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Size Matters: But You Have Such a Pretty Face

chandra_wilson.jpg

As there seems to be a basic lack of understanding of fat acceptance among many readers here, I think it's appropriate to take some time out and illustrate some of what I consider the main lessons taught by the fat positivity and fat acceptance movements. I recognize that Bitch does not regularly deal with issues of size and fatness, so we'll just discuss some key points and then we can go back to talking about fat in pop culture.

First off, the last post I did, "Size Matters: Small Screen, Big Women" ignited an angry firestorm of folks upset because I called Grey's Anatomy's Sara Ramirez "fat." These comments included statements like:

I never thought of Sara Ramirez as fat. I however do agree that she is super hot.

It is sick you are calling Sara Ramirez fat! What is going on in this world when a woman who doesnt look like she is dying of starvation is called fat! Her stomach is flat!

Sara is BEAUTIFUL. unbelievably beautiful and NOT fat. if she's fat then most of the world is freaking obese.

I believe that questioning whether Sara Ramirez is fat is a pertinent question. [...] The truth is she has a healthy way and the fact that she is a plus sized woman shows how even sizes tend to consider a healthy weight and figure as plus sized. I believe she probably considers herself as plus sized because, amidst a Hollywood where ultra thin women are the rule, a healthy and beautiful voluptuous woman is an exception when she should be the rule.
(emphasis supplied)

I'd be very insulted and hurt if someone called me fat. And as I said above, I'm 5'5 and 190 lbs, and I'm sure people think I am, but I do not consider myself to be fat in any way.

There are many different layers and flavors of fatphobia in those comments. The first comment may not have been meant to imply that fat was bad, however it does illustrate that Sara Ramirez is considered beautiful, but not fat, to that commenter. Maybe the commenter feels fat is bigger than that, but is not upset by hearing Sara Ramirez called fat. I don't know. The point is, fat and hot are not mutually exclusive.

The second comment illustrates the belief many have that all fat people have the same body type, and that if you possess a physical trait like a "flat stomach" that immediately disqualifies you from the fat game. This is not true. The comment also infers that being fat is negative; that it's an insult to Ms. Ramirez because she's not fat, she's "healthy." Which is of course, another stereotype about fat, that being fat is inherently unhealthy. It's not.

Then there's the third comment, probably the most telling comment of them all: Sara is beautiful, therefore she cannot be labeled fat because that would basically blow the commenters' minds, and then everyone else who is "fat" would have to be moved up to "obese," which to this commenter apparently means "extremely fat" and most likely "unattractive."

The fourth commenter sees Ms. Ramirez as being at a "healthy weight," so she's not "fat." She thinks Ms. Ramirez calls herself plus sized because she is "healthy" and the rest of Hollywood is unnaturally skinny. She describes Ms. Ramirez as "voluptuous" without, apparently, recognizing that "voluptuous" is just a workaround for saying fat. Again we have the fat=unhealthy stereotype, and it again is untrue.

Finally, we have the fifth comment, which is perhaps the most unfortunate comment in some ways. This person recognizes that others may see her as fat, but she believes she's not fat and is very offended and insulted by even the thought of being called fat. I would let that slide as being the feelings of someone who hasn't come to terms with their fat, because I've been at that same weight and height and thought the exact same thing. But the fact that this commenter is so virulently against having the word applied to her AND IS EXPRESSING IT ON A FAT POSITIVE THREAD is offensive to me, because I am fat and I don't think my body is something that should be an insult to be compared to.

Now, in the post there was a bit of a trick (unintended) that ended up bringing out the true reasoning behind many of the comments defensive of Ms. Ramirez. Chandra Wilson (pictured above), another fat actress on Grey's Anatomy, is actually much smaller in all dimensions than Sara Ramirez. Yet no one took to her defense. She basically got thrown under the proverbial fat bus. Why is that? Well, Chandra Wilson is not conventionally attractive. She is also not portrayed as a sex symbol on the show. She's a stout black woman who I happen to think is gorgeous, but she's not part of the sex antics on the show.

Basically what these comments are saying is "Sara Ramirez is hot, and fat people are not hot. Ergo, Sara Ramirez is not fat." They are also, by lack of inclusion, saying "Chandra Wilson is fat, even though she's smaller than Sara Ramirez, because she is not hot (to me)." And finally, they're saying what every fat woman who has a conventionally attractive face hears many times over their life as a fatty: "You have such a pretty face."

Here's the ground rules, once again and spelled out in detail for those who didn't seem to grasp them the first time:

No fat shaming, this includes comments that infer that being fat is unhealthy, unattractive, or undesirable. The word fat will be used to describe some people you may not be comfortable viewing as fat because of their attractiveness. Sit back with that thought and refrain from expressing it. Once again, NO FAT SHAMING.

No debating over whether or not "fat" is a positive term. In this little space, in the "Size Matters" portion of the Bitch blogs, "fat" is either VALUE NEUTRAL or POSITIVE. "Obese/overweight/healthy weight" and other nebulous terms are not allowed. Here, all weights are healthy.

WE ARE TALKING ABOUT FAT WOMEN IN POP CULTURE. So don't act shocked when you hear the word "fat" on this blog. I'm not using curvy, voluptuous, zaftig, full-figured, or any other euphemisms. FAT. Deal with it.

Hopefully this will help eliminate some of the drama that occurred on that last thread.

Okay? So let's go back to having fun talking about pop culture.

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Comments

93 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Body constitution

That is her body constitution and she looks dazzlingly beautiful, not like sardines in a can

Thanks, Tasha, for this. I

Thanks, Tasha, for this. I was a long-time subscriber to Bitch, but I wasn't comfortable with the way that fat was handled after I started to embrace FA.

I'm still a little surprised how people who are so awesomely open-minded about so many other things cand be so obliviously fat-hating and/or fat-shaming.

Thank you for this wonderful

Thank you for this wonderful follow-up! I loved your last piece and was sad to see some of the reactions.

Seconded

Echoing Lindsay's words, preach and resume. The reactions made me sad too, but it also points out the necessity of this blog series.

Alyx Vesey

Thanks!

Great post Tasha! I agree with Lindsay and Alyx that some of the comments you've gotten on your previous posts, while disheartening, just go to show us how important (and awesome!) your blog series is.

On another note, anyone who didn't consider Chandra Wilson to be smoking hot before is going to have to rethink things now that they've seen this photo! I want someone to make me a copy of that dress super bad. Yowza!

