September 28, 2011

Weight prejudice

It is BEDA's First Annual Weight Stigma Week, and time to really, REALLY look within.

I don't mean do you point and laugh on the street, or think Norbit was funny. I mean it on the most personal level: do you cringe at your own appearance or speak disparagingly of your own body size?

You don't have to answer me, in fact, let's not.

Stigma starts with us. Lamenting our own bodies in secret, in private, it's a form of subtle poison. We can't hope to get rid of weight stigma if we can't truly absorb it ourselves. A woman I really respect in the Health at Any Size movement recently told me about her own weight stigma issues - she confessed to these dark thoughts that we advocates rail against. She told me that admitting these feelings was important, and understandable, and that when she shares her struggles with others they feel better and move forward in letting it go. I realized I need to do this and we all do. Like any prejudice, it doesn't just go away because we realize it is "wrong."

I don't believe hating one's body causes eating disorders, nor do I think that messages from others cause them. I do think that pervasive weight stigma in our society and in our hearts causes untold needless misery and makes us hypocrites and poor caregivers and supports to those who do have mental illness where the symptoms include fat phobia and body dysmorphia.

Join BEDA in challenging weight stigma not just in public but in our private moments.

Our bodies deserve our loving care, respect, nurturing. Our thoughts, too!

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