RBI focuses on using expressive writing, design-oriented work, photography, media, research, and community input to fuel fat positive, body acceptance, discussion, and outreach. Our goal is to redefine the way we view and think about body image, size, fat, discrimination, health, fitness, wellness, mental/chronic illness, stigma, and other related topics.
We are constantly redefining our own perspectives, and therefore tend to write a lot about our personal experiences. Many followers and contributors are living with anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder, depression, and a variety of other body image disorders or mental illnesses, so please be respectful and remember that health applies differently to everyone. Any and all potentially triggering content will be prefaced with a trigger warning.
RBI supports all races, genders, classes, and sizes. We try our best to make this a safe space for everyone. If we are not doing our job or checking our privilege, we invite you to please inform us.
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We are not health professionals. Any and all advice provided on this blog is supported only by our own research, studies, and personal experiences; nothing more.
We are all aware that middle school is not the most enlightened place and is, generally, not a safe space for anyone who’s remotely different. In a phrase: middle school fucking blows.
When I was in middle school, there were these two boys who gave Disney channel bully-villains a run for their money. Well, like, more than just these two boys, but they were the most relentless about it (loosening screws in the chair I’d sit in, following me around and mocking me, shoving me, whatever). And their FAVORITE THING was to call me a hippo (ORIGINAL, RITE?)
However. Being a Ravenclaw to my very bones and a fan of National Geographic from an early age, I was skeptical of the usefulness of calling someone a “hippo” as an insult. I had a vague awareness somewhere in the back of my skull that hippos were, actually, unimaginably badass. So I did some research on hippos.
COOL SHIT ABOUT HIPPOS I LEARNED IN SIXTH GRADE AND SUBSEQUENTLY TERRIFIED SOME BULLIES WITH:
Hippos are more closely related to whales than to pigs. Whales, mind you, are awesome. Sperm whales are the only natural predators of giant squid. Orcas learned how to kill great whites. Whales run shit in the ocean. (If someone ever calls you a whale, look them coolly in the eye and tell them these things, then thank them for the compliment and walk away).
The earliest recognizable hippo fossil is 16 million years old. This is not so much terrifying as it is fucking awesome.
They can weigh up to 8,000lbs and can run faster than people (up to 19mph). And do, while mowing them down, because hippos are the most dangerous animal in Africa, more feared than lions, Cape Buffalo, hyenas, or crocodiles. They regularly attack boats for no reason except that they really, really don’t like people.
Because they’re fucking terrifying and can kill pretty much anything, adult hippos have no natural predators (other than humans, whom I think we can all agree are idiots).
Hippos do, however, regularly kill crocodiles. Like. All the time. For no reason except that a crocodile looked at them funny.
However! Hippos don’t kill each other. Bull hippos will often stop fighting as soon as it becomes clear which is stronger than the other, and cow hippos only fight to defend their calfs, and will quit once the threat’s been run off. Hippos therefore have more solidarity than people do.
Hippos mark their territory by crapping and windmilling their tails around to spread the crap over a large radius.
Also? Underneath that armor-thick skin and all dat flesh, hippos look like the lovechild of Satan and Cthulhu.
Basically, my fat brethren? Being called a hippo is soooooooo not an insult, even if it’s meant to be. Just imagine siccing an actual hippo on the bully of your choice, and move on with your day.
It took a lot for me to get to this point. It took a look of name calling. It took a lot of mental abuse. It took almost all my hope. I’ve cried. I’ve been depressed. I’ve self harmed. I’ve given up so many times on myself but I’m pretty sure I’VE HAD FUCKING ENOUGH.
THIS ONE IS FOR ALL THE DIRTY LOOKS
This one is for every time I’ve felt ashamed of my body BECAUSE OF A COMPLETE STRANGER.
This one is for the emotional problems I deal with every day, especially in intimate relationships, because of years of bullying.
This one is for every time I’ve thought “I don’t deserve to eat”
This one is for every fucking asshole that has discriminated against me because of my weight.
This one is for every time I’ve heard “you’d be so pretty if…”
THIS ONE IS FOR MY FELLOW FATTIES.
This one is for Brandon, the bastard from high school, that made me cry every day on my walk home.
This is for every time I wished I was someone else.
This is for every girl who is ashamed of her body
Every girl that is emotionally tortured and badgered by society, teachers, co-workers, random strangers, and most of the time family and friends for her weight.
F U C K Y O U.
YOU DO NOT FUCKING DEFINE ME. I AM NOT SOMETHING AT YOUR DISPENSE. I AM NOT A FUCKING FETISH. MY BODY IS NONE OF YOUR F U C K I N G BUSINESS AND YOU BEST FUCKING BELIEVE I WILL EAT YOU FOR A FUCKING SNACK BEFORE YOU EVER MAKE ME FEEL WORTHLESS AGAIN.
Jennifer Livingston is a TV News anchor in La Crosse Wisconsin.
She received an email from a viewer about her weight. This was her response.
Whoa, this made me cry. Seriously powerful stuff.
But what she said is really what gets me the most about this. People can make fun of my weight, my appearance, all they want, and it doesn’t affect me. But not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone has had the good fortune to be blessed with the positivity and the amazing, inspiring, supportive community that I have. Words hurt. Words affect self-image. Words affect self-esteem. Words can destroy you. And what you say about people is passed along. Is that really what you want your children to be learning?
Jennifer Livingston, I’ve never heard of you until today, but you are fierce as fuck. Thank you for taking a stand, not just for yourself, but for everyone who’s had something hurtful said about them.
This is like, fifty billion different kinds of brilliant.
I’ve decided to submit these two pictures because I wanted to show people how just normal people cover up what they are paranoid about. I have a bad problem with my skin and i have ever since I was younger, not just with acne related things but with psoriasis as well, not the common but but one that looks like lots of red blotches. When i first got it after the cervical cancer jab that the girls in England were supposed to have three off it triggered it, i’d never had it before. I used to be paranoid whilst getting changed for P.E and sports because a lot of the other girls would ask me if it was contagious or if it was chicken pox. However since I’ve got a bit older I’ve realised there is no reason to be paranoid about these things!! I’ve got an absolutely loving and wonderful boyfriend who loves me just the way I am, because in reality everyone has there flaws! and the people that try to make you feel bad are covering things up that they’re paranoid about even more than you sometimes! If your beautiful on the inside then your beautiful on the outside, and it will ALWAYS show through whatever flaws you may think you have.
My skin conditions have been getting worse as the season changes into summer, especially my hives and seborrheic dermatitis. It is the most disgusting, uncomfortable thing to have skin issues as they are just so…visible. I can layer on all the mineral foundation I want, but my skin continues to peel and itch and welt and react. Lately I’ve stopped wearing make-up to work. I can feel a wave coming on, as my conditions wax and wane. The past few months haven’t been so bad, but this summer is going to be hell.
I am also thankful for the love of my life who tells me he loves my skin but hates that it’s mean to me. Some days are just going to be bad, but I accept it get past them. Having support and love to fall back on makes all the difference.