Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to lose ten pounds.
I have a distinct memory of being in third grade, and wishing my knees looked as skinny as Ashley Someone.
(In third grade, I was nine years old).
Walk in to any high school lunchroom, and you're bound to hear some high school kid complain to her friends "I feel so fat". Turn on the TV, or flip through a magazine and you'll see page upon page, ads upon ads dedicated to "dropping pounds fast", "getting it off and keeping it off" or "hot bikini bods". Losing weight, being skinny- this is the perceived goal, the thing to want and need and work toward.
I think we can all agree that our society is unabashedly obsessed with weight - and further, that we are taught that skinny equals good, fat equals bad with a capitol F. But having body fat - a little or a lot or somewhere in between - doesn't make you a bad person - it doesn't change your value, and it is not a measure of a person.
And yet our culture seems to not grasp this. Celebrity moms are plastered all over the weeklies for "getting their body back" mere days after childbirth. Diet gimmicks with famous spokeswomen abound. Weight chatter is everywhere - it's impossible to avoid. The message is clear, loud and unwavering: fat = bad, and therefore fat people = bad people.
Many times the comments are less obvious, and even seem complimentary: "Wow, you look great... did you lose weight?" or "I'm so impressed you've kept the weight off!" But though those are positive messages (messages of affirmation), they still sharpen the weight focus: losing weight and being thin are good, whereas gaining weight or being fat are bad.
I think it's time to put an end to this, and while I certainly can't change the culture of a society, I can change my own attitude and the way I respond to this kind of diet-obsessed, weight-obsessed behavior and language. If you want to complain about "feeling fat", do it to someone else. I won't listen to you. From this day forward, no more bitching about the last few pounds, wishing myself thinner. It's time to embrace who we are - size twenty or twelve or two.
And the next time that someone comments on my weight (or, worse, someone else's weight to me), I won't stand for that either. We are so much more than the size of our jeans, and I won't allow anyone to make me feel otherwise.
Who's with me?