judge fatness, and in particular, fat women, because they believe we lack self-control, we’re weak. Maybe we are, but maybe we aren’t. I won’t make excuses like slow metabolism or genetics – I like food. I also like making soap, playing with dogs, teaching, writing, and playing volleyball. All of these are parts of who I am. Do you define everyone by just one part? Would it be fair for me to assume someone who went to college, but didn’t pursue two master’s degrees like I did must be weak, they must lack self-control? Of course it wouldn’t be. It would be ridiculous. To assume someone is anything less because they are different is simply ignorant.
In this world, where division and hatred are seeming to brim over, we must be part of every revolution that empowers good people. It’s time to start loving ourselves for who we are, right here and right now. It’s time to start seeing people for all of their beautiful parts because a puzzle isn’t solved until all of the pieces are together.
So, I say #hereiam, to all of the beautiful women in the world, and that is each and every one of you. Because you’re thin, you’re fat; you’re mothers, or you’re not; you’re lawyers, teachers, retail workers, stay-at-home parents, entrepreneurs, law enforcement; you’re marathon runners, you’re marathon couponers; you are everything, and that is beautiful.