Fat, Media

Fatties with Heads!!!

So, I was recently interviewed for a Reuters article on the size acceptance movement that’s been picked up a few different places today. On the plus side, it’s a pretty fair article. On the minus side, the reporter implies that I’m the sole author of the book, which has happened more than once and is getting seriously fucking annoying. (I e-mailed her and she says she’s asking her editor if anything can be done to fix that. See update below.)

But here’s what’s really exciting. Not only is the National Post iteration of the article illustrated by a picture of FATTIES WITH HEADS, but they’re fatties we know! Fatties actually involved in the movement the article talks about!
The boobalicious fatty right up front is Julia, aka sparkymonster on Livejournal, sometime contributor to Fatshionista.com, and a contributor to Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere (which also includes fantastic essays by Joy Nash, Barbara Benesch-Granberg, Lesley Kinzel and Cynara Geissler, by the way). I don’t have an e-mail address for the woman in line behind her, so I couldn’t get permission to drop her name, but if she sees this and wants to identify herself in comments, she’s more than welcome to. The photo was apparently taken at the Fat Girl Flea Market, and that’s one more reason to wish I had been there. 

Update: The reporter, Edith Honan, just called me, which was pretty awesome of her. (For the record, that “seriously fucking annoying” bit was totally not directed at her, specifically, but at the whole situation.) So first, she apologized for not including Marianne, and said it was really a matter of space limitations — which is totally understandable, though if any other reporters who plan to interview me happen to see this, would you please at least say “she’s co-written a book”? Unfortunately, the horse is out of the barn, so they can’t recall it, but it was very cool of her to call and apologize.

Second, she informed me that the photo of Julia and co. was a Reuters photo they chose to send out with the article — the Post just happens to be the only place I saw it, and some outlets chose not to use it. So I can comfortably go back to giving the Post no credit whatsoever! Whew. But props to Reuters for the heads and the relevance and the boobs! (And, uh, for not sending me a cease and desist about reprinting the photo here. Yet.)

80 thoughts on “Fatties with Heads!!!”

  1. OMG! With heads, fatties actually look like PEOPLE! WTF! How do we hate them nao!?!

    In other news: w00t!

  2. Those are two absolutely gorgeous representatives for fat women (now with heads!) Rackalicious! And I never have I wanted to live in NYC as much as when I read about the Fat Girl Flea Market. Props on all the publicity, Kate & Marianne.

  3. Oh! I just commented this morning on a Fatshionista LJ post by the pretty fatty with the red flower in hir hair. I will use my limited LJ skills and let hir know.

  4. Wait, actual photos of actual fatties at an actual fat activist event? No headless file photos??

    Quick! Call Hell – see if it’s snowing there….

  5. I should say, not that it’s anyone’s body’s purpose to be decorative, but one thing that seems consistent among the headless fatty photos is that the people in them are always wearing uncomfortable-looking, ill-fitting clothing and shot in the most unflattering possible ways.

  6. Having now read the article I can say… hey, that’s pretty good! Other than the snipped of BS from Rebecca Puhl, there wasn’t even a “but to avoid all this discrimination, just eat less and exercise more” addendum tacked on to the end like a Moral Lesson at the end of a He-Man episode.

    Also, I would argue that by opening Re-Dress, Deb Malkin is not only not leaving the political battles to others, but is right there on the front lines.

    But still… what the fart is up with reporters missing that fairly significant fact that Marian and Kate are co-authors?

  7. Fatties with heads are prettier than fatties without heads.

    You know how black is “slimming”? Turns out (and who knew?) having a head is slimming.

  8. Turns out (and who knew?) having a head is slimming.

    *dying of laughter*

    Congrats to everyone, especially Julia for looking so damn pretty. ;-)

  9. I am the other fatty in line behind Julia! Someone just linked me here from an OOTD post on Fatshionista!

  10. Also, fatties with heads and boobs and who look happy, thankyouverymuch. Who knew all those fatties were smiling up there?

  11. Could it be? Do I dare hope? Is it possible? YES!!!!

    That article just rocked my world…and I am one step away from being forever associated with Ichabod Crane…. (where’s my horse?)

  12. Not only do I love Julia’s dress, I desperately want to know where she bought her bra, ’cause I’ve got a major case of cleavage envy here.

    I agree with slythwolf—I think most headless fatty photos are meant to give the worst possible impression. And while I’m thrilled that they weren’t decapitated in this photo, I can’t imagine that Julia or the woman with the flower would be any less lovely if they were cropped to the neck.

  13. Those are some beautiful women in that picture, looking happy, having lives, the way people of all sizes should be represented!

