Today, while visiting my sister, I happened to look at an ad flyer for a local department store. And guess which t-shirt was being advertised (just in time for back to school body hatred…)
Look, I have no problem with people making their own choices. Want to run? Awesome, me too! Want to eat cupcakes? Yes, please. I’ll have mine with extra sprinkles. What burns my butt is the notion that we are not allowed to eat certain kinds of foods unless we do certain kinds of exercise. What chaps my hide is the notion that we share a whopping dose of food policing and body shame as some sort of back to school special. And by the way, this shirt was conspicuously absent from the section of the flyer advertising plus-sized clothing, junior or otherwise, because, duh. Fat girls don’t get to eat cupcakes EVAR.
It always astonishes me that clothing buyers at these stores are so incredibly clueless that they still think this is okay–this after the controversy over the “girls can’t do math” t-shirt and the “asking Santa to bring me a new butt for Christmas pillow”. Seriously? Don’t these guys pay attention to social media, like ever?
This notion of fitness as punishment or penance or atonement for some sort of sinful eating is one of the reasons we have such a hard time sticking to exercise. Rather than seeing fitness as something joyful we do because we love the way we look, we see exercise as something painful and awful we have to do because our bodies are in some way unacceptable or because we have to avoid even the slightest chance our bodies will become less acceptable in the future. We don’t bother finding fitness that we love because we don’t feel we deserve it. And then we are surprised when we choose not to stick with the icky, painful, punishing routine we pick for ourselves.
But in the end, this sort of body shame and food policing is unproductive, punishing and downright damaging. It doesn’t help us feel better. It doesn’t help us feel better about ourselves and it doesn’t help foster healthy behaviors of any kind.
So my advice is to go ahead and run for a different reason. I’ve even immortalized it as a t-shirt. Here ya go!
Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)
P.S. Want me to speak at your school or company or organization? Learn more HERE!