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The pressure to always be thin, beautiful, and healthy makes us miserable. It doesn’t make us happy, or comfortable, or confident, or safe. It keeps us hungry (literally and figuratively) and sad, certain only that we are never virtuous enough to measure up to those cultural expectations, and that we never will be.

The only people I know—myself included—who are happy with their bodies are the ones who have dropped out of the assimilation races. It all starts when we say no. And we can say no.

When someone instructs us to lose weight, to shave, to straighten our hair, to get “in shape”, to wear makeup, to wear less makeup, to dress appropriately, to dress more stylishly, no not that stylishly, to stop standing out, to stop making noise, to stop being so damn large, to stop making excuses, to stop fighting, to just get along, to just do what we tell you, to just buy into this commercial weight-loss plan, to just take these pills, to just have this cosmetic surgery, to just follow instructions, to just know that we’re doing this for your own good, to never walk alone, to never walk alone in that outfit, to never draw attention, because no one wants to see that, because no one wants to see your body, because no one wants to see you.

You can tell them no, and refuse to say more on the subject.

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— Lesley Kinzel