Swapping Body Talk
Last month I had the good fortune of receiving some body positive wares from our very own Dr. Deah, an exceptionally talented Health at Every Size® (HAES) educator, a creative artist, and a superb author (in an upcoming post, I will review Dr. Deah’s Calmanac, which can be found at her online shop). Today I wanted to discuss Deah’s line of body positive bumper stickers and magnets, which bear the slogan, “My ONLY weight problem is YOUR problem with my weight…” Deah sent me a few, along with the book to review.
I began to develop into the body positive being I am today during my senior year in college. This was when I first began reading HAES blogs and books and engaging in academic research to more deeply explore topics related to size discrimination. It was also during this time that I discovered the wondrous website known as Cafe Press, a place where you can find products that are tailor made for almost every human interest known to man.
Do you like kitties? They have kitty calendars. Crude jokes? They have a t-shirt for you. Are you a fan of an obscure 70’s show? Order one of their custom-made mugs. They also had body positive products, with slogans such as “I’d rather lose hate than weight” and “Goddess… society does not dictate my beauty.” I ordered t-shirts and sweatshirts and wore them with incredible pride. I had people stop me to take pictures. I felt empowered. I felt invincible.
It is incredibly important for us to take control of the messages being spread about our bodies, especially if the common message is one that is associated with societal scorn or cloaked in shame. Dr. Deah presents us with products that allow us to slap the world in its figurative face and proclaim loudly that we are in need of a revolution. We are in need of a change in script. We — no matter what size or gender — are tired of body policing, and are wising up to the fact that WE don’t have a problem, the majority voices in society do. And that’s an amazingly powerful thing to recognize, and proclaim, as someone who has dealt with the scorn from a world that others your person and the insult from a community that invalidates your dignity.
It is vital that we invest in, create, and disseminate products that empower those who are targeted for being different than the oft-reimagined ideal. As definitions of beauty and power evolve, so must our willingness to change the messages we see being mass marketed if they reinforce an imbalance of power that emphasizes inequality, encourages injustice, and manifests as a hateful diatribe against ourselves and others. Dr. Deah’s products manage to do just that.