Kelsey Wallace, Web Editor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

word!

thank you, tasha, for helping to create some saner, safer discussion of FA in relation to pop culture. i'm always astounded at the level of fat hate that can exist in otherwise boundary-pushing, feminist/womanist spaces.

it's great that this is

it's great that this is prompting a good discussion of FA - but i'd hope that we could exclude ableist language from this discussion. implying the previous discussion was flawed not because it stigmatized fat but because it was "insane" (or "less sane") is a slur against those with mental illness - many of whom support FA themselves!

good point

thanks for pointing that out, abby jean. i was riffing on "safe, sane, consensual" without opposite-of-insane overtones. as someone with mental health issues, i'm still grappling with nuts/insane/crazy as colloquial or as disablist and haven't come to my own comfortable conclusions yet.

I completely agree. When

I completely agree. When we're trying to talk about a group of people stigmatized by their size in a more positive way, why take such a negative turn by stigmatizing people diagnosed with a mental illness at the same time? It seems contradictory to what a publication like Bitch is trying to do, and the opposite of creating a safe environment.

and then again

i find it bewildering that my own disclaimer and notion of reclaiming is being dismissed in a discussion about reclaiming and the power of language to shame!

Reclaiming is using a slur

Reclaiming is using a slur and turning it into something positive to take away the word's power to hurt. If you keep using a slur as a slur, you're just reinforcing its -ist meaning.

Wow!

Nice response! It is interesting how offensive those comments can be when they were probably coming from a pretty honest and well-meaning place. Thanks for such thoughtful discussion. I struggle with body issues as well and fear for how society's and pop culture's effect on the images in general will influence my daughter (who is almost two - So, there's time.). I will definitely keep an eye on this thread as it continues. Thanks again!

Re: WoW! by Zac

Zac - depending on how weight-neutral you can keep her environment, there still may not be much time for your daughter. Girls as young as six talk about being fat and needing to go on a diet. Here's hoping she has more than four years to enjoy loving her body unconditionally.

That's true.

My 8 year old cousin talks all the time about how she's fat and needs to go on a diet. She's not fat (I'm not implying that it would be negative if she were; she just doesn't happen to be) and definitely should not be dieting (she's 8, for crying out loud!). I think she gets it from hearing the women in our family talk (negatively) about their weight all the time. I'm trying to influence her in the other direction, letting her know that no matter my size or hers, we are both as we should be, that she is perfect as is. I struggled with body image a lot when I was younger and I don't want her to go through the same crap.

Chandra Wislon, Terminology

Chandra Wilson looks pretty in those photos as does her dress. i'm curious as to how you feel about the terms "heavy" and "gravitationally challenged". i like "heavy" but think the second characterization is kind of obnoxious and may be an example of "fat shaming". Terminology can be controversial. One of my friends who was very heavy hated the word fat. i know that the topics of weight and figure are a very sensitive issue for a lot of people (obviously) so raising our awareness of what is and is not hurtful is a positive thing.

as a fat girl, i would have

as a fat girl, i would have to use some serious restraint to avoid decking someone who used the term "gravitationally challenged" to describe me. while sure, some people may have weight-related mobility issues, i personally have no challenges with gravity. me and gravity are pretty cool.

the dress?

I am fully with you on the fact that Chandra Wilson is a very beautiful woman, but - the dress? I`m sorry but it looks as if a unicorn barfed on her and the goo solidified to make some sort of glittery breastplate/body armourthingy. Even she can`t rock that.
On topic: Heavy is ok (I´d sure be less offended when someone would call me that than when they`d call me fat). Fat ... is difficult. I call myself fat, sometimes, but not neccessarily in a postive way. I think in a way of reclaiming the word, it`s ok to use, but only in an empowering/political context.
Gravitationally challenged? In my book, that would be someone who`s not quite attached to the ground, in a floaty, balloony way. I can see how that would also be an issue, but probably far less common than beeing overweight. (What`s wrong with that term, btw?)

Overweight

Hi ree,

First things first: We're going to have to agree to disagree about the dress (I'm a sucker for gold sequins :).

As far as the term overweight is concerned, as I understand it it is problematic because it reinforces the notion that there is one "ideal" weight and everyone is either over it or under it. Since we know that's not true and everyone's body is different, "overweight" isn't a very useful word.

Kelsey Wallace, Web Editor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

Thanks for clarification of terms

Thanks for clarifying some of these terms --as in, how they get used, how some are being re-claimed, and how others have connotations that people may not yet have recognized.
Thanks for this entire post!

I see the problem, but I´m

I see the problem, but I´m still not completely against the term: Maybe something like "above average" would be more appropriate. Because "average" is not necessarily a good or a bad thing, it`s a mathematically defined point. And I think it would be a good thing to draw attention to the "average" body, as the fashion- instustry stated "norm" for beauty is way below "average", so (don't hit me) "normal-built" people, i.e. people with average bodies would feel the need to label themselves as fat.
One could argue that the average is shifting due to changes in nutrition, healthcare, work- and education circumstances etc (the old "omg, teenagers are getting fatter and fatter due to video games and fast food, the end of the world is at hand" headline) - but the idealised beauty standard pseudo - "norm" figure has shifted as well in the past decade, and shifted down quite a few dress sizes.
But I don't really see why people with an average built body for their region (I'm sorry to say this but if you'd try to find the average body in a worldwide research mode, you'd find we still live on a globe populated by the Lagerfeldian ideal people. But just not in that "nice, Uncle Karl is designing just the right look for my famished body" way.) - should have to identify as fat, just because there's only below-averages in commercials.

I can see your point...

I can see your point about using the term "above average", since it is a mathematically derived term, but it unfortunately carries a lot of negative connotations. Average is almost always correlated with "normal" (in fact, I think you used those words interchangeably in your comment, although I know you meant no offense by them). The use of terms such as "average" and "normal" continue to "other" people (like myself) who are fat (which, technically, just describes adipose tissue!). Fat is not a bad word -- it doesn't mean lazy, or ugly, or unhygienic, it just means that there is adipose tissue. It does also carry many negative connotations, but using the word "fat" in the correct context does not perpetuate the "othering" or fat people like the words "normal" or "average." Does that make sense?

I did not use "normal" and

I did not use "normal" and "average" interchangeable - because they are not.
But both terms have something going for them.
Thing is, average doesn't constitute a spectrum, it's a point on a line, hence avoiding all the "but s/he's not fat, merely of healthy weight/curvy/yadayda" discussion. And it implies that it's by definition not "normal" - as it is a purely hypothetical construct, albeit contributed to by each and every factor (that is, in that case, person) used to define it. But no lives are defined by what is average.
Normal is more difficult, because it's mostly used to describe what a culture sees as "according to the norm" meaning their idealized values, standards and expectations. But that does not always (I would think very seldom) correlate with reality in any way - we "can't live up to the norm", which takes it's toll in our lifes.
Following that, normal has a postitve ring to it, that average doesn't. While a person might wan't to be "normal" I can't see anyone striving to be "average", so being above (or below) average to my ears doesn't single out, but puts one with the very large group of people who don't wanna be Jo/anne Average.

