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Apr 29 2014

Fat shaming is ugly and body shaming of any kind is disgusting.

I was sad when a friend posted the excerpts below as her Facebook status update.

 “So ever since I took the final make-or-break decision in 2013 with my conscience to take responsibility for my physical and mental well-being, I have undertaken to attack fat-boosting realities that engage with me. This includes people who are happy to be fat…as I was years back, when I was fooling around with fads and gadgets, without facing the more imperative thing: My FOOD. Being FAT is synonymous with indolence, depression, poverty, avarice, corruption, lethargy to Good, selfishness…in one word – Corruption.”

This is so wrong and sad on so many levels.

The fact that the writer has decided to take responsibility for her weight issues is good, but that is a personal decision, not a public decree. As she mentioned, it took her many years to get to that stage and only accepted this as her truth in 2013. So why project YOUR truth and body issues on others?

Fat shaming is ugly, body shaming is disgusting. Your truth about your health is YOUR TRUTH. Do not project it onto another especially a complete stranger. Why judge people by their body size or even pocket size? Is telling overweight people to get off their “Fat ass” really your good deed of the day?

Assumptions about plus size people reflect the ignorant perceptions of people in our society. The fact that these assumptions are widely held does not mean they are true. Stereotypes are hardly true for everyone. Stereotypes are dangerous and only tend to create an “Us versus Them” mentality. People are different.

Our bodies are different.There should not be any standard of beauty. Beauty as they say is in the eye of the beholder. Do we reallyYemisi need another person telling us what we should look like, weigh, how to make our hair, what to wear, who to love, what the size of our tummies should be or what size our bank account should be before we are considered entitled to be free from stigmatization or be treated as human beings deserving of dignity and respect?

Do we, especially women, need one more person telling us we do not meet the standard of beauty set by tabloids, magazines and the general media?  We should be comfortable and happy in our own skin. Trying to look like photoshopped images of models on magazines or movie stars on our screen is only going to drive us into unhealthy eating habits that could prove very dangerous to our physical and mental health.

If you are not my doctor, you have no business telling me what I should weigh. You have no business telling complete strangers to go and lose some weight. Unless people come to us to seek advice on weight matters, we really have no business dishing out such advice especially when we are not in possession of the person’s medical records.

The fact that a particular diet plan or weight loss program worked for you does not mean it would work for another. Because you finally arrived at your truth about your body does not mean you should go about knocking people in the head demanding that they arrive at the same truth you arrived at, about their own body! Taking responsibility for your body is good, but making it your duty to take responsibility for another person’s body is bad. We should never project our body issues on other people.

So for me I don’t care about CURVES or NUMBERS. That’s what some women seek so badly that they hold on to unhealthy body fat…or engage in risky weightloss ventures.

This seems quite at odds with the reality of the day. Yes, there was a time in some African societies when young brides-to-be would be taken to what was then referred to as the “Fattening room” and fed food to fatten them up for their wedding day. This practice is reprehensible and thank goodness it is no longer a common practice. If anything, what is prevalent now are rising cases of would be brides going into panic mood and seriously endangering their lives by engaging in unhealthy diet program  to lose as much weight as possible, so they could look picture perfect on their wedding day.

 We should not create a food phobia, food is not the problem. The type of food we eat and the relationship we have with our food is what we need to examine. Unfortunately, women are being exploited by those who feed off the body insecurities of women and increasingly, men too. More and more, we are seeing an increase in anorexia and bulimia amongst young women. Also, more and more women of all ages are falling into depression because of body image related problems. A trip to fashion stores where plus size women typically struggle to find dresses in their sizes could leave them severely depressed for days. It is like holding an invisible sign with the message “Plus size women are not welcomed in this store, they are an aberration”. Considering that your average woman carries around some extra weight, this is a dangerous message to send to the larger population.

Some men hold their women in ill-health by their need for curves. A fat laden belly is not curvy…so what’s the point?

 Well, so many men also hold their women in ill-health by their need for poking ribs often fuelled by the unrealistic, photoshopped images of models in magazines. No man or woman should have such power over another.

 Fat around your hips indicates problems for your heart…so what’s the point?

The point is, if you are not their personal physician, do not jump to conclusions about the health or heart conditions of anyone based on how thick their hips are.

Beauty comes in different shapes colours and sizes. The world would be a boring place if we all looked alike. Telling people to lose weight is patronizing. Judging complete strangers based on their looks or weight is an indictment on the intelligence of the person making the judgment.

