“I mean it’s true I’m a big lady, but being big shouldn’t be a reason to treat me like crap.”
“Yes, I had a second piece of pie, but nobody asked him to be my food police.”
“Sure, they weren’t the most fashionable workout clothes but I was focused on my workout, I didn’t ask her to comment on my outfit.”
There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these, and people get to to deal with inappropriate behavior that is directed at them anyway that they want. This is not a criticism, just another option, which is that we don’t apologize for ourselves when the problem is actually someone else’s behavior.
Fat people are constantly told that we are wrong just for existing in fat bodies, it’s not a surprise if we start to internalize that. I think that an incredibly powerful form of fat activism is to not apologize in any way for being fat, for doing things that are considered “bad” because we are fat (like eating, existing outside our homes in non-approved non-slimming clothing, exercising without the blinds closed in our own homes etc.). When people behave inappropriately toward us, we have the option to point out their bad behavior with no apology for our existence in a fat body.
We may not yet be able to convince everyone that shaming, bullying, stigmatizing and oppressing fat people is wrong, but we can be sure of it ourselves and we can vocalize that with authority. When someone says something inappropriate, we can respond with certainty and resist, with conviction, the urge to apologize in any way. There are some options below, you can use these to end conversations or to start them. As always it’s entirely up to you:
“Wow are you out of line.”
“I can’t imagine what would make you think that was an appropriate thing to say.”
“Nobody asked you to be my food police”
“What I eat is absolutely none of your business.”
“If you’re going to treat me that way, then we simply can’t be friends.”
“What I’m wearing is not your concern.”
“Honestly, I’m kind of shocked you would think that was ok to say.”
“[Your behavior] is completely inappropriate.”
Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments. In the meantime try it, and you too may experience the joy of not apologizing.
EDIT: One reader asked how to respond when people say that our body size/health/behavior is their business because it costs them tax dollars. My thoughts on that can be found right here!
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