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Mad Positivity | Who taught you?

Image reposted from @thechampagnediet

By Jessica Vander Zaag

Do you remember when you were young and life was easy and your body was just the thing that you lived in?

What changed?

Maybe it was a comment from a parent or a friend. An image you saw. A fat joke repeated. It wasn’t meant to be harmful, and maybe on its own it wouldn’t be, but these comments combined and congealed into the lesson: being fat is a character flaw, a lack of willpower, a sign of laziness. To be fat is bad, and therefore to be thin is good.

There are a few theories about where this cultural phenomenon got its start, but let’s just work from the point we’re at, living in a society that values thinness as aesthetically and morally superior. A society in which body fat has become demonized to the extent that it systematically negatively affects how larger individuals are treated from social to medical levels. Where dieting (which let us not forget is a methodology that has been repeatedly proven to fail 98% of the time) is a billion dollar industry.

Now this is about when I stared at my keyboard for an hour, my heart sinking to my toes. Because of course. Of course we’re scared of fat. Medicine and media and industry have all teamed up and told us to fight biology. And I want so badly to be able to say that you can learn the truth and challenge the ideals and recognize the bullshit and boom you’ll love your body, but I have spent months in therapy with professional help and I still have shitty body image days when the low voice in the back of my mind tells me I’m disgusting.

So I sat in a cafe feeling progressively shittier until I finally said, “nope, let’s move on,” closed the page and started to work on something else. That’s when it hit me, we need this— I need this—because feeling bad based on some arbitrary social rules is bullsh*t. There will always be things in life that make us sad and upset, things that are worth our emotions and energy. But the circumference of my waist, how many of my abs you can see, whether my thighs touch, none of those things deserve the headspace.

Maybe loving your body feels like a big ask, but let’s start by taking a step away from fatphobia and body hatred.

xo jess