This is Thin Privilege

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Celebrating mediocrity

anonymouslayabout:

One of the things I hate about fat acceptance is the celebration of mediocrity. The premise here is fairly simple: We should love ourselves and celebrate ourselves, just the way we are, and shouldn’t strive for improvement because we are perfect already. Other people should cherish us, think we are beautiful, and praise us based on the same.


Now, self-love is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. Even if you’re the fattest person ever I support your right to love yourself. In fact, you should! But you shouldn’t use your self-love as a catalyst for never wanting to improve.

What’s more is you shouldn’t expect other people to celebrate your mediocrity. Sure, you are great at sitting on the couch and watching TV, and your legs can carry you up some stairs. Most people’s bodies can do that, though. It’s nothing to celebrate.

You can start celebrating when you can run a marathon or cycle a century or win a sparring match at taekwondo. You can start to expect other people to celebrate when you win a triathalon or get a metal for an amateur powerlifting competition, or when you climb to the top of a 300 foot rock wall. Hell, even just attempting one of these things is reason for celebration.

THOSE are the things that are worthy of celebration. Existing is not worthy of celebration. Fuck, I cycle 80 miles at a time and I can do a handstand and 50 pushups and you know what? Those things STILL aren’t worthy of celebration by others. Why? Because a lot of people can do those things.

Stop settling for the mundane, and stop expecting other people to praise you for the goddamn mediocre. Expect praise when you are worthy of praise. And existing? That’s not worthy of praise.

Fat acceptance doesn’t celebrate mediocrity, unless you’re implying that fat people are inferior to thin people and/or that greater fitness — something which fat people can also achieve, by the way — makes you a better person. (It doesn’t — health status is morally neutral).

Fat acceptance doesn’t celebrate mediocrity. There are plenty of fat folks with PhDs, who have authored widely selling books, started successful businesses, are Olympic atheletes, are the best parents in the neighborhood, or can make the best damn cappuccino you ever tasted. There are also, like thin people, many fat people who are doing the best they can to get by despite obstacles like chronic pain, oppression, and abusive histories. They’re pretty fucking awesome, too.

Fat acceptance isn’t built on some bullshit conception of how lifting more weight than some other guy or running a few more miles makes you a better person. Just because you work at something and value it in your life doesn’t mean other people have to value it. Value judgments are just that — based on individual choice. Hell, some people think if you aren’t in a fight club, getting the piss beaten out of you for fun every other weekend, you’re less of a person. They really, really, REALLY believe that as strongly as you believe someone is inferior for not constantly hamsterwheeling and being or becoming thin as a result (because surprise surprise, you can train and still be fat. But I’m assuming you’d say in that case they weren’t doing it “right,” even if they had the same exact regimen as you did). 

Fat acceptance doesn’t celebrate mediocrity. It sees goodness as a many-splendored thing, not something that can be determined with a blood or stress test. It’s pitiable that’s what healthists like yourselves have reduced it to — not only are you wrong, but you’re missing out on knowing and appreciating a lot of amazing people.

-ArteToLife

The truth is Black women have always found ways to live in our skin with a dignity that the world has not afforded us. More often than not, when Black women’s bodies are acknowledged it is to pathologize them. A Google search of black women + body image leads to scores of internet hits on the “obesity crisis” in Black communities. Whereas, when the word “black” is removed, the same search generates article upon article of White women embracing body positivity.

In Western culture, White womanhood is held as the epitome of beauty and desire. Part of the machine of size discrimination is stripping White Women of that status as punishment for fatness. There is a way in which body positive movements both reject the notion of the body as object while reclaiming it as beautiful by dismantling the definition. Black women’s bodies have always been objects in the social sphere but never exalted as beautiful. The fat Black woman’s body has been rendered an object of service whether for food, advice, care-taking etc., but never has it been a thing to aspire to, at best perhaps to fetishize, but not a thing of beauty. The mammy, a stereotypical trope born out of slavery validated large Black women’s existence only through their service to White women and White families, think Gone with the Wind, Gimme a Break or The Help. Our society tells us fatness is not beautiful. Blackness is historically, not beautiful. So even while battling weight stigma and reclaiming size diversity as beautiful, the presence of Blackness complicates the narrative. We don’t deal well with complication. This often means we don’t deal with complications, particularly in the realm of race. We simply don’t tell those stories. It is this unwillingness to wade through the murky waters of race that make Black and Brown women invisible even in the places where we say we are trying to make people seen.

Weighting To Be Seen: Race, Invisibility and Body Positivity - Sonya Renee - Read it all.

