I finished this book recently. It was hard to get through. The author’s emphasis on her self-loathing attitude really bothered me; politically, I oppose her message, and yet personally, I can identify with it. With her.
It is exhausting feeling like a hypocritical fat activist. Shame is exhausting. Feeling like a performer, a fraud, is exhausting. There is no room for political fat folks to be human, to have feelings, to have bad days. It is no wonder why fat people avoid talking about things like eating disorders, fitness, or concepts of health – doing so has the potential to undo so much hard work that fat people invest in in order to receive love and respect from their families, friends, and communities.
Fat people take on this hard work to receive things that everyone deserves by nature, yet few receive for free. If we talk openly about these complexities, we risk making invisible the work fat folks and their allies have done to show how fatphobia in the medical, health, and fitness industries, perpetuates false concepts that ultimately harm everyone. We would be fuelling a fire that has flames much higher and deeper than our own. We would be working against ourselves while trying to help or be kind to ourselves.
Besides, even if we start talking about these things, even if we acknowledge these realities and feelings, what if our bodies don’t change? What a lonely life and future that would be. What a lonely feeling it is to hate your body. The feeling of double-consciousness when I read about fat folks who want to lose weight (are you doing it for yourself? Or for others?) is political. And it is personal.
I wish there was room for both.