I talk a lot on this blog about the overt sizeism that we deal with – whether it’s online bullies, in person egg-throwers they can be the easiest to see. Even for those at the beginning of their Size Acceptance journey these people can be the low-hanging fruit in the “this person is fucked up and I’m fine” category.
But there is a type of sizeism that is more insidious and often more difficult to deal with – that’s when people who are well meaning, well-intentioned, and even fully believe that they are being body positive are, in fact, spouting absolute sizeist nonsense. Here are some options for dealing with this:
Get your mantra on
As regular readers know, my mantra is “Hey, that’s bullshit!” other people use “nope, nope, nope” and “lies!” You use what works for you, but having a mantra that you use when you encounter sizeist, diet, and other bullshit can really help you from even starting to internalize this. Bonus – the more you use it, the more of a reflex it can become.
Put the problem where it belongs
Remember that even though you may be forced to listen to this (depending on where you are and how possible it is for you to get the hell away) and thus it becomes your problem, it is not your fault. The person yammering on is the problem, you are not.
Find a friend
If you are in a group, making eye-contact with someone you know will understand what’s going on can help reinforce that nonsense is afoot and that you do not have to buy into it.
Remind yourself that they are on a journey
Often (but not always) there was a time in my life when I believed the same things that this person was saying- there was a time when I did think that my body would be better if it was smaller, there was a time when I did confuse size and health. There was a time before I did my own research when I bought the diet industry message hook, line, and points calculator. I will say that I find that this option is easier if the person isn’t trying to pass themselves off as body positive.
There are lots of options here and they’ll depend on the situation, what the person is saying, and what you feel like doing:
- I absolutely disagree with what you are saying [for these reasons]
- I need to interrupt – what you are saying is offensive and sizeist, please stop
- I’m sure you’re well meaning, but the evidence doesn’t back up what you are saying, I’d be happy to send you some information about it
- I used to think that to, I’ve since learned that it’s not actually body positive/fat positive/appropriate in this space to say [whatever nonsense they said]
- I’m excited about a world where we can celebrate bodies of all sizes
- I wish we lived in a world where people didn’t confuse size with health
Snarky (not necessarily recommended, but fun to think about)
- I thought this was a body positive space – is today opposite day
- I’m sorry, I must have misheard, surely you didn’t say [whatever nonsense they said] in a fat positive space?
Regardless, remember that just because someone has good intentions, that doesn’t mean that you have to buy into what they are saying, or let it go by without response.
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