Wednesday, September 2

I guess I'm not

So I was going to use the last few hours of daylight to blog about cupcakes.

Then I got angry. Really, incredibly angry. Again at We Are The Real Deal. This time I get the message loud and clear. They are the real deal. I'm not. So I'm not going back.

So what is so anger inducing this time? MizFit posting about 'What IS average?' or, indeed, how to tell if you are better than everyone.

It's getting late and the wind is blowing and the rain is falling. I'm short of breath. So I'm just going to do a baby deconstruction here.

"In today’s world (where 75% of U.S. adults are projected to be overweight & 41% obese by 2015) what is average anymore anyway?"

Scary projections aside (mainly because it isn't 2015 and even if it was obesity isn't bad in and of itself...) it seems to me that the question is not how to tell that I'm average it's how to tell if I'm not one of those big, bad, fat chicks.

Let's go a bit further into this. Why, why oh why, do you need to know if you are average? Why do you need to know how you measure on a curve?

The basics of body acceptance tell us that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you are average, above average or bellow average in anything. You are a person. Your measurements don't define you, you shouldn't be defined by your measurements.

Knowing where you are on the curve is putting people above you and bellow you. It's setting yourself in a rank. And it this case it's wanting to see how you are better than 'American average' which means sadly in MizFit's opinion 'just a little overweight'.

That type of thinking? It's the very antithesis of acceptance.

Even worse that MizFit's standard for being awesomely average is ridiculously ableist. See, this is what you should do:

"an easy way to determine whether you are in ‘fine’ or average shape is to run up two flights of stairs or walk six blocks"

Can you manage that? If not, then you aren't fine.

Now keep in mind that I have no physical disability. I'm average remember. But I have days when I can't get out of bed, my right ankle is playing up, my childhood asthma has left me with a low lung capacity, period pain, hay fever and like everyone else I'm at the mercy of bacteria, viruses and anything that wants to call my body it's home. These are only the problems a healthy person (who can walk 13 miles without flinching if the conditions are right) has with this test of averageosity.

That's the problems with this entire 'be healthy' rhetoric. It's crap. Healthy is a state. A state that can not be achieved by hard work and dedication if all the cards are stacked against you. To judge people by this standard - that many of us only hold onto by the skin of our teeth - is the very antithesis of acceptance.

It also has nice connotations about class. Now I can't speak for the States but I am told that it's sometimes a problem there to walk for six blocks. It certainly can be here in some areas and we have plenty of footpaths and pavements.

Class connotations are also rife in exercises+ awesome diet= infallible health rhetoric. If only you work at it by going to the gym and eating 'healthful' foods you deserve health. Anyone who doesn't have the same resources, funds, time and priorities (Any or all in combination) is just lazy and isn't working hard enough.

So let's answer MizFit's questions:

"Non-Americans: do you see us as the Great Surrendering to SuperSizing nation?

Have we gone so far into the notion of perfect not being important & it’s ok to be less than our best & we need to love ourselves regardless that we’ve swung too far into deconditioned is the new black! territory?"

Yes, body acceptance has gone too far. Truly if we allow people to be okay with themselves even if they aren't healthy, even if they aren't average then...

Wait no, that isn't what happens at all.

People are still discriminated against for having different bodies. Fat people are dismissed by doctors, women have sexual abuse shouted at them on the street, disabled people, people of colour, non-heterosexuals, transgendered people... Treated like crap for looking different everyday.

Acceptance hasn't gone too far. On a large societal scale it hasn't even happened. A world which MizFit describes in fearful tones sounds perfect to me.

'we need to love ourselves regardless' and to suggest anything but We Are The Real Deal has become the antithesis of acceptance.

1 comment:

SC said...

Nice post.

You're describing something called "healthism", if you're not already familiar with that word.