By Laura Bock
All this buzz about Nicole Arbour and her “Dear Fat People” rant against fat shaming and the body positive movement makes me think back to when I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s, and I first started coming to terms with my own body acceptance.
Most of the brave and outspoken women who are standing up for the body positive movement, like Tess Holliday and Whitney Thore, are in that age group today.
Young women of modern times struggling with body issues are extremely blessed that there are women like Tess and Whitney standing up and speaking out against body shaming—whether you’re fat or skinny, it is an issue and has been for many years.
I only wish there would have been wonderful role models for positive self-image and body acceptance when I was younger.
Of course the internet and especially YouTube and social media has helped these amazing women rise to viral and international fame. Back in my late twenties, the internet was just beginning to rise to its own prominence.
I cried the day Tess announced she was signed to a professional modeling contract earlier this year.
I remember when I was in my early 20’s and an agent approached me at the Fashion Bug I worked at, wanting me to be a plus sized model.
I was excited! All I could think about was what the agent said about getting to keep the clothes I modeled. Being a girl in my early 20’s making less than $200 a week, that was a huge deal!
All I ever heard from my mother while growing up was that no one likes fat people, how hideous I was and how ashamed she was to have such a fat daughter. When I got home that night, I told my mother what the agent said. I wanted her to know that someone out there thought I was beautiful, even if she didn’t.
Since I was still young and very fragile inside, my mother destroyed my dream of modeling before I even reached telling her the part about getting to keep the clothes I modeled.
Being fat shamed by your own mother is a horrendous experience.
As I think back, I wish I had the courage and strength I now possess. I would have stood up to her and proved her wrong. Should have, could have, and would have—if only we could re-write our past.
I was weak, fragile and emotionally damaged from the constant brainwashing my mother so graciously bestowed upon me growing up.
I was convinced for many years that I was hideous and that no one would ever love me. Men would only use me for what they wanted and toss me aside. It is a broken record I do my best to mute in the back of my mind—even today.
When I first heard about Nicole Arbour’s “Dear Fat People” video rant, I immediately thought of my mother and how the things Nicole said reminded me of the hurtful things my mother would say to me; I’m sure she would agree with every hurtful word Nicole said.
Thankfully there are wonderful role models like Whitney Thore, who spoke up and posted her response to Nicole in blunt, yet gracious form on YouTube.
I cheered while watching Whitney’s reply video, wishing I could play it to my young twenty-something self.
These are the positive and encouraging things that young women with body and self-esteem issues need to hear—not the hatred Nicole spewed forth like a raging lunatic.
Nicole lost a job with a movie that ironically is about anti-bullying – instant karma in full effect. Hopefully this is a hard lesson in humility for Ms. Arbour, but I somehow doubt that, as she is denying she even had that job in the first place.
My guess is that Nicole wanted attention and more followers on her YouTube channel – for that reason alone, I urge anyone reading this, please do not view Ms. Arbour’s rant video. The more hits she receives, the more money she can make off of her pure hatred.
Instead, view Whitney’s response video, as it includes clips from the hateful fat shaming video with Whitney’s replies.
It is so important for you to love the body you have.
Even if you want to change it, love is the first step to change. Love, especially self-love, can move mountains.
You are a force to be reckoned with. Ignore the haters, be proud and love yourself, always.
Laura Bock is a writer and photographer in Northern Ohio. An old school punk rocker and alterna-chick, she’s been known to overindulge in 80’s and 90’s pop culture and music. In addition to writing for her own site, her writing can also be seen on Indie Chicks, Skirt Collective, elephant journal, Rebelle Society, Be You Media Group, and Club Mid. You can connect with Laura on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.
Photo Credit: Meg Gaiger/Harpyimages
Editor: Sherrin Fitzer