exactly that

Posts tagged ‘fat’

The Space Between…

Jennifer Hawkins, a white, blonde, thin woman, nude on the cover of Marie Claire magazine.The policing of other women’s bodies is never OK from a feminist standpoint. I can’t stress that point enough. It doesn’t serve any productive purpose in feminist discourse.

It is mostly an understood concept among people outside of the mainstream of feminism. Those who are able to work their theory around the concepts of white, straight, cis, upper-middle class, educated, able-bodied privilege.

Yet, a concept that still slips into the space between understanding is the difference between criticizing someone who comes from a place of thin privilege and tearing someone down for a body that is not like your own.

This article at Bitch, to me, was the latter.

It doesn’t seem like so long ago that I was a size 0. And yet, looking at myself now it feels so far away. That is something I am coming to grips with even today. But my mind remembers it all so well. How can nothing be something? And even at nothing I felt all my flaws. I covered in my towel so I didn’t have to glimpse myself in the mirror and be disgusted by what I saw. I still do that now! I refused to own a scale, afraid of what I would see (I still do that now!)…because it would send me into fits of fear and rage and crying…because no matter how much I threw up and refused to eat I could not weigh what all the charts said someone of my height and weight should…and my thighs jiggled and my belly bulged and my arms — while muscular from kitchen work — wiggled. Even though I was actually nothing. My clothing size was nothing.[1]

Jennifer Hawkins has thin privilege. Yes. She most certainly does. But when I was struggling I had two kinds of people to look at in magazines and on television: overly photoshopped women who were too perfect, and purposefully imperfect women meant to make me hate myself so that I would work to not be like them. There was no campaign of women of any size coming out to say “we are imperfect, but here we are“.

I will grant this: The Bitch piece does criticize the way that Jennifer Hawkins’ flaws have been the main focus of her nude cover. That is not the conversation that this cover should be invoking in feminist circles. But if she is talking about how hard this was for her, that is not something we should be criticizing. Dismissing her hesitancy, her own insecurities just because she is thin and has a different body type than someone else… that is not feminist either. When has it ever been OK for us to dismiss another woman’s experiences?

Why can’t we, as feminists, understand that?

She no longer has the protection of her Photoshop Deflector Shields, so she is in a vulnerable place, but her thin privilege doesn’t put her in the same place as all the fatties of the world who are crying in clothing stores because shirts are not made for their bodies. I get that. I think Kelsey Wallace at Bitch, for whom I just did a mostly lovely guest blogging stint w/ some of the FWD/Forward team, even gets that despite what I am garnering from her post.

Jennifer Hawkins is not the same as me. She does not know what it is like to walk into a doctor’s office and have hir assume that the pain or illness is caused by my weight before they know anything about me. She does not know the pain of the stares when I have trouble walking somewhere, as if it is definitely because I am a fattie. Or how clothes are made for people like her and not for me…or how society is made to make me feel like I am a big worthless pile of shit whose only chance at redemption is to adopt a “Lifestyle Change” for just sixty bucks a month or whatever.

But while we are throwing stones at Hawkins and scolding her for making us all feel like crap, let’s remember that she is entitled to feel like crap too. And other women who look like her, who aren’t models, who might feel like crap about themselves, they are allowed to feel that way too if they want too. Because some of them might be trying to recover or hold on or what the fuck ever. Maybe they are healthy, and have been told to Eat a Sandwich[2], as if it funny or hip, but they can’t gain weight or can’t eat that much for whatever reason.

Or, maybe we, women of any size, are allowed to love our bodies and just be fucking happy, no matter what, and these women on these covers should show us that at any size we can all be beautiful (and maybe we will see more variance soon…but I am a silly, idealistic girl[3]).

We can criticize thin privilege without policing other women’s bodies.

Just sayin’…

[1] Why are women’s sizes arbitrary numbers? Why can’t they be waist measurements? That would be more consistent?

[2] Yes. I linked to them. I want people to see how awful that thread is, and how flippantly and dismissively that is defended, even when it is pointed out to the mod to be harmful. As in, she doesn’t care that some people find it harmful.

[3] I can’t back this up. I am not.

I was gonna…

post on this story about United forcing fatties to buy extra seats, but I am pretty sure that Kate Harding did it much better than I could have:

 

If you’re so terrorized by the thought of having your thigh touch someone else’s (and don’t get me wrong — I don’t LIKE that anymore than anybody else does, I’m just realistic about why it happens, which is that THE SEATS ARE TOO SMALL FOR PRACTICALLY EVERYBODY), just buy yourself a first class ticket! Or two seats for yourself! What? You say you can’t afford that? NEITHER CAN THE FAT CHICK NEXT TO YOU. What? Being next to her means your ride is uncomfortable? SO IS HERS, and you’re not the one sitting next to a total asshole!

As it turns out, that fat chick is a human being who paid for her coach seat just like you did, which means you are entitled to precisely $0 worth of extra comfort and/or services, and precisely no guarantee that you will find the person sitting next to you delightful in all ways. You want more, pay for more. You can’t afford it, take the train; Amtrak’s coach seats are significantly wider, with loads more leg room, plus you can get up and walk around or go sit in the lounge car if you’re disgusted by your seatmate. What? You don’t have time to take the train? You’re busy? You’re important? You have places to be? SAME GOES FOR THE FAT CHICK. This, “just pay more or find another option” shit sounds terribly classist and let-them-eat-cakey, you say? IT DOES TO HER, TOO. Get it?

My big fat ass gives hers a big fat WORD.

On good intentions…

I used to routinely lie when I would put my weight on something official.  Not by much, but I stretched it a bit.

I have recently given consideration to what this does, but more so b/c of the reaction I get when I actually confess my secret shameful truth (read sarcastically as I am trying to get on board w/ loving myself).  When I tell people that I actually weigh 207 pounds, the normal response that I get is “But you don’t look that fat!” or “There is no way you weigh that much“.

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The Importance of Being Juanita Solis

I mentioned a while ago that I have a very unfeminist guilty pleasure.  I have been watching Desperate Housewives since it’s beginning.  The series is highly problematic in many ways, and sometimes I find myself watching to pick it apart.  

Some of the behavior of each of the principle characters is meant to be ironic.  They are almost caricatures of the traits they are meant to exploit.  Gabby’s selfishness, Bree’s creepy perfectionism, Lynette’s overbearingness are all meant to be so over the top that no one could possibly think these things are OK.  There is one thing though, new to this season, that has had me cringing at the pain from the vein in my forehead.

Gabby and her husband, Carlos, have two girls.  I couldn’t tell you the younger one’s name, b/c we are always hearing about the older Solis girl, Juanita.  Juanita is fat.  Juanita being fat is such an issue that we have yet to hear much about the other child that Gabby and Carlos have.  We are meant to believe that Juanita is only four, and there have been at least two story lines now around her weight and size, and what seems to be acceptable fat shaming.  There have been very few scenes involving the young girl portraying Juanita that have had nothing to do w/ her being fat.  The first time we see her, in last season’s finale, her face is covered in chocolate.  The next time we see her, Gabby is trying to cram her into a princess dress for a party, and is asking for a larger size, only to be told that they don’t make princess dresses for girls over seven (ha ha, get it, b/c she is too fat to be four!).  Gabby becomes concerned, and begins to concoct ways to trick Juanita into exercising, like making her chase the car home.  I can count on one hand the number of scenes where I haven’t seen Juanita w/ food or drink in her hand.  We are definitely supposed to know that Juanita is fat b/c she eats all the time and b/c her mother just “can’t say no”. (more…)

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