  14. I am sorry to report that I bought that dress used so I have no idea where people can obtain it. WOE.

    I accosted the fatty w/ flower on the street …ok fine GAVE HER DIRECTIONS to the Fat Girl Flea. Then she gave me suggestions for plus size rockabilly fashion. AMAZING.

    Shopping at The Fat Girl Fleamarket and at Re/Dress is awesome because of all the happy fat positivity. This year I only got a handful of clothing from the Flea (I shopped harder at Re/Dress) and I’m not disappointed at all because I got to help tons of people get fantastic clothing and help benefit NOLOSE.

  15. Great press, Heads and boobs what more could a girl ask for? (Besides the obvious inclusion of Marianne.)

  16. You know what? After frequent repetition, the word “fatty” begins to sound like an adorable compliment. Pretty fatty! Fatties with boobs! Cute.

  17. Ah, now I see finding the dress is hopeless.

    I think having a head makes one look slimmer because people are so much TALLER with heads!

  18. Also, my bra is from Lane Bryant I think the “classic plunge” but, well. I’m a HH cup which I think helps with the cleavage more than the type of bra.

  19. Thanks for the link to the article! (Deb Malkin was my roommate in college; freaky small world!!!!!)

  20. OMG, heads! And great hair, and smiling, and fatshion! A photo made of serious win.

    I wish we had something like Re-Dress or the Fat Girl’s Flea Market in Dayton. I’m sick of looking at the polyester crap in Catherine’s.

    “Obese anti-dieting crusaders lead charge for overweight civil rights”? What a title! How about “Fat Activists battle size-based discrimination”?

    I have a theory about why Kate is getting sole authorship credit on the book, but I’m not sure how to best frame it. The mainstream media is more comfortable with people who look like Kate, even when they’re not using her image. Granted, I think it’s important for women of every size to be featured as fat activists (or size acceptance activists), but there is a serious dearth of positive portrayals of the truly and sincerely fat.

    I’m a size 30, the only time I see someone who looks like me in the media, they have no head. People without heads aren’t interviewed much.

  21. I’m a size 30, the only time I see someone who looks like me in the media, they have no head. People without heads aren’t interviewed much.

    Or, they do have heads, but featured on those tabloid Discovery Health shows.

    Also, I agree with you Godless Heathen that the media seems to be shying away from Marianne because she is the dreaded “unattractive deathfat”, like you and me. It would be nice if society and the media would stop thinking life ends at 300 lbs, but I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    On a side note, Julia’s dress is awesome and both she and Flower Fatty are gorgeous.

  22. i looked at that picture and knew that dress looked familiar, and then realized it was because i was there! the fat girl flea market was so awesome…i will definitely go back next year.
    yay for fatties with heads!

  23. Go Kate and Julia and Dana!

    Better article than most trad-media stories about us — but why, oh why, the weaselly-worded “obesity-related health care costs over 100 billion dollars a year, studies show”? (Those fatties may be laughing and having a good time, but it’s at YOUR EXPENSE, virtuous thin person!) Like thin people’s health care over the course of a lifetime costs a big fat zero, or you can separate out “obesity-related” health care expenses from poverty and discrimination-related-stress health care expenses. Boo. When is anyone in the paid media going to have the spleen to print THAT?

  24. Wow, squee, my handle got mentioned! Squee-dee-doodly-doo!!

    :: does quick egodance ::

    Okay, that’s over. :) I love fatties with heads! I happen to be one, m’self. And I thought the article was even-handed (with a couple of problematic logical fallacies — calling the $100 billion straw number “research” and the findings that fat people avoid the doctor “anecdotal”, for instance. Certainly stories of avoiding the doctor are anecdotal, but how is NAAFA’s research less worthwhile than the $100 billion straw-number, which counts *all* heart disease and type II diabetes — even though thin people get those diseases, too?) with the exception of Marianne’s non-mention.

    I agree with Bree and Godless Heathen — I hope it isn’t true, but I get the sinking sensation the media are shying away from her due to her size. I don’t think anyone has to point out that kind of behavior is exactly representative of the sort of regular discrimination fat people, especially those of us who are so fat we have apparently ceased to exist (or our heads have ceased to exist, at any rate), receive on a daily basis.

  25. Hey Meowser, we must have been posting at the same time…you beat me to it!

    but why, oh why, the weaselly-worded “obesity-related health care costs over 100 billion dollars a year, studies show”?


  26. Longtime lurker, popping my head up to say hi to Godless Heathen.

    I also live in Dayton, am around a size 30, prefer my fatties with heads and hate Catherine’s! (I guess this is kind of like a strange SP specific personal’s ad)

    If you ever want to get together and complain about not being able to shop maybe we could exchange email addresses or something?

