In society, those outside of the realms of public and societal acceptance are expected to push through their lives wordlessly and without rebellion. For fat women, this has become somewhat of a second nature – apologising for our bodies because we take up too much space, or because we might offend those who look at us. Some might say that fat people are overreacting, that the offence that we think we cause is all in our heads, but when you’ve lived a day outside of what is deemed acceptable, you will find that you are unconsciously apologising for your body in a whole plethora of ways. Over-sized clothes and downcast eyes – no don’t look away, I’ll shield myself from your gaze. Toeing the line of acceptance by not crossing the same line: to not be too loud or too brash, to not draw attention to yourself, to not be too emotional or too in your face, and to accept your position as other.
Fat women are third in line, they are ‘other’ to Man, but the secondary place is already taken by Woman – that is, society’s idea of what a woman should be. So, by default, fat women assume third place – but we are expected to accept our bronze award with arms wide open and be thankful for our position, because at least we’re being recognised.
But you know what; I don’t want to err on the side of caution apropos of nothing. Why should I concede to my given position as second to the ‘ideal woman’, when body image is prescribed by a bunch of ideals? Nothing is more satisfying than just slipping a toe across that line and stepping up to join Woman on the second podium – the sooner we stop apologising for our fat bodies; the sooner people will be forced to acknowledge us. We all have complex relationships with our bodies, but we should not feel that we need to shrink to find acceptance: we should envelop space, fill it with our bodies and voices and refuse to be overlooked or apologised for.