If the actions or looks of others are not encroaching on your rights or bank account, why waste time taking Panadol for another person’s headache? If a woman wants to get the biggest balloons on her chest, as long as she is not tasking me to pay for her breast implants, it is not my headache. If a man wants to break his personal bank account to get the largest penis on earth, as long as I am not obliged to have sex with him, it is not my headache. If people want to cover themselves in piercings and tattoos, as long as they are adults deemed capable of making decisions, it is their right, not my headache. You don’t hear tattooed people complaining about non-tattooed people, it is always, non tattooed people moaning about tattooed people.

 I ventured into plus size modeling as an avenue to address body shaming. There is nothing wrong with being plus size if you are healthy. Also, there is nothing wrong with being skinny if you are healthy. Our looks or most specifically our weight does not automatically tell a stranger our medical records. Most times when people call plus size people ugly, they are not really concerned about their health; they are just echoing the standard of beauty set by the media and also using this as an excuse to put others down.

Fatphobia is a real monster.The fact that you are fat does not mean you cannot be fatphobic. You cannot go around saying “fat people are ugly” and justify it by claiming since you are also fat, what you said was not an insult. It is the same as when white people are called out on a racist comment and they try to defend themselves by claiming they are not racist because they have a black friend.  We know this is bullshit. Being fat does not give you a pass card to call plus size people ugly or unhealthy.

There is beauty in diversity including diverse body shapes and sizes. Sayings like “Real men love women with curves”, “Real women have curves” or “Beautiful women are slim” are all silly.  What standards are we using to determine who a real woman or man is? Beauty in our society is not just personal but political as well. It is my body, my prerogative, my choice, my right. I don’t need others or an imposed big society to dictate to me how I should look, what I should wear or what the gender of my lover should be.

It is my body and I am certainly not giving control of it to anyone especially not to a society that feeds on media crap. We all have different stories. It is wrong to assume that people accumulate body weight because they are lazy. Some people, like me, gain weight because they are on life saving medication that have the side effects of weight gain. Must we choose between losing weight to meet societal beauty standard or take our life saving medications and risk adding weight? Why should we even have to make a choice?

Reuniting with old acquaintances can be irritating especially since the first thing that flies out of their mouth is, “You have added so much weight!” I have learned to respond to such exclamations with a smile accompanied with a firm reminder that my weight is none of their business. I got tired of explaining to people, sometimes complete strangers, that I gained weight because I am on a medication. I just tell them to shove their observation back in their assholes because my weight is not another person’s business and I don’t owe anyone but myself an explanation. Yes, some people put on weight because they eat a lot of junk food, which is their prerogative. It is not our duty to start taking pictures of fat people eating burgers in public places just to shame them. Heck, it is not our duty to take pictures of women or anyone for that matter for the purpose of pubic shaming. If it was possible for some people to criminalize plus size people eating in public, they would gladly do so.

Sometime ago, a man took the picture of a lady  and posted it on what is known as the front page of internet; Reddit, to mock her.

sikh ladyWhy? She was hairy with what appeared to be a moustache and that to him and many others, meant she has broken the beauty code set for women by men like him and of course the media. And in his mind, this justified his action to take the picture of a complete stranger and use the media to humiliate her. But guess what? He got his ass thoroughly whipped by the woman he sought to humiliate. When the post ridiculing her was brought to her attention, the lady who happened to be a Sikh responded with one of the most epic letters ever posted online, and she did it with so much grace, intelligence and eloquence that even her tormentors realized they were wrong and apologized. We should never be hasty to judge others.

I am so tired of hearing the rhetoric “Fat people are unhappy”. It reminds me of those self-righteous people who say things like “Sex workers are so unhappy, let’s liberate them from their chosen profession”. The messiah complex of such persons is just unbelievably patronizing.  It is so wrong to assume that ‘fat’ people live miserable lives and are unhappy. What makes people happy is not necessarily dependent on their looks or body size. Also, what makes you happy is not necessarily a happiness recipe for every other person. The fact that you are happy to run up and down a treadmill several hours a day does not mean others should be happy to do same.  The fact that you derived joy or get high from pumping machines at the gyms does not mean those who do not go to the gym are unhappy people.Your story is not my story. Our story is hardly the story of the person next door. Do not judge others solely based on your story. In fact, why not practice not judging others at all?

