A worthwhile fat-positive read.
Originally posted on BITCHTOPIA:
I know. Your body looks different. It has changed, and along with your life, your jeans fit a little more snugly than you had anticipated. Maybe more than you like. Maybe you hate it.
You were a size X for such a long time, you’d grown accustomed to the shape your skin had taken, and suddenly, you are 10, 20, 50 pounds heavier. Fatter. Sometimes, you might feel discomfort at the thought. Sometimes, it is really fucking hard to deal with. It’s okay to feel that way- I get it. I’ve been there, along with almost every person I know. But just in case you need a little extra push out of that rough spot, (because sometimes “rough” doesn’t cut it, sometimes it just feels impossible) this is for you.
I moved to California at my lowest weight. I reached my highest weight one year later. I was finally in a relationship that I felt comfortable in and I stopped worrying about what NOT to eat. I watched my body change and my partner found new ways of looking at me- as I grew, both figuratively and literally, so did he. I had many revelations that year, though upon reflection, they just feel like common sense I was denied. Some of them include:
Fat, Thin and Everything In Between is What We Want Feminists to Look Like
Kelly Martin Broderick posted this picture on facebook:
Only to have it changed into this meme:
It is clear that the meme attempts to use Kelly’s body type – her fatness –to insult feminism and underscore the a misogynistic misnomer that only women who are outside of the male gaze, i.e male sexual desire, chose become feminists. Clearly, the meme is childish, cruel and not factual (many people are attracted to fatness… there are whole dating sites dedicated to fatness…sigh). But, the meme also underscores exactly why feminists need to continue to concern themselves with issues like body-positivity and fat-empowerment – because when women speak up about their rights, they are still being pigeon holed based on their appearance.
Whenever something like this happens, I am reminded why, as a feminist, I still need to be fighting this particular fight – the fight for each woman to feel excellent about her body and the bodies of other women. I hate to say it – but sometimes even smart, savvy, dynamic, influential, informed, feminist women feel that they have a right to judge their bodies and the bodies of others, particularly if they are judging that body for being FAT.
In the mainstream, fatness is understood as always negative and therefore we are allowed to shame and torment it in ourselves and others. We discuss weight gain and loss endlessly: cabbage diets, juice cleanses, nutrisystem, weight watchers…We call out our muffin-tops and condemn our saddlebags. We pose in pictures with our chins stuck out or turned to the side to look thinner. We fear fatness at every turn and we save our “skinny jeans” because we refuse to believe that our bodies are awesome at any size.
I don’t mean to oversimplify, but arguably anytime we are accepting of shaming and brutalizing our bodies or the bodies of others, we are failing to see and dispute a source of oppression. As women, particularly feminist women, we need to constantly examine the messages that the media projects about our gender and our bodies and try to stand up and speak up when we see injustice.
I see injustice towards fatness. I see this injustice keep amazing women from feeling powerful and confident. I see internalized fat-hatred keeping women from being and doing awesome in the world.
This fed-up-with-it-ness is why I’m telling you about Kelly Martin Broderick because she is over it too. In response to the meme Kelly wrote an article for xojane entitled, “My Picture was Stolen and turned into a Fat-Shaming Anti-feminist Meme on Facebook,” and she created a tumblr, “We are What Feminists Look Like.” The tumblr calls for “folks” to send in their pictures or thoughts that make it clear that feminists come in all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, sexualities, genders, nationalities, political parties… you get the idea. I was thinking you should send in your picture – be over it too.
Also, if you’re ready to stop feeling oppressed by fat-hatred you should check out these amazing body-positive blogs, speakers, books, and coaches:
The Routund – Marianne Kirby
Big Fat Feminist – Kaye Toal
Dances With Fat – Ragen Chastain
Riots Not Diets – Margitte Leah
The Adipositivity Project –Substantia Jones
Body Love Wellness – Golda Poretsky
Extraordinary Being – Lindsey Averill
Two Whole Cakes – Lesley Kinzel
Big, Big, Love – Hanne Blank
Fat! So? – Marilyn Wann
Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere: Quite Dieting and Declare a Truce with your Body – Kate Harding
Hot and Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion – Virgie Tovar
Body Drama – Nancy Redd
These suggestions are just the beginning – the world is full of amazing body-positive people, all you have to do is look.
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At the teen choice awards Ashton Kutcher said,it was important to be ” sexy” but then he went on to explain that “the sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous…Everything else is crap … It’s just things that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less, so don’t buy it.”
Almost sounds like body positivity to me. What do you think?
Women’s e-news published a great article how to help your teenagers deal with the objectification and sexualization of teen bodies. And in the horrifying world where Ambercrobie And Fitch exists and makes thongs for kids, it’s a worthwhile read.