What does “No Body Shame” Mean Anyway?

Photo by Joseph Bradley

 

People often ask me about what No Body Shame really means.

“Surely you’re not PROUD of being fat,” they’ll gasp and say with narrowed eyes while they wait for my response.

The question itself is problematic. The question reduces my entire being and my entire life to one physical characteristic: being fat. The response is simple: I am proud to be me. My body happens to be fat. I also happen to be a brunette. I happen to be short, have crooked teeth (despite braces), and long fingernails. Some of these characteristics are reasonably within my control; some are completely out of my control, but the culmination of all of my characteristics makes who I am right now, and you can bet that I’m proud.

My work with No Body Shame most often comes from the perspective of moving through the world as a fat woman, but the movement is for everyone. I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t struggle with some characteristic that society has taught them to feel ashamed about. I read messages every day from people all over the world who feel less than because of their skin color, gender, body type, sexual orientation, abilities, or even their noses. No Body Shame encourages people to accept and love the bodies they have right now and asserts that happiness and self-confidence are not contingent upon your characteristics, physical or otherwise.

When I answer the “are you proud to be fat” question with a firm “yes,” it tends to make people uncomfortable. And here’s the thing: I don’t care. We have no obligation to make others comfortable with our bodies and the sooner we realize that, the faster we can get down to the business of body love and living our lives out loud.

The next time someone asks you one of those probing questions that’s not a question at all but a statement about what they think you should be ashamed of, do yourself a favor and don’t begin your answer with “Well…” or “I am proud to be me, but…”

Do you love yourself? Do you have a life worth living? Do you deserve a shame-free existence? The answer is easy. The answer is “Yes.”

 

 

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