You know that moment when you recognize that you are watching a commercial for some sort of weight loss product, or that feeling of disappointment when you hear a Fat joke or some other message supporting the Fat Hatred that is a part of the world we live in.
It happens all the time. Everyday. Every hour. Every minute. On top of that, there seems to be a new crop of shows about very fat people trying to loose weight. Even Rachel Ray started her season introducing a young fat girl, a senior in high school, who agreed to accept the show's help with her weight (and the show's cameras to document her struggles) for a new feature that call "80 pounds by Prom" There is new clone of The Biggest Loser that follows two very fat folks try to make their "Lifestyle" change before the six months of free trainers, nutritionists, and medical observation all expire. These is a MTV type show called, "I used to be Fat" where fat high school seniors are given a summer of free personal training and some cooking advice so they can go off to college skinny and prepared to stay skinny for the rest of their lives.
You in the FA world know that feeling of disappointment as we see fatties being told they are going to die and early death, or never get married, or some other bullshit that we know isn't valid…. or helpful for that matter. I really like Jimmy Kimmel, and every time he goes for the fat joke, I am disappointed in him because he is so much smarter that the cheap fat joke.
How about the anger and rage. Like when a diet supplement TV commercial touts that a university's double blind study confirmed that it works, and actually 88% of all the weight lost was belly fat! oh joy.
The frustration when a cooking segment talks about how much weight you can loose by cooking the food in a better way.
The feeling of defeat when Michelle Obama says something about her program that we all know will translate into some fat kid getting more messages of how wrong they are to want to eat and how bad it is that they look the way they do. Children being supported in hating themselves with generous help provided by our government, paid for by cutting the food stamp program designed to keep people from starving.
Today's feeling was profound sadness courtesy of the MTVish show. The young girl featured who during the intro talks about how important getting married is and how she knows no one will want her in her disgusting state. She is so self hating about what she looks like. Then cut to the father talking about how her daughter dreams of getting married, but, sadly, guys want girls who are thin and pretty, and his daughter is going to have to work very hard to stop being fat and ugly and unloveable, and condemned to a life of profound loneliness. (I am embellishing, of course) Cut to another scene at the dinner table when Dad asks our Fat college bound young lady what kind of wedding she dreams of, his passive aggressive way to tell her to not eat so much.
I was so sad for a couple of hours thinking about the crimes against humanity that are perpetrated on fat children all the time. I was sad that a Father would let his daughter think she isn't pretty. I flash back to some of the hateful, abusive things my Father said to me when I was a young boy, things that I internalized and bought into as the Gospel. Things that I still struggle with. The biggest being my lovability.
My Fucking Lovability! Even today, although I know that it is all based on lies, I still battle with feelings about my worth, especially when it comes to being the subject of a woman's desire. How tragic that we teach folks that their lovability is in question. No one's lovability should every be questioned.
I have a fantasy. I meet a television producer who really understands what FA and HAES is about, and we do a six month intensive around HAES and Size Acceptance. Sort of like the show Heavy, but teaching all our participants the tenants of HAES and Size Acceptant and we show how all their relationships go through that common reaction to a decision to stop trying to loose weight. I think it could be compelling television.
When I stop fantasizing about producing tv shows and come back to center and I honor my feelings that came up when I watched a show on TV where I saw that Father make his approval of his daughter conditional on what she looks like. I honor the sadness and pain that live in all my cells as memories of sad times gone by.
I also honor myself by writing about this. I feel connected and valued as I think about folks on the feeds reading this and shaking their heads in agreement and recognition. I honor myself by recognizing that most of the world not only doesn't want to hear what we have to say, they actually think we are crazy and out of touch. I am honored to be connected into our little corner of the universe, our determined little sub culture, where we understand that Fat is not bad. It is just fat. Where we understand that we are not bad, we are awesome, courageous, trailblazers who boldly go forth knowing our value and taking care of ourselves.