Fat, Other Stuff We Read, Self-Image, Sweet Machine

We heart Joy Nash

Friend of Shapely Prose and superstar-of-the-near-future Joy Nash has a new Fat Rant video out! And it is completely fabulous. Behold!

Feel free to use this thread both to lavish praise on Joy (or to share constructive criticism) and to list your favorite comebacks.

104 thoughts on “We heart Joy Nash”

  1. I really like this video. Joy is great in it, as usual.

    And yet, I very much bristle at the idea that “fat hate is one of the last forms of prejudice in which even most people who are subjected to it think they are getting exactly what they deserve.”

    I’ll try and keep that in mind the next time I’m convincing my disabled husband that he doesn’t have to be pathetically grateful to me all the time because I don’t tell him to “suck it up” and get over his disability the way his family did. The same husband who used to dry swallow his medication in private because his parents convinced him that his disability was an inconvenience to the people around him so he didn’t even want to ask people for a glass of water to take his pills with.

    I’ll remember it next time I watch the vid A Girl Like Me and watch a young black girl be obviously physically repulsed at the idea of touching the “doll most like” her.

    I love so much of the FA movement, but I just get so frustrated when I see or read statements like this. I think, yes, most people in Western Society think fat folks are bad and deserve everything bad that happens to them because they’re bad and lazy. I think Joy is right – there is only one life here, and the best way to avoid that “stairway wit” is to practice because heaven knows next time I’m in something that makes me feel sexy someone will toss an insult at my fat ass. I know that I’m considered far more unkempt than my slender coworkers, just for the sin of being fat, and I know that’s wrong, and I appreciate having FA blogs in which to talk about that.

    But a lot of other groups think they’re getting exactly the abuse they deserve, or that they should be pathetically grateful for every scrap of kindness.

  2. Anna, I cringed at that line too, and I think you make really excellent points. I also think that a given individual’s sense of how much they “deserve” their oppression may have to do with how connected to anti-oppression movements s/he is; some people in all oppressed groups are going to be dealing with socially induced self-loathing in this way until we truly live in a more equitable society. Have you thought about leaving this comment at Joy’s blog, too (or emailing her if you’d rather talk directly)?

  3. Thanks SM – I actually looked at my comment and went “Wait a minute, I’m talking *about* Joy instead of TO Joy? What’s *wrong* with me?” and left a longer version of this comment at her place (it’s in moderation right now).

    I’m mostly just smarting, I think, from the “omg, if we stop saying ‘lame’ when we mean things are bad, we’re being OPPRESSED” thing going around right now. *sigh* It’s been a long week.

  4. No, I hear you — I saw your comments over at Feministe, and though I think that was *mostly* a productive conversation, some people were extremely frustrating (especially the “sicker than thou” commenters! what is up with that?). Anyway, we always appreciate your input around here, long week or no!

  5. Actually, that was MY line. I was credited at the very end of the video. (Joy told me she would be using it and I gave her permission.) I said it before on my own blog. Fu re-quoted it recently. Why, if people had such a problem with it, why didn’t anyone complain about it then? (I think I know the answer to that one, but please, do spill it.)

    And please note that I said one of the last, not THE last.

  6. Anna, I think the trouble is in the definition of “most” — certainly every oppressed group has many members who actively participate in their own oppression (which is what Meowser was talking about when she originally wrote the line), but you’d be hard-pressed to find a fat person who doesn’t wholeheartedly believe that he or she, and all other fat people, are fundamentally bad and disgusting. You’d be hard-pressed to find a fat person who even knows that there’s another way to feel. (I mean, not around here, obviously, but in the general population!) I think the situation may be similar in the disabled community (they’d be another “one of the last”); with every oppressed group, oppression historically outweighs positive activism, but with fat activism and disabled activism the movements are so new, relatively, that the weight of history is really profound.

    On the whole, we don’t support comparing oppressions (see the comments policy for a whole big thing on that). And we are big fans of intersectionality here, and understanding how different social justice movements support and feed each other. But I also don’t want to discourage people from trying to articulate what it is about fat prejudice that feels different to them — because there are important ways in which it’s different from other oppressions, just as there are important ways in which it’s the same. I don’t think Meowser’s formulation is perfect (and I don’t think Meowser thinks that either), just because any generalization is going to have exceptions and detractors. But I think it’s an interesting and thoughtful point — even if your reaction to it is to say “well I see that but I think a lot more types of oppression really have that element than you’re acknowledging,” as you do here, it’s an important point of discussion.

  7. Meowser, it’s possible that “people” (meaning, I assume, Anna?) didn’t read it at your blog, didn’t remember seeing it at your blog, weren’t regular commenters at your blog, or hadn’t thought through some of the issues surrounding this at that point. No one is attacking you or Joy. You’re absolutely right that it’s more accurate to say “one of the last” than to say “the last,” but that doesn’t mean that Anna has no basis for disagreeing with you when she says “But a lot of other groups think they’re getting exactly the abuse they deserve.”

  8. You’d be hard-pressed to find a fat person who even knows that there’s another way to feel.

    Thank you, FJ, that was exactly what I was getting at.

  9. Okay, the “No, but the night is young.” had never occurred to me, and now I’m totally cracking up.

  10. . You’d be hard-pressed to find a fat person who even knows that there’s another way to feel.

    Yes! I remember when I first stumbled on Big Fat Blog I was just completely shocked because… there are actually people out there who think it’s okay to be fat?! There’s a whole movement devoted to it?! The idea had honestly never crossed my mind. It never occured to me that being okay with who I was was an option.

  11. But SM, YOU saw it. And I don’t recall getting any complaints from you — not when I first said it in January, and not when Fu broke that line out again at the end of May. In fact, I didn’t get ONE single person complaining either on the blog or through email. Not ONE. Now I’ve offended you? Six months after I actually said it??