"Fat" others like any other adjective - that's what they're supposed to do. Enabeling us to distinguish certain people/things from (in whatever way) different ones. I'd just like to find a way to distinguish in a non-offensive way. That sounds wrong. Rephrase: In a way that I can use when not in an enviroment as aware and self-reflected as, for example, this here blogs. (As much as I see the point of reclaiming the word fat, it hasn't happened yet, it's still widely considered an insult and while I can happily go around calling myself fat and other people who are comfortable with it, I won't do it to people who are not.)

In a better world, how right

In a better world, how right you would be. However I think Lindsey makes a good point - words are not so bound to strict dictionary definitions, and the discussion on the word fat shows us how nebulous they can be. Average is often used as a synonym for normal and not a mathematical measure - "I'm just an average girl". That sounds like a common phrase, but if you were right it would be ridiculous as no-one can be the average of all things girly.

There's only one way to reclaim a word, and that's using it. However I agree that practically, you have to use caution when using it to describe someone else.

Normal

I have always said "Normal is just the average of deviancy and I don't want to be average or normal, I want to be special!"

I used to work in a plus sized clothing store that also carried what I called "standard" sizes. When women came in the store, they usually went left and ended up on the plus size side and pick up something and realize it was not a standard small, it was a plus size small. Asking me "where are the regular sizes?" or "where are the normal sizes" used to drive me BATS!!! I started answering with "The standard size small, medium, larger sizes are to the right side of the store. You are currently in the plus size section." Some people, very few, would say "oh sorry, that was rude of me!" but more often than not, most would comment how "confusing" the sizing was in the store! I liked that this retailer went to lengths to "normalize" the shopping experience for people, like me at the time, who were larger sized.

I then moved into the childcare field, which I have to tell you is SO refreshing!! Kids tell it like it is, sometimes tact would be nice but hey, I would rather have a kid tell me I was HUGE than for an adult to snicker behind my back. I had the opportunity to explain to very young children that people came in all different sizes, shapes and colors. I happened to have lighter skin, a tall height and a larger body. One such event comes to mind when I was walking through a department store with my 5 year old charge when I exclaimed I needed to get a bathing suit....after seeing the endless displays of mannequins in bikinis, and dreading the whole thing. My little five year old runs up to this mannequin wearing an orange string bikini and yells "how about this one 'cause it's your favorite color and then you can get a tan!?" Ah, the innocence of children! I told him that it indeed was a great color but that I liked to wear a bathing suit that was all one piece. He then said, "is that because you are large size? I never see large size girls in these kind (pointing to the mannequin)." As he was so honest I told him that he was right, I did not like wearing a little bathing suit being a large person. And bless his heart, he said, "well, I think you would be pretty in this one." And then we kept walking. I have never felt more beautiful in my life than I did that day, and I was wearing a size 24 back then and was well over 300lbs.

Now that I am more "society acceptable" in my size, I don't feel anywhere near as pretty as I used to. I have people asking me all the time how I must feel so great to have lost so much weight (*190lbs with the aid of hard work and gastric bypass) and to tell you the truth, I don't feel one bit different on the inside....this has been the hardest thing to accept. I always thought life would be "better" being smaller and let me tell you, it's not. It's just different. I have also traded one set of health issues for another completely different set. Am I really farther ahead?

I think

I think "heavy" is a euphemism for fat that is unneeded. It also can describe anything -- rocks, furniture, cars -- whereas fat is clearly at least referring to something alive. Ha. "Gravitationally challenged" just sounds sarcastic and insulting.

I think that's what I like

I think that's what I like about "heavy" - it's just a term that describes one feature of a thing/a person. Using "fat" in a political context makes sense, but sometimes one wants to describe somebody or talk about someones body without making a statement (I wouldn't speak of a woman as a bitch, just because it's a generally good idea to reclaim that term.)

But I'm a german native speaker, and fat in german is nearly always used derogatively, as we have a term to describe a fat person (I somehow don't see it turning into a common germanism): "dick". It roughly translates to thick as in a thick blanket, a thick liquid, but without the "stupid" association. So maybe it's just because of the language barrier that I think the use of fat as an all-purpose adjective is a little over the top.

I'm fat and I'm hot.

I think that people are too afraid of the word "fat". I appreciate that posts like this are trying to make people be aware of the fact that using all these other terms (curvy, full-figured, plus-sized) are simply ways to make people feel more acceptable in a society that is totally size biased. I have been fat for most of my adult life and I am fat right now. It's funny because people use those other terms to describe me instead because being fat just doesn't sound quite as nice. I refuse to get caught up in the societal machine that says I should feel bad for being the size I am. I think that you need to own your size, whatever size it is, and do what is right for you. I'm fat and I'm hot.

Chandra Wilson is not part

Chandra Wilson is not part of the sex antics on the show because she is portrayed as being an accomplished, mature woman in a strong, happy marriage with a handsome, supportive man who worships her. Which is SO much hotter than what everyone else is doing.

Wait, are you watching the

Wait, are you watching the same show I do? Her character is not married anymore.

But that doesn't answer the question: what is fat?

I am going to be very honest: my outrage over the last article was pure laziness. There was a photograph of the woman, Sarah, and then not one of today's actress (Chandra) and then there were photos of people like Nell Carter, and Roseanne Barr. So though I did it out loud, and only to the computer screen, not in comments, I still find myself shouting, "But she's not fat!" I don't watch Grey's Anatomy, and I'm still not excited enough to go googling unknown actresses, because the rest of that article was really valid--those women did respectable work, getting to be who they are, and play natural leading or starring roles on television, giving fat women screen time for being something other than "JUST fat women".

But is this Sarah character fat? I mean, really? By what terms? In what scenario? Because that picture of a naked chick--she looked really thin to me. Like, thin. Not fat. Just thin. No shame in being thin either. But if we are going to talk about fat in pop culture, could we discuss what it means to be fat? What fat looks like, so when we have a victory we can all celebrate.

Because I have to say--I felt no more victory over that naked chick being on the air than I did when I heard they had a plus sized model on that Tyra Banks modeling show, but she turned out to be a size 8. Pardon me for not feeling particularly represented--props to the size 8s who would otherwise be shamed off of television. But perhaps, for the purpose of this forum, we could get some perspective together.

Because the women from Grey's Anatomy? They are no Roseanne Barr.

I like this comment. It's

I like this comment. It's real.

Rameriz

Well said, and I completely agree. I had to google the other actress she is talking about too, and sorry, but she's simply not fat. Period.