Why fat positive spaces need to be intersectional spaces. Why it’s important to deconstruct how fat white women have white privilege when fat women of color do not.  We need to have more discussions around this topic.

(via fatbodypolitics)

fatbodypolitics:

VJ’s Fat Experience, Pt. 1, Childhood - An Illustrated Story 

VJ narrates a story from her childhood, explaining what she learned about life when her loving mother was forced, at risk of losing the public assistance she required, to send VJ away at 10 years old to an inpatient facility based on negative assumptions about her size.

Animation by Stacy Bias: http://stacybias.net

This video is part of the Fat Experience Project, an oral and visual history project centered around the experiences of fat individuals. Interested in sharing your Fat Experience? Contact Stacy.

Intersections of race, gender, body size and class.

(I’m sorry, I don’t have a Tumblr so this is the only way I can ask this.)

I really love this blog, and believe that it promotes many ideas that need to be considered by everyone.  However, I’ve noticed that there have been a couple of posts lately that run along the lines of “I’m a thin woman, and I agree.”  I can’t help but feel it’s a bit like an invasion of space.  I know that these thin women mean well, and I appreciate that they’re allies who don’t make heated judgments and turn a blind eye to their privilege.  But I think this is meant to be a space where fat people can talk about their own experiences, and the things that have happened to them, as opposed to thin people nodding their heads sympathetically.  There is a space for that, but perhaps not this one?

I remember reading a post on a Women of Color tumblr, and a white woman asked how she could be the best ally in these places for WoC, and the response was: “Step back, and shut up.”  (In a less abrasive manner, of course, haha.)  The most important thing to do, when people with a certain privilege are trying to support those who lack that privilege, is for them to listen, and to let them have their own voice.  It’s no good to be drowned out by the allies.

So I guess I just want to express that it doesn’t sit quite as well with me that these (wonderful, understanding) thin women are allowed such a presence on a site for fat folk.  Maybe it’s just my problem, maybe I’m misunderstanding the intent and extent of this blog.  I’m curious as to what you’re response will be.

Oh well, regardless, I religiously follow you!

Mod response: I have to say, I agree with you. All of the moderators go through the inbox regularly and make judgment calls about what should go into the queue, and we’re not a hivemind, so our judgments may vary. Speaking for my own judgments and decisions, I agree with you and try not to queue up messages like that, nor too many messages about thin people with EDs. While I think their experiences are great illustrations of how thin bodies are valued and praised over fat ones, they tend to be repetitive and technically fall under the same category of people you’re describing. Maybe some of the other mods will have a different perspective than mine and yours on the subject. Thanks for the support!

- Fatanarchy

suicidesanity:

Still think fat discrimination isn’t a huge problem? Still think it’s not up there with sexism and racism? Still think that fat people don’t get abused all the fucking time? I am so fucking sick of not being able to exist in my own body. I am so sick of getting stares and laughs and name-called, and having my picture taken just for leaving the house and going to places like Walmart or a restaurant. How dare I, a fat person go shopping with my also fat husband. How dare I eat a sandwich, or any food at all. Or in tonight’s case; how dare I ride my bicycle in public.
A car full of men thought it would be funny to call out “Hey Fatty!” before literally swerving in my direction and nearly hitting me. I panicked and tried to swerve out of the way, and ended up skidding across the pavement. They laughed hard as they drove away. Do you think this is fucking funny?? Those pictures are from when the wounds were fresh. I am now even more red and bruised. The whole right side of my face is swollen and it hurts to open my eye. This is so funny. I am fat, so this is what I deserve right? I am so fucking tired of society seeing fat people as non-human. I usually let it go and move on, laugh even, at how small-minded people are…but today I am really hurt. Physically hurt. And so tired. These wounds are what fat people receive daily, you just can’t always see them.

THESE WOUNDS ARE WHAT FAT PEOPLE RECEIVE DAILY, YOU JUST CAN’T ALWAYS SEE THEM.

socialjusticekitteh:

tierracita:

Last night around 9-10pm at SW 13th and Stark, my friend was assaulted by a group of men who punched her and hurled garbage at her, including a beer can, demanding that she lose weight. The photos of the assailants below were provided by a nearby apartment building.

If you can identify any of the people in the photos, please call the Portland police non-emergency line, 503-823-3333.

I’m furious. A group of white men beat and hurt my less-than-five-feet tall Latina friend because they felt she was disobeying an authority they thought they had over her body. Women need to be able to walk home at night (or anytime, anywhere) without fear of harassment and harm. Don’t let these men get away with it. If you have an idea of who they might be, report it.

