I've been thinking about this idea a lot recently.
Equal. Having the same right as another. The dictionary defines it as: "The state of being equal, esp. in status, rights, and opportunities".
But as we know, it is not as simple as that.
I saw a great quote yesterday, on Facebook of all places:
"I learned first-hand that fat people are the recipients of the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice. Racism and sexism will get you ostracised in more enlightened communities, but you can mock fat people all you want."
We're fair game, aren't we? A fat, easy target?
So often those of us who are larger than most use humour as a defence mechanism; we would probably laugh, or extend the joke further. By doing this though, are we not saying: 'YES! It's okay to make fun of me. Continue?'
I was watching, of all things, The Chase (if you're not familiar, it is a game show in the UK with Bradley Walsh), where the 'Beast' came on. Here, on prime time telly, we had a popular face of TV mock a man for his sheer size. No other reason for this. He responded in turn. I can't remember these comments, I was too shocked, and probably too busy frantically tweeting my fury.
Why am I annoyed?
We know children learn behaviour they see around them. At 7pm on that Sunday, they saw that it was okay to mock someone for being FAT. If it had been race, or disability, or creed, it would have been an OUTRAGE across the social media world. I didn't see anything about it: did you?
No, and that is because it is seen as acceptable. We are showing our children that bullying someone for their size is okay. Who are we to judge?
So after this realisation, I remembered that I had the perfect opportunity to change this. Even if it was just a little bit. My Brownie pack is brand new - a great chance to instil positive values right from the start.
After our main activity, while some were finishing off and tidying up, I had a chat with some of them about why I love Girlguiding UK; it's girls helping girls, a safe place away from boys and pressure and grading - and it is equal.
If I manage to have this chat with one or two girls a week, and talk about it on their level, it might just go a little way to counteract what they're seeing on the TV.
As a Leader, I'm a role model for these girls, and I need to act like it. I'm not promoting obesity, but I'm also not promoting the diet culture, or striving to be something I'm never going to be. I'm happy in my skin, and hopefully, they will see that too.
And my fat self is happy with that.
Kathryn, Brown Owl, 9th South Shields Brownie Pack.