    And I still say that across the board, nearly universally to a single group of people, you will not find more overt self-loathing than you will find in fat people. That’s not to say that members of other groups do not experience self-loathing, but if you tell a random disabled person that they suck for being disabled, and that no sane person would ever want to be like them in a million years, you cannot more or less guarantee that they will nod sheepishly and hang their heads in shame about it, not like if you made a similar remark to a fat person about fat. (Fatospherians excepted, of course.)

    That’s not to say that individuals might not have that reaction, and yes, way too many of them do. Even ONE person feeling that way about themselves because of characteristic X is one too many. But I was talking about universality of experience among fatties, specifically.

  12. I love this one! I got teary at the end cause my god, such a simple way to say something that makes SO much sense, yet we all seem to forget: Live life today like you will have wished you lived it 10 years from now. Thank you Joy for being freaking amazing!

  13. Meowser, I think the context was probably important in SM’s reaction — on your blog, we expect people to be thinky, and to react to things analytically and intellectually. In the context of a Joy Nash video, since Joy is in some ways the fat ambassador (works in an easy-to-approach medium, reaches lots of people who’ve never heard of FA), the statement can sound uncomfortably close to the “last acceptable prejudice” cliche that you were actually trying to move away from. We don’t know that listeners will approach it in the analytical spirit in which it was intended, rather than generalizing it to “fat prejudice is worse.” Does that make sense? The audience is assumed to be different and so our reactions might be different.

  14. I’m mostly just smarting, I think, from the “omg, if we stop saying ‘lame’ when we mean things are bad, we’re being OPPRESSED” thing going around right now. *sigh* It’s been a long week.

    Anna, yeah, I heard you’ve been a real trouper this week. There’s always some value to smoothing your hackles down when you change to a new space (mostly because that gives you an opportunity to get some much-needed relaxing discussion instead of dissent), but I totally understand the internet stress carryover effect.

  15. Meowser, two things: (1) please understand that I am not attacking you; I am saying that I understand why Anna said she bristled at that particular line, and I think she has a legitimate, constructive criticism of it (that she expressed in a way that was much more pointed than I personally would have done). We’ve had similar discussions many times here about intersectionality, the trickiness of comparing oppressions, and the ways that fatphobia is (as FJ points out) both similar to and different from how other oppressions function. (2) It’s true that I’ve heard that line before, and now that you remind me that it was your line I remember it more clearly. (I saw that you were credited in the video, but it doesn’t say exactly what for, so I hadn’t connected the line Anna mentioned with that.) It’s also true that I didn’t say anything at the time; perhaps I didn’t feel like it would have been a productive discussion at that moment, or perhaps I just wasn’t thinking about those particular implications at that moment. I want it to be clear: I’m not offended! I just see that line as part of a larger conversation that we’re all involved in, and I don’t think Anna was out of line in bringing it up as a critique of the video.

    I am not going to engage in a conversation about whether fat people or people with disabilities are more universally self-loathing; I don’t think there’s anyway of quantifying that, and I don’t think it’s helpful. I agree wholeheartedly with FJ’s comment above.

  16. FJ, yeah, I suppose that has something to do with it. But please note that in that post that had the line in it, I actually said it was NOT “the last acceptable blahblah” in the paragraph right before that line, then said in the next graf, “However, I will say that…” I actually was trying to differentiate the two statements. But you’d think that in a “thinky” space, I’d have gotten some feedback on what that line actually meant to people. I didn’t get any. None.

  17. Meowser, right, that’s exactly my point — people who read the post will understand the full intellectual context of your statement, but when it’s moved into a different context in isolation, implications can jump out that didn’t seem problematic when your full thought process was clear. Remember that many people who see the video will, like Anna, not have seen your original post with your full thought process outlined.

  18. I have been waffling over whether I think shiny dresses are okay, and that dress totally puts me in the “yes” camp. Still not sure I’d wear a shiny dress myself, but I’ll definitely try one on next time I see one.

  19. But please note that in that post that had the line in it, I actually said it was NOT “the last acceptable blahblah” in the paragraph right before that line, then said in the next graf, “However, I will say that…” I actually was trying to differentiate the two statements.

    Well, and Meowser, that context might be exactly why you got no negative feedback on it. Since Joy didn’t draw attention to the distinction, it’s easier to gloss over the qualifiers.

    Regardless, I still think it’s a good point — with the caveat you fully acknowledge, that yes, many other oppressed people feel they deserve what they get, too — and I think Joy’s video is super awesome, as usual.

  20. Yeah, I know I expressed lingering concerns about shiny dresses when you and I talked about it, SM, but I think the cut on this one emphasizes the positives of shiny fabrics (look nice when drapey) while playing down the negatives (make people overly attuned to your body shape in a distracting way).

  21. I have been waffling over whether I think shiny dresses are okay

    I have my issues with them, but honestly, it usually comes down to, “But will it make my fat rolls catch the light?” so I’m trying to train myself not to think that way. If I love looking at shiny dresses in pictures and on thin women, and I can find one that’s cut to flatter my body, why the hell shouldn’t I wear one?

    I recently bought my first partly-shiny dress — my other option for FJ’s wedding — which is a black matte jersey top with a shiny, fake-charmeuse bottom. The bottom’s full enough that there’s no shiny-clingy combo, but it was still a departure from my usual wardrobe. Unfortunately, there’s something slightly weird about the fit, even after having it altered (just meant for someone with smaller boobs, I think — shocker), so I don’t feel 100% fab in it. But I feel about 90% fab, so it still might be the winner.

    Um, anyway…

  22. I think my anxiety about shiny fabrics comes from costume design class, where it was emphasized to us that one can use a shiny fabric to indicate an obsession with perfection. Not only do they highlight all body lumpiness (on any size of person), but they are also completely unforgiving of imperfect seamstressing, so they’re ideal for a character who prides herself on being immaculate and having the best of the best. And in fact that’s part of why the actual aristocracy has often been into shiny fabrics.

