Jun. 22nd, 2009 02:46 pm
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[personal profile] astaria_archives
I remembered that this was going to be my blog about body acceptance as well, but I didn't post my last "fat rant" here, so here's another, courtesy of The Rotund, a great blog, and my own insights.

In response to this article promoting more plus-sized options on the market, someone commented, "Fat shouldn't be pretty".

So The Rotund muses on that concept.

Shouldn’t - Should and could are interesting words. I used to have an English teacher, when I was in grade school, who would correct students who asked if they COULD go to the bathroom with “Of course you CAN - the question is, are you allowed?” COULD and COULDN’T indicate ability. SHOULD and SHOULDN’T indicate responsible, one might even go so far as to say moral, courses of actions.

It isn’t that fat people lack the ability to be pretty, it’s that they should not as a moral course of action.

I mean, if fat people were to run around feeling good and looking confident, ordinary people might get confused and find them attractive and treat them like actual humans who are autonomous beings! And, well, that would lead to dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

Maybe this is the real fear that rests below so much fat hate (and so much hatred of anyone who is “different” - whether it be people of color or transpeople or gay people or people who like show tunes or whatever) - the fear that they might have to question what they thought they knew about themselves, might have to feel their way through unfamiliar territory to be their actual selves instead of relying on media and pop culture to define what is acceptable.


Fats should be whatever the hell they want to be. They should be pretty or they should reject the very concept - either way, they should know that they don’t owe anyone anything when it comes to aesthetics.

Fats should dress however the hell they want. They should have the brio to wear fitted clothes or trapeze dresses or skinny jeans or phat pants or anything that expresses what they want to express.

I entirely agree, for one thing. For another, I wonder what it is that terrifies people so much.

Fat/body acceptance is often pointed out as encouraging people to be fat, as if we're walking around with buckets of food, like the witch in Hansel and Gretel, poking fried chicken at people.

Yet, the reality is, many of us have dieted our whole lives and discovered the reality; for many people, even after losing 60, 100 pounds, your body eventually comes back to weight stable at a particular weight (often lower than your highest weight and higher than your lowest). This is that part where people go, "What did I do? Why did I fail? D:" This is that part where Oprah hits the cover of eighty magazines telling America that she fails at life because she weighs a massive 200 pounds.

Additionally, the BMI chart is hopelessly out of date. It was devised during the Depression, isn't frequently updated, and isn't meant really to be a measure of health as much as an index, a chart of census data (for example - it doesn't take body muscle into account, so someone short and massively muscular like Arnold Schwarzenegger or even the average in height and above-average in fitness Brad Pitt would be obese by its measurement).

So this arbitrary point at which people become fat is ridiculous. It isn't an average historical condition for people to have entirely flat stomachs, or for their hipbones to be poking out of their low-rise jeans. Fashion changes through the centuries and to claim that our own is the most healthy ideal is ridiculous! I'm sure when we were corseting women to 14-inch waists, they had doctors assuring them that nothing less was healthy for them either.

And honestly, I don't really care whether people are fat because of genes, or because it's natural to be that way, or because they eat a lot of cake. It's not okay for society to decide one group is disgusting and ugly and lazy and slovenly. Racially, that's not okay, and sexually that's not okay and it's not okay based on physical traits either. I'm not going to say "we're the last acceptable form of bigotry" because that's not true, but I will say that it is totally acceptable to be bigoted against fat people.

Where was I going with this?
I guess, my point is, when people say things like "There's nothing pretty about excessive blubber" or "As an overweight woman...there are some things that fat girls just shouldn't wear" (other comments from the board), my response is, WHY? Well, because we grew up thinking that. If I want to wear a backless dress that reveals my arms and hints at side rolls, I should be able to do that. If I want to wear horizontal stripes on a formfitting shirt, I should be able to do that. If I want to wear a bikini, I should be able to do that.

I can't, not because I don't like horizontal stripes or bikinis, but because not only would people think it was acceptable to mock me, I've had it drilled into my head for almost 20 years (I discount up until the age of, say, 5 or 6) that I am fat and this means I need to hide my body.

No one should be able to make me feel like my body is worthless. I should look in the mirror and go, "I look SMASHING today." Instead of putting on a hoodie in the middle of summer because my tummy pokes forward in my t-shirt.

I should be able to wear whatever I want without people, including me, judging me. And that's the real issue: society judges people for being fat. And it makes them judge themselves.

As an entirely different rant, the fact that they're including Forever 21's new line, Faith 21, in that article, makes me laugh. Faith 21, aside from the dumb name, only goes up to a size 15/16*, unlike most plus size stores that go up to 28 or 32 (which means that they're opening an entire new line "only in select stores" to include three sizes that they should have had to begin with). A size 15? is a 2X in that line. Oh yes. Let's make teenagers have that great experience of once again not fitting anything -- only this time in a plus-targeted store.

