I hate the word "health". As soon as someone starts talking about doing this or that for health reasons, I wanna Hulk smash the world. Especially if they're telling me what I should do for my health.
As a fat person, people seem to want to 'help' me with my health all the time. And it fills me with rage.
Why? Why would I be so angry about the word health?
Let's see. Maybe it's because people have used their ideas of health to demean me my whole life? To stigmatize and punish me. Maybe that's why.
The same behavior that in a thin, white teenage girl would be immediately recognized as an eating disorder is just normal behavior for everyone else, you see. You don't have to hide ED when you're fat. People will encourage you to eat even less. Wow. What a success story, girl who manages to live on less than 1000 calories a day and exercise for hours and hours. Here's some diet pills. Keep going.
The part of my brain that has ED, I think of it as just being broken. It's broken, and it tries to get me to hurt myself. I have to build walls around it, that part of my brain that I can't fix and I can't change. I can't go back and undo the abuse and the 'kind' concern to stigmatize a fat little girl-- all the things that gave me an eating disorder in the first place.
It started when I was a little kid and my mother told the pediatrician that I has food allergies. "Well, they must be working in reverse, because your daughter is FAT!" He couldn't stop chuckling at his little joke, and I don't remember my mother saying anything.
Almost every single doctor or nurse I have ever seen in my life has had some fucked up bullshit to say to me about my weight. I tell the doctor I hurt my knee in a car accident-- he tells me to lose weight. I tell the doctor my birth control is giving me panic attacks, and she dismisses my concerns and says maybe I wouldn't get panic attacks if I just lost some weight. The doctor asks me if I eat junk food all the time and calls me a liar when I say no, because I'm "SO FAT" that I must eat McDonalds for every meal. The physical therapist who listens to me say I hurt my back playing soccer and then suggests I lose weight.
Doctors never believe me. And why should they? No one else does. People don't mind making all sorts of comments about what I eat. They're surprised, you see, that I eat what they consider 'healthy' foods, because someone as fat as I am should be eating 3 or 4 full size bags of Doritos every day, or whatever they fuck they think when they're judging me.
I hate to break it to you, world, but weight doesn't equal health. And here's another shocking thought-- no one owes it to you to conform to what you have decided is healthy. Some people can't do those things. And some people don't want to, or don't have time, or whatever their lives look like.
Everyone deserves the same dignity and consideration, even if we think they're unhealthy. I am fat, and I have a panic disorder and an eating disorder. As a society, we have decided that the panic disorder is ok (kind of) because it's "not my fault", but the ED isn't real because I'm not thin and the fatness is definitely my fault, so since I'm at fault, I get to be punished by society.
Never mind that 95% percent of people who diet will gain the weight back, usually plus some, and that gaining and losing weight on the regular (weight cycling) is known to be very bad for your heart. Never mind that we don't know how much of the bad health outcomes of fat people can be put down to people being afraid to go to the doctor and the constant stress of living in a world that hates your body and wants to force you to disappear.
We live in a world where anyone on a diet is encouraged to comment (at fucking length) on their weight loss and hoped-for weight loss and their exercise routines, so much so that if you find that kind of talk triggering, it is nearly impossible to get away from.
Fat activists, who have the radical idea that fat people are PEOPLE and should be treated as such, are accused of promoting obesity. While any dudebro with an internet connection can insult a fat person and then turn around and claim it's for our "health".
Fat stigma isn't just when someone calls me a fat bitch. Fat stigma is where I can't go about my life without fear that some rando is going to try to "help" me by talking at me about my health. Fat stigma is making fat people pay more for insurance, even though there is no evidence that being fat costs health providers any more money. Fat stigma is that I have to buy all my clothes on the internet because I can't find any in real life. Fat stigma is the partners of fat people being made fun of, sometimes to the point where they would rather keep the relationship a secret or end it.
And on and on and on.
Let's not pretend this is about health. There is a group of people society has chosen to demonize, and that's on society. Don't pretend it's for my own good. Everyone is sooo concerned about the physical health of fat people, but no one gives a DAMN about their mental health.
Also, let's be clear. I reject the idea of cutting anyone out of the health care system. I support socialized, single payer health care. I think health care is a human right- for everyone. This includes smokers, fat people, drug addicts, or anyone else that people think have made choices that should exclude them from health care. No one should be excluded from health care, no matter what they do. That should one of the very basic principles of a functioning and compassionate society.
But Jeebus Christ, if that's the paradigm you're going to use to decide who gets health care-- whoever costs the most-- then I guess we're cutting off all the athletes. Cause no one gets injured more than athletes. And hey-- no one made you ski down that mountain and break your leg. No one made you run that marathon. That was YOUR choice. No health coverage for you.
Or hey, maybe we can cut off anyone who gets an STD. No health coverage for you! That was your choice.
No health coverage for pregnancy or birth! YOU decided to get pregnant!
Fat hatred is just in the air, so internalized that most people never even question it.
But please, come at me with your fake concern about my health. Because that's so very valid.