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UNDERSTANDING "BODY-PRIDE": Celebrate Fat But... Demonize Fit?!
The first rule of fat-pride is don't talk about attractive people. The second rule of fat-pride, is don't talk about attractive people. The third rule is demand everyone glorify your body and shame anyone who speaks critically of you. Now go get another slice of pizza and recite affirmations in the mirror as you eat it. People like you.
Welcome to the world of "fat-pride," where rolls are called "curves," and people who question your "pride" are called "fat-shamers." Also, fit people who dare to be proud of their fitness are taken out to the back and whipped with licorice and stoned with stale donuts. That's what happened two years ago to Maria Kang, who posted a photo of her hard work (body) with "What's your excuse?"
Trigger warning: super hot chick who doesn't care if you're fat and whining about it.
Eight months after giving birth, Maria tried to motivate other moms so that they too could get fit. She also wanted to showoff just how great she looked. Showing off is a major component of Facebook, so that's hardly newsworthy. But that's not how the fat-pride people saw it. Maria Kang was bullied and later temporarily banned from Facebook for the photo. Promoting health and taking pride in a smoking body=oppression and hate, apparently.
Let's juxtapose what happened to Kang with a more self-annointed ambassador of body-pride, Lena Dunham, who posted this photo to her Instagram:
Not usually one to post a paparazzi shot but this fills me with pride. Basically my whole life I have hated running and run like a wounded baby Pterodactyl. It was embarrassing and honestly I did not trust myself to escape a burning building or even move briskly towards a buffet. @jennikonner is directing the season finale of Girls and decided that as Hannah evolved so would her run, so she got me a training session with Matt Wilpers from Mile High Run Club. Within an hour I had a different relationship to this formerly torturous activity. I felt strong, swift and proud. I'm not about to embrace that triathlon life but it's a true joy to continue getting more connected to my body and its powers. (Extra motivation provided by @manrepeller for @outdoorvoices.) #moveforyourmind
A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on
What has been seen cannot be unseen. I should have issued another trigger warning. Apologies.
So, to recap: it's totes cool if Dunham posts a picture of herself in a tight outfit and takes pride in her body, but it wasn't okay for Maria Kang to post photos of herself and be proud of her body? Confusion alert. Or is it because Kang dared ask the question, "What's your excuse?" and later followed up that sentiment with this:
"We need to change this strange mentality we are breeding in the U.S. and start celebrating people who are a result of hard work, dedication and discipline."
Whoa, Kang, that's a little incendiary. Glad I put in that trigger warning at the opening of this post. Question for the Fat-Pride peeps: Is the following quotation considered "fat-shaming"?
"I am motivated by constant body (fat) acceptance campaigns strewn all over the internet followed by comments with the context of 'you go girl!' and 'more power to you!' The popular and unrelenting support received to those who are borderline obese (not just 30-40lbs overweight) frustrates me as a fitness advocate who intimately understands how poor health negatively effects a family, a community and a nation."
Look, people who work out should be given credit for working out. No problem with that. But if we're going to celebrate Lena Dunham and give her an article in ESPN about how running gives her pride, why are we not also celebrating the fit and fabulous, like Maria Kang? Why are we holding still-chubby Dunham up as role model? Dunham is trying to motivate, is she not? So why the double standard? Or is it because fat-pride feminists are the newest victim class of people immune from criticism and demanding we redefine our beauty standards, while women like Maria Kang already fit well within those beauty standards... but they really shouldn't? Hmmm.... Sugar-laden food for thought.
Therein lies the cis-gender elephant in the convention center, eating peanut butter cups and demanding you call her beautiful. Celebrate fat, demonize thin and fit. Got it.