On “feeling fat” and the multiple truths of fat experience

Jenny Trout recently wrote about “feeling fat” vs. actually being fat in the context of reactions to Meghan Trainor’s song “All About That Bass.” Her main point is that, although body image is a problem for many women of all sizes, our conversations about body politics need to center the experiences of fat people–especially those on the larger end of the spectrum–who face regular discrimination for their size. She makes the important point that:

While average-sized women are concerned with not “feeling” fat, fat women are facing challenges that affect their lives far beyond damage to their self-perception. Plus-size clothing stores Lane Bryant and Torrid only sell clothing up to a size 28, at prices prohibitively expensive for low-income women. Buying clothing in a physical store is, if not impossible, then highly unlikely, for women who exceed the “plus-size” category.

Our health is at risk, too, and not just from the obesity-related illnesses we’re warned about; we’re faced with bias from the medical community that puts our health, and potentially our lives, at risk. Obese people face rising weight-based discrimination in the workplace, women especially.

I agree 1,000%. This is a big part of why I also felt uncomfortable with “All About That Bass” being held up as the body-positive anthem of the summer. Fat activism is a civil rights issue, and as its ideas have spread, they’ve often been watered-down to “inspiring” pictures of size 8-ish celebs and platitudes about loving your body (as long as it’s not too fat). We need to keep bringing the conversation back to the realities of being fat in a fat-phobic culture: workplace discrimination, medical bias, street harassment, lack of available clothing, lack of properly-sized chairs and medical equipment, discrimination in adoption proceedings, policing of children’s appetites–in extreme cases, even taking them away from their parents simply because they’re fat–and the ubiquitous messaging that our bodies are a disease to be eradicated at all costs. Continue reading

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Friday links, 5/31/13

Cute shoes I got from Roaman’s a while back. Unfortunately, they weren’t comfortable and I had to return them. But at least cute shoes came in my size, so there’s hope!

Wow, it’s almost June already. How did that happen?

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading this week. Feel free to share anything you’ve read or written!

Fat Acceptance
-Check out this call for testimony in support of an act against weight/height discrimination in Massachusetts.
Sized up: why fat is a queer and feminist issue. YES.
No more stitch-ups! Media literacy for fat activists.
-I really like this model of activism: focusing on the fabulousness.
-A fat dance company in Portland, OR is seeking dancers.
-It made me so happy to see this post about teaching kids to think critically about the “obesity epidemic” on National Geographic’s education blog.
-Miss Conduct has great advice on handling misplaced compliments about weight loss.

Fa(t)shion
Reflections on plus size dress forms from a fashion student.
-New Yorkers, check out the Big Fat Flea, which is coming up on June 9th. They keep posting pictures of awesome clothing on their Facebook page, and I’m jealous!
-If you’re thinking about buying one of Gabifresh’s neon fatkinis, read this warning from two women who unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions while wearing them.
-This Harajuku-inspired shoot with unicorns and rainbows is amazing.
-Sadly, Natalie will no longer be making fat necklaces after June 4th. Make sure to snap one up before they’re gone! Luckily, though, you can still get the design on a t-shirt or sweatshirt.
Mmmm, hat porn.

Climate and Sustainability
Huzzah! Bill McKibben has won the $100,000 Sophie Prize.
Signs of hope in the fight against climate change.
Keystone: what we know.
Harnessing citizen power to fund a U.S. solar revolution.
-This American Life has a great segment on climate activism.
-This ode to a New Jersey town that was hit by Hurricane Sandy is powerful and sad: “Place is not meant to be eulogized. I don’t want to think that my place may have to be.”

Everything Else
– My friend Kit has a great piece about the problems with the concept of “it gets better.” 
-I love this profound and hilarious poetry written by arranging book spines.
How not to be a dick to your deaf friend, or your friend with depression.
On working for free.
What do dress codes say about girls’ bodies?
11 things not to say to a woman who doesn’t want kids.
Women are not their worst own beauty critics. I hate that meme, and I’m so glad to see someone taking it down.
-Marianne takes on the problems with trying to scientifically quantify beauty.

I love this way of naming things:

And this…this is just ridiculously adorable. Enjoy!