Every day I walk to the bus on my way to work and I pass a gym. They have a a large banner announcing "From MUSH to MUSCLES". Every time I see it, I have to recognize that its talking about me. For the weight loss industry, my body is useful only for the purposes of negative comparison. I'm a "before" picture. I'm mush. I'm a reason to give money to the weight loss industry. I'm what you aren't supposed to be.
Its not just the gym banner reminding me. Newspapers, magazines, billboards, web-ads, radio, and TV are all shouting at me for being fat. Heck, its not just to sell weight loss promises, either. At the Super Bowl, both Toyota and Volkswagon used fat shame to sell cars. Everyone takes for granted that I'll agree with them that my body is embarassing. That I should be ashamed to be fat. Fat shaming is used not to in spite of the risk of alienating fat customers, but in the total expectation that they will be fully on board with it. When I see the cascade of fat hatred promotion, I don't just realizing that they are talking about me. I realize they feel entitled for me to listen and care about it, too.
Well, I don't. I don't care that they think I should be sad about my fat. I don't care that they think I should feel resigned about their abuse. No, that's not true. I do care, just that I'm not willing to put up with the abuse. My body isn't mush. It is solid, not formless. It may yield to the touch, adapting to pressure but staying firm. It moves with me, moves as it needs to. You know who started calling fat bodies mush? Someone who never felt a fat body. Someone who has never lived in a fat body and who knows the form and tangibility. Someone who just looks at our bodies and thinks we are just sacks of fat. And they have used social stigmatization to make fat people feel this about ourselves.