Fat and Not Afraid

Respect and love are for EVERY body.

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Selfish Wants: Thin Privilege

June 13, 2012

On Tuesday I was talking with my sister briefly online; she's found a bunch of my neice's early baby clothes, around size 3 months, and is putting them aside for me. She said I probably wouldnt' need them for a while, but I reminded her that Gabe was always in clothes 3 months ahead. Newborn size? He completely missed it both in clothes and diapers. He's thin now, but who knows what puberty will bring? I asked her "Is it wrong of me to hope that she (Katherine) gets the same body build as him (Gabe) and Ryan instead of the Rowe one? Life is so much easier when you have an athletic build, ie thin privilege." She said no, and in a way I know she's right.

Every parent wants what's 'best' for their kid, to provide them with better than they had when growing up, to do better and all of that. Some of you reading are probably nodding your heads here. Many of my readers I imagine are fat folks, and you remember the teasing, the sideways compliments, the wanting to fit in, the diets, and all the rest. Is it wrong for me to *not* want that for Katherine? I don't think so, though it would be even better if no parent, regardless of genetics, had to worry about it for their kid. I shouldn't *have* to worry at all that she might get teased because of her size, and thanks to her gender, for a host of other body issues she'll encounter along the way. She should, and every child should, be loved and cherished and accepted as they are and not pushed towards any arbitrary ideal of beauty and health. But she will be, if she's got the 'wrong' genes. Not by me, of course, but by other people and by our media. She'll begin learning from a very early age what girls are 'supposed' to look like, dress like, act like and grow up into despite my best efforts. The best I can do is lay a solid foundation and hope it's enough.

I don't think I can make it any clearer how badly my heart breaks every time I read about a kid on a diet, or sent to fat camp, or who has an eating disorder, or who is abused by their family in some other way because of their size. Hearing about these things sends me both into a near blind rage that makes me want to throw my laptop through the window, and scream and cry and tear my clothes and hair. "It's for their own good!" is often the rallying cry for those kinds of actions against children, but that does not fly with me. Parents are supposed to love their kids unconditionally, and that means UNCONDITIONALLY. Does this mean are kids are perfect and we're going to *like* them every minute of every day and approve of everything they do? No. Sometimes our kids are jerks. Sometimes they do and say things that hurt us, make us angry, frustrate or embarass us. It's a part of being a member of the family. The important part is the love part, that unconditional, no matter what you do, who you are, what talents or abilities you have, you are loved. Part of loving someone is NOT abusing them, verbally, physically, emotionally or mentally, for their weight (or y'know, any other reason!)

Regardless of what genes Katherine's inherited she can be sure to grow up in a loving and accepting home, full stop. And the rest of the world had better be prepared to deal with me if they choose to judge either of my kids based on their appearance and tell me how to raise those kids 'better'. There IS no better way to raise your kid than to love them. If you've got that part down, you've already won.

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