Tag Archives: 2012 Olympics

Reducing A World Title to a Hairdo

I’d like to talk today about another way that obsession with thinness reduces us.  I wasn’t always a person who spoke out on behalf of HAES(R) and Size Acceptance.  For many years, I hated my body.  I was miserable because of my body.  And I put my life on hold waiting to be pretty enough and thin enough to be ready to begin my life.

This went on for years.

There were years and years where I wasn’t living to my full potential, because I didn’t think it was possible for a woman of size.  Day after day, I didn’t dare to try challenging things or exciting things because I thought they were impossible to achieve unless I was thin.  Month after month, I let opportunities pass me by–waiting to be acceptable.

And all during this time I was spending thousands upon thousands of dollars and thousands upon thousands of hours focused on losing weight and recovering from the inevitable (at least for me) weight gain.

I love my life now, but I honestly wonder where I might of been had I not lost nearly two decades obsessed with losing weight.  And I am one of the incredibly lucky ones.  I have a genuinely wonderful supportive family.  I have an amazing spouse.  I have a survival instinct that has always fought against this desire to make me smaller–to make me less than.

But I wonder about the millions of us that are right now not achieving, not winning not being in a world where Gabby Douglas can win the most prestigious gymnastics award in the entire world, and face a huge argument about her hairstyle.  I mean really?  Gabby beat out countless thousands of gymnasts around the country, achieving an unbelievable level of perfection in a merciless sport where skill is measured in thousandths of a point, and you want to talk about her hair?  What is going on here?

Is Gabby threatening the idea of what a gymnast should look like?  Is she redefining a visual standard of success?  You’d better believe it!  And you’d better believe that a whole lot of people are threatened by it.  And you shouldn’t be surprised when that threat manifests itself in terms of people finding any excuse to put her down.

You have to wonder, is obsession with thinness a tool used by those who must compete with us?  Those who see our talent and our power and are afraid?  Those who will do anything to put us down and make themselves seem better, sexier and more powerful?  Those who will cut down the herd of competitors by any means necessary?

My dear chicklettes.  You can choose, right now, to throw off your shackles.  You can choose to love yourself and accept yourself.  You can refuse to gain ascendancy on the backs of other women.  You can choose to empower and strengthen your fellow women and succeed together.  You can live your absolute best life, right now.  Right this very second.  I’ll be in the stands, waving a flag, jumping up and down and cheering.


The Fat Chick

Thursday Theater: Nike Ad Featuring Fit Fatty Runs During 2012 Olympics

I have to admit that I was pretty excited to see this Nike ad pop up during the Olympics.  When the jogger trotted into view I held my breath waiting for them to say something nasty.  After watching all those perfect bodies in spandex, this kid was a breath of fresh air.  And I have to say, that for the most part I think Nike got it right.

To me, this kid embodies the awesome spirit of the joy of fitness that I try to share on The Fat Chick website.  He embodies the nearly 1,000 Fathletes featured in the Fit Fatties Forum which I host with the amazing Ragen Chastain.  He’s out there doing it.  He’s not limping along.  His pace is steady.  His breathing is even.  There’s nothing tongue-in-cheek or sarcastic about it.  He’s just going out for an every-day training run.  And kicking butt.

The voiceover reads: “Greatness, it’s just something we made up.  Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is a gift, reserved for a chosen few, for prodigies, for superstars.  And the rest of us can only stand by watching.  You can forget that.  Greatness is not some rare DNA strand.  It’s not some precious thing.  Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing.  We’re all capable of it.  All of us.”  Cue the logo text that reads: “Find Your Greatness”.

Now, I imagine, given the assumptions of our culture and the placement of the ad within the Olympics with its flood of conventionally beautiful and chiseled bodies that some viewers will add their own subscript stating “this kid needs to lose weight to be great.”  But luckily nothing in the V.O. or text that says anything about finding greatness “within”.  It’s talking about finding your greatness and is part of a group of ads featuring other unconventional athletes like this one, and this one and this one.  Frankly, I wish the voiceover from this ad could be on the ad with the fat kid, but still.  For the most part, I found myself giddy with excitement when I saw this one.

And yes, Nike could make a lot more fitness clothes in much bigger sizes.  I wish they did.  Although they do have a few pieces of plus-sized wear that are 1-3x (generously sized) that I have purchased and I absolutely adore.  But there’s not a whole lot to choose from.

So, perfect?  No, far from it.  But I think, with this ad campaign, Nike displayed a potential for greatness.

So my little chicklettes, I’d love to hear from you.  Let me know what YOU think.


The Fat Chick