    Being a fundamentally imperfect person in many ways, I always sort of felt thereafter like shiny fabrics were not for me. But of course, we were talking primarily about tight bodices in solid colors (for both the seamstressing issues and the body issues), which don’t apply to adorable patterned wrap dresses.

  23. The dress is sexxxay. If I had $150 lying around, I would be all over it.

    Oh, and I didn’t mean to make this thread All About Meowser, either. I already told Joy this on her blog, but I leeeerve this video. And not just because she quoted me, either. :-P

  24. Also, look at the dress I found for the rehearsal! Or, you know, for whatever. I don’t even know if you dress up for rehearsals? But it seemed like as good of an excuse as any.

    I hope it’s good! I don’t know much about this place. So hot, though.

  25. Anyone know whether the sizing at that site runs big or small? The most recent size I have is 18/20 in pants, but theirs are divided 16/18 and then 20/22, so I’m feeling kinda stumped.

  26. That makes sense, FJ. And I was totally not psyched to get stuck in a pale pink satin gown for a wedding a few years ago, let me tell you. There is a difference between celebrating one’s body and celebrating one’s infinite lumps of varying sizes. But as you noted, the wrap cut is much less lump-enhancing.

    I am also madly fucking in love with this wrap, though it seems a little more afternoon-weddingy.

    ANYWAY. Yay, Joy!

  27. Lume, the Shop Translated site? I think it collects and resells pieces from various places, unfortunately (they’ve got a skirt there that I bought at Ashley Stewart), so it’s probably nigh unpredictable.

  28. Lume, maybe ask Joy at her blog what size she got — I do believe she’s an 18 leaning more toward 20 than 16. (As a 16/18 often faced with 14/16 or 18/20, I feel your pain.)

    Also, FJ, rehearsal dress is fab!

  29. This video made me cry. I love Joy Nash – she inspires me so much to just live the life I have. Thanks for posting this.

  30. Aaaaaaah that brown and pink dress is awesome. Please note that although my wedding takes place in the evening (technically), it is IN NO WAY an evening wedding. Maybe I should have made it an afternoon one just so people wouldn’t feel like they had to be formal. Blast. We just wanted people to feel comfortable drinking lots of wine.

    ANYWAY YAY JOY. I should probably actually watch the video so I can comment on it instead of on dresses; my excuse for waiting until later was that I’m “working on an article on deadline” but clearly I am not.

  31. Meowser, I’m another one who disagrees with that statement, but it took me a while to get there. I think maybe one of the reasons that you didn’t hear criticism at the time is that it requires some cogitation before reaction.

    In a way, it’s another example of staircase wit – it bugged me a little bit at the time but it took me a while to really think out why it was bugging me and then a while longer to decide if I agreed or not.

    I think that even though I disagree with you, the fact that I didn’t react immediately is actually a compliment to your writing and ideas – you made me think about this in a deep way that I haven’t before. That’s a good thing no matter which side of this particular fence we all fall on.

  32. The night is ALWAYS young. YAY!

    I loved how she made the point that childish ignorance and adult wilful ignorance are not the same thing. I know people who are wholly unaware of that.

  33. Someone asked me one time if I were pregnant, but it wasn’t because of my fat. I was talking about this weird craving I had, and before I could mention I was on my period at the time, that’s when the question was asked. I jokingly replied to the guy that “I sure am, don’t you remember what happened a few weeks ago?” That usually gets them every time.

    Anyway, this was a great video. The lap band scene reminded me of a conversation I had with my mom two nights ago. That infamous lap band commerical came on and I said I would never have the procedure. Mom started saying it wouldn’t be that bad, and I told her several times I wouldn’t have it done. Yes I’m fat, but I don’t constantly eat like haters think I and the rest of us here do. I also have IBS with chronic constipation, and I don’t want to take a chance on WLS messing up my digestive system even more.

    As for the debate over “fat being the one of the last acceptable prejudices,” maybe it should be changed to “fat is something that many people think it’s perfectly okay to tear down others for.” I do agree that fat predjuice is one of the few that society deems acceptable . BUT it’s a different kind of prejudice in that many fat people do think the discrimination is warranted. People of color and the disabled, will be quick to point out that there is no excuse for hating due to skin color, and being born with a disability or becoming disabled to due whatever reason. There are also many who aren’t people of color and disabled who speak up for those groups.

    But who speaks up for fat people when they are looked down upon and thought of as inferior? Other fat people who have accepted their size, and those who aren’t fat but are in the size acceptance movement. Yes, there’s COFRA and the national fat acceptance/advancement group, but I can safely assume that they are not taken as seriously as the NAACP or the ACLU. Basically, we’re on our own when it comes to educating and breaking down fat stereotypes. And if you’re fat and disabled, or fat and a POC like me, there’s another layer of prejudice we have to deal with. To be quite honest, I think haters would accept my biracialness (making up a new word here) 100X more than my fat.

    OK, off my soapbox. The video is awesome, Joy and her fellow actress are gorgeous, and I’ve got some great comebacks in case someone I don’t even know decides to hate me because I’m huge (although strangers really don’t hassle me over my fat. I think I look too damn mean).

  34. Being a fundamentally imperfect person in many ways, I always sort of felt thereafter like shiny fabrics were not for me.

    Hah! I often toy with the idea of creating a line of clothing in a pattern that mimics thousands of stains. I’d also have to use either an indestructible fabric or one that is already covered with artful little tears. One of the reasons I avoid “investment” clothing is that everything I own is relegated to painting and gardening all too quickly.

  35. Meowser, I’m really sorry I snapped. I’ve been fighting a lot over the past few weeks both offline and on about disability stuff, and I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m snapping at people who aren’t part of the problem rather than putting things down a lot clearer. It was uncalled for, and I’m sorry that I attacked the statement and by extension you and others.

