Sick of fat-phobic culture? Fat-positive bunny to the rescue!

picture of chubby bunny with caption

Even though I’m lucky in that I rarely encounter fat-shaming from people in my everyday life, I still see it in the culture all around me, and sometimes it just gets exhausting.

Here are three things I’ve seen or read lately that pissed me off, and my response: a fat-pos meme I made from a picture of an adorable chubby bunny that I saw at a town fair last fall.I have included the original picture at the end, so you can use it to make your own images and spread the cute-animal love.

1.) This “invitation to dialogue” about “obesity” in the New York Times. Warning: the letter is jam-packed with extreme fat-shaming; read at your own risk.

The Times invited its readers to respond, and said they’ll publish the responses in the Sunday Review. It’s great opportunity for educating people about fat acceptance and Health At Every Size; if I could have mustered the sanity points, I would have written my own response.

But even as I appreciate the opportunity for activism, I hate that we need it at all. I hate that the very existence of bodies like mine is up for referendum in our nation’s best-known newspaper. I hate that we keep being asked to prove that our bodies have the right to exist without shame or stigma. I wish people would just stop making assumptions about people based on how they look, and start understanding that all bodies are good bodies.

2.) This device, which the FDA is likely to approve, which curbs the appetite by sending electric shocks to the stomach.

As my friend Jessica commented when I posted the link on Facebook,”So wait…if you never feel ‘hungry,’ how are you supposed to know when to eat? Oh wait, I forgot, it’s more important to listen to society’s judgment than to listen to YOUR OWN BODY.”

3.) This sign, which I saw at a mini-golf/bumper boats/petting zoo place where I went for a friend’s birthday:

sign with picture of goat saying

*sigh*

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The complex ethics of fa(t)shion blogging

Fatshion: the intersection of revolution and glitter.

Through another one of Sal’s link round-ups, I found this thoughtful post on the ethics of fashion blogging.

RK makes really good points, but I have some thoughts that complicate the matter–especially when it comes to fatshion.

1.) Fatshion is radical. It’s about taking up space, showing the world that fat women (and men) can have fun with fashion too. That we don’t have to wear muumuus, unless we want to. That we won’t put up with shitty clothing options from major retailers like Lane Bryant. That we don’t believe the right to self-expression should end at a size 14.

Fatshion is about inspiring people never thought they could dress themselves in a fun and creative way. It’s about inspiring people who used to think they were only allowed to wear black, or vertical stripes, or small prints. It’s a way of building community, both in the blog-o-sphere and in physical spaces like plus size boutiques, pop up stores, and clothing swaps.

Fatshion, for many people, contributes to the process of loving their bodies–although there are many other ways to do so, and neither fatshion nor loving your body should be mandatory.

2.) Enjoying compliments on your style is not an inherently bad thing, especially if you’re also complimenting others. Sure, it can get out of hand if it becomes your sole motivation, and then it’s a good idea to step back a bit.

But for fat people, compliments aren’t just good selfish fun. They’re an antidote to the ridiculous amount of negative messages we receive every day.

I’m lucky in that I’ve never gotten fat-related insults from strangers. I’ve never been mooed at, or called a fat ugly bitch from a moving car, or judged on my shopping cart contents. But these are all things that have happened to other women in the fat-o-sphere. And despite my luck at dodging such explicit insults–and in fact getting regular compliments from strangers on everything from my glitter bows to my dark purple skinny corduroys–I still have to deal with something like 386,170 fat-negative messages a year from the media.
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Why I blog about fatshion

My fabulous Fat necklace

The other day, a few of my friends were discussing people they’d known in high school. Apparently the ones who’d been conventionally attractive then are now fat and ugly. And there was one girl who used to be fat, lost about 70 pounds, and looks great. “She was always pretty, but now she’s stunning!”

I hate it. I hate the automatic assumption that thinner is better, that “getting fat” is inherently bad. I hate that if I suddenly lost a large amount of weight, people would compliment me left and right–like they did when I was dieting in college. I hate that those same people would consider me less attractive now.

This is why I blog.

To counter the 386,170 fat-negative messages per year that we are all bombarded with.

To take up space, without apology.

To define beauty on my own terms.

To question cultural assumptions.

To do my part, however small, in changing them.