And I personally think the author has a lot of nerve insisting that she's going to call a woman who isn't fat, fat ,and I better "just deal with it".

Well, no.

As was said on the other post

As was said on the other post, fatness is a spectrum. Of course they're not "as fat" as Roseanne but I did not want to make distinctions about that because it turns it into a value statement.

If you're curious about how Sara Ramirez looks when she's not covered by a sheet, do a Google search.

Because I have to say--I

Because I have to say--I felt no more victory over that naked chick being on the air than I did when I heard they had a plus sized model on that Tyra Banks modeling show, but she turned out to be a size 8. Pardon me for not feeling particularly represented--props to the size 8s who would otherwise be shamed off of television. But perhaps, for the purpose of this forum, we could get some perspective together.

I definitely agree with this point, Erica. I struggle too at the framing of fatness as everyone who isn't visible thin and the conflation of TV fat with fatness as it occurs in real life. That said, I also get really uncomfortable policing the borders of fatness. I mean there are people who are smaller than I am (and I'm not very big on the fatness spectrum) who identify as fat and whose lived experiences speak to that identity. I think where things get difficult, particularly as it relates to fatness, is when suddenly a word that caused so much pain becomes a word reclaimed by all sorts of applicable people, including those whose struggle might not be as visible to most.

Again, fat is relative. There are people much larger than I am who probably don't think I'm fat either and scoff at the very notion that I would use that term descriptively.

There are also some people who no matter what their weight or size always scan as chubby or fat. I am one of those people. I used to joke thanks to my height and body shape, I was, "the word's fattest size 8" because even at a size and weight where I figured nobody would describe me as such, I was still encountering that word being tossed around to describe my body, both neutrally and negatively. That's not the case for me now, but having lived that experience, I guess I'm really nervous about policing the way in which folks self identify.

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I'm her size. And I *AM* fat. Literally and politically.

I'm about her size, and here's a good indicator: If you can walk down the street and someone could conceivably call you a fatass, sorry, you're fat. I could consider myself "skinny" all I want, but it doesn't mean that people haven't called me names and pointed and giggled because I dared to eat a slice of cheesecake in public.

Just like how you can be of mixed race, but the majority of America still subscribes to a one-drop rule and you can still be called all manner of awful names for whatever race most people think you closely resemble. Just because Obama is half-white doesn't mean he doesn't get compared to a monkey, a pimp, and overall get only all the negative stereotypes of black men. And if someone decried these accusations only by saying they literally could not be true because he's half-white, I would get the implication that they said so only because to be totally black would mean that the slurs have legitimacy. It doesn't get to the heart of the racism or sizeism to quibble about whether or not it literally applies in this situation. The person still has to live with it, and it's still wrong. And believe me, this actress lives with it. How many roles do you think she didn't get because of her weight? Whatever you actually are(and really, words like "skinny" and "fat" are subjective constructs that never had any meaning besides what is collectively ascribed to it, just like you can argue that "tree" can mean fat if you get enough people to agree with you), it doesn't change the fact that you are going to get the negative treatment of whatever category you're lumped in with.

When you're an underrepresented minority of some kind, the reality is that you don't get to pick who you are. Whether its true or not(god knows my Dad has been called a "sand n*gger" despite the fact that he's got the whitest ancestry ever), you're still going to feel the negative affects of society. Besides, if the article is wrong because it assumes she identifies as fat, the opposite is just as wrong for assuming she is skinny and should identify as skinny. Not to mention the obvious reality that, using this method of identification of skinny until "proven" otherwise, people are then only going to call people "fat" when they're unattractive, dirty, etc. Just like what we're doing now. People who don't consider me to be fat aren't necessarily doing me any favors; I've met plenty of people who did so only because fat subconsciously means "no longer a person", and I was still redeemable while those much larger than me went beyond the pale and were only worthy of mockery. And dammit, I AM her size, I AM fat, and I AM beautiful. People need to stop taking other fat girls away from my team once they're considered attractive.

Clarifying Questions.

I think this whole conversation is super important, and really interesting, and definitely needs to be had! But I am still left with a questions:

What happens when we go out into the world? When I come in contact with fat people (or even thin people) in my daily life, many of whom are not necessarily involved in this discussion of Fat Awareness? How do I speak to these people about size? Is it simply necessary to explain my belief in reclaiming the word "fat" and removing it's negative connotations, as well as Fat Awareness as a movement, in full? Is not the term that a one chooses to identify with a very personal one? Should I be asking each fat person which of the various words they prefer, when speaking of size? Or do I simply barrel on with my reclamation of the word "fat" regardless of anyone else's feelings? Are the answers to these questions different if I am someone who is regularly identified as "skinny" (and who generally identifies myself that way)? Do I have the right to attempt to reclaim "fat"? Does the fact that my size is often used by people to fat-shame themselves, and that makes me extraordinarily uncomfortable since size is not related to beauty to me, in any way affect how I can talk about Fat Awareness?

I apologize if any of these questions seem naive, offensive, or stupid - I am fairly new to Fat Awareness, but I hope it's no less meaningful to me.

YAY for Fat!

so nice to be in a space where fat is just that, fat. i have grown to detest having to use words other than fat to describe my body - as if to affirm the space that i take up in the world. thanks.

Wonderful

This is a wonderful follow up to your previous thread. I definitely noticed the disconnect between discussions around Wilson's fatness and Ramirez's fatness. I appreciate the thoughtful way in which you unpacked attitudes regarding attractiveness and how that intersects with race and fatness.

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Fat is the new Phat!

I like this blog sooo much! I have been embracing my fatness for some time now and find it offensive and disturbing when my gf tries to tell me i'm not fat, or immediately counters with "you're so beautiful!" as though i am saying something about my perception of my own beauty. i am curvy, i am luscious, but guess what? i'm also a fat bitch who DOES mind it if you try some fucked up euphemisms about it. Fat is such a "bad word" and i would like to find out when that started. I know it's been used by so many as an epithet, but like the words bitch and queer, fat folks can reclaim this word and not let it mean that you're a horrible person. because it is NOT about your character, your heart, your value as a human.