  27. I don’t think there is necessarily any conspiracy to it (talk to me in a month? *laugh*) – it’s just how it has worked out until this point, I think.

    I love that picture. Is that the Reuters photographer who was interviewing people at the Flea?

  28. You inspired me to search Getty Images (one of the places news media buy photos) for “obese” to see how easy it is to pick photos of fatties with heads.

    Both the editorial (news) and creative (advertising) photos had some fatties with heads show up in the first page of results. The creative section also had a photo of a body-less stomach, which I found particularly disturbing.

    I tried the same search in Reuters photos, but it’s obvious from a quick search that it’s definitely not the same photos that people who use the news service would get.

    The same search in Flickr (another source of photos for news media because of the creative commons license) has no heads cropped off in the first page of results.

  29. Hey Julia, I love your dress! Also it’s nice to see a picture of fat women in the media where they’re actually allowed to look like people. Amazing what a difference leaving the heads on makes, eh?

  30. which counts *all* heart disease and type II diabetes — even though thin people get those diseases, too?

    Yes, and your chances of having to be hospitalized for either one (or any other thing, for that matter) GO UP EXPONENTIALLY WITH AGE. (And really not many people have to have surgery for diabetes-related complications anymore, anyway; that used to happen more often when the disease typically wasn’t diagnosed until gangrene had already set in.)

    That’s what just totally frosts me. Who is going to rack up more Medicare costs, someone who lives to be 67 or someone who lives to be 97? The very idea that fat people spend the last 10 years of their lives in and out of the hospital after spending the entirety of their adult years before that in and out of the doctor’s office, while thin people just skip happily along healthy as horses until they go to bed one day in their late 90s and don’t wake up, is just ridiculous, and proves that the people who write this shit don’t actually know any old people personally, let alone know their medical histories.

    And it gets translated as “if only the fat people would slim themselves down, they would use 100 billion dollars less of health care.” Which is doubly ridiculous. The truth of the matter is, these days, wasting illnesses that cost elderly people dozens of pounds are way more common than elderly people being hospitalized for complications of diabetes.

  31. while thin people just skip happily along healthy as horses until they go to bed one day in their late 90s and don’t wake up

    They what now? I thought if you stayed thin enough your whole life, and avoided all the bad foods and activities we know fat people engage in, you never die.

    I don’t think we should be showing pictures like the one above, personally. Now kids are going to think that fat people have heads, and the next thing you know, they’ll think it’s okay to be fat. Obviously nobody is thinking of the children. Fear of decapitation is a marvelous motivator to get kids to not be fat.

  32. For a little affirmation that FA is really sinking in, I read this, “…the media seems to be shying away from Marianne because she is the dreaded ‘unattractive deathfat,’ like you and me” and immediately thought, “That doesn’t make any sense, because Marianne is so pretty!” but then I remembered about how the whole world doesn’t live in my Awesome Bubble with me.

  33. Fear of decapitation is a marvelous motivator to get kids to not be fat.

    That, and implying eating a cupcake will make you blow up like Violet from Willy Wonka!

    What’s next, telling kids that fat is contagious and is passed during childhood via something that resembles the common cold?

    Or just be straightforward about it and weigh them in front of their peers? That’s a time-tested shamer (in that it does little else than shame one).

    I don’t think there is necessarily any conspiracy to it (talk to me in a month? *laugh*) – it’s just how it has worked out until this point, I think.

    @The Rotund – Well, looking forward to hearing from you, too! Looking forward to hearing how the book signings and so forth go.

  34. I know Kate and I both will keep y’all updated on our appearances, Big Liberty! I am looking forward to some upcoming stuff quite a bit.

    OTM – THANK YOU. I was totally not expecting that.

  35. I… I don’t know if this is an appropriate thread or not, but I cannot contain my glee any longer, and this video does have fatties with heads. (And how!) So, without further ado, here is Skinny by Lo Rider.

    Apologies if you’ve already seen it, and congratulations on all the recent publishing and interviews and fatties with heads. :D

  36. sarawr omg. that was amazing. the feminist in me is cringing a little but hot damn. It was like a less tasteful Adipositivity in video format.

  37. I think there’s a much simpler explanation for Marianne being left out, to wit:

    – Kate’s full name is on her blog, which I assume comes up very quickly when people google “fat acceptance” and certainly when they google “Kate Harding.”

    – Also it comes first in the alphabet.

    Though the “unattractive death fat” theory is interesting, it’s also true that Marianne a) is really pretty and photogenic and b) doesn’t read as Death Fat in pictures or, quite possibly, on video. Meanwhile, the name issues alone do a lot of explanatory work.

