I’ve been reading Sandra Solovay’s book Tipping the Scales of Justice; and the recurrent theme is how the prejudice and discrimination fatties face every day is insidious – that’s the perfect word for it. Even if you don’t acknowledge all the crap you’ve put up with in your fat life, it still has an effect. It undermines self-esteem. The power to hurt goes on much longer than we might realize.
So even if you can’t change society and the rampant fatphobia, how do you fight its effects? I guess the first step is, as any problem solving lesson will tell you – identify the problem. Acknowledge it. It’s real.
Then, I think the second step, and this is the hard one, is making sure that you are not compounding the problem by buying into what the world tells fatties. Constantly question your negative assumptions about yourself – nobody is perfect, so some will be correct; but some will just be you replaying the misinformation you have picked up from others. And those are the internal messages we have to constantly be on guard against.
I know this is a recurring theme with me; probably because it is a recurring problem for me. I often think I got through most of my life as a fatty (reasonably) unscathed; and then I will hear or read something and realize, OMG, I’ve been there, I’ve felt that, and it left a mark on me.
The hardest thing is to be as kind to yourself as you are to others; but you’re worth it.