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
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