Ditto!

way to stick to your guns on the term to use-a lot of times, people get hung up on exactly correct terminology and they focus on that. what it leads to is a less open discussion about what is the matter at hand.

pop culture is what I grew up on, and the words I use are partially related to that. in addition, i grew up feeling pleased if anyone acknowledged that my pretty face and "Benetton model" potential was voiced by friends + strangers.

the racial/ethnic implications are worthy of a whole otha' conversation, and what I respect about this post is the matter of stopping fatphobia. the pretty face statement disparages bodies in a publicly acceptable way (but acceptable to me, though!). I wish that the accommodations that people make for the sake of popularity would die out. recently, Beth Ditto was brought up, and i recall the surge of press that she received as The Gossip rose to fame. As a lone figure in music, she has impressed me all over again. I'd like to share this brief interview that a friend conducted in Paris with a Moroccan woman who's into fashion and feminism:

http://mariaguzman.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/fashion-feminism-an-interview/

I agree with Kateskees. I

I agree with Kateskees. I get called "Thick" a lot. I also get the whole 'oh, you're fat but you're pretty in the face" UGH!
Anywho, great post. I was kinda shocked by some of the responses on the previous post.

Well exactly. You make a

Well exactly. You make a very good point, as always.

Personally I'm just sick of hearing people use the word "fat" as an insult, or considering it an insult, when it is an adjective, nothing more, nothing less. Imbue it with more power than that and we continue to oppress, regardless of size.

Unfortunately this word needs to be reclaimed... much like the word "bitch".

P.S. This may interest (or annoy) you: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/28/doctors-feat-obese-wa...

can't escape reality

I've been fat and thin at different times in my life, depending on my lifestyle and activity levels, and I expect people to treat me the same no matter what my current weight is. (That's not what actually happens, but it is my expectation.) I like this piece and the movement to accept people of all shapes and sizes.

However, I have to question the wisdom of the policy, "Here, all weights are healthy." Because in reality, they are not. What constitutes a healthy or unhealthy weight is going to vary according to the individual, so I'm not suggesting that everyone over a certain threshold is automatically unhealthy. But what is the value of essentially censoring the discussion of the relationship between weight and health?

I didn't see anyone say

I didn't see anyone say "Here, all weights are healthy." It's more like "Here, don't use the fact that being fat may be linked to poor health to detract what can be a positive discussion about fat positivity."

Honestly? Because there are so many other venues for it. In fact, that's the only way the mainstream media will talk about obesity and fat. It's only a health issue to them. A fat person has a life and an existence outside of their health and well-being, and that should be acknowledged without someone always chiming in with "BUT WHAT ABOUT YOUR HEALTH?!" all the time. It gets old, really fast, and it's usually thrown into places it doesn't belong mainly just to downgrade a fat person's existence outside of being a health "burden on society."

Very well said, michelle!

Very well said, michelle! Concern trolling is all too common when talking about fatness. It's far too easy to hide behind the shield of "omg but you're clearly unhealthy" when, often, the issue isn't much deeper that you find fatness to be unsightly. The worst part, and often the part that certain people just cannot and/or will not understand, is that fat =/= unhealthy. It just doesn't equate.

Hear hear!

Exactly what Michelle said: This blog is not a space for discussing health issues as they relate to fatness—that is done in a million other places on the Internet. Here, in this space, Tasha will be discussing fat and popular culture, NOT HEALTH. It doesn't matter how well-intentioned a concern troll is with her/his WebMD links about fat and health, those comments don't belong here and they will be deleted.

Kelsey Wallace, Web Editor

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

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"Here, all weights are healthy" is a quote from the article.

I think you have a good point in saying there are other venues to discuss the health issue. But I disagree that we should stop talking about something because "It gets old, really fast." We don't stop talking about the health aspects of smoking because smokers are tired of hearing about it. (I acknowledge that the analogy is flawed.) I wouldn't want health to dominate the discussion, either. I would just remove that sentence from the article; it doesn't seem to be necessary.

You can't exactly equate fat

You can't exactly equate fat to smoking for a number of reasons, as I'm sure you know. Smokers don't have to shop at separate stores to find clothes, smokers can still end up on television and are represented in popular culture. Fat people aren't, and when they are, it's usually a joke or a really insulting stereotype.

Health is NOT relevant when you're discussing a fat woman on Grey's Anatomy (even if it IS a show about doctors). It's just not. Bringing it up is discrediting and insulting when it's not relevant. It'd be different if it were a forum about health or a discussion about health, or if it were relevant somehow. But I see articles all the time about something like a plus sized beauty pageant and then in the comments you get a "But should we be celebrating plus size? Being plus sized isn't healthy." The health discussion is really only a few steps away from "Should we be including fat people? They are diseased, and we probably shouldn't be encouraging them to continue along their diseased way."

I know that's not what you're saying and I hope not what anyone commenting on this blog would believe, but it does contribute to a bigger social climate and reality that believes just that. That's why Bitch is trying to create a safe space.

Healthy Habits vs. Weight

Actually, I think it's perfectly fair to say we should just stop talking about the "omg your health!" in regard to weight. There are plenty of studies to show that the healthy behaviors done consistently themselves are what that lead to positive health, not the supposed end goal of being thin (i.e. sedentary & thin less healthy than fat & active). There is no need for that person to be scared and guilted by others "concerned" with their health to try to fit somebody else's ideals.

I work in the fitness industry and try my hardest to encourage people to exercise for the right reasons and to be happy with their body at every size. If more people would just focus on the behaviors and not the size of a person, it would be a whole lot easier to move forward and celebrate the inclusion of more great women of all sizes in mass media without the victory derailed by comments about her health.

Here here!

very well-put! and i also think dr. bailey is gorgeous!

have you been watching the show recently? cuz she currently has one hottie of a love interest on that show! so, she's sexing it up just as much at yang and grey are these days...i was super psyched when that beautiful man started flirting with her! go bailey!! ans even though she's all twitterpated and in love and such, she's still badass bailey which is fantastic! because i hate the stereotype that an assertive woman just needs a man and she'll be docile...that bugs me to no end!

Further information?

I was just getting ready to say something similar to what Erica Romeo already said regarding the clarification of "fat."

The point made about Sara Ramirez versus Chandra Wilson is truly telling and I was guilty of the same knee-jerk reaction: "Sara Ramirez is fat? Really? But Chandra Wilson... yes, I see that." So I am grateful to the blog for educating me, certainly. I would like to request, though, that the next time "drama" of this nature comes about, someone could point those of us who are ignorant of the matter in the direction of further fat awareness information. Because, after all, isn't the point of Bitch to educate and promote awareness? I, like others, now understand that I could be accused of "fat shaming," but it certainly wasn't intentional.

I don't mean to go off-topic; these posts have been eye-opening for me. Please educate those of us who are confused. Snapping at us and putting us on the defensive just makes us want to shut our eyes again.

"fat"

thanks so much for writing this. it is so important and so healing and fierce.
I am a large/fat woman who teaches Women's Health at a community college and am always aware of people (students, others) who look at me and thinnk they'd "rather die" than look like me, and yet here i am, going on living. I'm serious. It's strange to walk in the world knowing that people are repulsed by you and pity you. I don't want either of these emotions put on me. Loving myself as i am is the only way I've ever helped myself. stop the shaming!

