Today I want to talk about some things I see around body positivity and size acceptance that I think are problematic. As always, people are allowed to do and say and believe these things, and all of us have said things that we didn’t think all the way through or that we didn’t know was problematic. My goal here is to take a closer look at some of these things.
Real Women Have Curves
First of all, I notice that “curves” is often interpreted as “the right curves” which is to say hourglass – big boobs, big ass, small waist. Beyond this, it suggests that women who aren’t curvy are…what…fake women? I’m pretty much against any definition of “real woman” that isn’t “anyone who identifies as a woman.” Anything else is suggesting that we get to determine what is real and who is a woman and I think that’s severely messed up.
Fat is the Last Acceptable Prejudice
No, it’s really not. People are currently fighting to overturn a law that allows trans* people to choose what bathroom they use. The Arizona legislature has just passed a bill ensuring that companies can discriminate against customers people based on the idea that discrimination is the same thing as “practicing religion” (WWJRS – Who Would Jesus Refuse to Serve?) Florida juries seem to think that white men’s right not to be “scared” trumps young black men’s right to be alive. Prejudice is all around us and is sadly accepted in many places and many ways. Suggesting that the real oppression and marginalization that we deal with is the last acceptable form of it and ignores the lived experiences of many other marginalized groups and is an invitation to engage in the Oppression Olympics – I think that winning is about successfully fighting oppression, not being named the most oppressed.
Dogs like meat, not bones.
Let’s rephrase: “Men are dogs, women are dog food, and the goal of women should be becoming the kind of dog food that men most want to eat.” Holy shitballs this is messed up. I’m think that the word “empowered” jumped the shark when Mattel tried to use it for Barbie but if disempowerment is a thing this would be it on every level – I’m still struggling to find out how this is a good situation for anyone.
It’s okay to be big, as long as you’re healthy.
Nooooooooooooooo. I think we have got to separate weight and health. The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and to be treated with basic human rights) are inalienable. They are not size dependent, health dependent, or healthy habit dependent. Fat people don’t lose the right to exist if they have health problems and it doesn’t matter why we have those health problems. Let’s remember that health is multi-dimensional, not entirely within our control, not an obligation, and not a barometer of worthiness.) Like everyone else, fat people have the right to make choices about how we prioritize our health and the path we are going to take to get there. Regardless of the choices we make, or our health status, or any thing else, we never stop being allowed to exist. (And that would be true even if weight loss was actually likely to make people thinner or healthier.)
Maybe there are exceptions, but in general I feel like I might be veering off the path to self-esteem and (forgive me) empowerment when I do to someone else the exact same thing I’m asking people not to do to me, compare oppressions, dictate to other people how they have to be in order to deserve to be treated well, or compare myself and others to animals and their chow. I’ve heard women say that in order to fix their hurt from the way that they’ve been put down in the past they have to put other women down. Maybe that’s true, I’m not going to tell anyone how to live, but I think it’s worth a second thought.
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