  36. (And it doesn’t help much that I rarely comment over here so it probably seems like I’m hunting down things to be irritated about. I’m really sorry for that, too – both the not commenting much here and the blundering into a community that doesn’t know me from Caine and snitting. I hang out here, but not in a commenting capacity much, so that probably ads to my being angrier rather than remembering that I’m talking to *people*. I’m sorry for that, especially.)

  37. Of course, the problem with answering back, here in the UK, if someone yells insults at you in the street, is that they will beat the living daylights out of you.

  38. This whole shiny fabric thing has me scratching my head. I have never heard of it being bad! All this time I have been picking clothes that I find attractive and that fit without any thought to whether or not they were shiny. Must begin paying more attention!

  39. BTW I didn’t want to give the impression that I thought Joy was anything other than, ahem, totally awesome :) . She rocks!

  40. “I jokingly replied to the guy that “I sure am, don’t you remember what happened a few weeks ago?””

    And now I have to EXPLAIN what I was laughing at, lest I be called (more) crazy.

  41. Thanks, FJ and Kate. By the way, the Shop Translated site is having a 50% off sale which includes the blue dress.

  42. As usual, I love the Fat Rant videos. I’m not sure I’d use all the responses, but some I just loved (“You know, I was JUST about to say the same thing about you! How weird!”).

    My one criticism is the “shaky camera” during some of the monologue sections. I know it’s a popular technique right now, but I find it very distracting and difficult to watch.

  43. I *HEART* Joy! I am so grateful and honored to be fat and feel beautiful (inside and out) and find the fatabulous role models who are out there. All of the people who honor this site and the many other blogs and fat acceptance sites are the greatest! HUZZAH to your fearless efforts!!!!

  44. Hey, Anna, that’s fine. I can see now how someone might have that response to that line when decontextualized, especially if they are or are close to someone who is part of a different group and do/does blame him/herself for the associated prejudice. (And no, I don’t in any way object to Joy’s having done that; as long as she didn’t say it was “THE last” or “THE only,” and she didn’t, I still think it’s a valid statement.)

  45. So you know, I finally watched the video and I see the problem.

    Joy said “one of the ONLY forms of prejudice.” Meowser said “one of the LAST.”

    I think that “last” is really important, because it acknowledges that every social justice movement has to painstakingly grow to the point where the vast vast vast majority of the people who are suffering from a particular oppression don’t welcome it, perpetuate it, and think it’s deserved. That every prejudice starts out being wholeheartedly embraced by the prejudiced-against, and that one by one people become aware of the fact that it’s not fair, and that there’s another way to view yourself. Fatphobia today is like other forms of prejudice not so long ago; it’s different in that so far, it remains like that. Because FA hasn’t been around for very long.

    Anyway, and of course I loved the video and got kind of choked up in parts. Why wasn’t I wearing a tank top, indeed!

    I can’t wait until Joy makes it onto the regular teevee. YouTube doesn’t do that “pretty face” justice. (Also, the friend was HILARIOUS. “I’m talking about the reeeeeeeeeallllllly fat people.” Hee!)

  46. Joy’s videos always move me to tears. I think it’s not so much the content–which is, of course, always insightful and important–but who she is; her inner strength. She glows all over the place.

    There’s still one thing I’m stumped on, though: Anyone have a good comeback in mind for the classic “Oh, you’re not fat” line?

  47. Meg, I’ve been reacting to it by getting all indignant. “I most certainly am! What are you saying?”

  48. There’s still one thing I’m stumped on, though: Anyone have a good comeback in mind for the classic “Oh, you’re not fat” line?

    My short version (if it’s someone clueless about FA) is, “Yeah, I am, actually. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just reality.” My long version is, “Actually, I’m well into the obese category, I wear plus sizes, and people yell shit about my weight from passing cars, so yeah… I’m fat, as it turns out. It’s not a bad thing, etc.”

    If it’s someone trying to tell me I’m not fat enough, I go with something like, “I can’t know what it’s like to be bigger than I am, but I have plenty of my own fat experiences, and I care about the rights of all fat people.”

  49. My one criticism is the “shaky camera” during some of the monologue sections. I know it’s a popular technique right now, but I find it very distracting and difficult to watch.

    Yeah, bothered me a bit, too. Joy’s so stinkin’ gorgeous, charismatic, and stylish, though, that I spent most of the video being jealous that she looks so good on YouTube.

    FJ, I covet that dress (the blue eShakti one) immensely. If it came in white, I’d get married in it. No joke. (Getting married on a beach; still looking for something foofy enough.)

  50. Meg: To that, I think I’d say something like, “Well, if I’m not fat (or obese — that’s another variation on the theme), could you let the Gap know? Because they don’t have anything that fits my supposedly normal body.”

    FJ: Good point about “last” and “only.” I knew there was a reason I used the former.

  51. I love it but I’m sick of the FA bloggers constantly reminding us that they eat really healthily and exercise. I know it’s neccessary to remind people that fat doesn’t equal sitting on yer ass all day, but it smacks to me of “deserving” fatness. Some fat people, like me, do love junk food and don’t exercise much. And that’s okay, too.

    It also feels very middle class to me. Some people don’t like going out in their neighbourhood. Some people can’t afford their cute dresses. And for some people, junk and convenience food is the cheapest option for them. Spare a thought for the poor people in the FA movement.

  52. I had that “you’re not fat” comment just yesterday. From a very sweet lady who went on to tell me that I have a “perfect” figure.

    I just lamely said “Thank you, but really I just dress in clothes that make me happy and I stand up straight. I really am fat. And that’s okay.”

    She argued with me for over 20 minutes. Nicely – she was very sweet and kind, but still. Dude. I’m fat. I have a belleh.