Portland, let’s find these fuckers! The person attack is friends with a lot of my friends and this has a direct reflection on the way women of color and fat folks are treated here in the PNW. I’m not about calling the police on POC but the police can have these fuckers. If you have any portland followers, please reblog!

But people are never physically attacked for being fat!!11!!!1! YES not even when they perpetrators actually say they’re attacking you because they think you need to lose weight! That’s just silly. There is no such thing as violence against fat people!!!

Thin privilege is not having punches and trash thrown at you in public by perfect strangers demanding that you change your body size.

-FA

supersandys-space:

Looking at myself in these photos, wearing these clothes for the past 2 days, has me actually kind of pissed off right now.

Like, motherfuckers made me think I was disgusting to look at for ~20 years.

Motherfuckers made me hate my reflection so much that I avoided mirrors and windows for ~20 years.

Motherfuckers persuaded me to wear baggy jeans and hoodies and bigass T-shirts over my frumpy one-piece swimsuits for ~20 summers, because they were uncomfortable with the way my body looked. Nevermind my discomfort, nevermind that I was the one wearing winter clothes in 100+ degree weather, getting physically ill.

Motherfuckers convinced me that my body was the epitome of awful, and that I had to make up for it with quick wit and intelligence, so instead of going to parties and making friends and learning how to be a ~social butterfly~ like them, I sat in my room and read. And read. And read. For ~20 years. And now they wonder why I have severe anxiety, why I never want to go anywhere with them, why I have panic attacks in a large crowd?

Motherfuckers told me for ~20 years that I had to lose ___ pounds before I could allow myself to live the types of lives they were given by default.

Motherfuckers forced me to eat tasteless food, or no food at all, while gorging themselves on whatever calorie-rific meal they liked, right in front of me, never gaining an ounce but repeatedly telling me my “weight problem” was my fault for overeating.

Now? Now I know that motherfuckers had/have bad taste, and bad science, and bad propaganda helping them form the opinions that they forced upon me. Now I know that I’m fucking hot. I’m funny and clever, too. I’m a complete package, and these motherfuckers had me settling for bottom of the barrell friends, lovers, relatives, food, activities, clothing, sex, everything…for ~20 years.

Shame on them.

I’m goddamned majestic and I deserve the very best that this world has to offer. Respect is not just for thin people. Living a fulfilling life is not just for thin people. Happiness is not just for thin people.

I’m so glad that I found Tumblr and the fat acceptance movement. I’m so glad I’ve found a way to break free from a lifetime of brainwashing. I’m so glad I get to spend the remainder of my life actually living it.

Health Police and Concern Trolls

fatoutloud:

No one gets bombarded by the health police more than fat people. As a “death fat” this is something I can’t avoid, no mater how hard I try. I get concern trolls on my blogs and websites, anywhere I post pictures of myself or even anywhere I just dare to talk about needing to treat fat people like, you know, people. I get it when I dare go out in public. I get it when I go out and try (often in vein) to find clothes that fit me, when I got to the movies, when I go to the park, when I go grocery shopping, when I just go to get my mail. Fat hate and fat phobia is all over the news, tv shows, movies, billboard ads, radio ads, and just about anywhere I go online. As if the ads aren’t enough strangers glare at me, stare at me, take my picture (particularly if I dare to eat in public), give me unsolicited advice, and just yell fat shaming shit at me from their vehicles. I get it all the time, there is no safe place for me away from health police and concern trolls. 

Even here, my tiny little corner of the internet. My itty bitty little space away from fat hate and fat phobic asshats, they still come at me. They still find me and fill my inbox with hate. They still throw their shit at me like deranged little monkeys.

And this is why I’m not nice anymore. Nice left the building, along with most of my sanity, you weight bigot fuckers have ripped it from my hands and stomp it into the mud. You concern trolls and health police don’t get any nice from me. Not anymore. Because my entire life you’ve bullied, harassed, humiliated, mocked, and dehumanized me. And I’m done with it. The gloves have come off. Consider this the line in the sand and no mercy will be shown to you fuckwits who dare to cross it. You’ve backed me into a corner and you’re about to see just how fucking viscous desperation gets. 

"Alarmed at ballooning waistlines in a region where fast food is common and comfortable outdoor exercise is not, the local government is offering to give citizens a gram of gold for each kilogram lost by Aug. 16, according to news reports."

