Tag Archives: body shaming

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones But Words Can Hurt You Forever

I was recently having lunch with a beautiful and talented young woman, one who was enrolled in a good school getting a professional degree at a good school, who had a wonderful boyfriend who adored her, who was working at a decent job to help pay her school bills and is kind.  I was somewhat surprised when I heard this woman say that she had seen a television commercial showing a lazy chubby young boy, calling his grandma on the phone to ask her to bring something to him from the other room.  Not surprised that she had something to say.  But rather surprised that she had something so vicious to say about that pudgy, fat kid.  That if she was that fatty’s parent, she would smack him.  I was surprised not only because this seemed a little out of character for her, but also because she knew very well about my work as The Fat Chick and my views on this subject.  She went on to say, she used to be thin but then this happened (pointing to her stomach) and this happened (pointing to her butt).  I told her that she was of course beautiful, and further more, she was under no obligation to look any particular way for anybody’s approval.  Then she burst into tears.  At a recent family gathering, a close family member of hers had commented about whether or not she should wear a bikini and whether or not she would keep her boyfriend in light of her current weight.  She was devastated.  She didn’t eat for the rest of the day until her worried boyfriend brought her some food and asked her please to eat something.  Apparently this same family member had given her grief some time before for not eating, for being too skinny and suspecting she had an eating disorder.

As I talked her through the pain and drama, my heart was in my throat.  It brought me right back.  I was 15 again and listening to haranguing by family friends and family members about my weight.  About how I would never find a man, or if I found one, he would cheat on me and ultimately leave me because who wants to be with a fatty.  I was listening to people constantly asking if I “needed to eat that?” if I was sure I “should wear that?” and if I knew “what I looked like?”.  I was there with the constant self doubt, the devastating and crippling crash in self confidence, the firm desire to wait until I looked the right way to pursue the life I wanted.  I remembered how many years I wasted, obsessed about the size of my weight.  And I got monumentally pissed off.

How dare people do this to aspiring young women with so much to give in the world.  How DARE they pass off their insecurities and bullying as concern for a woman’s well being.  HOW DARE THEY?  Once my little PTSD moment passed, I told my friend in no uncertain terms that if people feel the need to spread their own insecurities around this way, it is her job to tell them to stuff it.  She is the gatekeeper for her own soul.  She gets to decide who she lets in.  And perhaps, if people are going to behave in such a toxic way, they don’t get to talk to her any more.  Not until they learn how to behave.

I honestly don’t know if she will find my comments helpful.  But I sincerely hope she does.  Because the world needs bright, young, talented, kind young people.  And it would be sad to think they won’t leave their house and make their way in the world because of how somebody feels about how they look in a bikini.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Can we get a little FREAKIN’ PEACE around here?

HolidaySwing

Here in Southern California, the holidays are a special kind of stressful.  People here just sort of just plum lose connection with any sort of common sense for a few weeks.  And in the week before Christmas, the whole area vibrates with a special sort of near-nervous-breakdown energy that makes me want to stay inside and pull the covers over my head.  In the last two days, I have seen some death-defying, I gotta get the eggnog before 7 PM maneuvers that left me screaming.  On Friday, I watched a van driver flick on his emergency lights and pull over the shoulder.  I had plenty of time to observe this as the freeway was in its usual “Friday Before a Holiday Parking Lot” mode.  I thought to myself, “oh, that poor van driver person.  What a yucky day to break down on the freeway.”  I then watched as said van driver BACKED UP OVER 1/2 A FREAKIN MILE ON THE FREAKIN FREEWAY.  Why?  The driver had missed the desired ramp.  After the backing maneuver, the van bumped up over a lane divider and pulled in front of exiting traffic to exit at the desired ramp.

“SERIOUSLY?  ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME?” I shouted.

That is only one of many incidents of horrible driving, deeply problematic mall stampeding and grocery store aisle smackdowns I’ve witnessed in the past few days.  And I have to tell you, it’s made me slow down, stop, and think.

You know what I want for the holidays this year?  Just a little bit of peace.  Just a little bit of space to breathe and appreciate and enjoy.    And that’s my wish for you as well.  I hope this holiday season (or what’s left of it) allows you to find a little bit of peace.

I wish you peace on the road–free from people screaming, cutting you off or as my friend jokingly puts it, “using the fellowship finger”.

I wish you peace as you shop.  May the people around be considerate and kind. May they only have positive things to say about the way you act and the way you look and who you are.

I wish you peace as you eat.  May you enjoy every bite and allow it to nourish you both inside and out.  May you enjoy holiday gatherings free from food policing and body shame.