  53. You guys are brilliant! I love those retorts.

    ZaftigWendy, that’s part of my problem with that particular comment–the offenders are usually genuinely trying to be nice. And often, they’re even sort of toeing the border of fat acceptance–like, “size 12 isn’t fat! that’s the media talking!” which is a good thing to some degree. So I don’t want to be *too* snarky in my response.

  54. Re: the you’re not fat thing. I think whether snark is called for depends on the context. If someone makes a mean remark about fat people and then when you speak up says: “I didn’t mean you, you’re not fat”, then I think snarkiness is called for. But if you say something about being fat and somebody says: “No you’re not!” because they think you’re being down on yourself, then I think a more considerate response is called for. Something like what Kate said.

  55. Love, love, love this video, and her earlier ones too. I’ve had some lovely things yelled at me from passing cars and jerks on the street here in NYC. My favorite comeback, if there’s time for it (i.e., it’s not a drive-by) is “Hey, I can always get liposuction, but you’re always going to be stupid.” What’s odd is when fat men yell at me. So confusing. Their fat is okay, mine isn’t?

  56. Wow.. I just finished an 8 hour car ride across the desert with my parents.. yeech- it’s really cool to drop in and see that people are watching. :)

    So many things- yes, I definitely didn’t intend to imply that no one else feels that they deserve their prejudice- it’s hard to bang out these things sometimes and hit every point just as I intended to. I really really wish there was some way to workshop these things before I shoot and dump them on the internet. Any ideas? Any arty farty fat activist types in SoCal wanna start something?

    Meowser, I’d love to link directly to the post I quote you from- maybe you could email me the link? (I’d search for it myself, but I’m in trouble already for spending too much time on the computer and ignoring my grandmother).. :)

    Also, the Shop Translated website is indeed having a 50% off sale, and with exception to the INES collection, they run a little small. More like junior plus sizing. INES, however (which is pretty much everything shiny on the site -the shiny tops and dresses), runs a little big. I’m an 18/20 and dress I’m wearing in the video is a 1.

    And when people tell me I’m not fat, I say “What’s wrong with being fat?”

  57. And when people tell me I’m not fat, I say “What’s wrong with being fat?”

    Unsurprisingly, this is perfect.

    You know what’s my favorite thing about the video? None of the comebacks are like “yeah, well you’re ugly.”

    And Kate, yeah, when you’re in the middle of making an awesome video you’re probably not dissecting every deviation from script for its semantic implications. I just think that subtle difference might explain why some people found it jarring who hadn’t had a problem with it when Meowser posted.

  58. Joy is beautiful and that video was very moving. Physical beauty is not that important, it’s what is inside your heart and mind. This seems like a cliche but so true. I find non of the celebrities truly beautiful unless I see aspects of their humanity. For example, for me, Helen Mirren is more physically beautiful than any young dim celebrity nitwit out there.

    Joy is truly beautiful because of her mind and her heart. She wants to make the world better for herself and for others. Her video is funny and thougt provoking. She is the whole package.

  59. I like that. And the end is so very true.
    And even though I am soo soo far from being the most self-loving person around. Even though I still think life would be so much better if I was just thinner…. When I look back, my self-esteem is so much better and I am so much more confident now, at 195lbs, than I was at 140lbs.
    And I have friends who feel the same way.

    I am going to have to say though that I also think that “fat hate is one of the last forms of prejudice in which even most people who are subjected to it think they are getting exactly what they deserve.” is not really accurate.
    Even looking at sexism, it certainly doesn’t take the same form. You aren’t going to get “eww, you’re a woman!” with disgust from random people on the street and women thinking they deserve to have such things said for being bad enough to be women. However, it seems mostly to just be taking a different form. How many women who are raped blame themselves for it? Think they are at fault for what happened because they wore the wrong thing. Because they led him on. Because they didn’t communicate their lack of consent well enough. Because they were drinking. Et cetera. Women believe they deserved rape because they weren’t good enough in one way or another. See the same thing with domestic violence. Because if I had just kept the house clean. Because if I just stopped arguing with him. If I was just prettier. Nicer. Whatever. We so often do believe we deserve these, and many other, aspects of sexism. Heck, the majority, in my experience, of women think the wage gap is deserved because women get pregnant and take leave so of course we should in general be paid less. Plus, women choose careers that pay less, because women put more value on other things that pay. If women wanted to make more we would choose other careers!

    Fat hatred is definitely different because it’s something that is seen as something we can control. Being a woman is something society sees as something you are born as or you aren’t. You can’t control it. But we see fat as something people choose.
    It hink it’s less about feeling one deserves it than it is that fat hatred is more direct in attecting the fat, whereas something like sexism, is targeted at aspects of being a woman more often. And so feeling like it is deserve for fat hatred is often for being fat. With sexism it is less about because I’m a woman, than because I wore this and that’s what women who wear this deserve, because I drank too much and women who drink that much deserve it, because I wasn’t nice enough and women are supposed to be nice and sweet, et cetera.

  60. P.S. If anyone wants to see the quote in context, it’s here. The quote is in the third to last paragraph; right before that is the paragraph where I say I don’t buy “last acceptable prejudice.”

  61. Oh, Joy. Joy Joy Joy. I love you to pieces, but I’m not loving the wardrobe selection in this rant. Sorry. :(

    I showed this to my 300-pound mother (who is, sadly, having gastric bypass surgery ON MONDAY), and she hated the entire thing. Go figure. It’s a wonder I don’t despise my body, it really is.

