OMG. It’s not about JLAW. It’s about Genuine Body Acceptance.

love+the+word+fatAs some of you are aware I have written a petition on change.org: Kelloggs, Tyra Banks and Jennifer Lawrence – Stop Shaming Fatness But Continue to Support Actions Against Body Hatred

Other bloggers out there are addressing this too, including The Militant Baker, Jenny Trout and Fat Body Politics.

And much to my surprise – some people just don’t get it. So I’m writing this post to be clear.

To clarify, I like JLAW and I think she’s a definite supporter of people accepting their bodies but she is still perpetuating fat shame. When she said we should “outlaw” the word fat – I don’t think she knew what she was saying. I think she was talking about how people who are not fat get called fat, or call themselves fat.

And yes, it’s ridiculous to call thin girls fat because they’re not. And when some one does call someone thin “fat,” they are trying to insult thin people – by saying they are like me, fat. This is the same idea as the boy on the playground getting called a pussy – he’s weak, badly performing masculinity – and therefore he’s a pussy, a vagina, a woman – the insult is that he is less than a man, a woman – this is clear sexism. When some one calls you fat they they are shaming your body by calling it a less acceptable body – a fat one – this is body prejudice.

“Outlawing” the use of the word fat doesn’t encourage those of us who are fat to accept our bodies. If I am fat am I also worth outlawing? And really, the fear of fat – i.e. the idea that fat is this horrible thing to be avoided – doesn’t help others reach a place of body acceptance.  JLaw is most often acknowledging her body as healthy – and telling us that her body shouldn’t be condemned – and it shouldn’t, but neither should mine. My body is awesome and FAT. You can’t “outlaw” the use of the word fat and not at the same time underscore the idea that being fat is a bad thing, a thing I should be ashamed of.

To be clear I understand that people feel bad when they are called fat. This is because fat is a word we use to shame people. But outlawing the use of the word on TV doesn’t stop that – it affirms it. It literally takes it to the extreme telling people that calling some one fat is such a horrendous insult that we can’t bear to hear it in the media – you can’t get rid of the word without dissing the people who are actually fat.

We feel bad when people call us fat because we think that being fat is unacceptable and because we have been shamed. This is what we have to work on – normalizing the idea that there are fat bodies and there always will be and that’s okay. One of the ways that we can work on this is to recognize that Fat is just a description.

Fat, like short, tall, blue eyed etc. is a descriptive word which has been taken out of context and made an insult – much like the negative use of the word “gay” – to mean uncool.  Clearly, we should stop using the word as an insult – but we can still call gay people gay and fat people are fat because that’s what they are.

Genuine body positivity would mean that even if someone was fat, they wouldn’t have to feel body shame. I believe that we need to raise awareness – shift our perspective and create a world that accepts all people. Currently, in our culture it is perfectly acceptable for people to be cruel to fatness and fat people. It reminds me of Peggy Macintosh’s White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html). We live blindly in privilege until we open our eyes and become aware of the prejudice and shame all around us.

In reality, my petition and the blog posts you’re all seeing aren’t about JLAW – she is just a catalyst for a much larger issue – recognizing that “body acceptance” and fat acceptance are not always synonymous and they should be.

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Huffington Post Plugs ‘Plus-size’ Models

o-BEST-PLUS-SIZE-MODELS-570While I hate the term ‘plus-size’ because it instinctually implies larger than ‘normal’ – I love that the Huffington Post published and advertised (via an emailed mailer) and article entitled “Best Plus Size Models: Who is Dominating the Industry Right Now” and I love that they included some models who are ‘genuinely’ fitted to larger clothes – versus the more traditional larger sized model who is anyone over a size 6.

It’s also worth noting that two of the mentioned models are on the cover of French Elle and Quebec Elle: Justine LeGault and Tara Lynn. Bravo Elle! How about some of this body positivity on US magazine Covers.TARA-LYNN-FRENCH-ELLE-COVER That said, there is a part of me that wonders what impact magazines still have. Do any of you regularly read magazines or has our western  media guzzling culture become completely reliant information derived from the internet and other high-tech sources?

Either way – check out the Huffington Post article – I smiled.

Fat Studies Blogs and Sites That Bring a Tear of Joy to my Eye

I am not sure that many of you even realize that there is a field of study devoted to the discrimination and opression of fat bodies, but it is something to which I devote a lot of thinking and therorizing and something that has been written about in the New York Times. In particular, I am presenting a fat studies paper entitled, “RESISTING THE EXPANSION OF PATRIARCHY’S FEMININE AESTHETIC, IN FAVOR OF A TRULY FEMALE REVOLUTION” at the annual conference of the National Association of Women’s Studies on November 9th in Atlanta.  In light of this event I thought I might turn you on to the field of fat studies and the fatosphere by noting some of my favorite fat studies blogs and websites.

  1. The Chubsters – Eat your heart out Charlie’s Angels
  2. Obesity Timebomb – This is the blog of Charlotte Copper, who wrote Fat and Proud: The Politics of Size
  3. Uppity Fatty – This site features nudes of fat women – while there is some conversation to be had about male gaze and objectification, there is also something amazing about women who choose to be this comfortable and beautiful in a world that tells them to hate everything about their bodies.
  4. Fat dialogue – Just an amazing resource, particularly the Fat Hub pages.
  5. Big Fat Blog – Paul McAleer’s blog about fat discrimination is huge. So much info, so little time.
  6. Shapely Prose – Written by Kate Harding, this now defunct blog may be the most famous fat acceptance blog. Check out the archives.
  7. The Rotund – Marianne Kirby is on a mission here to let people know that fat people are not the enemy. And skinny people aren’t the enemy either.
  8. Red No. 3 – features Maggie – check her out.
  9. Fathuffalump – smart, funny, real.
  10. Communications of a Fat Waitress –  the fat feminisms of Amanda Levitt.
  11. Badass Fatass – another fabulous fat feminist, Michaela Null.
  12. Two whole cakes – written by Lesley Kinzel,  who describes herself as “a mouthy fat broad who deals in body politics, social justice activism, and pop-cultural criticism, usually from a feminist-flavored perspective.”
  13. Corpulent – Frances writes about fat fashions and provides resources for finding hip clothes.
  14. Adopostivity –  A project with a mission: “The Adipositivity Project aims to promote size acceptance, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather, through a visual display of fat physicality. The sort that’s normally unseen. The hope is to widen definitions of physical beauty. Literally.”
  15.  Riots Not Diets  – a blog written by Margitte Leah, an Fat activist and scholar.
  16. Fatuosity – a blog that critiques  “not only of dominant ideas about fat, but also on occasion, of dominant ideas about fat acceptance.”
  17.  The Art of J. Rose – Fat positive art.
  18. Natalie Perkins – a illustrator who is interested in Fatness and body image.
  19. Big Fat Deal – a blog that looks at weight in popular culture.
  20. The Big Ballet