While poking around Tumblr (which I am getting more and more tempted to join, although the last thing I need is another way to waste time online!), I found this critique of fatshion:
Fashion is a (too) large part of fat activism and I can understand its allure but basically as I see it fatshion doesn’t mean shit against the actual issue of CLOTHING for larger/deathfats, medical access, spacing access, race, class and other intersecting oppressions.
I mean who is buying all that expensive ASOS poorly made clothing? Not anyone over an AUS size limit of 26. Maybe poor women like me drive themselves broke to have what we’re taught acceptably pretty acceptably fat women should have. Maybe middle class or wealth privileged smaller fats.
And also we talk about fatshion at the expense of talking about the complex ways clothing is used as social markers and about the way clothing can be used to visually construct identity.
The Sugar Monster added her perspective as another fat woman who feels alienated from fatshion.
I feel….well, pretty much the same way as Lisa Monster:
This is really important, and I really would like to be able to add to it. I definitely feel that finding the “fatshion” community was so important to me in my self acceptance, and I think right now I’m stuck between that place and being able to join the dialogue about the real issues for fat people, and I hope that it doesn’t seem hypocritical of me to be agreeing with all of this and still posting and reblogging all of the pretty clothes. I’m still trying to find my voice right now, but I really want to thank everyone who has spoken out in the past and who is speaking out now about the issues that exist within this community.
Fatshion has been a huge (no pun intended) part of fat liberation for me. And I’ve been into playing dress-up–ahem, I mean fashion–ever since I was a little kid. It’s a form of creative expression for me, and it’s not something I can or want to give up. But I also think it’s important to recognize that fatshion doesn’t do it for a lot of fat people, for a lot of reasons. That there are many other paths to liberation. That fatshion, perhaps unfairly, takes up a lot of space in the fat acceptance movement–especially online.
Maybe this is because it’s easier to take outfit pictures than to write in-depth analyses of fat politics. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. I know I wouldn’t have started this blog if I’d thought I had to write all serious posts, all the time. For me, focusing on fatshion took off the internal pressure about writing, and ended up making it easier for me to write about all sorts of things.
But I want to recognize that fatshion leaves people out. And that their voices matter too.
I think this is a big part of what Natalie Perkins was talking about in her infamous critique of fatshion blogging:
I’ve seen lots of popular fatshion bloggers refuse to get too into politics because they don’t want to get that serious, or try to “influence” people.
For my part, I will continue to struggle with leading my audience, many of whom are fat people who’ve hated their bodies their whole lives, up to the trough of loving the outside of their bodies clothed and shod in things they never thought they’d wear while addressing fat issues like medical negligence, race/ability/class/gender/sexuality and fatness, employment discrimination, and other big fat feelings about embodiment.
It’s a tricky balance.
I’m not going to stop blogging about fatshion, but I will keep doing my best to 1.) promote other fatshion bloggers who fall outside of the “mainstream,” whether by their size, disability, race, or gender presentation and 2.) link to bloggers who write about various other aspects of fat politics and experiences.
To start with, here are few non-fatshion-focused blogs that write about fat acceptance/activism:
-Dances With Fat
-Love Live Grow
-The Fat Nutritionist
-Lesley Kinzel and Marianne Kirby on XOJane
-This is Thin Privilege
-Living ~400 lbs.
-Redefining Body Image (includes some fatshion, but also a lot of other good stuff)
-Fat Body Politics
-Health At Every Size Blog
-Fat and Not Afraid
-Not Blue At All
-Big Fat Delicious
-Axis of Fat
-Sex and the Fat Girl
Feel free to link to other FA blogs (including your own!) in the comments.