*Definition of MATTER,
1 a. a subject under consideration
Please note that the first entry in the dictionary does not relate to value, or importance.
We live in a country where we are told size matters in a value sense of the word. The problem with hearing lies day in and day out, your entire life? It’s hard not to buy into them. We begin to value small over big. We think that the body represents the mind, heart, and personality of the person within. This doesn’t just apply to physical size. It applies to all stereotypes.
“Oh, all _____ people are _____.” “Except So-and-So. They’re different. But they’re the only one.”
No they aren’t.
YOU are refusing to give up on your stereotype. YOU are refusing new information that doesn’t fit with your preconceived ideas about what it means for a person to be ______. YOU are the problem in this equation.
And when it comes to size, this goes in both directions. People who are bigger than you are not lazy. They are not stupid or worthless or unmotivated. Or whatever other inaccurate, negative, hurtful, and terribly misguided opinions you might hold. People who are smaller than you are not automatically happy. Their lives are not enriched by the smaller size of their bodies. They can’t eat whatever they want and not gain weight.
Not only are you selling that person short by judging them on their body, but you are hurting yourself. You are denying yourself the opportunity to connect to another person. A person who has the potential to change your world. Why take that risk?
Please remember that size is relative. You have no idea what a person’s story is until they are willing to share it with you. (but that’s a different subject for a different post).
I’ve had enough with body shaming and glorifying. If you are like me and don’t want to live in a fat-phobic world any longer, then don’t. Change your world. Change starts with you. You model new behavior, and you speak up when you see something violates your moral code.
If fat-phobia is the sun, in the sense that it is ever-present in our lives, often quite bright and easy to see… then what plays the role of the moon? Skinny-philia. (I know. It just doesn’t have the alliterative ring to it.) It’s always there…
This metaphor isn’t working. This would be so much easier if we lived on a planet with one bright sun and one not-so-bright sun. Then it would make more sense. Because fat-phobia would be the glaringly bright sun, the one you can’t help but notice. Skinny-philia would be a smaller sun, not nearly as bright, but constantly trailing in the wake of the giant fat-phobic sun.
So metaphors aren’t my thing. Obviously.
But to live in a world free of fat-phobia we also need to abolish the skinny-philia. We cannot judge a person’s value by their surface area and mass. Regardless of what those might be.
That means we don’t look at people with larger bodies than us with pity or disgust. That means we don’t look at people with smaller bodies than us with jealousy or lust in our eyes or hearts. We should all be focused on health. Our own health first. The health of others if they reach out to us for help. We do not have the right to decide if someone is too big or too small or just right.**
We don’t get to invalidate someone else’s feelings, experiences, and thoughts because of their size relative to our own.
**I am not talking about eating disorders. If you suspect a friend or relative might have an eating disorder, please help them. But please don’t ever accuse a stranger of having an eating disorder. Even if you only do it in your thoughts.