Education...

Hi Jordan,

That's great that you're enjoying this series! However, it's not really Tasha's role here to educate readers as to what is fat and what isn't. She's been hired to blog about fatness and popular culture, and there are plenty of resources elsewhere on the Internet if one needs to brush up on the definition of "fat shaming." Case in point: http://www.google.com/search?q=fat+shaming&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=or...

That being said, I think what Tasha is trying to do with this very post is to take a step back and let her readers know what fat acceptance means and what her expectations are for the comments on this series.

Kelsey Wallace, Web Editor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

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Thank you!!!

Thanks so much, Kelsey, and again thank you, Tasha, for this post! It's scary for me to realize that I do actually subconsciously associate fat with "plain" or "unattractive" perhaps moreso than I do size. Do keep up these amazing posts!

Fat 101 vs Fat 201

I personally didn't think the actress from Grey's Anatomy was very fat either - compared to my size, and I was expecting some commentary about how body politics, body identity and pop culture intersect, but I don't think that was clearly articulated. And here you are saying it's not your job to make those distinctions, yet they are essential to the discussion.

If you are going to be discussing fat in pop culture it is absolutely necessary to define where fatness starts, why certain definitions may be problematic, and how those definitions help to define the stereotypes that Hollywood lives and dies by and what should be done to make changes.

It seems like you all want this series to be a Fat 201 space, when many of the readers are still on a Fat 101 level. Those of us involved in the field of Fat Studies and the SA (size acceptance) movement are very familiar with the myriad issues around fat identity (when fatness starts, who gets to define fatness, ect), gender identity and fatness, fat sexuality, and even fat in pop culture. Fat identity is a very confusing and emotional gray area that is just difficult to define for many reasons. It might be helpful to post a blog entry with a series of links to SA sites, music, books, movies, ect. That way whenever this Fat 101 confusion comes up you can link back to that blog entry and save yourselves some trouble.

RE: Education...

I have to agree with CBW. I know "it's not X's job to educate me about Y, because there are plenty of websites I can turn to to educate myself". But the problem with that argument is that folks don't always recognize when they need educating. Some commenters on the previous post had a knee-jerk (and, of course, from an FA perspective problematic) reaction to the word "fat" and they protested. It was ignorance, but not willful ignorance.

We had this same problem a few months ago when Jessica Yee was blogging about indigenous feminism. While I'm very familiar with the FA movement, at the time I wasn't hip to the lingo common to indigenous feminist discourse. So I felt totally at sea, and at times really upset, at some of the things I read in her posts. After a number of meltdowns in the comments section, Jessica backtracked and defined a few key terms (ex. how she defines "indigenous"), at which point everybody was able to get on the same page and chill out a little. As a result, I learned a hell of a lot about an area of feminism I was shamefully ignorant of.

From a practical perspective, posting a short "links to X 101" before each of these series would avoid a lot of misery on all sides. Or we could just keep going round in circles misunderstanding each other, like we have been.

It's not Tasha's job to

It's not Tasha's job to educate you. If your google is broken, you can use mine. It is up to each individual to educate themselves. Marginalized folks shouldn't have to be burdened with even more education of folks not hip to game than we already are. Sorry about that.

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Did someone say Comment Policy?

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse

You know what is really

You know what is really abusive and hurtful? Calling a woman a "stick figure."

Just another response

I must have scrolled right on by the original post to which this one above replies so I didn't weigh in (I know, it was bad) but I'm sure I would have had the same shocked reaction as many readers did. However, I'm particularly pleased that you revisited your post to update with the glaring omission of a reaction to Chandra Wilson's size. I love an article that makes me think!
On a different note, it's difficult for women to embrace the term "fat" as a neutral term, let alone a positive one, but I'm working on it. I will say that, while I use the term "fat" to describe myself and other obese people, I use other terms that I believe have varying qualities and are better descriptors, like "voluptuous" or "large." While reclaiming terms can be empowering for those reclaiming them, they are ultimately only as powerful as the world at large allows them to be. In other words, I love the word "bitch" and think it's powerful but I have yet to see "Women's Studies" renamed "Bitch Studies." I'd sign up for that major.

HELL yes. You rock Ms Tasha

HELL yes. You rock Ms Tasha and I can't wait to read more!

What We Need...

Fat shaming is exactly why we need songs like Fat Grrrls by Electrik Emily. We need an anthem for the FA movement. Like Helen Reddy and I am Woman.

It is hard to not shame others, but also yourself in every little thing you do because that is what the culture is telling you. It is the internalized oppression, and residual prejudice that is sometimes the hardest to deal with. Mad props to Bitch for taking on fat and pop culture on, and not being afraid to do so!

I think it is strange that

I think it is strange that people are so obsessed with how others look. It is OK to call someone a "fatty", dismiss them as non worthy people who should be shamed and made to feel horrible about themselves.
I think it is a sick comment on our culture.
Many are not looking inside themselves, the strive to be a better person seems to have died out. Instead it is "look around you and find fault in others"
If you are "hot", you are held up as great and all powerful in our culture, you are hot, you are done, that is all you need to be.

The obesity epidemic coincides completely with the recession, with the fact that 1 in 8 Americans is going hungry. I think we need to look at the bigger (no pun intended) problem. Life is not good for many and a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet, to put food on the table. It is cheaper to buy fast food than it is to go buy produce and foods with hearty grains and oats.
We can delude ourselves to think that everyone can afford to go to Whole Foods and that every community has an easily accessible weekly farmers markets, this is not the case.

The fast food companies are killing this country and they don't care, the obesity problem is a reflection of this countries downturn ( and the corporate takeover) and to add insult to injury, those that are low income and struggling are being shamed by our society. People who are overweight know they are overweight. They don't need anyone to tell them.

We need better education for all and a better quality of life for all. I am pretty positive, if we had an upswing in this country and more had jobs and moved up off the poverty line, the obesity problem would decrease.

It's not about people sitting around gorging themselves non-stop, it is about a recession, a lack of jobs and decent, livable wages it's about struggling and stress and the general depressive mood of a country that is not progressing but rather corporate enslaving of it's people.

Off topic

As Tasha took the time to explain in her post, this is not a blog post, let alone a blog series, about weight and health. It is about fat women and pop culture, and conversations about health are not welcome, let alone ones mentioning the "obesity epidemic."

These points are all mentioned in the blog post above, as well as put in caps lock and in bold.

Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

____________
Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

Maybe in another forum it would be interesting to consider...

...how the fat acceptance movement relates to these economic conditions.

Absolutely, we need to be accepting of individuals of all shapes and sizes, and celebrate the diversity of the human form. No question about it.

