“Mirian, I loved your Mighty Crowns Manifesto. How about writing the Mighty Fats Manifesto? I know what fat phobia is since I was a child, I’ve always felt guilty and ashamed of my body. I can’t stand to hear anymore: ‘You’re so pretty in the face, but… You don’t have self-control’, as if I lay on the couch all day, watching TV and eating compulsively. 20% of Brazilians over 18 are considered obese. I know obesity is a risk for Covid -19. But prejudice, stigma and intolerance also kill. I’ve done so many crazy things to lose weight that I almost died. Fat phobia kills!”
My mother also heard since she was a child: “You are so beautiful with your face, but…”. At just 60 years old, she was happy with her body, because, for the first time in her life, she was able to wear jeans. Only she had lost 30 pounds because she had cancer.
Unlike my mother, I was always thin. My mom hated cooking. And I hated eating. At meals, to force me to eat, she would pull my hair hard. Each tug, a mouthful. When she wasn’t looking, I’d run to the bathroom and dump the food in the toilet.
My childhood nickname was Olivia Palito. In fact, it was a curse because, at the time, being thin was equal to being ugly and sick. At 13 years old, I was forced to take a medicine to gain weight. I was “cute”, as they told me, until I was 18 years old.
After I turned 20, my thinness became envied. I find it weird to be praised for being thin as it means I’m sick. I can’t eat when I’m anxious. At the start of the pandemic, I lost seven kilos in a month. I was 47 kilos. When my father died a few years ago, I actually weighed 42 kilos.
“You look like a corpse,” a cousin said. But a friend confessed: “I’m jealous of your body. I want to go without food when I’m sad, but I eat even more.”
In my research, when I asked “What’s missing for you to be happy?”, many women answered: “Lose 20 kilos”; “lose ten kilos”; “be thin”.
No wonder that the Brazilian is the champion, worldwide, in the consumption of medicines to lose weight. She is the woman who most fails to leave the house, go to parties, the beach, and even work, when she feels fat and ugly.
Since Gisele Bündchen became the most famous and highly paid model in the world, girls have dreamed of having the body and success of the gaucho nicknamed “The Body”. It’s curious that her nickname at school was Olivia Palito.
Websites on the Internet encourage eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, issuing commands: “Clean toilets or very dirty rooms to lose your hunger. You shouldn’t eat without feeling guilty. You shouldn’t eat something that makes you fat without punishing yourself later. Be thin is more important than being healthy”.
Only with a lot of sacrifice, suffering and a good dose of “crazy”, Brazilian women manage to conquer the envied body. “Crazy things” that can cost you your life.
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