Saturday, May 6th marks International No Diet Day, and while not everyone may know about it, you should spread the word.
Started in 1992 by British feminist Mary Young, International No Diet Day has taken on diet culture and body shaming — in all its shapes and forms — to showcase to everyone worldwide that weight and size stigma happens each and every day.
It’s hard to live as a fat person in the world when you’re dealing with harmful and hurtful comments on a day-to-day basis. Society purports to teach us that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes it feels like that doesn’t apply to fat people.
“People of size face a daily battle. Complete strangers will ridicule them to their faces, make horrific comments on their bodies and what those bodies should be used for. We’re told that we should hurt ourselves or that we deserve to die,” explains Vanessa Nash-Gale, who holds the title of Miss Fuller Woman Canada 2016. More often than not, harassment takes place online as well. We are inundated with media and information telling us that specific bodies and beauty standards are correct and people are wrong to be fat. The stigma surrounding fat bodies increases daily.
Case in point, more recently body image advocate Jewelz Mazzei of Big and Blunt had one of her dancing videos go viral and posted to a page where they invited folks to make fun of her due to her size. She tells CityTV in an interview, “Hey, I’m plus-size and I’m okay with it and I’m okay with putting myself out there!”
Jill Andrew is a Toronto-based fat activist who is taking on the fight against size discrimination head-first. In May 2016, she launched a petition titled #SizeismSUCKS to help add size discrimination to the Ontario human rights code, making it illegal to discriminate against someone for the size of their body. The petition, which has over 8,000 signatures, has been opened to others across Canada and Jill hopes to present the case to the Canadian Human Rights Commission within the year. “There has to be more of a spotlight on the issue of size discrimination before we can begin to shift our assumptions. We, as humans are assumption-making machines, and unfortunately when we see a fat person, we immediately begin to assume characteristics like laziness, weakness, or even less intelligence,” explained Sophia Apostol from Sophia Apostol Coaching. “By bringing consciousness, and legislation, to these assumptions, we can absolutely begin to shift those judgements.”
While No Diet Day just marks one day to try and change our shift towards diet culture and body shaming, it is vital that we continue to strive towards educating the public about what size and weight discrimination really are. Steff Ivory Conover, a member of the Succulent Six and part of the We’re Funny That Way variety show on No Diet Day (showcasing what it feels like to navigate the world in a big body, and the even bigger personalities that inhabit them) explains, “No Diet Day gives us an International Day to unite across the world and celebrate ALL bodies as a collective. It’s an incredible day of celebration, to cast off the naysayers, shoot the censors, and be free in your own body for Just ONE day. I believe that if we can start with one day free from body policing maybe, just maybe, we can secure the other 364.”
How do you think we can put an end to size discrimination? What will you do on No Diet Day to celebrate all body shapes and sizes? Let Vv Magazine know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.