Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fat Rant and Other Musings

Blog-surfing today brought me to this.

And then I found this.

I've spent the last few hours clicking links, reading blog posts and watching YouTube videos, and while most people seem to understand and agree with Ms. Nash, I've noticed that some people simply don't get the point.

She isn't saying "let's all go out and get fat." She certainly isn't saying "when I was a little girl, I wanted to be fat when I grew up."

What she is saying is this: "Be happy with who you are, even if you happen to be fat." She's saying: "Look at me. I'm a woman, I'm an actress, I'm somebody's daughter, somebody's friend... and I'm fat. And that's okay."

She's saying that being fat doesn't make someone less of a person because of that fat. She's saying that a person's total worth does NOT lie in the number on the scale or the size label on their clothes. She's saying you can be beautiful and not be a size 0.

She isn't saying that people should just give up on their bodies and let themselves get as fat as they want.

But she is saying that if you eat healthily and exercise, and you're still fat... you shouldn't feel ashamed. You shouldn't hate yourself simply because you're fat. You're still okay, even if you happen to be fat.

This is a lesson that is needed so very badly in this day and age. Mainly to females - women and girls - but let's not forget the men who need to hear it as well.

We are inundated with images of anorexic, unhealthy shells of people and are told that this is the only way to be beautiful. I hear men - of every age, race, and creed - saying that they actually think that being a size 0 is disgusting. "I prefer some meat on the bones," is a common phrase that I've heard. Just look at Chico. He's a young, slim, good-looking man -- and even HE can look around him and see what's WRONG with this idea of women starving themselves to be a size 0. "Size 0's gotta go... give me Marilyn Monroe... Little bit of J-Lo..." He's not only saying that thin definitely ISN'T in for him, but he's giving us some beautiful, REAL sized women to admire.

For those of you who don't know who Chico is, let me give you a little
run-down on him. He was on a show out here in the UK called The X-Factor - kind of like a Pop Idol (which is where American Idol came from) for everyone (Pop/American idol is for young people only, whereas the X-Factor will take you even if you're in your 80's [and I've seen more than one older person audition for the show myself]). He got through to the actual show, but he was voted off mid-run. However, he still managed to get himself a single.

For this particular song, though, he's put his life on the line, so to speak. He's mortgaged his house in order to pay for it all himself. I read an article in a magazine recently (in the last week or two) where he's spoken about this song and what it meant to him.

In the article, he described how he was walking past a school and overheard
some young girls (he didn't say how old they were, but I'm assuming they were
under 10) talking; one was saying that she wanted to be a size 0 when she grew
up. He said something like "I have a neice the same age as this girl... the last thing she should be thinking about is what dress size she is." (I'm writing this all from memory, so no, that isn't an exact quote, but it's the general idea.) That's what gave him the inspiration to write the song.

And this isn't just somebody trying to jump on a band-wagon. He has a young (I forget exactly how young, but under 2) daughter, and his girlfriend (mother of said child) is a size 16. That's an 18 to all you Americans. He practices what he preaches.

Further browsing led me to some articles like this. I, for one, know exactly what it's like to suffer "fat hatred." I suffered through it throughout my childhood - even from some of my own family. Whether they meant it to be HATRED, I don't know. But looking back on it, that's exactly what it was. Hearing "you're too fat," and "nobody's going to love you if you're too fat" did absolutely NOTHING for my self-esteem. Wait. Scratch that. It DID do something for my self-esteem. It destroyed it.

The ironic part? I wasn't really FAT. Was I overweight? Yes. (I was what I think would be a size 12 now.) But overweight does not automatically equal FAT. Am I fat now? Yes. Why? Many reasons, but I honestly think the biggest causation of all was having children. Until very recently, I was actually smaller than I was when I graduated high school, and yet I was 4 sizes larger than I was in high school.

But the fat hatred definitely contributed to my depression, and it most certainly contributed to the 7 suicide attempts I made - all BEFORE the age of 15. I hated myself. Why? Because I was "fat." (Even though I wasn't.)

I wish I could get to the point where I could say what Ms. Nash says and truly believe it. And while I know I should believe it, I have to be honest and say that I don't. It's been drummed into my head from so many directions that I'm fat and ugly, therefore I'm worth less as a person. I can't just switch it off. I do hope that one day I can get to that point, but I'm not there now.

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