Laci Green is a young feminist vlogger I discovered yesterday. She keeps it real on her youtube channel, where she mostly talks about sex and gender identity, but also produces incredible commentaries on body image.
I guess some of her stuff is kind of controversial (I haven't explored even a quarter of it.) But her videos are quirky and fun, and yesterday I got totally caught up in those ones dealing with body image. Laci did a particularly impressive job addressing the social epidemic of fat shame...that is, the way we project our own fears and insecurities onto others who have visible fat. And she's not just talking about the morbidly obese (though shame is unproductive for any body weight). She's also talking about even the very subtle ways in which we demonize every inch of visible fat on the human body (like a soft tummy or jiggly upper arms).
Two of Laci's major points really stood out to me. The first was the idea that we have come to fear the word 'fat'. It has become so shameful to be fat, that we can't even use the word anymore. We all have fat. It is essential for survival. And yet, acknowledging our own fat is like some sort of faux pas...like we've uttered a dirty word. We can't talk about our own fat without people assuming we're ashamed of it.
Laci also addresses the fact that we often disguise our fat shame as concern for the health of others. Being overweight or obese does lead to major health issues. But shaming someone for their weight leads to other issues that are just as serious, like depression. We can only really deal with these issues of health if we are dealing with them in an emotionally sensitive way. Our bodies deserve our love no matter what part of the journey we're in.
The only point I disagree with is when Laci (albeit a bit jokingly) says no one cares about a stranger's health. I definitely do. But I think her real point is that the amount of fat we see on someone is not the real indicator of health (physical or otherwise) of a whole person. It's difficult to care about a stranger's health, because there's only so much you can know about them.
But take a look for yourself...
What ultimately resonates with me, as a health blogger, is how very personal health and weight are. Judging and shaming other people's health is unproductive. In fact, even telling people that they need to be healthy and how to do it doesn't really work. Health is a decision you make for yourself. It's personal. And it looks different for everyone. We all have our own personal hurdles.
I like to think that health professionals should provide resources and inspiration...but the decisions and the work belong to the individual. We shouldn't shame people who are struggling more than we are, nor should we feel guilty for struggling more than others.
The video has gotten some really negative and really positive feedback. What do you think? Please feel free to disagree, but keep it polite!