I wish you peace with your family.  May everybody around you be grateful for all you have done to make the holiday special, even if all you were able to do this year is to allow your beautiful self to take more breaths and exist on this amazing earth.

I wish you peace with your body.  May you declare a cease-fire in any war you may have waged against your good self.  May you appreciate the staggering awesomeness of the body you have right now.  May you pamper and find joy in the skin you are in.

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And I wish you a peaceful new year.  May you find a way to scoff at those in the world who believe the way to greet the new year is to change everything that makes you, well, YOU.  May you face the new year with courage and optimism.  May you choose for yourself a path that is strengthening, enriching, enlightening and encouraging.

Sleep in heavenly peace my friends.  Sleep in heavenly peace.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Why my Body has no Comment Button

Today on facebook I came across two different posts about how people in the world feel compelled to share their disappointment that not everybody in the world chooses to meet their personal standard of beauty on a 24/7 basis.  First, I came across this post from the truly awesome Fat Fox.  (Note: frustration leads to some colorful, sailor-like language.)  In this guest post on Fat But Not Afraid’s Blog, she talks about the “always wear a bra” requirement some feel compelled to share.  She also notes that those folks can just kiss her–well like I said, sailor talk.

And then I ran across this story shared on facebook by Atchka Fatty of Fierce Freethinking Fatties, in which a girl who is simply standing line and texting on her phone is photographed and made the subject of ridicule on reddit.  Be sure to read her beautiful and thoughtful response at the link above.

Honestly!  What is it with people?  Last time I checked, there was no comment button pasted on my body, ANYWHERE.  Just exactly how much ego is required in order for you to expect everybody in the entire world to continually live up to your personal rules about how they should look?  I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that amount of ego weighs more than me.

My dear Chicklettes, are you starting to see how it is not your responsibility to look the way other people think you need to look?  Are you starting to understand that the problem is not how big your butt is, but rather, how small their mind is?  Are you starting to understand that you can choose to make the fact that somebody doesn’t like you just because of your outward appearance, NOT YOUR PROBLEM?

Good!

Because you are awesome, wonderful, gorgeous and deserving of love exactly the way you are right this very moment.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Spring Cleaning: Wiping out Negative Body Talk

Let's do some "spring cleaning"!

In honor of spring, I’m initiating a little spring cleaning.  But instead of cleaning closets and windows and cars, this year I’m going to try clean up some of my habits, and assumptions and attitudes.  When cleaning closets or the garage, I’m pretty brutal about tossing out things that I no longer need or want.  So this year, I’m going to throw away a few habits and attitudes that just aren’t working for me any more.  I’m going to pull out the big trash can, and I’m going to start with negative body talk.

Does this sound familiar?

“I hate my thighs!”

“Does my butt look big in this?”

“I can’t believe she’s wearing that.”

“Why can’t I have hair like hers?  Mine is too flat.”

Yup, those phrases represent negative body talk–those little phrases we say inside our heads or share with friends in conversation that put down that most magnificent and beautiful and personal gift, our bodies.  Negative body talk is everywhere.  Our friends do it.  Our families do it.  And most of us do it from time to time.

So what’s wrong with it?  Plenty.  Negative body talk has an immediately detrimental effect on our physical and mental health.  A recent article highlights some studies that indicate that “fat talk predicts changes in depression, body satisfaction, and perceived pressure to be thin across time.”  According to one study, the more fat talk a person talked, the worse they felt–resulting in lower body satisfaction and increased depression after 3 weeks.

Negative body talk is bad for us, and it’s everywhere.  So why do we do it?  I imagine sometimes it’s to fit in and sometimes it’s because we feel bad.  But a lot of times, I think we do it because we don’t even recognize we’re doing it.  You see, negative body talk can be kind of sneaky.  Sure, we recognize a phrase like “I hate my butt” as negative body talk.  But negative body talk can also be much more subtle:

“I’m exercising so I can tone up and look good in a swimsuit.”

“I can show my arms because they look okay, but not my thighs.”

“That dress just doesn’t look good on certain body types.”

“I don’t need to look like a supermodel.  I just want to look good in shorts.”

This kind of negative body talk can be harder to recognize, but it’s negative body talk all the same.  It’s still damaging.  It’s something that “doesn’t work for me any more.”  And this spring I’m working to throw it all out.

So my little chicklettes, how about you?  Ready for some spring cleaning?  Let’s get out some big cardboard boxes and the super big industrial-sized trash bags and get ready to clean house!

Love,

The Fat Chick