An aside: if anyone feels like the first part of this should also be behind the cut or if I should title body acceptance rants differently than my normal numbered entries, please let me know.

*US sizing

crossposted to LJ from Dreamwidth

Date: 2009-06-22 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angelchildr.livejournal.com

...a plus size line that goes UP to size 16? Okaaaaaaaaaaay. I think they're doing it wrong...

Date: 2009-06-22 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astaria51.livejournal.com
I know, right? Grr.
I mean, their clothes are, with a few exceptions, often either boring or awful, anyway, but I know it's going to stir interest because Forever XXI is so trendy.

Date: 2009-06-23 03:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lunamorgan.livejournal.com
Yeah, it's failtastic. No joke. We should clearly go into fashion design for chubby hipsers! You do the art, I do that marketing, whatwhat.

Date: 2009-06-23 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astaria51.livejournal.com
Haha, I think you meant to say "I do the marketing" but it sounds very cool this way. "I do that MARKETING."

Date: 2009-06-23 06:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wellowned.livejournal.com
this was partly my rant against old navy (a store that i hate loving the way i do). cause they stopped carrying anything above an 18/20, i think, and limited their plus sizes to online only. what, do they not want fat people in their store? will it hurt their image??

so i'm one of those people who believes that there are some things fat girls shouldn't wear. i do not find myself attractive in strapless clothes. i don't really find all that many girls attractive in strappy clothes, especially if they're carrying around a few extra pounds. so, while i make it a personal choice not to show too much skin, i also don't knock someone who can rock it, you know? there's some skinny girls out there that could use some extra fabric in their outfits too, so it's really just an overall aesthetic that i would rather approve of.

i think i'd look good with a bucket of chicken in my hands, like some kind of awesome KFC Fairy...

i hate the BMI chart. it's inaccurate and dumb. i know that, for health reasons alone, i do have to get down to the higher end of the BMI range for my height. but i'm good with playing with a 20 lb range therein. i'd just be happy to be back down to 200 area. i know that's more than some guys weigh, and is fat in the eyes of the media. i also know that the same is true of my overall low weight goal of 140. if i paid attention to BMI ratios, that would mean i was fat. i need to be 110 to be considered the lower end of the scale.

the thing is... really pretty people? the ones that everyone adores?? aren't stick figures. all the classic beauties had pudge. pinups?? have curves. they don't get those in size zero or below... and even more upsetting: a size 16 today was more like a size 10 only twenty years ago. unrealistic expectations of women and their bodies. always trying to fit into smaller and sleeker things when really our bodies are sturdier stuff, made for comfort and not speed.

what i'm trying to say is ok. i think there should be more plus size options out there. i haven't found a dress that i really like for ages simply because they only sell pant sets (you know, like you see old ladies wear) in my size and in my price range. i think diane von furstenburg's wrap dress should make a recurrence. it made all shapes look wonderful. i don't think people should be judged on anything but what they say and what they mean. if you can find something that makes you look and feel beautiful, rock it. that's why i have 4" heels-- i don't like my height, but a pair of heels can fix that and add sway to your walk.

god. and need i remind anyone that for hundreds of years and in many different cultures (even to today), fat was considered a sign of richesse and beauty? fat meant you were well cared for, and thus quite the catch. god... go ahead. go loving on your stick figures, people of the world. they're not nearly as comfortable to hold.

Date: 2009-06-23 06:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wellowned.livejournal.com
make me shut up in your journal, ok? this tl;dr nonsense should stop. i'm spending too much time on the edge of your soapbox.

Date: 2009-06-23 06:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] acroamatica.livejournal.com
Old Navy is just made of fail. I'm 5'4" and built totally solid-healthy-average from the waist down, and I am too skinny to fit into their size 4, which is the smallest thing they carry. I used to, about three years ago, without having gained or lost any significant weight. I don't think they actually make clothes for people. They just make them to look pretty on clothes hangers. [/frustrated]

I very much agree with your point on retro beauty, too. Except back then they built clothes that made that extra curviness look better - not worse - clothes that made girls wish they were curvier because they'd look hotter, and they DID, and I don't understand why that mentality can't come back because clothing design could use more of that and less of the styles that only look good on starving models.

Date: 2009-06-23 12:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wellowned.livejournal.com
god yes. i've been trying to make clothes lately, and i find myself reaching back through vintage vogue to see if they have something more my style. my style basically consisting of flattering, flowing and accentuating. it's better than what i find on racks (when i'm lucky) or in catalogs (when i'm desperate).

Date: 2009-06-23 06:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] acroamatica.livejournal.com
I hate the BMI. It doesn't make any sense to me. And I'm on the opposite end of it. Someone really does need to actually find a logical way to measure healthy weight and take into account a few more factors.


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