Two of my more exceptionally brilliant Internets Friends have recently published must-read posts on Fatshionista.com, and even though they’ve showed up in the feed, I simply couldn’t risk the possibility that anyone hadn’t read them yet.
I stepped on a scale recently (with the idea of writing this post in mind) and I am about 245 pounds these days. My measurements – 48-42-55 at 5′3 – put me (in theory) in all sorts of size ranges depending on the clothing company & size chart. In practice, however, I’m wearing a 20/22 on bottom & a 18 on top. I’ve learned through different posts on a variety of blogs in the fatosphere that this (rather arbitrarily) is considered too fat to do things like tan in a tanning bed, go skydiving, & ride one of those teeny tiny miniature ponies. (None of which really feels all that regrettable to me, except for maybe that last part because small ponies – especially the ones that wear sneaker shoes – are very adorable, and I think I’d look most marvelous wearing some sort of cape & crown & riding one throughout my town). I’ve learned, from fat-hating society & industry, that I’m not supposed to feel angry or frustrated about arbitrary manufacture weight limits (or weak-ass ponies… kidding) but rather, that I’m supposed to shame myself & body into submission & slowly disappear until I’m considered a reigned-in & obedient & thin enough person to merit things like a fake bake & a safe jump from an airplane & a bedazzled saddle on a tiny horse. In the aforementioned situations, I know & feel pretty strongly that it isn’t the fault of MY body. While I might feel the pang of increased want brought about in situations of (perceived) deprivation, I realize that (being as we are, entrenched in capitalism and its attending ideologies of privation/saturation) it’s that & mostly only that.
Then, Eve writes an amazing takedown of a hateful piece of tripe that I didn’t have the gumption to take on. The article itself is nothing new, just another caricaturish screed by some attention-monger, but Eve takes it apart with a precision and vigor that should not be missed:
Let me see if I understand this correctly: Ms. Fowler thinks it is ridiculous that people make broad pronouncements about a much-maligned group (of which she is a member) and back those statements up with some seriously sketchy pseudo-research. She feels objectified and humiliated when yet another article appears, written by someone who has never lived through the experience she has had, yet presumes to understand what she and everyone like her is all about.
Then she goes and writes an article about how fat people are “just wrong.” She explains that the kind of fat achieved by people who weigh 16 stone (a number she claims to be shockingly gargantuan) can only be achieved through “the consumption, python-like, of about six whole rotisserie chickens a day washed down with 16 pints of double cream, half a cow and probably the entire produce of Ireland’s potato farms, deep-fried and with a coating of beer batter.”
Read them both!
And while I’ve got you looking at Fatshionista, Amy Mendoza is (to the best of my knowledge) not someone with whom I’m Internet Friends, but I’ve been meaning to link to her reworking of the privilege list from “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Amy has expertly delineated the signs of thin privilege, in a way that should make people stop and think. The comments, of course, almost instantly show evidence of the defensiveness people feel when they’re made aware of privilege. In particular, several thin commenters take issue with item 10, “I can shop in most stores and find clothes in my size.” They argue that it’s hard for most women to find clothes that fit properly — ignoring the fact that they have the supreme privilege of easily finding something they can even try on. This is frustrating (the commentary, not the clothes shopping), but it means the piece is working; lists like this are not supposed to make people comfortable. And I recommend you read the comments anyway, because there are also some incisive suggestions for additional list items. I love this list and I hope Amy keeps editing it and publishes a finalized version somewhere that we can link to it frequently and prominently.