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Fat activism: an affirming round-up

February 2, 2010
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There have been a lot of great posts about fat activism lately, and rather than save them all in my bookmarks, I thought I’d share.

Elizabeth Turnquist, Fat Activist, articulates what she wants:

I’m willing to forgo the part where society accepts me. I’m perfectly happy being a deviant.

But I’m not okay with my civil rights being impinged on.

I don’t really have the resources to be a lobbyist. The best I can do is try to sway public opinion. To educate and inform and rally.

So that’s what I’m doing

Next, The Guardian featured fatshion blogs! And the article manages to recognize how gorgeous these women are and not have a “but the Obesity Epidemic!” moment at the end. The depictions of sites like fatshionista are spot-on:

But perhaps the site’s most mesmerizing feature is its Flickr gallery, where anyone US size 14 (UK 16) and over can post photographs of themselves in their favourite outfits. So you have a stunning woman in a red dress, a tattoo spreading rapturously across her chest… There’s a woman in a pink and green flowered mod dress with pink tights. There are women in satin cocktail dresses with lace gloves; cartoon print tunics with cowboy boots; hotpants with a jumper and beret; in swimsuits, bikinis, and tight, tight T-shirts. Thousands of women staring defiantly at the camera, daring someone to suggest they’re not gorgeous.

And Nag Rao explains why it is activism:

Putting pictures of myself up on the internet is my small act of fat activism. When I upload my pictures, I always tag them with the words ‘obesity epidemic’ and ‘200lbs’ because this is what the obesity epidemic looks like. It’s not the huge, headless fatty that you see in the newspapers. This is it.

Next, Natalie Wilson has a funny and powerful post about fat vampires on Womanist Musings

Why do fat vampires matter? Or, more to the point, why does it matter that almost all vampires are thin in the extreme? For the same reason it matters that they are also generally male, white, heterosexual, moneyed, able-bodied, etc. Popular culture matters – and currently vampires are having another major vogue – how they are represented shapes how we think of the world and ourselves. And if the most beautiful monsters are never fat, or never WOC*, what does this say about our “post-racial” supposedly diversity-loving society? It says that fat-hatred or sizism (and all the other nasty isms) are unfortunately undead

Finally, Her article links us to one of my favorite quotes about fat activism, from Melissa McEwan on Shakesville:

It remains a radical act to be fat and happy in America, especially if you’re a woman (for whom “jolly” fatness isn’t an option). If you’re fat, you’re not only meant to be unhappy, but deeply ashamed of yourself, projecting at all times an apologetic nature, indicative of your everlasting remorse for having wrought your monstrous self upon the world. You are certainly not meant to be bold, or assertive, or confident—and should you manage to overcome the constant drumbeat of messages that you are ugly and unsexy and have earned equally society’s disdain and your own self-hatred, should you forget your place and walk into the world one day with your head held high, you are to be reminded by the cow-calls and contemptuous looks of perfect strangers that you are not supposed to have self-esteem; you don’t deserve it. Being publicly fat and happy is hard; being publicly, shamelessly, unshakably fat and happy is an act of both will and bravery.

So let’s be brave, shall we?

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