Tuesday, March 15, 2016

#ThisBody and Beyond

Last week I finally had a post on my Facebook page go semi-viral, which was pretty exciting after posting stuff on there faithfully for over three years. By semi-viral, I mean that the post got over 11K views (and still counting), over 600 likes, hundreds of shares and over a hundred comments. That's a lot for a page with only 1500 fans. Fortunately for me, it's resulted in several likes to my page as well as sales of my body positive novel Fat Girl. That makes some of the nasty comments I received a little easier to handle.

The post was regarding the #ThisBody campaign by Lane Bryant and their recent television ad that was rejected by networks: https://www.facebook.com/GreenCastles/posts/1045033795539590

While there is much I'd like to say to those who commented negatively, especially the blatant fat-shamers, in the interest of time (and my attention span) I'm only going to address two groups of people in this blog:

1. To the Men Who Commented

It's not that your opinion doesn't matter to someone, it's just that it doesn't matter to ME. Right at the top of my page, there is a banner that says K.L. Montgomery, Author of Women's Fiction. Did you see that W word? That's not you. That means perhaps you should find something better to do than troll my page with your bigoted and hateful comments. Although you made it very clear that you don't find me attractive, any of the Lane Bryant models attractive, nor anyone else you deem "obese" or "overweight" attractive, I am willing to bet that you're not all that aesthetically pleasing yourselves. I'm also pretty certain that you're not very happy people. If you were, you likely wouldn't be harassing women on a women's fiction author's Facebook page. Happy people don't need to disparage complete strangers. They have better, happier things to do.

By the way, for every man who is physically repulsed by fat women, I can find you another who either doesn't judge a woman's beauty by her weight OR who are especially attracted to women carrying more weight. That's right. Some men prefer fat women. 

2. To People Who Played the "Unhealthy" Card

Another group of commenters that intersected with men were the ones who say the Lane Bryant ad campaign glorifies an unhealthy lifestyle. Or that obesity is an epidemic and we should be very afraid of promoting it with this kind of advertising.

First off, I really doubt anyone who sees this ad is going to think, "Wow, I'm so skinny! I think I'll work on gaining some weight so I can be plus-sized like those models at Lane Bryant." And even if they did, who cares? How does that hurt you?

Secondly, I said this approximately a zillion times in replies to commenters already, but it bears repeating (and shouting from the rooftops): YOU CANNOT DETERMINE SOMEONE'S HEALTH BY THEIR SIZE. For example, I think Ashley Graham looks incredibly healthy, (she's one of the models in the ad, look her up. I think she's gorgeous!), but you can't really tell by looking at her. Last time I checked, I'm not a doctor, and I don't have Ashley Graham's chart in front of me. I've never run blood tests on her or medically examined her, so I really don't have any business commenting on her health. Just like YOU don't have any business commenting on mine. By the way, at a size 18, I have low blood pressure, perfect blood sugar, and perfect cholesterol. I haven't been to the doctor (other than for two minor injuries) for over a year.

Furthermore, if you think underweight, emaciated models are better examples of healthy lifestyles, I beg to differ.

People play the Unhealthy Card to cover up the fact that they're fat-phobic or fat-haters. I get it, Fat People do not speak to your personal aesthetic of beauty. Fine. But don't try to say it's because you're concerned about their health. You're not. I don't see you on cancer patients' posts telling them they're ugly, but you're concerned about their health. I don't see you saying that ads directed to cancer patients glorify an unhealthy lifestyle. Guess what, the Lane Bryant ad is not directed to YOU. It's directed to my size 18 (admittedly fat) ass.

By your logic, we can't find beauty in anyone with a health issue. So cancer patients, or diabetics, or those with heart issues are not worthy of feeling attractive or beautiful either. Oh, man, I hope I don't come down with a cold. That isn't healthy and therefore isn't pretty. It sounds completely ridiculous, doesn't it?

Also by your logic, we shouldn't have to see any advertisements that contradict our aesthetic ideals. Don't like blondes? You shouldn't have to be subjected to pro-blonde advertisements. Don't like older women? Heaven forbid they show up in a commercial. Think bald men are revolting? How about freckles? Then they're definitely not worthy of air-time. If we filled our media with models and actors that every single person deemed attractive, then guess what? We'd have NO humans on televisions or movies or the internet.

Fortunately, there are people who love blondes, and older women, and bald men and people with freckles. There are people who ARE blondes, older women, bald men, and people with freckles. And all those people should see representations of what they love and who they are in the media. By that same token, there are fat people and people who love them. We get our day in the sun too. We won't be ostracized or made to feel like we are lesser human beings just because we carry more weight.

Bottom line: Lane Bryant selling clothing to women who wear a size 14 or greater has nothing to do with health or beauty. It has everything to do with the fact that women exist on this planet who wear those sizes, and they need clothes. Women who are short and tall, young and old, healthy and unhealthy wear those sizes and shop for clothes. I'm sure you don't want us walking around naked (the horror!)  If you think we're not deserving of clothes that make us feel good about ourselves or that we shouldn't be seen in the media or in public, then perhaps you need to examine whether or not someone full of hate, judgement, and bitterness needs to be seen in public.

I'm going to end this by saying one thing. Everyone is worthy of love. It doesn't matter your race, age, gender, nationality, education level, socio-economic status, political viewpoint, religion or size. Everyone is worthy of love. Even you, rude and heartless commenters on my post. Even you.