I Don’t Have To Be Delusional To Feel Pretty

The premise is that a fat woman who can’t find clothes in her size, can’t get a bartender to serve her a drink, and frightens children with her visage alone, hits her head and suddenly sees herself as beautiful and capable. This newfound confidence leads to everything from entering a bikini contest to a love interest who seems to fall for her because of her newfound confidence.First, let’s talk about the way that Amy Schumer keeps trying to sell us this narrative that she is fat (and ugly, which she seems to think mistakenly are the same thing).

I’ll start by looking at her own words when she was included in Glamour’s plus-size issue’s “Women Who Inspire Us” feature.

“I think there’s nothing wrong with being plus size. Beautiful healthy women. Plus size is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8. @glamourmag put me in their plus size only issue without asking or letting me know and it doesn’t feel right to me. Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool glamour not glamourous.”

Setting aside the fact that there is nothing wrong with being fat regardless of health or perceived attractiveness, I think it’s pretty hard to believe Amy believes there’s “nothing wrong with being plus size” when she is so desperate to make sure that people know she isn’t. She thinks it’s a problem that young girls might think she is, and she claims it’s “not cool” and “not glamorous” that someone would suggest she is plus size. It makes me wonder how she would act if she did think there was something wrong with it?

I think it’s pretty apparent that Amy believes there’s something wrong with being plus size, but even if you disagree with that, she’s made it very clear that she doesn’t think she is plus sized — including shouting her dress size from the rafters. But suddenly, for this film, we’re all supposed to believe that she shares the plight of the plus size woman? What was the last store you were in that didn’t sell clothes in size six or eight? Even if we assume that she’s a size 12, which is what others seem to speculate, she’s still firmly in the realm of straight sizes, as she took the time to point out on Instagram.

To be clear, Amy is larger than the Hollywood ideal, and that has affected her career, and that’s bullshit. But the undeniable truth is that she’s relatively thin, as well as white, blonde, traditionally “pretty,” currently able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual, and thus fulfilling most of the beauty stereotypes. Sure, she’s not a size zero, but that doesn’t make it okay for her to slip the identity of fatness on and off like a fatsuit in a way that suits her career goals.

But even if we pretend that Amy could pass for “fat” and/or “ugly” by some definition, we’re still left with a hot mess of fatphobic bullshit.

This entire movie is built on tropes that reinforce fatphobia, regardless of the intent. The “comedy” of this movie is based on the idea that it’s hilarious that a fat woman would have confidence…

You can read the rest of this piece here!

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Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

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Dealing With A Fatphobic Coworker

Talking NonsenseRecently I asked folks on my Facebook wall what they would like me to blog about. Alison submitted the following:

Dealing with a coworker who is downright hostile towards fat women.. making comments, etc.. very triggering for someone who has suffered with body dysmorphia all my life and almost died from an eating disorder a while ago.. I just am not sure how to address it and feel like a wimp that I don’t.

First, as always, I want to remind you that the problem here is the fatphobic behavior, and not how anyone responds to it – especially those who are triggered by it. While I’m happy to give some options to deal with this, please also know that if you are dealing with this situation, you are allowed to make protecting yourself your first priority.

This is one of those situations where fatphobia compounds fatphobia since there is no guarantee that the person you complain to won’t share fatphobic beliefs, and (except in a few places) there are no legal protections.  If a co-worker was being inappropriate about a protected status, like race, disability and in some cases sexual orientation, there would be more clear cut options (obviously that doesn’t mean that the people you report to, or the structures underpinning your corporate management, wouldn’t be racist, ableist, or homophobic, there would at least be some legal precedent on your side.)

Here are some options (if you have other ideas please feel free to leave them in the comments!)

Deal directly with the offending co-worker:

When they something hostile you can say something general like “I wish we lived in a world where people respected all bodies,” or slightly more direct like “I wish people wouldn’t make inappropriate comments about other people’s bodies in my workspace,” or way more direct “That kind of talk isn’t appropriate. Please stop.” This can be even more effective if you can recruit other co-workers to do the same. You might not be able to cure their fatphobia, but you will likely be able to make them shut the hell up about it.

Talk to a Supervisor (or HR, if that exists in your workplace)

There are several paths you can take here. I would start by documenting some of the incidents (date, time, place, what was said etc.) but you can start with a complaint and see if they want you to document.

You can ask them for help directly, “My co-worker is making inappropriate comments about women’s bodies, I’d like you to tell them to stop.” If you don’t feel that the direct approach is best, you can try something less direct “There is a co-worker making inappropriate comments about women’s bodies and it’s making me uncomfortable – what are the options?”

You can also bring up the eating disorder issue “There is a co-working making inappropriate comments about women’s bodies in a way that makes me uncomfortable and can trigger eating disorder behavior, what can be done?” If you are comfortable, you can be clear that you have a history of eating disorder and that this behavior is a direct threat to your health. If you need to push farther, consider getting other co-workers to make similar complaints, or sign onto a letter that you turn in, to try to get more traction.

You also don’t have to make this about fatphobia – you can make it about demeaning women, commenting on women’s bodies, and/or creating a hostile work environment. As sad as it is, even among those who might be tolerant of fatphobia, those are things that tend to be taken more seriously.

This behavior is reprehensible. Nobody should have their body disparaged at work (or anywhere else for that matter.) Everyone who experiences this gets to decide how to deal with it, and every time we object to it we strike a victory for basic human decency and respect, and against fatphobia.

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.