Thinness isn’t the system norm though. Nope. -Fatanarchy

[just-a-cardboard-box asked: Question comes as someone who longs to travel and possibly live internationally: Where would I go to find a good list of the countries that find fat beautiful? Or would you mind listing one or two? I think it would be refreshing and so confidence boosting to be able to go somewhere where my body type and those larger than mine are considered the standard of beauty. And again, thank you so much for this paradigm and life changing blog. :)]
There is a really good book that talks about one of these countries called “Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession.” In the book they talk about Nigeria, where being the most beautiful means being the fattest. They actually hold stretch marks as symbols of beauty specifically.
That said, I would caution against only using Nigeria as an example of fatness being good or accepting because understanding how the same constraints placed on women in the western world are also put on Nigerian women. The book talks about how from a very early age young girls are force fed to gain weight and the main goal is really to make the women have no control over their own sexuality. They actually fear women being able to be thin enough to control their own body. While that seems to be pretty extreme, we do similar things within the western world by having very strict standards of beauty and control sexuality through economic, social and cultural means. There have been quite a few countries where fatness was acceptable but many of those have changed with the expansion of the western world. Countries like Fiji, where fat women were once acceptable saw a huge increase in the rate of eating disorders when western television was introduced in the 1990.
Basically, when we are looking at the intersection of fat and gender it isn’t as simple as saying fat bodies are more accepted, since there are social constraints at play. I’m sure Nigeria is more accepting of fat bodies but there are constraints on female sexuality that should be noted. So it really isn’t as simple as saying what specific countries there are, but I am sure there are readers of the blog who have traveled extensively and can give you places to travel to.
**Note: The book actually talks about how fat is viewed in different countries, not specifically about countries that value fatness.
-FBP
Also added for more context,
culturalrebel replied to your post: Question comes as someone who longs to travel and possibly live internationally:

As a Nigerian girl, I have to say that the Western notion of beauty has all but replaced this. People who used to praise my mother for me being ‘well-fed’ when I was a kid are now asking me why I’ve ‘let myself go’

Made rebloggable by request.

[just-a-cardboard-box asked: Question comes as someone who longs to travel and possibly live internationally: Where would I go to find a good list of the countries that find fat beautiful? Or would you mind listing one or two? I think it would be refreshing and so confidence boosting to be able to go somewhere where my body type and those larger than mine are considered the standard of beauty. And again, thank you so much for this paradigm and life changing blog. :)]

There is a really good book that talks about one of these countries called “Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession.” In the book they talk about Nigeria, where being the most beautiful means being the fattest. They actually hold stretch marks as symbols of beauty specifically.

That said, I would caution against only using Nigeria as an example of fatness being good or accepting because understanding how the same constraints placed on women in the western world are also put on Nigerian women. The book talks about how from a very early age young girls are force fed to gain weight and the main goal is really to make the women have no control over their own sexuality. They actually fear women being able to be thin enough to control their own body. While that seems to be pretty extreme, we do similar things within the western world by having very strict standards of beauty and control sexuality through economic, social and cultural means. 

There have been quite a few countries where fatness was acceptable but many of those have changed with the expansion of the western world. Countries like Fiji, where fat women were once acceptable saw a huge increase in the rate of eating disorders when western television was introduced in the 1990.

Basically, when we are looking at the intersection of fat and gender it isn’t as simple as saying fat bodies are more accepted, since there are social constraints at play. I’m sure Nigeria is more accepting of fat bodies but there are constraints on female sexuality that should be noted. So it really isn’t as simple as saying what specific countries there are, but I am sure there are readers of the blog who have traveled extensively and can give you places to travel to.

**Note: The book actually talks about how fat is viewed in different countries, not specifically about countries that value fatness.

-FBP

Also added for more context,

culturalrebel replied to your postQuestion comes as someone who longs to travel and possibly live internationally:

As a Nigerian girl, I have to say that the Western notion of beauty has all but replaced this. People who used to praise my mother for me being ‘well-fed’ when I was a kid are now asking me why I’ve ‘let myself go’

Made rebloggable by request.

Roll Up Your Sleeves!

I rolled my sleeves up at the park today.

It’s such a ridiculously tiny thing, to be as meaningful to me as it is.

I haven’t shown my upper arms in public since I was probably 10 or so, with the exception of being at the beach (and even then, I usually wear a t-shirt), or with select groups of friends.  I have never worn a tank top in my adult or teenage life.  At some point, I got it in my head that my upper arms were too fat ever to be seen in public, and I was never able to shake it.

Until today—it was nice out and I wanted sun, so I rolled my sleeves up to my shoulder.  Nobody noticed or cared. It was awesome.

thisisthinprivilege:

What’s Wrong with Fat? by Dr. Abigail Saguy (UCI, April 17, 2013) (by feedmeimcranky)

Please watch the whole thing. At the end, Dr. Saguy, when asked a question about weight loss being prescribed to especially older cardiology patients, says:

…based on the data they shouldn’t be recommending weight loss. At all. And yet,  [a cardiologist at UCLA] tells me she has fellow cardiologists come to her and say, “Well, do you really believe your data?”

