I have been a somewhat quiet observer of the body positive movement in the last year. Sure, I post things to Facebook and I’ve joined a couple of groups but I haven’t really joined the conversation because I’ve felt like I didn’t quite fit in.
Just last week I was telling a fellow blogger how much I struggled with body image over the years, but I’ve felt like I come from a pretty privileged place with my own body. Even though I’ve been working on my own issues, they still seemed superficial when I look out into the world and see people fighting actual societal discrimination for their size. I might not be skinny, but 1) I used to be and 2) I’ve never actually been all that large.
The next day I had an email from Summer Innanen in my inbox with the following message:
For those who might not know, Summer is completely radsauce and I’ve been following her blog/Facebook/podcast for awhile now. Her work has been so helpful in changing my own mindset and approach for my body. This email was an invite to a new podcast episode with Ragen Chasten, who writes Dances with Fat, which I also love.
I am sensitive to speaking from a place of privilege. I’m very aware of the places in which I have and lack privilege and I think it’s important to understand and acknowledge those places of privilege in the conversation. Having said that, in the body positive movement, I see the importance of all body types being validated, including mine – privilege and all.
The fact that I exist in a less culturally demonized body doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with my body image. It doesn’t mean I don’t question my food choices, my workout choices, my clothing choices at every turn. I still add shoulds and should nots to my choices. I attach morality to cake and carrots. And I still internalize cultural messages of shame when I see cellulite or a pimple.
I come from a place of privilege but I also struggle with body shaming (self and cultural). I still think fat is a dirty word but I’m working to unlearn that. I haven’t been the biggest girl in the room that often but I’m also the epitome of skinny doesn’t equal happy.
I’m going to try to lend my voice to the conversation and see if I can’t unlearn my bad habits and encourage others in the process.
Photo credit: Cropped image by Flickr user Howard Lake.