As fat people, we are constantly being told that everyone is a better witness to our experience than we are. We are told that we’re not competent witnesses to what and how much we do or should eat, or how much we do or should exercise. Our bodies are held up as proof that we must be lying or deluded and that we can’t possibly know, or be doing, what’s “best for us”. We are told that everyone from Dr. Phil to Dr. Oz to random people on the internet know more about how we think and act than we do. Some people even act like they’re doing us a favor by pretending to be us and putting words in our mouths.
When we tell people that constant social stigma is damaging to our health, we are told that if we don’t want to be mistreated we should become thin. Doctors tell us to eat less and exercise more without asking us what we eat or how much we exercise, and people call us liars if who we are doesn’t meet their stereotypes of us, and call us delusional if we refuse to hate ourselves. We are told that if we don’t accept someone else’s account of how we think, eat, and exercise, then we’re “in denial”. It’s a system designed to make us powerless. They tell the world who we are and what we do and how we think (often in ways that profit them), and if we disagree they call us liars.
So if you start to question yourself, to wonder if Dr. Oz really is a better witness to your experience than you are, then I implore you to stop and think. You are not wrong, it is not you. It’s a system set up to make you feel that you are not the most credible witness to your own experience. It’s wrong, it’s oppressive, and we don’t have to buy into it. The next time somebody feels like they need to tell you “something you don’t know” about being you – your body, lifestyle, behaviors, or health – feel free to tell them (outloud or in your mind) that it’s not you, it’s them; that you know everything you need to know about being you, and when you want their opinion they will be among the very first to know. You are the best most credible witness to your experience. When it comes to you, you can allow for the possibility that you know you best.
Like this blog? Here’s more cool stuff:
Like my work? Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. Click here for details
Buy the book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
Book Me! I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!
Dance Classes: Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details
I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com
A movie about my time as a dancer is in active development (casting, finding investors etc.). Follow the progress on Facebook!