    Luckily M. has been doing a bunch of interviews lately so there should be a two-pronged publicity attack going on!

  38. Haha, fat people with heads!! I love how when they show fat people on the news they rudely cut off their heads as if taking their picture and plastering all over as an example of obesity isn’t rude at all. Kate Harding is my fricken hero, I only wish I was as confident and had a take no bs approach like she does.

  39. Yeah, at this point, I don’t think relative levels of fatness have much to do with it — I think I’m just more googleable, as Fillyjonk said. This blog gets higher traffic than The Rotund (because I have a lot more time to post and two awesome co-bloggers), so a lot of reporters find me first. And then don’t listen when I say, “YOU SHOULD TALK TO MY CO-AUTHOR, MARIANNE KIRBY.” (ETA: Just about all of the recent publicity has come from reporters/producers who were already working on a fat-related story and happened to run across this blog/the book. We’re only just starting to do interviews that are actually about the book — and those are a lot more balanced. People either want to talk to both of us or don’t care which one they talk to, so we can split it up however we like.)

    Also, since the CNN appearance, I’ve heard from several people (including other producers and reporters), “But you don’t look fat!” (Which cracks me up, since I’m only shown from the shoulders up there. I’m sorry, I’ll make sure to get my ass on camera next time.) From what I’m hearing, TV folks actually want someone who reads fatter than I do (from the shoulders up). And most of the print reporters I’ve talked to (including Edith) have no idea how big I am until I tell them — they take a cursory glance at the blog, but don’t dig deep enough to find pictures.

    So… we’ll see. As Marianne says, ask us again in a month. It’s absolutely 100% plausible that some media outlets would prefer the smaller co-author, but so far, that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening.

  40. I have been lurking for a week and had to post. I am thrilled that all of you intelligent, fatabulous women are taking a stand and showing people that you can live happy, fulfilled, healthy lives. Seeing the gorgeous women in the picture made me feel more proud of my boobies.
    Hooray for boobs and attitudes!

  41. @buttercup

    The video should also be considered in context. It was made in part in response to another video which had very skinny oiled up women with power tools. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4dNoH-5rrk (Benny Benassi – Satisfaction).

    I like the video and have fewer issues with the objectification seeing it next to “Satisfaction.”

  42. Julia and/or Dana –

    I’d *love* to hear the suggestions on some good plus size rockabilly, I have the hardest time finding cute stuff!

    Oh, and yay, heads!! Ya’ll are gorgeous!!

  43. This might not be super-relevant, and was probably already talked about somewhere else, but I just clicked over to the Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere page from the picture at the top left, and saw that one of the subjects it’s filed under is ‘Weight Loss’.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but now I’m completely in love with the little fantasy in my head of someone looking for a weight loss book and finding yours instead. A Shapeling is born! And even though your book obviously isn’t a weight loss how-to, it’s probably the perfect section for it to be in, imho. ^_^

    Even if, in reality, your average dieter might pick it up, sneer, and put it back, I want my version to be true :(

  44. Somebody upthread said something about “who knew the fatties were actually smiling up there”, and I have to say, of course the headless fatties are secretly smiling, they’re happy because they don’t know they’re fat! And the media must alert them to the fact, and wipe those shameful, undeserved smiles off their faces, so they can get properly depressed about their bodies and start the work of losing the weight.

    The Wolf does not actually endorse the position described above.

  45. Not much to add here other than–such beautiful womens! (and my serious pear shaped b-cup bod is feeling much boob-envy!) :)

  46. I’ve seen that picture on a couple stories online. How fun to see familiar faces! I’m pretty into the idea that you can be “fit but fat.” In other words, I try to focus on what I know is good for me — eating healthy, eating good things — vs. the number on the scale. Interestingly, I think that’s the idea behind Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon. We all know eating nutrious foods is valuable — but we DON’T have to make this argument on the backs of fat people.” “Eat well,” “eat healthy” is a message that works for everyone. And this book helps re-frame the discussion into something people can actually get behind!

  47. And what beautiful heads they are too! I love the dress the girl at the front is wearing!

  48. hey, i read about your site in a news article and i must say, i was thrilled! i’m not overweight but i am strongly anti-dieting and anti-discrimination. i’m disgusted by the bias against being overweight and the thought that you have to be skinny to be beautiful. in fact, i beg my boyfriend not to go on a diet because i love his gorgeous curves! with more lovely people like you promoting a healthy lifestyle as opposed to a specific “look”, i think there can be a lot more beauty in the world. thank you so much for helping get the word out that yeah, actually, big IS beautiful :D

  49. It looks like fatties not only have heads, but money, too–for things other than diets. Hello, corporate America? Hello? Advertisers? Is this thing on?