But I don't think we're doing anyone any favors by dismissing a socioeconomic analysis of why there is more fatness to accept in this culture at this time than other cultures and/or other times.

I'm trying to think of an analogous situation where thinness is the issue rather than fatness. To have an "emaciation acceptance" discussion in the mid-1980s Ethiopia, but insist on ignoring the health perils of emaciation, and also shut down discussions of the famine that caused it (for some; one might be very thin in that context for other reasons, of course, just as economic factors are not the cause of fatness for everyone here & now) would be ludicrous and politically retrograde.

I agree!

Since when do conversations exist in a vacuum? I understand the need to keep things on track, but TS is right. Sometimes when conversations are happening, the natural flow leads some to bring up points that while they may tick people off, it might be important to think about.

Maybe the reason fat folks aren't fairly represented in popular culture is because of the way some people feel that fat people represent what's going on in our country. If people are obese because they're eating the poison that passes as food in most of America, then that's a problem. Just as it's a problem if people are skinny because they live on a diet of cigarettes and coffee and shitty self esteem. Not saying that's the case of all fat or all thin people.

I disagree. While I believe

I disagree. While I believe it's important to have organic conversations, I also feel it's important to respect the parameters outlined by the blogger. Conversations about weight and health after the blogger has repeatedly and respectfully asked folks not to do that is really problematic.

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Tasha isn't "dismissing the

Tasha isn't "dismissing the socioeconomic analysis." It's off-topic, pure and simple (and so is your attempt to connect it with other political issues). You're honestly trying to make a bigger issue of this than she is in terms of scope. Her focus is the embodiments and representations of fatness in pop culture, not omg why we're being bombarded with real-world fatties.

It appears you aren't well-versed in size acceptance as a general movement, because there are a lot of analogous situations where thin people are also face discrimination and ridicule. You're discriminating against them in your post, in fact. Not all thin/skinny/slender/small people are emaciated, malnourished, or have an eating disorder. Going by the annoying old adage, women who lack "curves" aren't real women and just need to go eat a sandwich/cheeseburger. It's all body hate.

Thank you

Thank you all for your support and I hope this helped clarify some stuff!

Awesome Post

This post is awesome. Tasha Fierce is awesome. Some of the comments, not so awesome.

I apologize in advance for

I apologize in advance for my ignorance, and I hope that someone will educate me. I will do my utmost to be respectful, sincere, and open -- I hope for the same in response.

What I take issue with, both in the article and in the replies, is the sentiment that "all weights are healthy."

Does that standard apply only to the upper end of the weight spectrum, or does someone who is 5' 8" and weighs 75 lbs. also have a healthy weight?

I'm not trying to make a case that skinny people in our culture have it super rough. But can't we agree that at the extreme ends of the weight spectrum there are Danger Zone(s) that, like all eighties Kenny Loggins songs, should be avoided?

Again, these blogs aren't

Again, these blogs aren't about health, nor are they about bodily extremes, but about the representation of fat people by the media. I think you should re-read the sentence that you quoted for the real sentiment.

Not the point of this blog

Hi there,

I think Tasha's point when she said "all weights are healthy here" is that in this space, in the comment threads on this blog series, we will not be discussing health and weight. It doesn't matter whether or not someone is at a "healthy" weight because we aren't doctors and that's not the point of this blog. At all.

There is no need to prove your point that some weights are dangerously unhealthy (like the example of a 5'8" person weighing 75 lbs) because that is not what this blog is about. Health does not factor in here, and no amount of concern trolling is going to change that.

Kelsey Wallace, Web Editor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

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hear hear. brilliant. thank

hear hear. brilliant. thank you, tasha fierce.

Tasha, I think this is a

Tasha,
I think this is a brilliant series that needs to be addressed in world of feminism. Going with the Grey's Anatomy examples, I think it's so important to call out both Sara Ramirez and Chandra Wilson's characters as beautiful and sexy. Both portray sexy differently. As mentioned Callie is strikingly beautify and sexy, which is definitely something I want to been seen as, but Bailey's brain and surgical skills makes her sexy, and as a lesbian that spends 80% of my time around married male developers I want my sweetie to be just as impressed by my physical beauty as she is by my mad computer skills or when I'm out working on my Lenhi.

I don't particularly find

I don't particularly find Chandra Wilson beautiful or sexy, but greatly agree with the article. My point is that fat or not, tv shows like these need to be rewired to portaying normal people. Fat, thin, in between it doesn't matter - the issue of this "ideal" feminine form portayed on tv does us all damage, and these blogs are doing a good job of identifying those issues.

Thank you!!!

Thank you so much for this. I read some of the comments in the last post, and had to stop because I was getting angry, and didn't have the ability to respond in a constructive and positive way while I was angry. I am fat, and I am beautiful, and I am so tired of the comments in the "But you have such a pretty face!" strain. My face is pretty, and my body is not inherently disgusting. Fat is not a bad word. Thank you for your no-nonsense and respectful response to some very disrespectful comments.

I have to say that I can

I have to say that I can understand why people would find the word "fat" negative. I don't find "skinny" positive either. Both "fat" and "skinny" to me are unhealthy. To send the message of health I use "slender" and "voluptuous." There IS a difference between fat and voluptuous, and it's not for feelings.

The issue at hand here is

The issue at hand here is not health: it's fat and pop culture, pure and simple. Fat does not mean unhealthy, and slender/voluptuous are not synonyms for healthy, regardless of how flattering you may find them personally. It's describing an outward appearance. Last time I checked, health was largely internal. These are arbitrary words with arbitrary meanings assigned by shallow, superficial means. (Not saying you're shallow or superficial, but commenting on the culture at large.)

Well, of course, if you're

Well, of course, if you're being objective. But by literary terms, (I'm the same person btw) I can see the difference. I wouldn't say that "pale" and "fair" were the same. Neither are "sallow" and "olive." It implies health, and I feel that the problem isn't that "fat" is considered negative in pop culture but that "skinny" is positive. The problem is that there is a lack of consistency.

I'd like to add however,

I'd like to add however, that the article brings up very good points and I did find the analysis of the comments eye-opening. And I DO understand that when people use "fat" as an insult in pop culture, they're not thinking at all about health but solely appearance, and that is unfortunate because it's an otherwise shallow view. In the big picture, it may not matter at all if I personally associate with these descriptions with a level of health if in pop culture it's only about appearance.

Hey Tasha, I wanted to say

Hey Tasha,

I wanted to say that I think it's amazing that you're putting so much effort into propelling the fat acceptance moement forward. I think if more people unapologetically used the word fat in the same way that you do, the world would be a much more accepting place!

