I have not been reading blogs or blogging for very long. I only recently found some blogs I really enjoy. I have to say the one I enjoy the most is Dances with Fat. The author, Ragen, points out the problems with certain elements in our society that have always bothered me, but I could never figure out how to express. Ragen put words to phenomena that I couldn’t on my own: fat bigotry, thin privilege, and the lack of evidence-based medicine. Ragen may not be the first person out there to point these things out, but her blog was the first place I read them. Dances with Fat is a fabulous read for me not just because Ragen is witty, respectful, knowledgable, and fearless when it comes to standing up for what she believes in, but because for the first time I found out that I was not imagining things.
When I tried to express these phenomena as I experienced them in my own life or observed them happening to other people, people disagreed with me, told me I was plain wrong, or just didn’t get what I was talking about. No one seemed to get it so I felt like I was the only person who noticed these things and stopped trying to make a connection with others about them. But it is the sad reality that people with extra weight on their bodies, regardless of their health status, get unjustly judged, shamed, and bullied into striving to fit society’s idea of what they should look like. Our society has a truly ass backwards obession with low body fat and a mega problem with social stigma against people who don’t have low body fat.
When I go to the doctor’s office I always feel like my body fat is the only thing the doctor sees despite that fact that I have zero health complaints to discuss. I taught fitness classes for 8 years and worked in a weightroom for just as long. I took a personal trainers course and work out regularly. I strength train so the number on the scale is also higher because of the muscle I build, but I have found that because my muscle is not easliy visible people seem to the make the assumption that my weight is all fat and that I am some how not healthy as a result. I was stronger than most of the other female staff at the gym I worked at, yet when I showed up to teach a fitness class new comers would not believe I was the instructor until I began the class. When this happened, I always made a point of running the participants into the ground just to make sure they learned their lesson about judging me by my cover. A fitness instructor doesn’t need to have a countable six pack inorder to know how to exercise and lead or to be fit and strong.
There is a big fat (wow I’m hilarious) double standard floating round when it comes to thin versus fat people.