In a world that is consumed with “thin” as the ideal of both beauty and health, and where many mistakenly believe that public health should be about making fat people’s bodies the public’s business, practicing Size Acceptance and/or Health at Every Size can mean dealing with conversations that are everything from irritating to downright insulting.
Sometimes I have the time and energy to open a dialog and sometimes I don’t. Here are five phrases that I keep in my back pocket for when I want to end an inappropriate interaction quickly and move on with my day.
I’m not soliciting opinions about my [body/health/food choices etc.]
I’ve found this super useful when dealing with concern trolling of any kind. It’s not a response that people are expecting, it doesn’t take me down the road of buying into the idea that this person is owed an explanation, and it shuts down further conversation.
Random person at grocery store: Should you really be buying that ice cream?
Me: I’m not soliciting opinions about my food choices.
or if the advice is particularly bad, I might add a touch of snark:
Random person at the running track: At your size, you really shouldn’t run, it’s bad for your knees.
Me: I’m not actually soliciting bad advice from random strangers.
I can’t imagine why you would think that’s your business.
Works for concern trolling, works for inappropriate questions, works for people who are under the mistaken belief that my body is somehow their business.
Random person at random place: You would be so much prettier if you just lost a little weight.
Me: I can’t imagine why you would think that’s your business.
I have absolutely no interest in weight loss.
Great for whenever somebody assumes that I’m interested in weight loss, or that I’m doing something with weight loss as a goal. I used to add “My body is perfect as it is,” but I found that led to people concern trolling me (ie: Oh, of course you’re beautiful but I’m just worried about your health blah blah blah…) so now I just stick with the single sentence, said with finality.
Random person at a lunch event: You should try this [insert ridiculous weight loss scam here]
Me: I have absolutely no interest in weight loss.
Person at the gym: I see you here all the time, how much weight have you lost so far?
Me: I don’t weigh myself. I have absolutely no interest in weight loss.
How are your bowel movements?
I use this to respond to especially inappropriate personal questions about my body, food or exercise. When people look confused I often append it with “I thought we were asking each other inappropriate personal questions.”
Person at a restaurant: Do you need to eat that?
Me: How are your bowel movements?
Show me your list…
This one is more involved, but I have found it to be worth it. I developed it specifically for people who give a “But muh tax dollarz” defense of their weight bigotry.
Some jerk: Your body is my business because muh tax dollarz!
Me: Show me your list.
Me: I need to see the list of things your tax dollars pay for, broken down into things you do and don’t agree with, and the interventions you are involved in for everything you think makes your taxes too high. Otherwise, I’m going to assume that this is a bullshit excuse for engaging in weight bullying and this conversation is over.
Remember that each of us gets to choose how we deal with the oppression we face, sometimes that might mean opening a dialog, and sometimes that might mean ending the conversation and walking away as quickly as possible. These phrases are just more tools for toolbox.
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