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2015-12-15: Hi! You're probably here because you did a Google search for 'plus sized horseback riders' or you saw my content quoted elsewhere. There are a couple of things I'd like you to know.

I am still here! But I am living away from my horses and not riding often. I could tell you a lie and say that I am, but I have always endeavored to give you the truth here. As a result, I'm not feeling terribly motivated to write blog posts and I feel out of touch with the community.

I'd love for you to stay a while and look back through the archives. Visit the links listed below. We still have an active forum community and I post on the Facebook page from time to time.

I have tentative plans to try to get more involved in the horse world in 2016, and I will absolutely share whatever that adventure becomes with you, so keep checking back!

Friday, April 22, 2016

It's okay to stand up for yourself.

So, in my late-night wandering of the internet (whilst killing time before I have to go home and pack my townhouse up like a madwoman because WE MOVE TO THE NEW PROPERTY THIS WEEKEND, YAAAY!), I came across something interesting. I vaguely follow a few other plus sized equestrian groups on the internet, and in one, someone posted about how the manager at the barn where they kept their horse had made remarks about their body size multiple times, including to their trainer. The boarder made it clear to the manager that the behaviour was not okay and then chose to vote with her dollars and move her horse elsewhere. Most of the responses were positive, but there was one poster who told this girl she was 'thin-skinned'.

I'm here with a newsflash: Just because you are plus-sized doesn't mean you have to 'take' any commentary you wouldn't if you replaced 'fat' with 'ugly', 'dumb', or any other derogatory remark. And it doesn't make you thin-skinned to demand the respect you deserve, to vote with your dollars or patronage, or cut poison people out of your life completely without giving them a second chance.

Nobody would find it appropriate to leave if that manager was saying to the trainer "boy, that Amanda sure is dog-faced". Nobody would tell me I was thin-skinned for calling him on that behaviour, or for commentary about my intelligence, financial status, or attractiveness. It wouldn't be considered a knee jerk reaction to discontinue my patronage to that professional for repeated, unprovoked remarks about anything besides my body size. It's generally acknowledged that those are inappropriate things for a professional involved in a business to say about clients. But there is this ingrained idea that, as the plus sized set, we should not only expect but accept commentary on our bodies. And we 'shouldn't let it get us down', ignore it and move on with our lives.

Oh, hell no.

I'm all for empowerment. Shaking off the haters. Acknowledging that some people are merely really awful people and keep on dancing. But that doesn't mean that you have to ignore their actions.

Let's go back...oh, maybe 15 years. I'm younger, softer, and less confident than I am today. I'm in a big box department store - the kind that doesn't have distinct divisions between 'straight' and 'plus sized' clothes. I'm minding my own business, flipping through jeans on a SALE rack.

An elderly man goes out of his way, cutting into the women's clothing section to speak to me. He says "Oh honey, you know none of those are going to fit you." He was right, but that didn't make it okay. I was so stunned I didn't say a thing. My mom, my hero, either overheard it or I recounted it to her moments later. She chased him down and told him, without being rude or aggressive, that what he'd said to me was unkind, unnecessary, and very rude. He was taken aback. I like to think that the next time this man thought he might dash some young teen girl's feelings, he thought about my mother calling out his behaviour.

People never change their bad behaviour if you never call them on it.

It doesn't mean you need to scream, cry, swear, or flounce (though if that's your jam, more power to you). And sometimes if you call someone out, it won't change their behaviour. But sometimes it will. In the case of the original poster mentioned above, she called out the behaviour both with her words and with her dollars.

Sometimes you won't have the energy to call out people's bad behaviour, and that's okay, too. I don't always have the energy or confidence to do it. You do what works for you in the moment, and what you are emotionally prepared for. But you need to know that you don't have to lay down and take it, even if society has convince you your body is 'lesser' or 'bad', even if your body-positivity mandate is that 'fat' isn't a bad word. And it's not thin-skinned to stand up for yourself.

2 comments:

  1. I heard from a relative recently that I "needed to get a thicker skin".
    That's straight up BULLshit. It's what a bully says to a victim when they 1. want you to know they know they are being hurtful, 2. enjoy hurting you or making you angry, & 3. have no intention of stopping.

    ps. You Mom ROCKS hard. :-)

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