Okay. I will say it. I SUCK at advocacy!
I see Fat/Size Acceptance advocates selling t-shirts with angry, aggressive messages and I wonder “Why do we have to be angry when the goal is love?” “Why should I be a walking confrontation?” “Why should I invite more hostility toward my body through aggressive fashion, in a world where I face so much aggression on a regular basis anyway?” “Am I supposed to be walking around proving that I will fight back!?”
I feel constant pressure to dress in current trends that make me feel ugly and uncomfortable. I get ridiculed for how I DO choose to dress… or people online say “Vivi doesn’t need acceptance!” because I hold my head up high and try to be a proud, successful woman and role model (which I also suck at… because I make mistakes that I am transparent about… speak my mind… and apparently ‘step on toes’).
I read ranting blogs today, like “Jillian Michaels Co-opts Body Love Messaging (This is why we can’t have nice things…)” by The Fat Chick, and I wonder “What is our actual GOAL, here? What are we trying to do!? Incite rage?”
How on earth am I supposed to support The Fat Chick (who is a fitness instructor, mind you!) when she is vilifying a potential powerful Body Love signal boost from someone like Jillian Michaels (who is also a fitness instructor)? Yes, Jillian Michaels has been a detriment to fat people. Anyone involved with ‘The Biggest Loser’ has been damaging to fat people and society at large. At what point can we accept that Jillian has made a change of heart, though? Am I to accept that she is a villain who is twirling her mustache in an attempt to make more money off of… saying I should LOVE myself!??? Wait. Isn’t that what the goal is!? Is the problem that she has made millions when we fatties haven’t!?
The video/article The Fat Chick talks about (but does not link to) is from October 2013. It has been shared a mere 20 times in the last year. And, yet, The Fat Chick tells us that Facebook just notified her of the existence of this article at the beginning of November 2014. I’m not saying that she is fibbing. But, she does spend an awful lot of time just railing against Jillian while self-promoting and inviting you to hire her to speak at your event.
I have a difficult time railing against Jillian because I, myself, get hired to play intense villainous characters. I am tall, big, intimidating, have a massive bitch face and am willing to play “ugly” (because I love entertainment and that’s where I fit into the status quo). Who I am cast and paid to play doesn’t represent who I am in my day-to-day life. I wish that there was more representation of women my size and shape in positive roles… but, that doesn’t exist, yet, aside from some Sci-Fi (maybe someday I can change that by producing my own entertainment! That’s one of my life goals, anyway.). Jillian was hired to play a role on a reality tv show. If you could sit down with a crew from reality tv shows (and I have, over booze), you’d learn that it is nothing even close to reality in reality tv (and you probably already knew that). Jillian was part of the machine. Her role on ‘The Biggest Loser’ is a symptom of the society we live in. She was cast to play a part.
And that’s when I start to realize… I am not sure that my voice will ever fit into the Body Love Movement. I feel discouraged. I feel like my place in this Fattie world doesn’t matter unless I am angry and feeding the cycle of anger. I feel like I will never be a successful and respected advocate for anything… because I sincerely look forward to a day when we don’t have to be angry anymore and can just live in peace with every other body type and truly love and appreciate ourselves.
At that point… if I were an advocate (as fat advocacy currently stands)… I would be out of a job!
I want the signal to boost. I hope that people like Jillian will spend her time and celebrity status boosting a more positive message for people, like me. I’d like to think that she, on a personal level, feels disgusted by her role in perpetuating self-harm and bullying.
I would love to wake up tomorrow and not be told: “You’re so talented and beautiful… but, you’re fat!”… and just have to smile and say “Thank you so much for your time and for this opportunity!” (because you cannot start a riot in front of a producer or casting director! You just CAN’T, people! And, if someone makes a fat joke about you on set… you must take it! And, then you have to turn around and bring it HARDER than everyone else! You must choose your battles wisely if you want to get ahead in the industry I’m trying to break out in).
I have to force myself to eat my pride. When many of you would “punch them in the face”… I have to smile and accept the criticism. Part of my career path is allowing people in powerful positions to treat me like human garbage on a regular basis. And, I have to get in my car and go home and cry where no one can see me. I have to get back up and go out there again and try harder. I have to make my own opportunities.
And, then, I have to allow people online to also treat me like human garbage. Because that’s all part of the ‘fame machine’. It proves my worth in this world. It gets me cast as another villain.
There is NO place in the upper tiers of Hollywood for a woman that looks like me. The only way I will ev-er make it… is by being persistent and keeping the hope alive… with my eyes on some distant goal that I will likely never reach.
I want to live in a world where my body size and shape has become a non-issue.
I’m selfish, like that.
I will take kindness and words of encouragement from anywhere I can get them (even from people like Jillian Michaels).