One evening last week, I went on a walk with my husband Bob. Halfway through, we sat on a parkway bench, talking. We were startled by a voice shouting out of a car going by, a middle-school-aged boy with his head stuck out of the open window, looking at us. We turned to each other, puzzled. “I think he said, ‘Fat Positivity.'” That’s what we both heard. But… why?
Bob went on with what he had been talking about, and I found myself unable to listen. I felt the familiar warm flush of shame on my face, and my mind started spinning on the incident. “Fat Positivity” sounded, well, Positive, but was it taunting? Was it solidarity of some kind (a lot to expect from a young boy)? Even if it was well-intended, it was still someone seeing me in all my fatness, noticing it, calling it out. I felt seen in a way I didn’t want to be, attention being called to an aspect of my body that is unacceptable by society’s standards, not to mention being judged as unattractive, undesirable, and a personal failing. Continue reading