  50. For those folks who are interested in Rockabilly/Retro Plus size fashion, I am happy to give suggestions/advice/ideas. It is hard to find plus size vintage/retro/rockabilly outfits that aren’t really expensive let alone being casual enough for day to day wear. If you are interested my lj is:


    I am thinking I will make a public post with some ideas/suggestions/links behind a cut and if you have specific questions you can comment to ask?

  51. This article makes me so excited! I did a marketing project on the plus sized market three years ago now and it makes me so happy to see some of the things I was talking about in that paper coming into fruition now! Now if only Torrid, Lane Bryant, and Avenue each had three direct competitors each… I’m thinking about working on that.

  52. Liz, I’m letting your comment through even though you might be astroturfing because we love Linda Bacon, but based on recent comments I think we’re going to have to add a line to the policy to the effect of “if your very first comment is flogging a website or book, don’t expect to be approved.” If we wanted our readers advertised to, we’d sell ad space and actually make some money.

  53. Dana is awesome on the rockabilly stuff. AWESOME.

    Torrid is an option, but what they have is very hit or miss. But the sizing is excellent.

    There are a tiny handful of companies which focus on rockabilly AND carry plus sizes. These will mostly work for inbetweenies and smaller fat unless you get a custom order.

    Bettie Page Clothing (http://www.bettiepageclothing.com/)
    Some items through “3x” max 45-38-49

    Queen of Heartz (http://www.queenofheartz.com/)
    The largest size is 44-36-46 They also do custom work and in the gallery of custom items, there are pictures of some lovely fat women wearing their dresses.

    Mode Merr (http://www.modemerr.com)
    The standard sizes run through 46-38-49 They also do custom work for a fee (e-mail them for details).

    Pin Up Girl Clothing (http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com)
    Some items are through a junior 2x or 3x.

    Stop Staring (http://www.daddyos.com)
    They have some dresses through a junior 3X (check individual dresses for measurements, generally max 46 bust, 38 waist)

    Heartbreaker Clothing
    They have some items through a 2X which is max 48-37-50
    They also do custom.

  54. This is so awesome. The pictures are gorgeous. I think one of the reasons they show headless fatties is precisely because it is surprisingly and frighteningly easy to unlearn the only-thin-bodies-can-be-stylish crap.

    Dana and Julie, I only lurk at Fatshionista but I admire your senses of style sooooo much. :) I’m trying to figure out how to combine rockabilly fashion with an appropriately professorial look, and since I’ll soon by teaching working adult students, I need also not to look too juvenile. So I’ll be keeping an eye on any such advice you put into the internets.

    Off-topic: Y’all, I think I may just have gotten over swine flu! My school has identified cases of swine flu, and the cases they identified were all mild, but were symptomatic last week. I had the list of suspicions flu-like symptoms on Friday – Saturday, a day after being on campus, but before the story was really making headlines. I’m feeling a lot better but I am FREAKED THE FUCK OUT. Thank heaven my kids aren’t showing symptoms. We’re keeping the kids home from the campus daycare… actually we’re all just staying home, period, from everything. All that is just to say I may be turning to internet communities even more than usual. Consider yourself warned. ;)

  55. Bah! Sorry, I meant “Julia.” In my mind that’s what I was typing. In my defense I had a one-and-a-half-year-old in my lap.

  56. A Sarah, if during your quarantine you figure out great insights about how to look fun but professorial, please share them with us! (Also, glad you’re feeling better and your kids are ok!)

  57. Yay for non headless fatties, especially of my darling friend Julia. My quote is so bizarre because I spent a lot of time actually talking about my politics.

    Yeah I can just be all pretty pretty clothing ooooooh. : )

    Waving hi to Alyssa! I’m so psyched to see you here! xoxoxo

  58. Well, thanks for letting me comment! I’ve seen the article — not just the photos — and it mentions “Health at Every Size,” as well. I like the ideas behind it, what can I say…

    And to “a Sarah,” — relax on the swine flu! We have cases all around us here, though not at our schools yet. (I think it’s coming, though.) People are saying it’s less trouble/danger than the regular flu. All will be fine, I believe.

  59. I just read the article and my guess is that Rebecca Puhl probably said a lot more about the discrimination faced by fat people than was quoted. While generally, I’ve found most researchers at the Rudd Center to be sub-par scientists (if adept at misinformed policy) who are primarily agenda driven, I’ve found Puhl to be quite compassionate.

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