Why Women Of All Body Sizes Should Care About Weight Discrimination
Should thin women be appalled by weight discrimination? Um, absolutely. But maybe not for the reasons health coach Isabel Foxen Duke lays out. In a piece at HuffPost Women , Duke attempts to explain why people of all sizes "should care about fat activism." In doing so, however, she belies some deeply offensive ideas about skinny people.
"You — the 'thin' woman — are also a victim of fat discrimination," Duke writes. "Remember that time you didn't want to have sex with the lights on? The unending roller coaster you've been on with food since 7th grade? The desperate fear of being fat, and endless chase of 'thinness' to no end? The painful binge-eating that seems to follow every 'diet fail,' and the subsequent self-loathing that follows?"
Ummm...nope. I do not recall those things. As someone who's been thin her whole life, I can tell you that this does not reflect my experiences at all. I eat a certain way because I care about my health, but I'm not terribly strict about it. I haven't counted calories for nearly a decade. I don't diet. I don't desperately fear becoming fat. And I find it pretty annoying that Duke ascribes all these weird things to people with my body type.
Look, I get where Duke is going. She wants to show how the same negative, fat-shaming messages that affect larger women can also affect smaller women. She wants to show that body positivity and "fat acceptance" are for everyone. But in trying to combat stereotypes about the overweight, she trots out a bunch of stereotypes about the skinny. Again and again, she portrays thin women as hyper-vigilant diet nuts who obsess over weight gain and constantly feel deprived.
As a feminist, I want women to be judged more for the content of their brains and hearts than the size of their jeans and breasts. That's still not the case. And this alone is all the reason I need to support size acceptance and body positivity. This alone should be enough to make women of all sizes care about weight discrimination, whether it personally affects them or not.