Kendra Austin said that everyone lauded her for losing weight, highlighting society's judgments on people who don't fit conventional ideals of beauty.
Even as we learn to embrace our bodies as they are, society constantly judges and values us based on our weight. Thanks to years of conditioning through pop culture and otherwise, we've been constantly advised to make our bodies fit into a conventional ideal. People are constantly told, and many times, even fat-shamed into losing weight. Kendra Austin, an activist and content creator, posted a Twitter thread pointing out how everyone treated her differently after she lost 100lbs. People congratulated her and lauded her on her weight loss. "Suddenly everybody loved me," wrote Austin.
It confirmed Austin's suspicions that the world valued and celebrated thin women more. While those who congratulated her for losing weight might have meant well, they were unintentionally suggesting that being thin is an achievement, and to be celebrated. Kendra Austin's thread has sparked discussion on the topic of weight loss, the pressure on people to lose weight, and the negative connotations surrounding the word "fat." Kendra Austin, who's body-positive, said people often misunderstood weight loss and merely revealed their fear of being fat. This was evident when singer Adele had lost weight and the media celebrated her, almost equating her value to her weight loss as opposed to all the stunning tracks she's released over the years.
when i lost over 100 lbs, everyone suddenly loved me. everyone thought i was gorgeous. everyone thought i was powerful. i can assure you being congratulated for weight loss just feels like your greatest fear confirmed. you have to be thin to be valuable to the world. it sucks.— kendra (@kendramorous) May 6, 2020
Austin has used her social media countless times to expose fatphobia and its stigmatization through systematic oppression mainly through media and the entertainment industry that's always afforded its prime spaces for thin actors and players. She accused society, especially powerful players in the fashion and entertainment industry, of not encouraging acceptance and normalization.
fat women have to find peace with who they are out of survival. fat women have to be brave enough to be the stars in our own lives even though y’all want us to be the sidekick.— kendra (@kendramorous) May 6, 2020
She added that there are real-life consequences for people who didn't fit the 'thin' stereotype, including being bullied at school, at workplaces, and on dating apps. Celebrating weight loss and diets meant all those who weren't thin felt pressurized to lose weight to be desired. This pushed the belief that being fat was a negative thing.
so many women genuinely believe that the worst thing they can be is fat. to be a beautiful, powerful, and accomplished fat woman who isn’t afraid to claim all of that physical and spiritual space is an act of revolution.— kendra (@kendramorous) May 6, 2020
In one of her TikTok videos, she urges people to not stop using the word fat for the fear of it being offensive. “Fatness and beauty can actually exist in the same person, whether you believe it or not; the implication that it can’t is actually deeply rooted in fatphobia,” said Austin. After she posted the Twitter thread on society's aversion to fat people, many opened up and shared their personal stories of unintended weight loss, due to an illness or a health condition.
i have lost more moments of joy, love, success than i can count because i felt too big. i felt like all the good things were reserved for thinness. y’all need to stop making these lil girls think their childhoods should be a diet because you’re afraid of women claiming space— kendra (@kendramorous) May 6, 2020
She called on fat women to embrace their bodies and reclaim their identity.
My whole childhood and life summed up right here. Can’t remember a moment of being comfortable inside my body.— L. Brooke (@elleameno_p) May 7, 2020
I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. This thread summed up the complexities perfectly. I’ve spent vacations thinking “This would be more fun if I weighed 40 pounds less”. As much as I know I need to help myself, I realize the world around us needs help too.— Katy (@kpbball41) May 7, 2020
This a million times. I lost YEARS of my life killing myself at the gym and starving myself just to be able to reach that “ideal” in order to have “permission” to enjoy my life. It’s all bullshit.— Gabby (@LittleEin) May 9, 2020
I still remember it. It still bugs me. The worst part is that a woman said it. I'm happy with the way I look atm but it was a difficult road. Sometimes I still struggle with my weight but now I don't feel bad if I eat a whole pizza. I'm happier. (2/2)— Yeya ⚡ (@AnahiiLeal) May 8, 2020
It's important to celebrate and love our own bodies instead of listening to the voices trying to shame us for who we are. As we reported, body-positive supermodel Ashley Graham recently started a beautiful TikTok challenge encouraging people to share what they liked most about their body and shower themselves with self-love. Graham shared a video of herself describing her favorite body parts. "The strongest part of my body? My legs," she said. "The sexiest part of my body: my eyes. My favorite part of my body. My jawline lol. The most important part of my body? My smile. The part of my body I would never change. EVERYTHING!!!" she said in the video.
She then urged her followers to do the same, and close to a thousand people took the challenge, embracing their bodies. After seeing all the videos, Graham responded by writing, "I'm not crying you're crying 😭. So many beautiful people have been using my sound on TikTok to celebrate their bodies ❤️ take a second today to celebrate yours!" The 33-year-old also likes to keep her pictures 'real' on Instagram. "I keep it real and raw constantly because I want [people] to know that there are women with cellulite, with back fat, with stretch marks. There are a lot of curvy women, plus-size women, fat women, whatever you want to call them." It's probably going to take years to unlearn what society has conditioned us to hate and love but we can start today and celebrate ourselves for who we are.