Though the dialogue was very respectful and, in the end, very fruitful … my post yesterday at WeAretheRealDeal unfortunately ruffled some readers’ feathers.
And I can’t help but feel bad about it today.
What did I do? Well, I named sizes … and called a 10 “average,” which made some readers who are bigger than that (and happy there!) feel bad about themselves.
Of course that was not my intent at all – in fact, I even debated in my head using the sizes at all … but chose to in the end, for a point of reference and because, well, I tend to be brutally honest and transparent here.
Why? Well, I feel like it’s my duty/responsibility as a recovery/advocacy blogger to be honest and unfortunately, sometimes that means pissing people off, or, worse, hurting people’s feelings.
It’s never intended, but it does come with the territory.
As a blogger, this was another learning lesson. It was yet another reminder to be more mindful of my audience (particularly in light of the whole “thin privilege” discussion over the past few months).
Of course, I wonder if I’d just posted the “Dress for Me” post here, would anyone have said a word about it? Would any of my readers here have been offended? I don’t really know, because the comments here on the post tended to be of the “I can relate…” variety, not about me making them feel bad about themselves.
But I posted it at WATRD and that audience is much broader … and maybe I should have known better.
In particular, WATRD has a lot of readers who subscribe to the “fat acceptance” movement … so coming from a (recovering) disordered eater/dieter background … it seems I hit some nerves and needed to respond in the comments.
The absolute last thing I’d want to do is turn anyone away or make anyone feel like less of a person because of their size; I think people who know me in real life know I wouldn’t/couldn’t hurt a fly.
But I did hear them out and listened to what they were saying. It helped me see their side, which was certainly valid.
The truth is, blogging opens us up to a whole new world of criticism. And when we put our thoughts out there for the world to read, there are bound to be some people who are offended by them or hurt by them.
I chose not to edit out the sizes, but did listen to one reader who thought my original wording (“a 10 is less than the average size of a woman today anyway”) came off in an offensive way.
In retrospect, she was totally right; I could see how someone could read that and think I meant that anything bigger than a 10 would be “awful” – but that wasn’t what I was saying. Or, at least, that’s not what I meant …
I was saying for ME, personally … I didn’t want to ever buy 10s again. Granted, I did it this time because there were no 8s available, but I see how even that could have been misconstrued. I could see how a lot of my words yesterday could have been misconstrued, and for that I feel bad.
But I also feel like I learned something from it; I learned to see the other side and not feel like I was being attacked–because I wasn’t. And in turn, I was proactive and responded to the commenters. I think keeping an honest dialogue going was a good thing. The conversation remained positive and respectful … and for that, I’m grateful.
That said, today I am asking you a favor. You’re my readers, my loyal readers who have been with me throughout my disordered eating recovery journey. And I know not everyone will always agree with everything I say (and you shouldn’t!!)
So please be honest …. Were you offended by the post? Would you have left out the specific sizes if you were writing the post? And do you think it does a disservice to hear someone like me, on a body image blog, sharing about how it was hard for me to buy a size up (for whatever reason?)? Even if you related to it, do you see how the other side might have felt slighted or alienated by it?
Please be candid with me; I am someone who learns from my mistakes, and I can handle the criticism. I need to hear it. Please, indulge me … I want to be a positive asset to WeAretheRealDeal and this is a great opportunity for me to gain my footing.
Thank you …