[to which she replies] “Well yeah, I have no reason not to believe my data.”

Or [her fellow cardiologists say] “I know what the data suggests, but I just can’t bring myself to stop recommending weight loss. I know there is no scientific basis for it, but…”

This comes from people’s prejudice.

We live in a society that values thinness, so we assume that it must be better for everything. And it’s just not supported.

What’s Wrong with Fat? by Dr. Abigail Saguy (UCI, April 17, 2013) (by feedmeimcranky)

Please watch the whole thing. At the end, Dr. Saguy, when asked a question about weight loss being prescribed to especially older cardiology patients, says:

…based on the data they shouldn’t be recommending weight loss. At all. And yet,  [a cardiologist at UCLA] tells me she has fellow cardiologists come to her and say, “Well, do you really believe your data?”

[to which she replies] “Well yeah, I have no reason not to believe my data.”

Or [her fellow cardiologists say] “I know what the data suggests, but I just can’t bring myself to stop recommending weight loss. I know there is no scientific basis for it, but…”

This comes from people’s prejudice.

We live in a society that values thinness, so we assume that it must be better for everything. And it’s just not supported.

On self-esteem and the struggle, or why I’m not into that Dove ad.

bigfatfeminist:

By now it’s entirely likel you’ve seen it: Dove put out an ad where a bunch of women sit down and describe themselves to a forensic artist. Then, a stranger they just met describes them to a forensic artist. Surprise! They’re not as ugly as they think they are!

Look, here’s some real talk: I do not know a single person who doesn’t struggle with body image on a daily basis, male or female, to varying degrees. And when I first watched this ad, I was moved. Of course I was — they’re paying a lot of people a lot of money to ensure I am moved. And it is, in fact, moving to see an advertisement so clearly focused on pointing out that people are often their own harshest critics, and that being hard on yourself isn’t fair. I loved that. Let me repeat: I loved that, and was nearly in tears for a good part of the ad. 

I am all for things that make people feel more beautiful. To paraphrase Margaret Cho, I’m gutted by those who don’t find most others beautiful, because they’re missing out on a lot of beauty in the world. I have no doubt that the women featured in this ad did feel shitty about themselves, and might still. Listening to them describe themselves felt like… Well, like listening to myself. Can’t be too vain, here. Gotta be “honest.” Gotta play ourselves down, all the time, as if admitting that we like something about ourselves is a cardinal sin.

God, it hurt.

And then we got to the strangers, and the first stranger says, “She was thin, so you could see her cheekbones… And her chin? It was a nice, thin chin…”

God, that hurt too.

Thin, thin, thin. The mantra I’ve been repeating to myself my whole goddamn life. No part of me is thin or ever has been. My wrists, maybe? Uh?

Of course, they show the women seeing their portraits, too — the ones they described and the ones others did. And most of them tear up. I would, too. Hell, I did, too, because when I watched this the first time I was emotionally tangled up in it in a way I didn’t expect. I wanted to like it; I wanted to be moved. I was moved.

One woman looked at the portrait of herself that she’d drawn and said, “This one looks more… closed off. Fatter. And sadder, too.”

Ah.

I wanted to love this ad. I wanted so badly to believe that an advertising company is using its considerable powers for good. I wanted to feel like acceptance is a thing, like at least one ad company really is trying to expand the ideas of what beautiful is and what people want to see.

Instead, I got more of the usual: Thin good. Fat bad. It triggered serious body dysmorphia in me today that I had a lot of trouble dealing with and tried to ignore or circumnavigate instead of approaching head-on.

Why are we so validated by this dichotomy of fat versus thin? Why are we so relieved when others tell us we’re thinner than we think we are, or that we’re not fat? I ask these rhetorical questions because I have answers: we equate good traits with thinness and bad traits with fatness. Thin people are friendly, open, healthy, beautiful, and good. Fat people are lazy, stupid, gluttonous, unhygienic, ugly, and bad. When you tell someone you don’t think they’re fat, what you’re usually telling them is that you don’t associate any of the aforementioned traits with them. This has nothing to do with whether or not they are actually fat.

Ultimately, Dove is trying to sell us something, and that something is a cosmetics product. Given this, I understand that my frustration is probably a little unfair, but God, am I sick of feeling alienated by campaigns promoting “real beauty” that want nothing to do with my fat ass.

Thin privilege is a body acceptance campaign that includes your body type but excludes fat people.

-FA