The media would have us fooled that being fat is the worst thing that you can ever be. Being fat is seen as one of the least desirable attributes in our culture, and growing up - I believed it. I would envy the girls at school for their slim figures and would have given anything to be the same as them. It didn't matter if they were an unkind or mean person, because being slim was the thing to be if you wanted to be successful, attractive and respected.
Watching Jes Baker's TED Talk "Change your world, not your body-the social impact of body love" reveals a frankly startling statistic - she says that young girls are more afraid of "getting fat" than they are of cancer, war, or losing their parents. Overall, 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat.
Shocking, right? More than that - I'm fucking dismayed that society has put so much pressure on young women (and men - I see you fellas), to be thin that they fear being fat more than the death of their parents. This society needs to change, and it needs to change now. There are things in the world that are much worse than being fat - here are some of them...
There are two types of ignorance - the ignorance that stems from a misunderstanding and a willingness to learn; and the ignorance that stems from a complete lack of humanity. The latter is undoubtedly worse than being fat, trust me. During my time involved in the body positive community, I have come across more people than I can count who choose to foist their opinions about my body on me. Concern trolls, health trolls, bullying, name calling - the list is endless. But why does this ignorance need to feed into my life? My fatness does not impinge on another's life, it does not overflow into their space and my voice does not need to be listened to if someone doesn't agree. Ignorance is worse than being fat because it suggests an unwillingness to educate oneself further; it means that someone isn't capable of extending their knowledge to include another's opinion - only their own. And frankly, that can be detrimental to many.
As many teenagers were, I was bullied when I was younger - and my god did that have an impact on my life and self-esteem. Growing up, there was rarely a time when I didn't question my mental well-being, all because a friend, family member or complete stranger had decided to make my life a living hell, all because of the way that I looked. I'm astonished that we live in a society that does little to combat bullying in schools, in the workplace, in our culture itself. Sitting idly by and watching bullying take place is as bad as condoning it, in my eyes. Bullying is worse than being fat. We don't want to hear your toxic comments about our fat bodies, we don't want to witness you making another's life difficult and we will stand up for ourselves.
These are just two things that I think are a whole lot worse than being fat but you could be: mean, arrogant, impolite, shallow, close-minded, hypocritical, dishonest, nasty, cynical, rude, callous, malicious, self-absorbed, inconsiderate, racist, sexist, homophobic, ageist, ableist, demeaning, selfish, heartless, a bully, judgemental, spiteful, aggressive, belligerent, immoral, manipulating, bigoted - and to me, these are a hell of a lot worse than being fat is. Unfortunately, many of these are characteristics that someone exhibits when trying to tear us and our fat bodies down - but until you can think of a better word to insult me with than "fat" - I'll carry on not being offended, thanks.
This article was originally published at www.franhayden.com