I feel like educating women about the reality of sizeism and beauty is like the matrix.
We have all been brought up so WARPED regarding what is and what is not beautiful in this world. For someone who then conforms to it to hear it ripped apart? Not so easy. I think it might even be easier for us fatties, because we're essentially brought up being told that we WEREN'T beautiful.
A little backtracking: I went through high school wearing some make-up. Probably not as much as other girls, but I did make sure to wear mascara every day, because I'm blond--and when it's not on, I don't have eyelashes. For a while, I thought it was just great to put mascara on...until I had to remove it at night. I remember looking at my face in the mirror and thinking, "Oh my God, where did my eyes go? I look so terrible!" That little nagging voice got progressively louder through the 4 years, and I became very uncomfortable putting make-up on in the first place. I dreaded how I'd feel after the high of feeling glamorous and sexy.
So, when I started college, I just gave it up. I've been blessed with a pretty good complexion, so make-up wasn't about neutralizing for me--it was about enhancing. And I stopped! Without much of an issue.
My roommate and close friend is. A. KNOCKOUT. She is the one that passes hordes of men and they ALL turn to stare. She is exotic, beautiful, confident, and a complete and utter mensch. I love her with every cell in my body. That first year of college, I realized that she spent at least an hour every day getting ready by doing her hair and putting on makeup.
"Andrea," I said, "What in the world are you doing that for? You look incredible!"
Of course, cue her eye rolls and countless criticisms to herself in the mirror. This woman TRULY does not see herself fit to leave the house unless she's painted. No joke. (And she looks better without.)
"But Dre!" I say, "Don't you understand that you're just told that you need makeup to look pretty as a convention created to subjugate women in this horrendous society that treats us as though we're just playtoys to sit and look pretty and impress and pick up men you look fabulous completely naturally shirk off the cloak of chauvinism and declare your womanhood!"
*cue glassy stare*
She was kinda speechless for a moment, and I could have SWORN that something reached her, but the next minute she was fighting me to get back to her well-lit mirror.
My second attempt to indoctrinate someone into our ways...I feel a little better about. :)
I'm working with an adorable, adorable lady who plays opposite me in the show I'm currently working on. She is tiny and spastic, like a chipmunk, and she is sweet as pie. She mentioned sullenly to the cast the other night that she "used to be a size 14" (and I'm sure, fatties, we can all imagine the tone in her voice). Oh, if my filters had been off! Sadly, it was neither the time nor the place, and I squeezed by with what sounded like a growling cat.
Last night, little Katherine comes up to me in costume (we're in sexy pirate dresses, and we are ALL knockouts, FTW) and she says, "Does this make me look....ah.....bigger? Wider?" (I have a feeling she was dancing around it because I'm the only fatty in the cast, holding at about a 16/18)
As the words of Kate and The Rotund and Joy were about to shriek forth from my lungs, something said HOLD IT! This is your chance to not overwhelm her and maybe lead her in!
So I said, "No, Katherine, you don't look bigger. You do look fantastic."
She replied, "I just feel like...I don't know. I've put on a lot of weight recently. I just don't understand it."
Choosing my words carefully, I tested the waters.
"Well...I think you look great. And if your body's putting on weight, there's probably a very good reason for it. Our bodies are smarter than we realize, ya know?"
"Yeah," she said, "You're right."
Wait, someone acknowledged that?! That there might be a GOOD reason to gain weight?!?!? EUREKA!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was thrilled with her openness and non fat-hatred, and continued, saying, "You know, just treat your body respectfully and don't worry about it. You look wonderful, and there's no reason to change anything about what you're doing."
She looked genuinely pleased, and I was THRILLED. I long to, day after day, accost people and say SHATTER YOUR PERCEPTIONS! But I know they're not ready for that. There is no spoon, know what I mean? What have your experiences been opening friends to the epiphany that is FA & HAES?
By the way, I first began my metamorphosis towards FA after a 4-month-long crash diet. It was called "EAT TO LIVE," and I know there are already some people who have done this one. It's basically a raw foods diet, with just fruit and veg. In that vein, it was really excellent--but being deprived of everything else was restricting and depressing--for real. After 2 months and my boyfriend having said that I wasn't the same, I googled veganism + depression. Lo and behold, hit after hit surfaced linking the two due to low animal-derived B vitamins. I gradually worked animal foods back into my diet.
Amazingly, I'd only lost 20 pounds after ***4 months*** of eating like a bunny, essentially. I was confused and upset and cranky. After getting off the diet for my mental health, the weight came back (and then some), and fast. I began to feel like, if THAT couldn't even change my body, then it was becoming pretty friggin' clear that I was MEANT TO BE FAT. I had been since childhood, I was even when eating kale and doing high-octane, hour-long workouts per day, and I still was when I wasn't doing all that.
I mulled that idea over for a couple years, and it made me a bit more comfy in my own skin. I found this haven of a community in December, maybe, after having seen Ms. Nash's "Fat Rant" on YouTube and pointing and screaming, "YES! Other people actually feel this way?!" Visiting her site took me to the Fatosphere, and, well, you know.
Anyway, that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. ;)