As an influx of reblogs have been clogging my notifications once more, I’m really intrigued to know why or how fitspo blogs find my “weight does not dictate your health or your worth” message inspiring enough to spread and feature in their online spaces.
I know that the message leaves a lot up…
I don’t know if Haley would consider OccupyFitspo “a fitspo blog” (and I’m not sure I consider it one myself), but I feel compelled to reblog and respond to her post, since it’s given me some thoughts on the subject of fitspo and size acceptance.
Haley claims that the image she designed and its message are being “appropriated” by “fitspo” blogs, and she has a problem with this. Frankly, I can’t see why it would be problematic for more people to identify with the phrase “you weight does does dictate your health or your worth,” if it brings more people, slowly but surely, to a place of self-acceptance and health, does it matter? If an individual wishes to lose weight, but still believes in the above message, is that so wrong?
Readers of this blog will know that I believe firmly in HAES, size diversity, and size acceptance. Although this is not a fat acceptance blog per se - because my interests are more in health, fitness and nutrition than in size diversity activism - I support fat acceptance for the same reason I support individuals’ (hypothetical) desire to lose fat: we own our bodies; we are our bodies. Do we not have the right to lose, gain, or maintain our weights as we see fit?
Of course, there are problematic aspects to the above statement because nothing exists in a vacuum. I started this blog because I find fitspo culture, especially on tumblr, to be poisonous. Search the “fitspiration” tag and you’ll find everything from “inspiring” images of super-buff women in candy-coloured sports bras to disturbing pro-ana propaganda. These are symptoms of a world unhealthily obsessed with weight and size, and a world that equates health with those same things. We may know this isn’t necessarily true; we may understand that correlation is not causation, and we may know that even if the above were not true, it would be wrong to discriminate against fat people or otherwise treat them cruelly for the reason of them being fat. Nevertheless, it’s a big world out there and most people aren’t even aware there are terms for discrimination against the fat, or that there’s a size acceptance movement. Railing against the appropriation of some piece of graphic design - the “wrong people” are liking this the “wrong way”! - is ultimately pointless.*
What do we really want here? I started this blog to, I guess, change fitblr culture from the inside out, even though I’m not really wedded to the fitspiration concept (because it tends to be so problematic) and even though I’m a proponent of size acceptance. But I really firmly believe in the concept of bodily sovereignty as well (see also: I am pro-choice and support trans* individuals’ rights to change their bodies as they see fit), and I think everyone deserves to know they have worth, regardless of their weight and regardless of their weight-loss. My priority is health, mental and physical. End of story.**
*That said, the piece was designed and created by Haley and is thus her intellectual property. I’m not unbelievably well-versed in the intricacies of intellectual property law, especially as it relates to the Tumblr culture of reblogging (and, further, the fact that the piece is hosted on Tumblr’s servers), but I suppose technically she’d have a case for plagiarism or misuse or something if she really wanted to. But I digress.
**Of course, it’s not quite the end of the story, considering the anguish many people experience as a result of feeling they must lose fat to be acceptable, the self-hatred, the pain… I know it very well. And I know that losing weight is not a panacea for it. So I do not suggest that weight-loss should be the goal in and of itself, but neither do I think it is inherently undesirable for a fat person to, for example, lose weight when they change their diet and lifestyle for the better. This is a topic for another post, so hopefully I’ll get to that in more depth soon.
Nothing I said was meant to imply that fitspo bloggers are not allowed to reblog my graphic. I simply wanted some understanding about how fitspo bloggers viewed and interpreted the message themselves, as I noticed a great interest from their community in spreading the message, which I hadn’t seen before. And now you’re misinterpreting my intent to an impressive degree and made up an issue that doesn’t exist, so…Awesome.