  62. a friend linked me to this blog yesterday and i spent most of last night (and this morning) reading this and then Junk Food Science.

    my preconceptions have been tossed in a whirl, to say the least.

    i just watched this video, and to be completely honest i’m fighting tears right now. the last part of the video addressing perception hit me very hard.

    i can’t stand to see myself in photos. i never have. recently i had my wedding reception and i had to go through the proofs in stages because it’s so difficult to look at my body. (okay, i’ve lost the fight against tears. dangit.)

    several months ago my mom and i were looking at some pictures from when i was in high school. i was amazed!! i was skinny! (5’4, 133 pounds.) and at the time i thought i was fat. i rarely wore shorts because i didn’t want anyone to see my legs, and i live in the south!

    my weight started rising in college, and hit a high of 204 two years after graduation. i was devastated. i went on atkins for about a year and i lost 60 pounds! then i got off of the diet and i kept losing weight. and losing weight. i was consuming at least 2500-3000 calories a day and still lost 1-2 pounds a week, without exercising. at first it was cool, but when i realized i couldn’t stop it.. i got scared. since i didn’t have health insurance or a doctor, i didn’t do anything about it.

    i ended up in the ER with extreme weakness and pancreatic pain. i was down to 107 pounds and was literally skin and bones. i still remember lying on the gurney, shivering because some idiot had turned the temp to 60 in all of the rooms. the doctor came into the room and told me i had type 1 diabetes. i cried and said, “no… no…” while inwardly i thought, “but i lost all of that weight so i wouldn’t get diabetes!!” i was 25.

    fate’s a bitch sometimes. you can’t prevent type 1 diabetes. there is some genetic connection, but sometimes people just get it. no one in my family has it so i thought i was safe.

    *looks up at the massive comment so far*

    didn’t mean to go into my life story. *^_^* i’ll try to get to my point.

    the past two years i’ve been focused on getting my blood sugar under control. it’s a HUGE adjustment. i slowly gained weight (which i desperately needed), but i’ve continued to gain weight pretty steadily. when i last went in to the doctor i hit the scales at 207. three pounds higher than my previous high point. it’s.. disappointing.

    i’ve been really skinny, and i am (in my eyes) really fat. i didn’t enjoy being really skinny at all. i’m not exactly enjoying my current state either, but i’m sure that’s not a huge surprise. *^_^*

    what i’ve really been thinking is about those pictures when i was in high school. i thought i was hideous, and i was beautiful. i think i’m hideous now, but my husband say i’m beautiful. maybe the problem isn’t with the camera, but with my perspective.

    when i was skinny i remember looking at my thighs, and realizing that they looked EXACTLY the same to me as when i was fat. logically i knew it wasn’t possible, but they still looked huge to me. i need to change how i view my body so that i realize i’m beautiful no matter what.

    it has been incredibly encouraging to read this blog, even if i have been reading for only one day. i’m used to.. well, i’m used to hating myself and feeling guilty for everything “bad” that i eat. people shouldn’t feel guilty for their body shape. i understand that in theory, but in practice it’s a bit harder. it’s wonderful to read your stories and see people embracing the fat and loving themselves. ^_^ it lends me strength.

    now i think i’ll end my first (and incredibly long) post. *^_^* thank you for creating this blog. it means a lot to me.


  63. Congratulations Joy, you win at life! Seriously, this is awesome.

    “You might wanna keep your voices down, everyone’s gonna find out what an asshole you are.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Best line ever.

  64. Favorite line: “No, but the night is young.” Hilarious.

    I also love the explanation to the kids. Perfect for growing up little body accepters.

    Joy is my favorite. I found the FA movement after just sort of stumbling on the first Fat Rant and it totally floored me. It was so awesome and sane and smart and well-dressed. At the time I had been on a diet and gained back the weight, oh, maybe 5 times (in 5 years). Via Joy’s site, I found you guys and The Rotund and it all made such perfect sense and the first action I took is to end the dieting cycle. Then gradually I started feeling alright about myself, and then feeling good about myself, and then feeling incredible about myself. It’s so liberating to skip a day of exercise because I want to watch Lost and not feel this debilitating guilt about it for the next week. It’s amazing to be able to enjoy ice cream without thinking I should have gotten the non-fat. Who knew food tasted so good? Who knew exercise felt so good? Who knew clothes could be so much fun. Thanks Joy, for being totally awesome in every way.

    Also, I’m a huge fan of the shiny dress. Mine is fuschia, wrap, and the last time I wore it to a wedding I rocked the dance floor like I owned it major. Fun.

    When someone says you’re not fat, I also find that hard to respond to. The other day a co-worker was complaining about how I never go to McDonalds with her and in the same breath she said McDonalds is why we have an obesity epidemic and I responded, “You’re thin and you go to McDonalds every day. Maybe it has more to do with genetics.” She said, I didn’t mean you. You’re not obese. I said, “Actually, according to the BMI, I am.” It may sound a little strange, but we’re always talking semi-brainy stuff at work. We went on to discuss how the “obesity epidemic” was manufactured by lowering the standards, and how the health issues are not correlated with BMI except in the very highest and very lowest and etc etc. So it was a pretty fruitful conversation. But, of course, the best comeback to the “You’re not fat,” silliness is Joy’s in the thread above. What’s wrong with being fat, indeed. Awesome.

  65. Hoshi, I’m glad that you found us, and I hope you stick around.

    what i’ve really been thinking is about those pictures when i was in high school. i thought i was hideous, and i was beautiful. i think i’m hideous now, but my husband say i’m beautiful. maybe the problem isn’t with the camera, but with my perspective.

    That’s what I love so much about Joy’s new video — it is the perspective. Letting go of self-loathing lets you see yourself in a whole new light.

  66. @ pole to polar
    “I love it but I’m sick of the FA bloggers constantly reminding us that they eat really healthily and exercise. I know it’s neccessary to remind people that fat doesn’t equal sitting on yer ass all day, but it smacks to me of “deserving” fatness. Some fat people, like me, do love junk food and don’t exercise much. And that’s okay, too.

    It also feels very middle class to me”

    Thank you for making this point. It’s somehting I’m guilty of a lot. I just had an anoying experience with a doctor who brought up the DEADLY DISABLING FAT in a discussion of an utterly unrelated injury. I ranted about it in my LJ and included a rant about how god damn it I do eat healthy foods, walk regularly (I don’t have car, so walking is part of my life my default), blah blah blah.

