Many of the most interesting and accomplished adults I know were nerds in high school, high achievers with inversely proportional social status. Revenge for us usually comes in the form of high school reunions; you know, seeing the head cheerleader who snubbed you suddenly be impressed by your business success. Read More Revenge Of The (Political) Nerds
The past several days have been really fun ones for women, Democrats, anyone moderately liberal, and fans of Nate Silver (see my gushing article earlier this week). Read More Karma, Karl Rove, and Schadenfreude
Yes, well, it should be apparent that, coming fresh on the heels of my Holmes Inspection report last week, I have a bit of an HGTV addiction. Last night I got my fix in the form of a DVR-ed episode of Property Brothers. Read More What I Watched Last Night: Property Brothers
Everyone seems to be hot and cranky this week. I thought I’d lighten the mood with another edition of politicians making funny faces, since the last one was so popular. Read More Even More Politicians Making Funny Faces
Note: TW on this post for some fat-shaming talk by others.
When I was in high school, my mom, who has always been a big fan of motivational quotes and aphorisms, pasted this above a desk in our house. At the time I rolled my eyes, but it’s been a quote that has stuck with me throughout my life and I’m starting to realize, nearly 15 years later, that I do think this way. And the more I try to catch myself doing it, the more I see it in others. Read More Your Success Does Not Depend On The Failure Of Others
Much virtual ink has been spilled this week over Anthony Weiner’s Twitter indiscretions. Pretty much every “weiner” joke in existence has been published in the past few days during “Weinergate.” (Damn you, Richard Nixon, that every political scandal should have “-gate” appended to it.) And yet for all the words written about the whole mess, from the calls for resignation to the heartfelt defense, one thing that has been conspicuously absent is compassion. Read More Sorry, Anthony
Last week, I had a weirdly cathartic moment watching a Yankees vs. Red Sox game. The game was at Fenway, and I noticed that each time Alex Rodriguez walked to the plate, he was greeted by a roar of tens of thousands of people booing him.
I realize that a Yankee getting booed in Boston is nothing new. Yet, I started to think about how strange it must be to get booed just for doing your job really well. Whether they hate his personal life or the Yankees or whatever, most people would agree that, at least based on the numbers, Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, right? And yet, he pretty much gets booed in every away game in every stadium across the country.
I had actually decided to watch that game that day because I was feeling really fed up. I had just received a couple of really fat-hating comments on my blog, and an email from a woman who thought my work was too “women-centric.” Watching the game was a little retreat for me. And yet, I found myself feeling good as I watched ARod get booed. Not from schadenfreude, but because it was really inspiring. Seeing him get hit after hit, despite the booing, reminded me of this really important lesson.
Haters gonna hate. That’s just what they do.
As a proponent of Health At Every Size and a fat activist, I know what it’s like to push ahead despite the presence of vociferous haters. The more my work gets out there, the more hateful comments I get, the more angry emails I get, the more funny looks I get.
Whether you’ve just been dabbling in body acceptance or you’re a full-on fat activist, you’ve probably experienced similar things. And because none of us have a $30-million a year contract to keep us going, I think it’s important to look at how to keep going in the face of haters. How do you stand in your commitment to being at peace with your body when the “common wisdom” (a wisdom which is paid for by the $60 billion a year diet industry, among other industries) is against you?
1) Your New Mantra — “Haters Gonna Hate” — I’m a big proponent of using really positive affirmations strategically to change internal thought patterns, so “haters gonna hate” is not the kind of mantra that I’d usually recommend. I do find, however, that “haters gonna hate” is an extremely powerful phrase to use when hatred for your choices is coming your way. It’s a reminder that there will always be haters – people in your life who like to denigrate what you’re all about – and it’s pretty much their job to hate. So if haters are hating on you, that’s just what they do, and you can let it go. You can, then, really focus your attention on people who love what you’re about or are at least open-minded about it, instead of taking that hater’s hate to heart.
2) The Alternative Is No Alternative — If you’ve already started to experiment with body positivity and Health At Every Size, it’s pretty much impossible to go back to full-on body hatred and the belief that you should “do something” about your weight. It creates extreme cognitive dissonance to sit in a Weight Watchers’ meeting fiddling with your points tracker and flagellating yourself over gaining .4 pounds when you’ve been reading body positive blogs all weekend. It just doesn’t work, at least not for long.
3) Being A Revolutionary Is Never Easy — Being body positive in a world where teenagers are getting botox and Dove is pushing deodorant that makes your “unsightly” underarms look prettier is not easy. You are bucking an entrenched system that tells you that hating your body is the right way to feel and that feeling that way is for your own good. This sort of revolution is the kind that “has to be believed to be seen.”* We have to outpicture for ourselves a world where people’s bodies, no matter what their size, are treated with respect and love. Not only that, we have to “be the change we wish to see in the world”** by actively being positive about our bodies, refusing to engage in negative body talk, refusing to engage in diet talk, wearing clothes that make us feel good rather than hide, and having conversations about why the pathologizing of fat hurts us all. This can be an extremely tall order and cause tension — but it’s necessary tension. We might not always do a perfect job at it either, but that’s okay. If we want to truly change the world we have to be easier on ourselves about being uneasy.
Feel free to let me know what helps you when the haters start hating.
*I’m quoting a U2 song here (“Walk On”). I really wanted to quote Emma Goldman or Martin Luther King, Jr. and I somehow went with Bono.
**Gandhi quote! Yes!
Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. is a certified holistic health counselor who specializes in transforming your relationship with food and your body. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/stay-in-touch/ to get your free download – Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining.