Originally published here.
As a fat pagan woman, I have been following many of the various discussions on Pagans and obesity (or fat pagans) with interest. I wasn’t going to chime in, but I did – on Z’s show and a few comments.
But now is the time; I am making a point: mind your own fat business!
Probably the most common argument I’ve seen for stepping in when a pagan sees another pagan who is fat is this: “When harm is being done, it is my spiritual/religious duty to step up.”
Ok, I immediately went to abortion rights on that one.
That’s right, I’m saying that that excuse is used for Christians (and others) imposing their values, beliefs and opinions upon the masses, regardless of their own personal beliefs, regardless of circumstances.
I’m gonna say it… proselytizing.
You want to impose your own sense of what is right and wrong for me and my body? I hear there is an opening in the Westboro Baptist Church.
I would argue that most Pagans would consider it MORE in line with their beliefs that, with only the most extreme exceptions, it’s our job to TRUST each other to do what is right for ourselves and the rest of the world.
Yeah, I brought out the T-word.
You should trust me that I am a reasonably intelligent human being with complexities that you prolly don’t understand.
You should trust me that I have the same googling capability that you have, and that I am either as informed as you are or have CHOSEN to remain ignorant.
You should trust me that if I WANT to get better, I will do what I can to do so, and if I don’t, there is NOTHING that you poking your nose in will do to change that.
You should trust that I am a “grown-ass woman” with decision-making capability and that, whether you are talking about the layer of fatty tissue under my epidermis or the reproductive organs in my lower abdomen, MY BODY = MY CHOICE still applies.
I don’t understand how being nosy or pushy is the way you show you care. Personal responsibility is just that: personal AND a responsibility. It is mine to make or break. My body to use or abuse, to trash or treasure.
On a similar note, it came to my attention that an Olympic swimming contender was called “fat.” Let me clarify: This woman swims. She swims often and she swims fast. She does so to the point that she beat out most of an entire country (Australia) to qualify for the Olympics, an honor most people I know have never even APPROACHED. She has won EIGHT medals during the last 12 years. “Together with Emily Seebohm, Alicia Coutts and Melanie Schlanger, she won a silver medal for Australia in the 4 × 100 m medley relay.” Oh, wait. That makes NINE medals. How many have YOU won?
She’s now 26 and has grown a bit of a pooch. To quote, “The question that comes up is: Does it matter? Is it the media’s place to question the fitness of an athlete who has already proved herself by making the team in the first place?” Exactly. She’s done 4 Olympics and 9 medals more than pretty much any journalist, blogger or commentator who has decided to judge her body (in an unforgiving and less then flattering swimsuit, no less).
To those who did judge her, go win a frickin’ Olympic medal and then you MIGHT get to say something. Otherwise, SHUT UP.UPDATE: This was in my YahooNews feed today. The epic quote? Here: “The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF), a UK charity aiming to get more women into sport to build self-esteem and confidence, said only 12 percent of British girls at age 14 were doing enough exercise to meet recommended guidelines. WSFF Chief Executive Sue Tibballs said their research found negative body image was consistently cited as a barrier for girls participating in exercise as popular culture gave out the message it was more important to be thin than fit.” (Emphasis, mine.)