Friday, August 15, 2014

Stuck in the Middle

Within the past week, I have been on opposite sides of the FA/HAES world.  I was able to interact personally in one incident, and decided to remain outside of the second.  It was an interesting firsthand experience with 1) thin privilege and 2) exercise hatred.

First was the positive experience.  While hiking with my college chums last weekend, while they were talking about their favorite forms of activism, I spoke up about the activism that I'm interested in, which is combating sizeism.  The first comment of one friend was along the lines of, "Well, fat people are okay as long as they're not unhealthily obese, and they should all work to lose weight."  After a few teaching moments on my part, on the issues of size acceptance and HAES, and because this friend has the capacity for rational thought, she realized that her initial statement was a knee-jerk reaction based on her life experiences, so she took it back and was understanding of why I feel the need for activism on this subject.

Second was a more negative experience.  On an online FA forum, a woman wrote in about a friend/cousin/someone, a dancer and frequent exerciser, who had fallen and done some damage to her low back, including a broken L5 vertebra.  Her doctor had said something along the lines of, "Good thing you've been exercising, because the damage could have been worse."  The responses within the forum were 99% in the vein of, "My fat gives me extra padding from falls.  Maybe if she hadn't been breaking down her body with so much exercise, she wouldn't have been hurt so badly."  Needless to say, as someone who both loves to exercise and has suffered from back problems over half her lifetime, this response upset me.  I know for a fact that I have recovered from minor back injuries faster and have had fewer problems and less pain because I have strengthened my back.  But I'm afraid to write in and have my opinion discounted because of my thin privilege.

It's just interesting to see the herd mentality on both sides.

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