So I belong to this online forum for women only (not Mumsnet, you all are lovely!), which is about 10% informative, 60% boring, and 30% car crash. I stick around for the information, and car crashes. Today’s first world problem was a woman who has younger colleagues that complain about getting older. She believes this is the height of rudeness. Mind you, they aren’t talking about her being older, they aren’t even talking *to* her, she is simply overhearing their conversation and getting upset. And of course, as it always seems to with women, the argument turned to weight, with much back and forth, resulting in what I can only say is the most jaw-dropping concept I have heard of in a long time: If a skinny person complains about gaining weight within ear shot of a fat person, the skinny person is rude, and has no right to call themselves fat or whatever when they aren’t, because it denigrates the fatty. At the same time, a fat person can (kind of sort of) raise themselves up by pulling skinny people down (ie, Big is Beautiful!, which intimates that not big is not beautiful), then that’s okay, because fat people don’t have privilege in society, so they can get away with it.
First off, if a skinny person is talking about how fat they are when they drank a full fat latte and I happen to be in ear shot, several things happen. Actually, one thing happens. No, wait, I meant to say nothing happens. Why? Because:
They are talking about themselves, not me,
Their body image is their own, and has nothing to do with my body image,
I do not co-opt someone else’s pain about their body, and
OMG who listens in on peoples’ conversations and then has the gall to get upset about it?
That’s Ridiculousness #1. Ridiculousness #2 is when I think that I can get away with being bitchy about a skinny person, and then hide behind some invisible shield of ‘But they are the privileged group, I’m just standing up for myself!’ bullshit. No, you’re just trying to get away with something, Mean Girls style. Cut it out.
Let me tell you a story: When I met my birthing group, they were all, pregnant, smaller than me when I was my regular weight. As they were complaining about puffing up and tight clothes, I could have thrown a strop and pointed out that they were still smaller than me, and were therefore inferring that I was super de duper gross if they were gross for having stretch marks and puffy ankles. But instead, I realized that behind everyone’s eyes (skinny, fat, black, white, gay, straight, etc), are their own battles, and are on their own journeys, and appreciated that they were struggling right now, and tried to be a supportive friend. Our kids are nearly two now, and all of them are back to their gorgeous size 2 selves, and I am my lovely size 22 self, and we just appreciate each other for who we are. And even if they ate a giant muffin and then complained about being sooooo fat, I honestly would not care, because THEIR BODY IMAGE ISSUES ARE NOT MINE. I HAVE ENOUGH OF MY OWN, I DO NOT NEED TO CO-OPT ANYONE ELSE’S BULLSHIT. As has been pointed out numerous times on this blog, my feelings and opinions about my body are my own. If you have so little to do that you have time in the day to be offended on my behalf, then I wish I had your leisure time, but I just don’t care. I also don’t care about other peoples’ journeys or thoughts on their own weight – it has nothing to do with me. You may be a size 2, and think you are fat. I don’t care. You may be a size 30, and think only Real Women Have Curves. Don’t care. Doesn’t concern me. And how others perceive themselves shouldn’t concern you personally, either. Just get the fuck on with your life.