If I see one more freaking meme that says: “Wear the bikini!” “Eat the cake!” “Wear the shorts!”
All of which are directed at larger women, all of which are supposedly encouraging and supportive, and ALL of which are actually extremely condescending. [To clarify who this is directed to, I would describe a “moderately sized” person as someone who can routinely grab a size without an “X” in it. For ladies, I would guess that this is from about a 10 to a 14. For men, the range I’m sure would be wider.]
Of course, I’m not the sole spokesperson for big people, but this is how those memes make me feel:
#1 “Wear the bikini!”
The last time I wore anything close to resembling a bikini, it was in maybe second grade and it was one of those French cut things, remember those? Well, I didn’t like it. I don’t like the feeling of cold water splashing on my belly and back, and the thought of having another cubic foot to have to slather sunscreen on sounds like a royal pain in the ass. Besides this, no offense (although, I’m not making any memes about it) I don’t really like the way most bikinis look. I’m confused at some styles that honestly look like underwear and don’t seem suitable (ha!) for swimming. My distaste for wearing one has nothing to do with my size, and if it did, I don’t need you to tell me that it’s ok to wear one, thanks. There are mirrors everywhere and I trust them far more than your opinion. Which, I promise, in my case – on the subject of bikinis – I did NOT ask for.
#2 “Eat the Cake!”
This is the most backward one, so I sandwiched (ha, again!) it in here between the others.
First of all, and if you take nothing else from this post, please take this: Please, thin and moderate-sized people, please stop thinking that you have a RIGHT to comment on heavy people’s food choices GOOD or BAD, just because they are heavy! I have struggled with weight my entire life, I am heavy now, have been much heavier than I am now, and have been moderately sized, and no matter what size I am, I enjoy healthy foods. I am so very tired of people thinking that they are complimenting me by commenting on my healthy food choices when what they are doing is belittling and condescending. They will sometimes use this as a segue into what else I “am allowed” to eat. “Oh, you ate all those vegetables, you have earned a piece of cake.” As a matter of fact, I don’t like cake. Shocking, I know – the fat girl doesn’t like cake, but I don’t, and guess what – I didn’t earn anything for you! I make my food choices for myself. Think about this for a second. You may think this is casual, idle chit-chat, you probably think you’re being supportive. I don’t want cake, if I wanted it, I would eat it. Do you tell thin people to eat cake? No? Then why is it ok to tell me?
#3 “Wear the shorts!”
This one is probably the most common, and it gives me the biggest chuckle. I do have fat legs, partly due to a weird medical condition that existed even when I was moderately sized, so they are very cellulite-y. But that’s not why I don’t wear shorts, LOL!!! I don’t care that they look gloppy and weird! That’s kind of a “your problem” thing, not a “my problem” thing. No, it’s because the size and position of my legs give me a heinous “chub rub” if I wear shorts unless I wear compression shorts underneath. And since the style of wearing biking shorts under your shorts A. was for men and B. went out with Milli Vanilli, I just “wear the skirt!” or dress with compression shorts underneath instead. You can probably see less of my legs incidentally, but I don’t care either way. And, once again, not for YOU to grant me permission to not look good.
I do also get that the point of these supposedly supportive quotes is supposed to be to live in the moment, to not waste a second, to enjoy life! For so long, civilization has implied that there is something wrong with people who are larger than the rest – they must overindulge. Media, medicine, and even education have all placed the entirety of the blame for obesity on the shoulders of the obese. Even as we learn that genetics, poor nutrition, and hormones play a key role – the general population still feels like it’s something we’re doing to ourselves – and is trying to make us feel better by making themselves feel better. Telling us it’s ok to be among them, and do the things they do.
You may have seen these, may even have shared them, thinking they were sending a great message. You may continue to do so, and no hard feelings. Me feeling this way basically prevents me from confirming with any other big people if they feel the same way, so it may be just me. I just ask that you think before you share or speak.