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My Open Letter To #FatShamingWeek

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My Open Letter To #FatShamingWeek

Rachel Estapa

Permission - FatShamingWeek

Permission - FatShamingWeek I'm breaking my wedding-related vacation to write this post because you all need to be aware of something going on in the body-positive and fat-acceptance movement.

Please do not click any out-going links until after you've read the whole piece, k? 

Fat Shaming Week is in full swing, initiated by a website called Return Of Kings run by a notably misogynistic author known as Roosh. Across social media, mainly Twitter, the hashtag #FatShamingWeek has been launching attacks on overweight women and men in an attempt to insult, demoralized and counter the efforts of the plus-size, fat acceptance, body-positive community.

I wanted to chime in with my opinion of this social experiment and help others better understand what is really going on here.

The body-positive, self-acceptance movement we've been seeing grow the past 5 years is here to stay. More and more women, men, communities and media outlets are beginning to expand their understanding and definition of what beauty, health and happiness is. Companies are seeing the value and profits in marketing to plus-size bodies. Communities are emphasizing health over weight; happiness over measurement.

We have a LONG way to go -- but the seeds of social body acceptance are taking root. (Pause right here to think about what you've done to usher this in and congratulate yourself.)

And then there is the inevitable back-lash. This is normal when any social movement moves beyond the tipping point in a culture towards one of more universal acceptance. We have seen this play out in history countless times with race, gender, sexuality, ect.

Now it's body-positive's time to "level-up" in a sense. It's not an easy path, but the fact that #FatShamingWeek is even a thing means only ONE thing: people actually LIKE the movement so much, it's scaring the shit out of other people whose world-view cannot accept it.

And that is all #FatShamingWeek is -- a temper tantrum from someone who wants the world to be only as they see it. 

And you know what? Bring it on. 

Some people are crying hate-speech, but I've understood freedom of speech this way: everyone has a right to say, think, feel, believe whatever they want -- but no where in our social fabric, our Constitution or humanity does it say we're obligated to listen to you.

A VERY small sliver of people are saying these hateful things, but it still needs to be addressed. Many positive voices have done so by hijacking the hashtag itself, turning it into a platform to share the message of love, peace and body-kindness.

And that's amazing!

But no, don't shut this conversation down because it's helping many people explore a topic that is bubbling up in our society -- this can only help more individuals, families and communities better understand what is going on and reach their own informed conclusions.

If you choose to spew vile, hateful speech and thoughts into the world, you eventually receive the return of that. Maybe not today, not tomorrow -- but someday, that catches up with you.

And I believe that people are inclined towards the good, the better angels of our nature, because no matter how grotesque a person is, even they know deep down whether what they are doing is causing them pain or not.

The resistance to change is fear and living in fear affects everything it touches - ignoring this is denial, and we all know how uncomfortable denial is -- that goes for everyone.

But the cost that this hateful speech might have on other people's perception of self, the collateral damage done, that's what is unfortunate. Which is why I'm writing this post because Fat Shaming Week is not about insult as its intention was.

Fat Shaming Week is about courage to stand up and say "You don't have permission to make me hate myself." 

I laughed at the posts, their ridiculous titles and Tweets because it made me realize how fantastic all my personal efforts, all your personal efforts, towards greater love and self-respect has been.

Fantastic enough that someone felt the need to devote an entire week of their life to focusing energy on our movement in the naive attempt to stop it.

That isn't shame, that's power. Congratulations, my fat, curvy, plus-size warriors.