2014, the year of the Social Justice Squad. Everyone, and I mean everyone who has ever been offended for who they truly are, are fighting back. With awareness, new terminology, off limit words, viral campaigns, privilege checks. Race, gender equality, LGTBQAA, religion, political etc., you can’t open your mouth anymore without offending someone. It’s a delicate balance, made even more delicate with the guilt you have for your unjust thoughts, previous words and future actions. Maybe changing our dialogue will change our view about how people self-identify. We’ve gone on long enough saying whatever we want to say without realizing how offensive it is. Also, there is a small demographic of people who love to pick fights – This is an excellent way to take away the validation for a real change.
I identify myself as an active participant in the new wave of gender equality. As a conservative socio-economically balanced equality among the genders. We cannot ask to have the exact same dis/advantages across the board. But, I think we are on a fantastic track. The movements that precedes us have given us basic human rights such as the ability to vote and hold jobs outside of the kitchen. Then climbing onto just pay and paved a path to un-objectifying our bodies. And now there is still a need for a better social justice balance.
For example: Encouraging women at a young age for STEM industry jobs, having paid maternity AND paternity leave, women in sports (hello MMA, power lifting and roller derby!) and most importantly, to be treated neutrally in public (sans harassment) as well as the way women treat other women, which is often times pretty awful.
I’ve shared my stories of street harassment time and time again. The leering, the touching, the rubbing, the grinding, the cat calls, the public masturbation, the fat calls etc. This is a gender equality issue because this does not happen to men as nearly as often as it happens to women. And honestly, the first part of seeking change is raising awareness. I have had amazing men in my life question my stories and are just simply shocked at the frequency and intensity in which street harassment happens. Second part of this awareness, is when all the other women finally come forward and share their stories of harassment (by opening up the lines of communication, women are able to talk about it in a safe space).
When women like myself, are groped, fat called, leered at or any other invasion of personal space and respect, THIS is where I have an issue. A harasser would think twice about grabbing the bum of a man on the train, why is that? Are women considered less human than males, therefore we are not allowed the same level of respect for people to keep their hands to themselves? Are women feelings less meaningful when they’re called a ‘fat slut’ on their way to work?
Ok, getting slightly off topic.
Fat Acceptance vs. Body Acceptance
They are two very different band wagons here that often get lumped into together. Fat acceptance is loving your or others larger bodies, finding it sexy and appealing and loving your life and everything that comes with it. (simplified definition)
Body acceptance is loving your body, whatever the size/shape may be and loving the ever changing facets of it. The understanding that you may not be able to achieve a higher standard of hot body. Not letting Photoshop be the standard for impressionable women and young ladies everywhere. I tend to wain on the latter.
Because bodies are bodies, man. I hate seeing supportive people of one group hating on another. Shaming skinny bodies, shaming tall bodies, shaming short bodies. Just, can we…can we just fucking stop? With all of this? Like…all of it.
Some of negative assumptions of these new fat acceptance movements is the backlash that are targeting men. Men cry out “but we’re not attracted to these body types!! You can’t make us love you!!!”
Noooo. I don’t think that’s what they’re trying to do. Kind of the opposite. Movement isn’t about changing YOUR lifestyle, it’s about accepting OURS. You go ahead and keep on love’n whatever floats your boat.
You know what, I’m gonna say it.
I’m gonna say the thing that so many women (and MEN) sometimes think about themselves. Sometimes, I just really fucking hate my body. Sometimes I know why, cause I just murdered some serious burgers, cupcakes and beer for the last month. Sometimes I hate that I can’t tan. Sometimes I hate how my hair is getting thin, hate how my knees look in shorts, hate my Grama arms. I hate how my body hurts when I dont want it to, hate how inflexible it’s becoming, I hate when my I eat something and out of nowhere it doesn’t agree with me. I hate that my boobs hurt all the time and how flat my feet are. And what’s worse, I hate it the most when I’m working on it the hardest…
Sometimes I hate it: When I’m running, when I’m doing Crossfit, when I’m bench pressing 100lbs, or after hours of taekwondo, when I’m giving it plenty of veggies and water, when I’m using sunblock, when I’m taking vitamins, when I’m at the doctors and he tells me my blood pressure and cholesterol are perfect. I hate when the vagina doctor has to stick stuff up my hoo-ha for check ups. I hate getting on that fucking scale. I hate looking at my lil chubby toes when I’m getting a pedicure. I hate getting naked in front of people and most of all, I hate walking by anything with a reflection.
Sometimes my hate is valid, but most of the time I’m being just crazy insecure for no good reason. Sometimes, I super duper love my body and I think it’s awesome and strong and sexy. But we all have that dark scary part in our brain. The ever comfortable self-loathing part. And no one likes to admit that they totally shame themselves. Shaaaaame. For SHAAAAAME. Even when you’re working on a healthier body sometimes you’re even harder on yourself!
Because I have not accepted that this IS my body. And neither has anyone else.
How do I know that no one else has?
Because they think it belongs to them. They think they can grab that big round ass in front of them. They think they can stare at me and call me ‘tree trunk legs’ as I walk by. They think they’re allowed to tell me to ‘come sit on my face, bitch!’. They think they’re allowed to call me a ‘fat c*nt’ as I walk by because I don’t accept their advances. You know why I don’t run outside anymore? Because some asshole saw me running from the car and yelled ‘run fatty run!’. It sucks that this one comment messed with me so much it completely made me limit myself from… OUTSIDE. Some people think they can just touch and treat my body as public property.
They think I don’t already think the worst things about my own body.
They think that my body…..does not belong to me.
And neither do I.
Why do we need a Body Acceptance?
So I can look in the fucking mirror for ONCE and appreciate the hard work I put into it.
It does not matter how many nutritious meals I eat, how many pounds I lose, how tan I get, how pretty my nails are, how many hours I work out, how often I stretch to prevent injuries, how many miles I log for the week, how much anti-aging firming lotion I use, how many different types of vitamins I take, how many health check-ups I have, how often I get my hair cut. It does not matter how well you take care of your body. It means shit if at the end of the day you still can’t stand what you’re working with.
THAT is what this is all about. Recognizing that your body as your own, you are free to treat it however you want. You can be fat, skinny, lumpy, firm, muscular – whatever. I believe in the healthy treatment of your body is the quickest way to acceptance. Work on the internal securities, so when you get the external insults you have a strong foundation to stand on and let it roll on off your back.
It’s not about forcing anyone else to love your body type, or to love the methods of how you treat your body.
What this whole ‘acceptance’ thing is: For others to accept that they don’t have a say in it. AND for the people (PEOPLE, not just women) to understand there will always be assholes and sometimes you just gotta grow a thicker skin and take back the control.
A lot less public harassment, a little more thick skin and I think we’ll be in good shape.
Get it? See what I did there….
TL;DR: Fat Acceptance is different from Body Acceptance. Don’t let people treat your bodies like a piece of public property. Take care of it and love it. And people are dicks.