Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
Marie over at Agent Lover had an interesting experience where a site complimented her by featuring her in a Fat Love fashion post. I have never thought of Marie as fat and while she’s not a size 4, by her own admission, she doesn’t feel the need to declare “I’m a BBW!” from a rooftop either. I’ve always thought she was unique and a little crazy and really daring when it came to fashion. And I never once noticed her weight. She’s just… Marie, hot stuff n’ all. To quote her:
I don’t need to wear a sign around my neck and label myself as plus-size just so OTHER people are aware that I’m proud of my body. I just work my shit. And would continue to do so if I became a size 4. Ya dig?
I appreciate that. She’s just being who she is, working her swagger. The original post, while intending to be complimentary, just missed the mark by assuming that every confident person who isn’t thin is totally cool with being the Grand Marshall of the Fat Pride Parade.
The author of the Fat Love Friday post responded immediately, according to Marie’s post comments, and offered to remove the offending post, explaining that fat doesn’t have to be seen as a negative word (“My view is that the word “fat” doesn’t always have to be used negatively. And I certainly didn’t use it that way in the post.”). I’m in no way “villianizing” the author, she’s entitled to her point of view and I understand where she’s coming from — but I see why Marie doesn’t want it taken down. It’s because she’s making a point and removing the post would defeat that purpose. To quote her again…
And the Fat Love author responded with something that struck a nerve. I started to comment in Marie’s comments, but I was rambling and starting to veer off-topic, so I thought it best to give a little back-story, then vent my opinion here. The post author responded to Marie’s comment with this:
I totally disagree with most “pro-fat movements” and “fat acceptance” declarations. I understand trying to ‘reclaim’ the word, but frankly… why does anyone want it?
I don’t agree with fat-ism or discrimination against the overweight in any way. No, indeed — that’s just rude, outright mean and something I’ve experienced myself. But I feel the same about people reclaiming the word “fat” as I do about women reclaiming “bitch”. RECLAIMING IT DOESN’T MAKE IT UNTRUE.
Reclaiming “bitch” and putting a stamp of “empowered woman” on it doesn’t mean you’re not a bitch. In fact, it probably increases the likelihood of it being true, in my experience. And walking around declaring myself fat doesn’t make it any less true. It doesn’t mean someone isn’t beautiful, but the terms “fat acceptance” and “pro-fat movements” give the impression that speaking out against discrimination of the overweight (which is generally the schtick of the pro-fat movement) is the same as saying “It’s OK to be 300 lbs.” Guess what? It’s not OK with your liver. Or your heart. Or your kidneys. Or your back, knees or doctor.
While running PutDowntheDonut.com (and I won’t give you the song and dance about how it’s coming back — it is — when I have a minute), I was bombarded with “fat power” and “fat acceptance” and “pro-fat” protesters saying that because my site was about being real about losing weight, being candid and honest, we were anti-fat. Uh, yeah, it’s a weight loss site — so that’s kind of the whole idea. We got a lot of “I’m 275 lbs. and I look HOT! Who the hell do you think you are?” or “I’m a size 26 and I work my ass, girl! Who the hell do you think you are?” or “I’m 310 lbs and my doctor said I was perfectly healthy at my last physical! Who the hell do you think you are?”
I think I’m someone who doesn’t really care how hot you are or how fat you are. It’s none of my business. I like a curvier woman — this is not news. I think women with more meat on their bones are sexy and I wish I was born in another era when a size 12 or 14 was considered the epitome of beauty. But I’m not and that’s the breaks, kid. I don’t care what size you are or how confident you are — but don’t try to convince me it’s healthy to be fat.
The Donut wasn’t anti-fat people, just anti-FAT. There’s a difference. And we weren’t anti-your fat. That’s on you… but if I want to be anti-my fat, well, that’s my own damn business. I don’t have to accept my own fat if I don’t want to. Improving on myself is ultimately a testament to how much I love myself, isn’t it? I don’t care what doctor is blowing sunshine up your ass, being “fat” isn’t healthy, no matter how empowered you feel about the label.
And while I realized that Marie’s post wasn’t talking about health, but about fashion, my perception of fat acceptance is the same: if I say I’m fat and wear the title with pride, it makes it ok that I’m deluding myself. I’d rather not label myself something just to make others feel more comfortable about their own issues.
I know I’m overweight. I know I need to lose some weight to be healthier. But am I fabulous? You’re damn right I am. And I don’t have to subscribe to fat-acceptance or any other label to embrace that about myself, nor does anyone else.
I may have opened a can of worms, I may have just prattled incoherently, but… I needed to get that off my chest.