Friday, October 18, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

My first legitimate college paper for my first history class was done via my first academic all-nighter in the lounge outside my first dorm room and I ate nearly an entire package of Oreos by myself. I was also pretty damn sure I was going to fail my upcoming Chem 110 exam, and then there was also exploratory abdominal surgery to look forward to over winter break.

Good news was that I didn't fail my exam, surgery went fine, and I later went on to graduate with a BA in chemistry.

During my sophomore year I wrote a blog post titled Definition. In that moment I not only felt beautiful, but looked it. At least to me. As someone who had played over a decade of competitive sports having a positive body image was, sometimes, difficult to manifest. I later read this same post aloud in front of a room full of my peers - while wearing that same flannel shirt - during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I did some tabling for NEDAW, too, as one of my good friends used to have an eating disorder. All of those involved worked hard that week putting up sticky notes with positive messages on bathroom mirrors, showing how out of proportion a life-size Barbie is, having an open mic night, and much, much more.

The bottom line is that women, men, people in general come in all sizes and shapes. There are those who fight constantly to look in the mirror and find one good thing in a sea of negativity.

Which makes it frustrating beyond words when Fat Shaming Week actually becomes a thing.

I'd like to be kidding. Unfortunately, I'm not.

To the men at Return of Kings fat shaming is not only acceptable, but something that must be done. In a recent post about the success of their week, cultural blogger and RoK creator Roosh writes: "Fat shaming is less about bullying individual fat people than reaffirming the fact that obesity culture is not okay in America, and attempts to brainwash people of that fiction must be immediately be destroyed with logic, science, and schoolyard insults."

It's things like this that not only make me lose a little more faith in humanity, but also drive home the importance of To Write Love on Her Arms, NEDAW, and other social movements.

As a woman and a person, I wasn't put on this Earth to be someone's object. My body is my own and, like one of my recent Twitter updates - found here - it has been to hell and back in the past two months. If a man isn't as fond of my wide hips and love handles as I am, that's fine. Nobody wears my skin but me, which is why there's absolutely no justification for anyone to make me feel ashamed of it.

RoK wants to change the cultural mindset of America. My advice is to start with their own.

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"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz