Women’s Health (Ha!) magazine published an article by Anonymous (Not the cool one, I assure you) entitled, “How Becoming A Nudist Helped Me Accept My Body” (I refuse to link because fuck that magazine and all it promotes) with the following image at the top:
(Photo depicts a thin, white, seemingly able-bodied woman from behind with long wavy brown hair coming up out of the water.)
My immediate and initial reaction was an overly dramatic eye roll. Not at being a nudist, mind you. Nah, to each their own, live and let live is my way. My reaction was mostly to the photo. My inner thought was a very snarky, “Oh sure, it’s a helluva lot easier to love your body, especially amongst nudists if you are the embodiment of western social beauty standards! Psshht!” Today I decided to examine my own snark and read the actual article. My initial reaction, I found, was not wrong. Ugh!
This was written by someone who claimed to already love their naked body, to feel their best when wearing nothing at all. They then go into how they were at their largest size after years of yo-yo dieting. The writer then aims to demystify what nudism is and how meetups and events work. Sexual and lewd behavior is not allowed, it’s all very normal and nice, just nude. I was open to what they had to say until it ended with:
“Now that I feel a healthy acceptance of my body, I feel all the more motivated to improve it. The body that I love is healthier than ever, and I consistently make an effort to nourish it, exercise it, and pamper it.
After all, I have quite the audience these days. And I love it.”
One of these days I will surely get my eyes to permanently roll so far back the can no longer sit in their natural place! For fuck’s sake! How did I fucking know?!?! This person never loved their body and they still fucking don’t! This person points directly to how their size increased and then recommits to the same destructive pattern in yet another futile attempt to “improve it” after participating and feeling part of a community that has embraced her and believes:
“Nudists (or naturists, if you will) consider the human body a beautiful creation, and something of which no one should be ashamed.”
What in the actual living fuck?!?! NO! This is not how that works! Why did I read this infuriating article? Why am I sharing this here and with you at all? Because we all need to recognize and think more critically about this bullshit that gets shoved down our throats in all media, even and maybe especially when it paints itself in pretty, body positive colors. UGH! Yeah “body positivity” is really just another way the weight cycling (read diet/fitness/etc) industry adds to its billions of dollars in profit. That profit comes from those who just want to feel better, to feel like they belong in this world, to feel whole and human and right. It’s all lies!
You need only to scratch the surface to find co-opted language ripped from the fat positive/acceptance movement directly. I remember the gross, deep, awful feeling that sat in the pit of my stomach as I saw for the first time the weight watching ad depicting an outright rip off of Marilyn Wann’s “Yay! Scale”. I’ve seen companies such as lane bryant pushing a seeming body positive message in order to shill their control-slimming-torture garments in order for us all to fit in…or is it really just fall in line?! No thank you!
All bodies are good bodies
“There is no wrong way to have a body!” I believe originally said/written by Lesley Kinzel, but google results were too numerous and varied to prove this, thanks to further co-opting in the name of body positivity that actually isn’t at all. We don’t need media further profiting off of us when we’ve been beaten up our entire lives by a society that sees us as inherently wrong and othered. I refuse to consume anything that makes me feel like shit or tries to convince me to. Fuck that noise! That’s all it is, too, is noise. It is a din that finds its way into our very pores and then sells us pore minimizing creams lest the rest of the world discovers we inhabit actual human bodies.
I am obsessed with Sailor J, who has a YouTube vlog in the style of makeup tutorials. Only she uses her fantastic and sarcastic sense of humor in such a way I have not encountered online. To find inspiration in someone so much younger than myself is humbling, but awesome! One of my closest friends is 24 and while the world opens its doors to her as it slams them on me, she is open-minded and willing to see what that means and why that is. Sailor J reminds me of her, but funnier and more feminist in her own way. Love them both! I think it is both easy and wrong to dismiss the views and experiences of those younger than us/me. I highly recommend Sailor J’s Contouring 101 video. I have no interest in the subject itself, but it is a fantastic commentary on the absurdity of beauty standards in a patriarchal society.
I am fat. And I have this radical idea that I am allowed to exist.
There is nothing wrong with having a fat body, of any size. There have always been fat people, throughout time! Humans seek to control anything that feels out of their control. Today’s beauty standards have not always been based on thin, white, euro-hetero-centric bullshit. How fucking boring and unreasonable is that?! I love the diversity of where I live, the San Francisco Bay area in California. I love that nobody looks the same or is shaped the same. I have visited places where that is seriously not the case. It was surprising to me and I couldn’t feel comfortable in those locales. Why anyone would want that I will never understand, nor try to, honestly.
While we cannot change other people, or their beliefs or ability to see people of size as whole and equal, we can choose to laugh in the face of those who oppress us with those boring and small-minded views. We are not here to be pleasing to everyone, or anyone, other than ourselves, dammit! We have just as much a right to exist in this world, to seek happiness and create a life of our choosing, as anyone else. They will try to lie to our very faces and insist we live a life confined by their standards and miseries, but that isn’t the life I want. That isn’t the path to fulfillment. Follow the money, examine what media you consume and think critically about it. They love to take and take and take from us, but to walk in our radically self-accepting shoes would rock their damned world!
(Que “Fat Bottom Girls” by Queen LOL!)
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
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