There are more than 7 billion people in the world, meaning there are just as many different body shapes and sizes out there – but while the body confidence community of acceptance and love for all is stronger now than it's ever been, sadly there's still a lot of stigma attached to bigger bodies.
This is something that author, self-love advocate and plus-size athlete (boy, can she lift!) Meg Boggs knows all about – and in a powerful new Instagram post, she spoke candidly about the narrative that fat people are still assigned within society and just how wrong it is. Addressing her 315,000 followers, Meg shared how aware she is that her body type can be associated with "shame and disgust" and how she's been on a personal journey to move away from the toxic narrative that thinness conquers all.
"[The] majority of people don’t want to look like me... and will do absolutely everything it takes to avoid it," she wrote. "People see how bodies like mine are treated and no one wants to put themselves in that position. I don’t want to be treated this way either. It’s both harmful and hurtful." Meg added that as a fat person, constantly seeing her body only ever depicted in a villainous way, as the 'before' part of a 'triumphant' weight loss story, or for comic effect, is dehumanising. "It leaves no room for the actual stories fat people have to tell."
She continued on to call out the dangers associated with diet culture too, explaining it even led her to experience an eating disorder (in the UK, eating disorder charity Beat estimate that around 1.25 million people have an ED) and asked that people respect those who don't want to hear about diets.
"All I’m asking is to be mindful of the people you’re discussing your diet with and listen to them if they ask you to please stop," Meg writes. "Just because I am anti-diet does NOT mean I am anti-person who diets. I’m just someone who prefers not to hear about all the things someone is doing to avoid looking anything like me. I’ve heard it enough. My body is doing a good job, just for me... no matter how many times I’m told that it’s not."
Speaking to Cosmopolitan UK about what inspired her post, Meg said that she was in the gym when she overheard two friends discussing their new weight loss plans. "There really wasn’t anything special or different about it, but I had noticed the same type of diet talk conversation almost every day over the last month. Diet talk is one thing, but January diet talk in another."
She continued on to say that it got her thinking about how hearing diets discussed so often feeds into criticism towards bigger bodies, and how she feels about her own size. "I thought about how I settle to live in a world that treats bodies my size like a disease and something to be fixed, but it also made me slightly empathise with those who feel such urgency in their diet fads. So, as always, I sat and wrote down some reflections on this experience."
To date, her post has received over 31,000 likes – something Meg attributes to the fact that the "fat experience is one usually hidden away". She notes that it's rare for the trauma that comes with being fat in a world that celebrates thinness to be discussed so publicly ."I don’t always know what to expect from my community or what will resonate with them when sharing such sensitive content, but this was one I truly hoped would reach as many as it has."
As for the word fat itself, Meg is keen for it to be reclaimed by those it describes. "Fat has been used as an insult for decades, when fat is really just a neutral and descriptive word," she explains. "I use the word fat as just that, a descriptor. I kind of like to think of it as a big FU and revolution against fatphobia and diet culture. Completely shifting the narrative that was once weaponised against me into one that provides me with both pride and power."
However, just like she stresses in her post, how Meg looks - or how any of us look - is only one part of our story, but whether we like it or not, it can impact on the way we are received by the world. "It’s not my entire identity, but it’s certainly a large part of how I’m allowed to exist in our society," says Meg. "What once filled me with shame and silenced me now fuels me towards body liberation, self-love and a state of overall wellness."
We love that Meg is using her platform to speak so honestly about her experiences – and to provide a welcome reminder to all that respect and kindness, both online and offline, are non-negotiables.
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