There are positive ways we can tell our loved ones to take care of their heath issues including body weights without SDC14174being patronizing or insulting. Don’t assume people do not know they have put on weight since the last time you saw them. Don’t frown disapprovingly or look down is digustingly at your loved ones when you tell them they need to lose weight. Many of us do not understand the adverse effect our words have on others.

Yes, there are ways we can help our loved ones achieve their weight goal. Be supportive; do not be overbearing or judgmental. We should never make anyone feel less lovable or less of a human being because they weigh more than the society dictates.

Our Ideas of beauty differs. For example, I am not a fan of six packs, in fact I cringe when I scroll down my newsfeeds and I am assaulted with pictures of topless guys showing off chiseled chests. I physically cringe and I never really got what the “Wows” were all about. However I have learnt to appreciate specs. I still do not see six packs as a standard of male beauty but at least since enrolling in a gym, and seeing men and women work their butts off to get those six packs, I can appreciate why they want to show it off. It takes commitment to get six packs, so flaunt it if you have it. After all I flaunt my cleavages at every opportunity, and I didn’t even have to work for it, I was just lucky to be born with those balloons.

Fatpbobia is a horrible thing. I watched this video of an interview on ‘This Morning’ show on the topic ‘Can you be big and Happy’ featuring Katie Hopkins and Plus size model, Rachel Copper-Wherry.  The vileness oozing from  the words of Katie Hopkins was to say the least, disgusting. Well, she is a woman who makes a career out of being vile but this, even from her, is just stupefying.

The woman she was debating is a beautiful, wonderful, creative, vibrant and simply fabulous human being. She is a friend and a SAM_1290plus size model I have done some photo shoots with. She is an extremely agile and flexible person and as much as I can tell, in good health. Making such hurtful remarks about people because they have some extra pounds on them is vile, mean and disgusting. Obviously the ugly person in this video is Katie Hopkins. The ugliness that oozes from her inside is enough to poison and kill any exterior beauty she might have.

Many people are overweight yet have a good and active life. We all have different stories. I have been a size 10-12 but I currently fluctuate between a size 18 and 20 but according to my gym weight calculator machine, I should weigh about 65kg. The truth is even if there was a magic wand that I could wave that would turn me into a size 1O; I would not consider the option. I like me best at sizes 14-16, weighing just about 75kg-80kg. I feel my most sexy when I have a bit of meat on me. I am a woman who is easily attracted to women with curves but funny enough; my most serious relationships have not reflected this preference. In the end, character and personality trumps weight, shape, colour, size, gender or whatever I thought sexy looked like.

I watched the second series of  the British drama-comedy ‘My Mad Fat Diary’ and I must say, on the last scene, I was weeping and on my feet giving the insightful writers and amazing actors a standing ovation. There was so much life saving lessons in the inspiring series. When we say all these hurtful words to people about their looks, we must also take responsibility for the horrible things our words made them do.

Everyone has their own issues. Every day we fight our personal demons, be they weight problems, family issues, health SDC13228complications, relationships problems, career problems or whatever our personal issues are. We must understand that every other person we come in contact with have their own issue to deal with. Don’t make your issue the center of the world for another person. Do not complicate the lives of others with your personal issue. Do not force others to be part of your drama. As the saying goes, the world is a stage and we are all players. Even if the world is a stage, please do not force your role on me. Don’t force others to act out your script. Learn to live and let’s live.

Diversity is another name for beauty and every woman should take pride and pleasure in her unique beauty. Embrace beauty in all its diversities!  Whatever size you are, enjoy it, flaunt it, just stay healthy! I love flaunting my curves and boobs of course, but I’ll never disparage any woman without curves or boobs. Beauty comes in different colours, shapes and sizes. There is no ‘one size fits all’ beauty, let’s enjoy and take pride in our special kind of beauty and let no one tell us otherwise!

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Maddie

    Katie Hopkins was familiar… I Googled Katie Hopkins kids names, and came up with this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Hopkins She literally judges kids by their names. So, obviously, whatever comes out of her mouth, it’s probably going to be highly offensive. I was playing the video (with Katie Hopkins) and my husband said, “Can we please stop listening to this shit?” She gets on his damn nerves; he’s allergic to ignorance.

  2. 2
    Maddie

    I actually used to be an unpaid sex worker. There was no chosen profession about it. Slavery’s still a problem. If someone wants to sell their body, wonderful, but often the worker’s not even the one doing the selling or getting any of the money. What’s wrong with wanting to liberate folks who are actually enslaved, because I see advertisements for it on the billboards? (Not to liberate them; to buy their services.) As much as I respect your opinion and the rights of people to do what they want with their bodies, including making good money as a prostitute, the practice of actual sex slavery’s taking away that right for many people. It took away my long-term right to be promiscuous. I’m kind of pissed about it; I’d have loved to have been promiscuous. And nobody ever wants to talk about sex slavery, either; it just puts a bad taste in their mouths, or makes them feel guilty.

  3. 3
    Meggamat

    Do bank accounts have colours?

  4. 4
    Yemisi Ilesanmi

    @Maddie- Yes, your husband is right, listening to Katie Hopkins would make any one allergic to ignorance scream “Can we please stop listening to this shit?’

    ‘Promiscuity’ is a word that gives others the ability to control your body, especially women’s body. Your body is yours to control and take responsibility for. Ride it and love the way only you can.

    Sex workers need rights not rescue. Choosing to be a sex worker does not mean you have chosen to be a slave. People who exploit sex workers are only taking advantage of the system that has failed to protect sex workers and women in general. Sex trafficking thrives because the system has failed to protect the victims of traffickers. Abuse of sex workers thrives because the system hardly does anything to protect sex workers from the stigmatization, assault and battery of sex workers.
    Here is the link to my blogpost on this topic, enjoy!

  5. 5
    Yemisi Ilesanmi

    @Meggamat- Your account could be an unhealthy Red or a very healthy Blue. However, to avoid confusion I might change ‘colour of your bank account’ to size of your bank account.

  6. 6
    Meggamat

    @Yemisi Ilesanmi- Thanks! I understand now. And I agree with you totally here. People are too quick to judge others based upon appearance.

  7. 7
    Maddie

    Nobody chooses to be a slave. It doesn’t work that way. You don’t just walk up to a person and say, “I like sex, so can you beat me up and sell me to nasty old men and beat me up more when I cry about it?” Furthermore, men are affected by this, too. Think there aren’t young men being sold to nasty old people against their will? Pfft. And the system protects them the same way it protects female traffic; not at all.

  8. 8
    Yemisi Ilesanmi

    @Maddie- You are obviously confusing Consensual Adult Sex Work with forced labour, child abuse and human trafficking and/or slavery. I believe i have addressed this in my response to the comment you just left under the relevant post “Sex workers need Right Not Rescue”.

    BTW, all my posts on sex work recognises and mentioned the fact that men , women and any other gender are involved in sex work. My post talks about LEGAL protection and labour rights for all SEX WORKERS REGARDLESS OF GENDER.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/yemmynisting/2013/12/17/sex-workers-need-rights-not-rescue/

  9. 9
    Great American Satan

    Yemisi -- Hell yes. That is all. :-D

  10. 10
    geekgirlsrule

    I’m a woman who blogs about geeky shit, so I get a lot of hatemail.

    But I have to say, when I blog or tweet about Body Acceptance or Health At Every Size, I get more hatemail faster than on any other topic. Granted it isn’t usually as horrible as the other hatemail, but it definitely makes up for it in volume.

    During the #notyourgoodfatty hashtag on twitter, I had to block a good dozen accounts, which is more than I blocked during the entirety of the Penny Arcade Dickwolves debacle. Most of them contented themselves with telling me that I was going to wind up dead from dethfatz anyway, so there was no point in wishing violence on me. One person said my husband was imaginary. It was unrelenting. I had to quit twitter for about a week because every time I opened it, there were asshats telling me I was going to die, or I deserved to die, or that they found me unfuckable, or whatever.

    That last one is funny, because my twitter icon isn’t me. It’s a manatee and a shark.

    People hate when you don’t do the things they think they HAVE to do to deserve love, and yet you have love in your life. I’ve been married for 20 years. My husband’s taste in women has changed with my body over time (we look at porn together, so I can see it), because he loves me and I am his type.

    The fat haters HATE that.

    Sorry, bit rambly. Thank you for this post and I’m sorry your friend has gone over to the douche side of the Force.

  1. 11
    The Reading List, 5/4/2014 » Almost Diamonds

    […] Fat shaming is ugly and body shaming of any kind is disgusting.--”Do we really need another person telling us what we should look like, weigh, how to make our hair, what to wear, who to love, what the size of our tummies should be or what size our bank account should be before we are considered entitled to be free from stigmatization or be treated as human beings deserving of dignity and respect?” […]

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