By Nomali Cele
Oy vey! It’s “summer body” Season
There are very few conversations I won’t get entangled in – top of that list is diet talk and body snark. These types of conversations are hard to avoid in a fatphobic culture where we are expected to always present ourselves as constantly working against our fat selves. As a fat woman, a fat positive one at that, there is nothing I am doing to recover from being fat. To me, it’s okay to be fat.
These months, more than winter, are bad for body peace. In winter I hear the odd “summer bodies are made in winter!” “Enjoy eating that but you’ll envy our bodies in the summer!” There are rarely directed at me, thankfully, but its still cringe-worthy to witness. But when the weather finally gets warmer, the message is everywhere: fat bodies are inherently bad and we should all be working against our bodies getting that way.
While my personal stance is that diet culture is bad and my hope is that we reach a point in our culture where people are not demonised for the bodies they have, I try not to judge those trapped within diet culture for the choices they make. It’s a struggle for me too but some days are easier. The easiest days are ones when I don’t have someone chatting about immoral food and fat percentages in my presence.
Now that it’s officially warm out, here are three courtesies to practice during “summer body” season to make it less daunting for everyone around us. Regardless where they fall on the diet spectrum
Do you and do you alone
You’re an adult and you make your own decision, please exclude those around you. There’s nothing more annoying than someone on a self-imposed diet constantly going on rants and expecting support. This behaviour can also end up being triggering for people who’ve suffered disordered eating. If you choose to diet, don’t drag others along. As a non-dieter, I try to not impose my ideas about bodies on other because I expect the same.
Mind your own plate
This works in both ways for those dieting and those who do not. I think the easiest way to co-existence is each of us to focus on what we are doing and let the other be. Judgement is a toxic part of our culture but we can change it.
Mind your own body
Regardless of what you believe about bodies and which you think are valuable and moral, let other people enjoy their bodies. Not being happy with your own body is not an excuse to police others. People will wear what they want, do what they want and be happy. If you believe clothing and happiness are for certain sizes, that’s sad. And you should keep it as your problem alone.
Your body, as it is, is a “summer body” and you don’t have to prove anything to others for that to be a valid statement.