    Then a couple hours later I went “WTF. It’s not OK for the doctor to tell me fat kills regardless of what I eat or how much I exercise. Damn it. I know better than that.”

    Some of it is definitely classist (room in one’s budget for certain kinds of foods). And some of it is tied up in ideas of “acceptable fat.” There is also an overtone of ableism. It’s OK for me to be fat because I’m able-bodied, but if I was disabled then my fat would be somehow bad. Blah. Classism and ableism are issues I’m working on, and will continue to fall on my face over. I appreciate a privilege check on that.

    On a more personal note, for me when I talk about “eating healthy” or “eating well” I don’ tknow that I mean what the doctor means. I eat a variety of foods that I think are delicious. That might mean a huge salad, or avocado bacon sandwiches, or a bowl of ice cream. For me, eating healthily is pretty much “eat things that taste good to you. Get your vitamins and such in some form. Through food is good, in pill form is fine too.”

  67. I just loved that her response to “Fat-ass!” was “BITE ME!” No, you don’t always have to be brilliantly witty (although many of her other responses are). Sometimes you can just get to the point.

  68. Speaking of Joy Nash, has anyone read the interview on
    her myspace.com page with Velvet D’Amour. Velvet says
    and I quote, “I’ve never said it’s, like, healthy to be fat or you should try to be fat. But I very much understand what people, and women in particular, go through to try to achieve the inaccessible. That’s why my whole goal is to diversify peoples’ notions of beauty. Not to say we should celebrate necessarily fatness. It’s to say, celebrate who we are.”

    Why not? We celebrate thinness. We celebrate people when
    they lose weight. We celebrate people for going on the Biggest Loser. I just wonder if the pressure is starting
    to get to her?


  69. I have to say, my favorite line was hers to the two snarky guys, the “You might want to lower your voice. You don’t want everyone to know what an asshole you are.”

    Because that’s like the all-purpose put-people-in-their-place-when-they’re-saying-something-rude-in -public line.

    And isn’t it so true? Here’s this person trying to put you down for how you look to them, or for the color of your skin, or for whom you date, or WHATEVER, and they are only showing their own small-minded ness?

    I also like “The night is still young!” Hah!

  70. Welcome Hoshi, I’ve been in your shoes w/regard to weight gains and losses. It is weird when you haven’t gotten to a comfortable weight that you want to stay at for the rest of your life. I have also had that experience like WTF, I was skinny in JH & HS. So strange how adolescence can play strange mind twisting delusional tricks on you, oh and family too.

  71. It’s an awesome video, but I don’t love what she said to the kids. She said (close paraphrase) “I’m fat. People come in all different sizes.” And while the different sizes thing is wonderful to say to kids, “I’m fat” sounds like it was spoken by someone who doesn’t have kids of their own!

    Joy is teaching positivity, but she’s forgetting that kids repeat EVERYTHING, and at the least opportune moment. The vast majority of fat people are not okay with being called fat, and a positive person like Joy indicating it’s okay to call people fat is likely to be hurtful to some third party down the line. Because 24 hours later, those two cute kids will walk up to a fat woman and say “Is there a baby in your tummy or are you just fat?” and that woman might be devastated.

    Fat is a word that FA people are reclaiming as honest and direct, but we are a small minority, and children can’t make that distinction.

  72. Because 24 hours later, those two cute kids will walk up to a fat woman and say “Is there a baby in your tummy or are you just fat?” and that woman might be devastated.

    But the same woman would likely also be devastated by a mere “Is there a baby in your tummy?” And certainly by “Is there a baby in your tummy, or do you just have a big belly/are you just overweight/insert other euphemism here?” Problem one is that children need to learn that commenting on other people’s bodies is rude, period — and that’s not the job of those whose bodies they comment on.

    But I hatehatehate that people teach their kids not to call anyone fat or bring up people’s weight specifically — as opposed to just teaching them not to comment on bodies in general. That’s not just because I don’t think fat is a dirty word — it’s because A) that ultimately drives the myth that fat people don’t know they’re fat unless you point it out to them. Which leads to people thinking if we’re ever going to solve the “obesity crisis,” we need to shame fat people more, because they’re apparently just not getting it. And B) It’s also what drives our hypothetical non-fat-accepting woman to be devastated by the question in the first place — she, too, has been brought up to believe that someone else acknowledging her fat is a terrible thing. It doesn’t matter how it’s phrased, because the power comes from the idea that there’s nothing more humiliating than someone noticing that you’re fat and saying something about it.

    The problem isn’t the word “fat” (any euphemism hurts just as much), it’s the agreement, shared by many thin and fat people alike, that if nobody says anything negative about your fat, we’ll all just pretend it doesn’t exist. Which also leads to people saying, “You’re not fat” to people who clearly are, because too many people just can’t get their heads around the idea that a person can be fat and attractive/kind/smart/well-groomed/accomplished/whatever. Pretending the fat doesn’t exist means denying a huge part of that person’s experience and contributes to making fat people invisible. So I really don’t know what else you could say to a kid that wouldn’t reinforce the notion that being fat is such a terrible thing, we dare not speak of it.

  73. Kids notice people’s differences, and will innocently say something or stare until it is told to them enough times that it’s not socially acceptable to do so. Then they’ll do so on the sly. My friend’s husband got a job in a lily-white midwestern town, and she is so chagrined that her two toddlers stare at people of color when they travel and ask “why is that man brown?”. She tries to explain that people come in all colors, but that’s just not the kids’ experience, living where they do, and picture books don’t translate to reality for kids that young. I spoke at Career Day at a local high school this year, and the presenter right before me was a redheaded guy who had been a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Africa. He said when he first arrived the kids at all came up to touch his skin, never having seen a white man before. I know in some non-US cultures it is socially acceptable to mention people’s size and that is shocking to traveling Americans to be called fat so cavalierly.

