When you stop and consider everything that makes you ‘You’, do you have a tendency to list all of the roles you play?
Sometimes those lists can look impressive (kind of like creating a To-Do List where the first item on the list is “Create To-Do List” and you get to check it off instantly). Many times, however, these lists call to mind all of the requirements that are attached to those roles.
Wife – best friend, lover, partner
Mother – cook, janitor, chauffeur, nurse, teacher
Activist – researcher, leader, teacher, volunteer, marketing director
Friend – active listener, partner in crime, activity partner
Employee – organizer, resource manager, all the things
Board Member – advisor, volunteer, fundraiser
That’s… a lot.
I think that’s why, when someone expresses confusion regarding my size, my head just kind of… tilts… and I stare at them like they’ve grown a second head.
I mean, hey! I’m fat AND I’m doing all of those things (and all the things that make up all of those things), AND I exercise, AND I still manage to find (some) time to sleep… so how can they possibly ask that kind of thing about me?
Fat = Lazy.
I’m talking about the “Fat People Are Fat Because They Are Lazy” trope.
A study at the University of Alberta addressed this very thing. Research showed that fat and thin people – doing the same thing (in this case, laying down on a couch) – were thought of differently; thin people were ‘resting’, and fat people were ‘lazy’. A quick Google search will come back with 5.63 million hits for “fat people lazy”, because it’s just that common a belief.
Warning: GEEK MOMENT AHEAD
The confusing of causation (what causes something) and correlation (what can correlate with another thing) has been messing people up for ages. For example, we have learned that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer – this is causal (causation) – and that heavy smokers may also drink socially and / or be sleep deprived – this is correlation. Things that are causal will always be correlated, but not vice versa… much like how every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square.
So, repeat after me:
“Someone’s size does not depict their activity level.”
… and even if it did, back off: not your body, not your concern.
This entire train of thought was born when I was sharing my plans with a coworker to participate in the SoCal Warrior Dash in April, and the look on her face was one of incredulity. She recovered well, and didn’t say anything that would have called for a foot-from-mouth-ectomy, but… come on; when you’ve been discriminated against all your life, you know what each expression means.
There is a conversation – a forceful, confident conversation – that needs to happen in this world… a conversation wherein we emphasize the importance of body autonomy and mutual respect, and show how to dismiss the belief that worthiness is tied to size.
Stay tuned, Lovelies.