It does suck sometimes. But these are just some of the reasons I loves being a feminist.
“Basically, I take everything I’ve ever been told I can’t or shouldn’t do, and do it anyway.”
Lately I feel like I’ve been explaining my blog to people a lot. The first few times I stumbled through some wittering rubbish that probably put them right off. Because words out loud are difficult.
But then I polished it up a bit to get the sentence at the start of this post. I think it sums it up pretty well.
People’s responses have ranged from “cool!” to “um…okay.” to “What, even ‘don’t put a knife in a plug socket’?”. But last week I got a really interesting and thought-provoking response:
“Have you ever regretted the things you’ve done?”
Well. If we’re talking about life in general then heck yes. Regrets ahoy over here. Like you wouldn’t believe.
But do I regret anything I’ve done for this blog?
Not even a little bit.
Don’t get me wrong, there have definitely been some uncomfortable moments (did someone say crop top?) along the way. But that’s actually good; being uncomfortable forces me to grow.
I don’t even regret the responses I’ve had from people. There have been rants. They’ve told me they found my posts intimidating. There was one guy who greeted me by repeating the word ‘fatty’ over and over, getting more aggressive with each repetition, and ending by calling me a ‘f*ing stupid girl’.
I do not regret this. In fact, it makes me want to do even more. There’s nothing like an extreme reaction to reinforce that what you’re doing actually matters. The fact that someone would shout and swear at me simply for calling myself fat, proves that there’s a whoooooole lot of work to be done. I’m looking forward to helping with that work!
And that right there is the real reason I don’t regret any of this; it has completely changed me.
Even if the me I used to be ever said anything to invoke such a reaction, she would have taken the anger personally and run off to cry in a corner, vowing never to even think of that topic again.
But I never would have said anything. My confidence and self-worth were based so entirely on what other people thought of me, that I tried never to say or do anything that could possibly get a negative reaction.
Really, it’s no way to live. Hating my body and everything about it because it didn’t fit into the widely-held belief of what a ‘perfect body’ was, trying to feel better about it by waiting for other people to say nice things about it, or putting it down in the hope that they would argue and say how wonderful I was. But ultimately being disappointed because everyone else is too busy with their own issues to soothe me like a nazzy child. And even if they did say something nice back to me, somehow all I remembered was my nasty comments, not their lovely arguments.
Compare that to last night:
Walking home after choir, my hair had frizzed up in the rain and the wind kept blowing stray bits of it into my face. But instead of thinking “WHY WON’T YOU BE PERFECT, HAIR??” I thought how lovely and soft it felt against my skin.
I was wearing a dress that used to be too big for me. I didn’t beat myself up or call myself names for gaining so much weight; I know now that weight has absolutely nothing to do with my worth. Whether I’m a size 6, 16, or 26, I am glorious.
In that moment I felt like I was actually floating on a cloud of body positivity. I could have done absolutely anything.
I regret nothing, except the fact that it took me 27 years to realise just how fabulous I am.
“People are allowed to believe whatever they want about manipulating body size. People are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies, including attempting to manipulate their bodies to look a certain way for whatever reason they want. What’s not ok is anyone who suggests that the choice to try to lose weight, or any success someone might have makes those people or their bodies, better than people who make difference choices or get different results. What’s not ok is people who suggest that anyone who doesn’t pursue thinness is wrong, inferior, or “making excuses.”
What’s wrong is telling fat people that we should think of ourselves as thin people covered in fat, a before picture, a perpetual potential future thin person, anything but a fully realized authentic person. I’m not a thin person covered in fat, just like I’m not a blonde covered in brown, or straight-haired person covered in curls, or a green eyed person covered in hazel, or clinically under-tall – I’m a brunette, curly-haired, hazel-eyed, short, fat woman, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
A million times yes. Ragen nails it again.
This picture has been making the rounds on Facebook again (thanks Natasha for bringing it to my attention!) It’s an extra-disturbing iteration of the idea that there is a thin person inside every fat person. In this case it used to advertise someone’s fitness/weight loss business with the quote “Your TRUE potential is hidden deep within. It takes a lot of hard work and diligence to sculpt a masterpiece. But once you unmask it, it will last forever…” There are a number of ways in which this is super disturbing (I’ve intentionally made the image small, you can click to enlarge it or just skip over it.)
First, any fitness professional who suggests that they can guarantee you a body of a certain size, or a body that looks a certain way is straight up lying to you. Body size, type, musculature, and even athletic potential are all complicated things, multifaceted, and not entirely…
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