    I’m a bit jealous that Joy’s dress does not come in my size. It’s so pretty.

  74. Hoshi – if you can tolerate advice from someone who’s just sticking her nose in your business, ;) I had a huge camera phobia for years, too. Still kind of do, but one thing that’s helped me tons is getting a digital camera and playing around with it. I got a pretty cheap one, around $70 at KMart, and the way it’s changed my relationship with photography is amazing. Since it’s digital I can burn through as many pictures as I want, and absolutely no one else in the world will see them, and that’s been incredibly freeing. I’ve spent hours taking self-pictures over and over, in different lighting, in different poses, in different clothes, at different angles, etc. And I couldn’t believe it, but some of them turned out looking quite good. Hot, even. Ok, not many; I can get maybe one good shot out of 30 or 40. But the few that are good? Are really good. I looked at them and think huh, I don’t look so bad. Huh. What about that. It makes me feel a little more confident, a little more comfortable with having pictures of me taken. Plus, now I know which angles look best, so I can sneakily try for those when possible. It’s just nice to know that the camera doesn’t actually hate me.

  75. Second the “digital cameras can be incredibly freeing” thing.

    I can get maybe one good shot out of 30 or 40. But the few that are good? Are really good.

    When we got married my MIL wanted an “engagement picture” for their local paper, and we had the pictures taken by a friend of my brothers – he told us he was going to shoot two rolls of film, because “the first one’s for getting used to the camera” – he thinks a lot of people who think they “aren’t photogenic” are really just tense and need to relax – and because “getting the right picture means taking a lot of wrong ones.” One of those shots is about the only picture taken of me as an adult that I like.

  76. thank you for your advice, car! that’s a great idea. ^_^ i have a digital camera, but i don’t know how to set it up so it takes pictures of me.

    still, “not knowing” doesn’t mean i can’t learn!

    thank you for the warm welcome, ladies and gents. ^_^ i very much appreciate it. *curtsies*

  77. i have a digital camera, but i don’t know how to set it up so it takes pictures of me.

    I avoid the whole self-timer problem by using a mirror – sometimes I take the picture in the mirror so I can look at the framing onscreen, sometimes I point it at me and look at the screen in the mirror. And sometimes I just hold it up and hope I have myself somewhere in the view. :)

  78. This is entirely OT, but I’ll cram it in by saying that since Joy’s fabulous dress came under discussion, this video has some dresses that I totally WANT as well. It veers a little too far to the “fat women are REAL women” line that isn’t nice to all other women, but dang, I want that lavender dress. And I don’t even like lavender. And the tune is catchy.

  79. Dang, hit submit by accident. Stupid trackpad. Anyway, I was going to finish up by saying that I like to sing that song to myself when I order out in a restaurant – yeah, I’m ordering the salad with the dressing on it instead of on the side, bite me!

  80. As a person who has always felt i needed to apologize for my appearance…i’m a big girl in every sense of the word…this video make me think why am i apologizing? especially when i believe we all make our own choices, and ultimately are responsible for them. it’s none of my business, so why should i judge? ….which just leads to this, if more people would mind their own damn business, the world would be such a better place!

  81. I’m late to the party, but I’ve never seen Joy Nash before and I really like her. She’s so positive! Also, I think her little quasi-lisp* is very very cute. That’s the way I think I sound, too, though some people don’t hear it.
    *I don’t know what it’s really called, it’s just something I hear on her esses and mine.

  82. OK. I just left a comment at Anna’s, but (and I didn’t get to do more than quickly skim the last half of the comments, just got back from DC, am exhausted) I wanted to comment here.

    I want you all to think about how frustrating it is for a person to imply to you that the oppression you face isn’t serious, or even just isn’t common.

    Think HARD about that before you try to draw comparison by saying how many people of X class accept/don’t accept/welcome/are insulted by/etc. their oppression.

    People who don’t accept that their fat is a point of inferiority are few and far between — to say nothing of those who actually view their fat as a POSITIVE thing.

    And guess what? People who don’t accept that their disability is a point of inferiority are few and fucking far between — much less people who think their disability is a POSITIVE thing.

    You know what’s causing the discrepancy in your observation? It’s a nine-letter word beginning with “P” and rhyming with “schmrivilege.”

    And you know what? The same can be said about gender. The same can be said about race. The same can be said about sexual orientation and sexual identity. The same can be said about ….

    Please please PLEASE think fucking HARD before you try to draw comparisons between privileges. I GUARANFUCKINTEE you are going to step on a lot of toes when you do. No matter how hard you try, with the most generous of intentions, not to do so.

    There’s a reason for that, folks.
    Where we are clueless, we should not be flaunting that to our allies.
    We should be LISTENING and trying our best to LEARN.

    Instead of comparing — try this — turn that reflection inward, and think, “If I am thinking that XYZ oppression is ‘better’ in ABC way than mine… what is it that I’m missing that allows me to think that way?”

    If you can’t think of anything — resign yourself to the fact that privilege is really damn pervasive and it takes a long time, sometimes, to understand some things — so let that thought sit in your brain, and vow to yourself to listen to people from XYZ group in the ongoing future, and consider it an open case.

    If you don’t find the “something” that you’re missing? That case is still open.
    It should NEVER be considered closed.

    I know most of you would expect the same of me, in regards to fat and thin privilege (from which I still benefit, even as I am now technically ‘overweight’! mild body dysmorphia — fun) — I’m just asking the same of you.

    And thank you — sincerely — for the community that this is. ‘cuz I really do appreciate it.

    And my apologies for being so late to the party.

  83. Meh. Not feeling the “last acceptable prejudice” vibe. not feeling it at all. Paints the whole thing, which would’ve been otherwise interesting, with a ignorant white privilege brush. At least for this brown girl.

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