Tag Archives: body size

Beauty diversity and unlikely animal buddies.

Well this video recently surfaced in my facebook feed (thanks Gina) and I woke up singing the song and thinking of these adorable animals.  It was much more pleasant than the mental tug of war that is finding a topic for a blog post today.  And then it hit me–do a blog post about adorable animals playing with their pals.  Win. Win.

So today, I’m going to talk about body diversity.  The super cool thing about this video is how all the animals are different.  The monkey can play with the dog without telling the dog to look more like a monkey.  The dog and the dolphin can swim together without the dog having to engage in a streamlining program or getting a blow hole cut in his noggin.  And the dolphin can swim with the dog without feeling any particular need to join “Crazy LEGS(TM) a new process to grow legs in just 8 weeks!”

And it really made me think about our current standard of beauty.  It made me think about how so much of our society is shaped around the notion that if we just looked like a movie star or a beauty queen or a male stripper, everything would be just peachy keen and wonderful.  This is so silly, and so sad and so very, very wrong.  It’s a Barbie world, where all the girls should look like Barbie–tall, tiny waist, large breasts, smooth and flowing blonde hair, tiny feet and all.  Never mind that many believe that Barbie’s proportions are not only unlikely but also perhaps impossible.  (Some suggest if Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5’9″ tall, have a 39″ bust, an 18″ waist, 33″ hips and a size 3 shoe.  She would have a BMI of about 16 and would likely not menstruate.)  Yet as we’ve heard before and will undoubtedly hear again, it’s a Barbie world.

But seriously, where’s the fun in that?  It would be pretty boring if we all looked the same.  And trying to turn dogs into dolphins or vice versa could be endlessly profitable (if anybody could convince them that this needed to happen) but doesn’t seem likely to meet with any success or lead to happier canines or aquatic mammals.

So here’s to our diversity.  Here’s to our beauty in all it’s differences.  And here’s to keeping our money to go out and have a whole lot of fun with our very best buds.

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to come and speak to your school or church group or organization or business about body diversity?  Check out my speaking page here!

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Dancing with Body Diversity

I ran across a video in my feed yesterday and I have to admit made me smile.  It’s not perfect.  The song lyrics  have some problematic phrases.  And I wish the leadership of the dance was a little bit different.  But with all of that said, this dance held at a technical high school had some promising elements.  One element is the diversity of body sizes and types found in the dance.  This wasn’t 50 typical, thin, blond professional dancers and one or two token fatties.  This was a cross section of a school with single digit and decidedly double digit dancers collectively shaking their groove thing.  And some of those folks could really move!  I find the whole thing pretty exciting!  Here it is if you’d like to take a look:

Body diversity is so important for so many reasons.  When I was in high school, I didn’t really have role models that showed me that fat people could be happy or dance or be sexy or have sex.  I didn’t really have anything to counteract the dominant message that the ONLY way to have these things was to get and stay socially, acceptably skinny first.  That’s why I love this video.  There are people of all kinds of sizes and all kinds of SHAPE gettin’ down.  The bigger students aren’t all modified hourglass plus-sized models.  Not that there is anything wrong with being a modified-hourglass, size 12 plus-sized model.  It’s just refreshing to see that people come in all DIFFERENT shapes.  Some have a lot up top.  Some have relatively small bust and a lot of booty.  We’re looking at round, square, apple, hourglass, pear and every other shape and fruit you care to name.  So we get to see that bodies don’t just have to be one size to be awesome.  Bodies don’t need to be just one shape to be awesome.  Bodies don’t have to be one height to be awesome.  Bodies don’t have to come in one color to be awesome.  Bodies don’t even need to all work the same way to be awesome.  Bodies of all different kinds can just rock the house together.

I wish I had this to look at when I was a teenager.  I’m really glad that teenagers get to look at it now.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S.  Want to book me to come talk to YOUR teenagers about body diversity?  I’m booking talks right now for spring.  Send me an email at jeanette@thefatchick.com to make sure you get the date you want!  I can work within most schedules and budgets!  You can learn more about me here.

P.S.S. Want to get a book about how to move your body joyfully and safely at any size or shape?  Buy my book here.

The Childhood Obesity Challenge

Uuuuugh!  Well we’re halfway through “Harass Kids About Their Weight Month” otherwise known as “Let’s Build Eating Disorders As Young As Possible Month” or “Childhood Obesity Awareness Month”.  I’ve mentioned before how I feel about this.  I can’t think of any adult or child in this country who is not aware that the dominant culture likes little kids to be thin.  I don’t know of any kids who aren’t aware, by age five or six, that thinner is better.  And this whole month seems designed to amp up the shame felt by larger kids and parents of larger kids to “11”.

This was brought home to me in a very visceral way today as I read a facebook post by a parent who had a negative reaction to being nominated for “The Childhood Obesity Challenge” on facebook.  I have no idea how widespread this “challenge” is.  Apparently a “friend” in this woman’s feed posted an apres workout “sweaty” (that’s a selfie where the folks are sweatin’ y’all) with the following text:

“Another sweaty for (fb friend)’s call to action for childhood obesity. Children learn from example. I will challenge some amazing parents I know to do the same. You all inspire me and make me better.”

Only problem, the parent with the negative reaction had been a fat kid.  She understood the real challenges of being an obese kid in a fat-hating world.  And her kid was also not as thin as some in society deemed acceptable.  And her kid was facing health challenges that made exercise difficult.  Yet there she was, nominated to post a picture of her sweating after a workout to prove to kids they shouldn’t be fat.

Seriously.

Yes, kids do learn by example.  And if we want our kids to be healthy, here are a few options of things we could model:

1.  Let’s choose not to judge by appearances.  You don’t know what is happening in another person’s life by looking at them.  You don’t know if they are healthy by looking at them.  Let’s not make snap decisions about a person’s health or moral worth because of how they look.

2.  Exercise can be fun!  Let’s not ruin exercise by making it about arbitrarily changing our body size.  Let’s make it about getting together and having a great time!  Because sometimes moving our bodies feels awesome!

3.  Exercise can be fun, but it’s not a moral obligation.  And exercise is a whole lot easier for some people than for others.  Let’s decide not to worry about how much exercise other people are doing.  And let’s decide on exercise for ourselves based on our own bodies and how we feel.

4.  Let’s not panic about our body size!  People come in all shapes and sizes.  There are greyhounds in this world and there are pit bulls.  Everybody looks a little different than everybody else and that’s okay.

5.  Let’s not boil down a very complex issue like childhood obesity into some silly facebook game, okay?  Let’s choose to accept that body size is influenced by a wide variety of factors–both inside and outside of our control–and learn to love our bodies as they are.  That way we won’t feel quite so much need to judge other people’s bodies, okay?  (See point #1).

And if modeling points 1 through 5 doesn’t work, we could always model how to fake a sweaty. (A little blush, a little water spritzed on the face and hair and TA DAAAA instant sweaty!)

Or if you want to be more professional about it:

I can’t help but be frustrated by the whole notion of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month as it currently stands.  It’s time for a Childhood Weight Stigma Awareness Month.  During this month we could talk about how to help kids avoid eating disorders, we could talk about how bullying based on size is at record levels, and we could talk about how social media is pressuring kids and parents more than ever to have “perfect bodies” at all times.  That’s a movement I could get behind.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S.  Want to hear me speak with YOUR group about how to teach fitness to kids in a way that isn’t damaging to them?  Book me to speak!

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