It’s time I took a stand.
On April Fool’s day, Locus Magazine upset many people with their “WisCon Makes Burqas Mandatory for All Attendees” post. If you saw the post, which was taken down within an hour, then you know there were a multitude of reasons why it caused outrage. I’d like to point out one more thing. It may have only been a small side joke, but it really, REALLY pissed me off. In reference to the mandatory burqas the article said, “the convention would have substantial quantities of Burqas for rental to congoers, from Small to 5XL sizes.”
Why include that line at all if it weren’t intended as another joke? A joke aimed at con goers and anyone else I might add, who would require a “5XL” size. Being overweight, underweight, or unhealthy is not a joke and yet it’s treated that way far too often.
Now wait. I’m not only talking about this or other quips aimed at large sized people, I also mean when we make fun of ourselves. It happens all the time. We make jokes about eating too much, about not exercising, or about putting on a few pounds. I know, humour as a coping device, I get that, but it also gives us an excuse not to take a closer look and do something about it. Are you making the jokes because you are 100% satisfied with your level of health and fitness and you do think it’s funny?
There might be someone out there listening to you (or reading your tweet or other social media post) that isn’t happy with their current health and they don’t think it’s funny. It might offend them. Yet, we’re supposed to make fun of being out of shape, unhealthy or overeating, because that’s what everyone does, right? That way we can all go on ignoring the deeper issues and the pain those jokes may be causing people.
I work in an industry about body aesthetics where people are judged solely on their looks. I’ve worked with clients with bulimia, anorexia, exercise bulimia and a wide range of personal insecurity issues. I have a lot to say. I don’t think there is even a word for someone who stands up for health.
Like many other movements that began with someone getting pissed off at the way things were, this is my moment. This is when I don my spandex and sparkly cape and stand up for health. I’m not going to get preachy (I swear I will try my best) but every Thursday I’m going to post a Health Ally post. It won’t always be pointing out health injustices, sometimes it might just be a tip for healthier living. I really want to be someone who discourages crude, unthoughtful, belittling of health issues and encourages a higher level of health for everyone, no matter who you are, what you look like, weigh, or where you’re at in your life.
Are you ready? I think I need some theme music. Witness the era of the Health Ally!