While watching a national news program this morning I saw an interview with a self-proclaimed “fat activist”. Let me start by saying that this women was well-spoken, articulate and obviously passionate about her cause. Her comments however, drove me so crazy I sat down and immediately wrote this post. As I try to be respectful of most people’s opinions and I try to keep this blog update and helpful, this doesn’t happen very often.
If I am going to be critical (and I try not to be critical often) I also try to be fair and understand where the person is coming from. With that in mind I went to her blog to check out what she had to say as I am well aware that media can twist things to their own agenda. The problem was her blog had only a handful of posts since this year. I then went to her Twitter and Tumblr pages because that’s where she stated she posts regularly. I still didn’t see her agenda. I saw nothing useful or helpful on any of those pages. Oh, except maybe her answer to a question about how to stop the itch when you shave “down there”. I honestly don’t understand how she is becoming a national fat activist when I can’t see her doing anything except getting up there and spouting propaganda. Isn’t an activist suppose to elicit change by action?
This is my main problem. She spoke about how fat people were more likely to be poor. Fat people were more likely to not find work. Fat people were treated unfairly. Fat people weren’t allowed to be fat. Fat people aren’t allowed to be successful. Other people are mean to fat people. Wah, wah, wah. Let me tell you something. I’m a fat white, somewhat successful female with an awesome (and hot) husband, fantastic kids, a great job and friends who care about me.
My weight does not determine who I am. My weight does not define me or stop me from doing what I want to do in life. My success and my failures are a result of what I put into them. I have been successful at work because I care about doing the right thing for my employer and I work my hinder off trying to make them successful. I have a fantastic relationship with my husband because we BOTH work hard at it, marriage isn’t easy it’s about give and take (and yes, my husband is in awesome shape and is hot, he loves me even though I’m fat). I have amazing friends because I’m (at least I like to think I am) an amazing friend.
I believe that poverty is an issue here in the United States and I’m not trying to downplay that here. I also believe that one of America’s fundamental problem is no one wants to take personal responsibility for their personal situation. It’s so much easier to say I’m poor because I’m not given a chance and I’m fat. That’s quite possible, there are a lot of good people who haven’t been given a chance. It’s also quite possible that you’re poor because you don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices to elevate yourself from that situation. That means working hard (and I mean actually working, not screwing around at a place that gives you money) and being away from your kids at a job you may not like. Live within your means. If you can’t afford to put food on your table you may not be able to afford a data plan on your cell phone and it may mean giving up cigarettes and beer. It’s called sacrifice and it’s what millions of people (rich and poor alike) are doing every day.
Didn’t get the job you wanted because your fat? Unless it was at Hooter’s or another place where image comes into play, maybe you didn’t get it because someone more qualified did. Maybe even though you’re incredibly qualified you interview terrible. Are you engaging and articulate or do you have a chip on your shoulder, mumble and don’t meet the interviewers eye? There may be a thousand reasons you didn’t get the job, being fat is just one possibility.
Some person who you don’t know or care about made a comment that makes you feel bad? Who gives a shit? If you don’t know or care about them why would you care what they say? Toughen up and stop being so sensitive. I can honestly say that if someone ever had the balls to say something to my face about my weight or any other inappropriate topic I would laugh and ask what they bring to the party. Because guess what. People who feel the need to make other people feel bad most likely feel bad about themselves. That’s the age old bully trick. making yourself feel better by making fun of other people.
By the way, while we do have the right to be fat and not be ridiculed, being fat is NOT healthy. Even though I may be genetically predisposed to high blood pressure, my life style certainly doesn’t help it. I know that eating healthy and exercising may allow me to go off my medication, I just don’t do it. My addiction to McDonald’s certainly doesn’t make me feel good. I know I feel better when I eat a healthy diet and do some exercise, I just have 1,000 reasons why I don’t. The top two, I like Sweet Tea (a lot) and I hate exercise. People who exercise and eat healthy aren’t always thin (genetics does play a role in how we store fat), but they are taking better care of themselves.
Weight issues (both thin and fat) can be caused by how we respond to a whole range of childhood/adult issues, they may be the case of good/bad genetics or they may just be about good/bad self control. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to fixing the problem here in the United States.
To close my tirade, I have a few comments I want to highlight.
- No one, and I mean no one, has the right to criticize or bully another person because of their weight, gender, disability, etc
- You deserve to be treat with respect from your loved ones, friends, peers and strangers. DO NOT let anyone make you feel bad about yourself. DEMAND respect. Be respectful. By the way, demanding respecting isn’t about getting up in someone’s face or posting on Facebook how crappy your family is.
- If you feel bad about yourself, do something! You have the power to change your life. If you’re poor take a financial class, maybe you aren’t handling your limited income as well as you could be. If you aren’t getting a job ask someone you trust (and will be truthful to you) to help you improve your interviewing skills. Don’t feel like you have a good education? Start taking some classes. I’m going to say it again. YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
- If you want to be an activist, lead the change. Do something about it don’t just talk about it. If being fat is causing self-esteem issues, find ways to improve self-esteem in women. If domestic abuse is an issue close to your heart, volunteer at a shelter. Stop talking the talking and start walking the walk.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. I’m a big girl (ha ha – pun intended) and can take respectful, well-thought out criticism and differing points of view without getting my panties all in a twist. What I won’t tolerate or post is hateful comments directed at anyone, either for or against my point of view.