Self-compassion, education and fatphobia – Health and Wellness

Talking about fatphobia is talking about discrimination towards a type of body that is out of the current aesthetic canon. People who suffer this discrimination are singled out for it and made invisible at the same time.

The dominant aesthetic canon in recent decades has given rise to a type of discrimination against fat bodies that has been coined with the term fatphobia.

The obsession with the pursuit of beauty is nothing new. If the history of art has taught us anything about the aesthetic canon, it is that it is changeable and variable. From the Venuses of Willendorf and their voluptuous forms back in prehistory, passing through the Graces with wide hips and pale skin that Rubens portrayed in the Renaissance and continuing with the dangerously corseted bodies of Victorian women.

Since the appearance and popularization of cinema and the mass media and their ease in reaching more audiences, the canon has been evolving with more intensity and variability. The slim and rectilinear bodies of those crazy 20’s. The return to the curvilinear bodies of the femme fatale of film noir. The boyish bodies of the Lolitas of the 50s. The extreme thinness of the catwalks of the 90s.

So, until we get to where we are today. A canon that for women is characterized by thinness and a flat stomach combined with volume in the lips, breasts and buttocks; while for men the requirements are height, body musculature and lack of fat in the abdomen.

The inflexible idea of ​​beauty, the breeding ground of discrimination

Normally, the way in which the beauty canon to follow is presented socially is a rigid, inflexible and uniform idea. There is only one canon model and deviating from it can be, as occurs in obesity, a reason for discrimination.

This way of perceiving the body as something static, which does not change despite turning years, where there is no room for fat, wrinkles, gray hair, pimples or hair, means leaving out most of the people who live on this planet. .

This uncompromising ideal of beauty affects our perception – both of ourselves and of others. Publicly, it affects our way of dressing, the situations in which we can feel that our physique is being judged or exposed, and the relationship we establish between our body and other people or contexts. In a private way it can affect our self-esteem and our relationship with clothes, food and exercise.

The body positive movement seeks to make the model of beauty more flexible, making room for the diversity of bodies and shapes that we can find. Putting the value of beauty not on approaching or moving away from a “norm”, but on everyone, each one of us being unique and different, can enjoy the same rights as others, regardless of height, kilos or weight. color of our skin.

The multiple arms of fatphobia

Although it may be clothed in health concern, this stigma goes beyond merely indicating a healthy body. Fatphobia conditions the lives of those who suffer from it and is present in a stealthy way in many moments of everyday life. Sometimes it takes the form of a look, other times it takes the form of a harmful comment dressed in good intentions and wishes, other times discrimination simply takes off its disguise and appears in the purest and most harmful way.

Discriminatory messages can come from all sides: friends, families, advertising, health professionals, the media, social networks, cinema, fashion, etc. Like a drop of water that always falls in the same place, the first ones will not hurt, while the last ones will hurt even before they fall. Day after day, message after message, no matter how innocent or well-intentioned they may seem, they can erode the self-esteem of the people who receive them.

The wounds of this discrimination can become entrenched in our lives, producing great emotional pain every time someone else’s finger or one’s own touches it. When this happens and that pain takes the form of shame, anxiety, difficulties in making decisions or eating problems, it is when we have to review that inflexibility that we have made ours to learn to relate to the body, food, others and ourselves. more flexible and healthy.

The discomfort is not caused by you, but it is in your hands to choose from where you are going to relate to it

Imagine that you are walking through the bush and, suddenly and out of the blue, someone pushes you into a nearby river. It wasn’t your fault to be there, of course you didn’t choose it, but the fact is that right now you’re getting wet and it’s up to you to get out of that river.

Something similar happens with fatphobia and the discomfort generated by the aesthetic canon. We have not chosen the current canon, nor the influence it has had on us, however, we can choose from where we want to relate to this discomfort and to what extent we are going to let it interfere in our lives.

Some people see their life completely paralyzed by these negative thoughts and feelings about their body. It is even possible that there are people who appropriate this discomfort and blame themselves for feeling it.

Let me tell you something important: it’s not your fault, your body is not badly made, you don’t have to hide it or justify it. You have not made any mistake by living in the body you inhabit. If you have ever been discriminated against because of your weight and size, it has been unfair and, surely, painful.

It is valid to feel that pain, that wound. No matter the shape of our body, thanks to it we can enjoy, feel pleasure, joy, get excited, laugh until we cry, love and be loved. Looking at ourselves with self-compassion and being aware that there is nothing wrong with our body will be an important step in learning to relate to ourselves and to others.

Education, compassion and respect

Ideas and thoughts take root so deep that they can be confused with reality. Without realizing it, we can be walking blindly, without looking at the path of reality, guided by our fears and thoughts instead of by our senses.

The aesthetic canon, fatphobia and the importance of beauty are so deeply rooted at an individual and social level that we can move by the idea of ​​that beauty, of that norm, instead of by the reality that we perceive every day.

A good exercise to relate to ourselves and to others is to work on compassion towards the other and towards oneself, listening to their experiences and reviewing our own. Stop to reflect on how these affect us and limit us. Talk to ourselves as if we were talking to our best friend and treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves.

These thoughts and emotions guide the way we relate to ourselves and our environment. The contemplation of the beautiful calls for the good of our health, a broader and plural look.

Remaining in the aesthetic, identifying the value of a person by a number or a size is reductionist, simple and harmful. It is in everyone’s hands to prevent fatphobia, body discrimination and aesthetic violence from continuing to spread and affecting the quality of life of those who suffer from it.

Source: The Mind is Wonderful-.

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