That being said, I also think it's important to remember that the word "fat" is really triggering for a lot of people. I know for me, it's been associated with a lot of pain and violence, and so while I totally see the merit of reclaiming language, I think it takes some time, and there's a learning curve.

While reclaiming language for yourself is totally awesome, reclaiming language for others is tricky. I'm queer and I often refer to myself as a dyke, sometimes a fag-ette, because both those words make me feel strong and empowered. But I would feel a little uncomfortable using those for other people, without the explicit knowledge that those words were something they were comfortable with.

So I think the sticking point for me is identifying someone else as "fat" without their consent. I realize that their shouldn't be any negativity within that word, and the idea of using it openly is working toward that goal, but that doesn't change that iw will be hurtful and upsetting for some people, given the connotation that the word has held in the past. And if Sara Ramirez is comfortable using the term plus-sized, I'm not sure why we wouldn't allow her to claim her own identity and her own labels, while still working to erase fatphobia in our society.

What about Chandra Wilson?

What about Chandra Wilson? Why is it so important that Sara Ramirez not be fat? I'm so curious about all the jockeying to ensure that Ramirez is not labeled fat, meanwhile folks seem to have no problem with Chandra Wilson being labeled as such - did you notice she's significantly smaller than Ramirez?It's pretty telling that one of the comments stated outright that they didn't find Wilson attractive, however, did not seem to notice the irony in doing so. Coupled with your comment, you've clearly outlined WHY Tasha needed to draft this post.

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I assume you are talking

I assume you are talking about my comment, and no I did not sense any irony in doing so. What irony would that be? The reason I made that comment was because the reactions gushing about how sexy and beautiful Chandra Wilson is seem as knee jerk as those who called Sara Ramirez not fat.

Attraction

I took that comment just at is face value - that person doesn't find Chandra Wilson attractive. I don't either. But it's not at all to do with her size. She just doesn't do it for me. I could look at her and think she's good looking from an aesthetic viewpoint. But I don't feel that deep inside "Wow - I'm attracted to her". There's a difference and I assume that's what the commenter meant.

You need to find Wilson

You need to find Wilson attractive to notice she's smaller than Ramirez? Sara Ramirez can't be fat because she's hot, but since Wilson is someone you DON'T find attractive, despite being - wait for it - smaller than Ramirez, fat is a reasonable descriptive for her, but not for someone who is attractive and larger than her. Which goes back to the notion that fat/unattractive are often used interchangeably.

Does that clear things up?

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Did someone say Comment Policy?

"In real life as in Grand Opera, Arias only make hopeless situations worse

Lables, Reclaimation, and Consent

I think Sam makes a really good, and important point - this talk is all fine and dandy in a wonderful, open, progressive online community such as this, but what happens in the real world? I don't feel I have the right to reclaim the word "fat" for anyone but myself. Who am I to force someone into a box they don't want to be in? Then aren't I not much better than fat-shamers, or any one who categorizes people based on arbitrary physical features? If everybody is different, who am I to label them, even if I have the best intentions at heart?

Maybe this is off topic, since we ARE in the Bitch community, and so it's okay, but what's the point of a movement if we aren't thinking about it's viability in the real world, always tweaking and discussing how we grow and continue the movement?

Nice to see that my comment

Nice to see that my comment explaining my position and why I feel the way that I do (I am the person who left the fifth quote in this blog) was deleted. After, what, 2 weeks of being up? Reasoning being, what?

Sometimes I really don't get it.

I guess I just thought the

I guess I just thought the point of the comment moderation policy was to avoid situations like what happened in Jessica Yee's post, not something nonflammatory.

I mean, goodness, I'm agreeing, but because I don't want to be called fat, I'm Satan or something. Different people identify differently. Isn't that what Bitch magazine says? To not identify someone else for them? And it makes me feel as though you are shaming me for not identifying as fat, because it makes YOU feel bad about yourself. So you bring me down to make yourself feel better.

Comments policy

Hi Whitney,

Our comments policy exists not only to prevent flare-ups, but also to prevent derails and to ensure the relative safety and comfort of our guest bloggers. If Tasha deleted your comment, I'm sure it was because she felt it was either a derail from the discussion (which is meant to be about pop culture and fatness) or she felt uncomfortable with it for another reason. Certainly it had nothing to do with bringing you down or attempting to shame you; she's just trying to keep the thread on track.

____________
Kelsey Wallace, web editor

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

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Well I can safely say that I

Well I can safely say that I was attempting to add to the discussion, and believe you me, I hate derailing as much as the next person.

It doesn't matter if she didn't *intend* to bring me down or shame me, but I feel that she did. Her quotation of me and her "analysis" of what I said shamed me. Why would I want to participate in a discussion where I don't matter, and furthermore, where my self-identification doesn't matter? I think she took offense to me not wanting to be labeled as fat (and in my deleted post, I compare it to people constantly wanting to label me as "multiracial" even though I am white, even going to the point to say that I am doing a disservice to my family by identifying as white). So you see where I see the problem is. If she has a problem with me not wanting to identify as "fat" then that's her problem (or anyone else's). I identify how I identify, and isn't that what Bitch promotes? Maybe I'm just a little confused here.

You're all about making the guest bloggers feel welcome and comfortable and safe, but what about your readers? It really hurt me to hear her basically say that because I don't identify how she wants me to identify, it hurts *her.* And because I feel as though my weight has nothing to do with who I am as a person, that's bad or something.

I just want someone to explain to me why it's OK for her to call out people for identifying Sara Ramierz as "not fat" when she identifies as "plus-size", (and thus defend her) but it's fine for her to get angry with me for not wanting to identify as "fat" despite my weight. Does that make sense?

And just to emphasize, I really like this series, and I think that Tasha has a lot of very important points to make, and has made them. I just don't like it when people tell me how to identify. I'm not trying to derail, and I do think that discussing self-identification is important and to accept the labels people give themselves. In another thread there was a discussion about cisgendered. And I think a discussion about who identifies as fat and why and why not is also important. And the last thing I have to say is not identifying as fat isn't a bad or a good thing, and it isn't saying anything about others who do.

I don't think they are

I don't think they are arguing against self-identification. They are arguing that it is problematic to say that you don't identify as fat *because* fat is unattractive. It is problematic to say you are defending Ramirez by saying she is not fat (again, this implies fat=unattractive). It is problematic to say plus-size is not fat, because plus-size can be attractive and fat is unattractive.

Why do you keep insisting that fat=unattractive? That is exactly the stigma we are fighting against. Not all body types may be attractive to you, but all body types are attractive to someone and no body type should be shamed.

Also don't see the relation to the cisgender thread, where it was pointed out that cisgender=not trans, by definition. You can identify how you like. Neither cis nor transgender are bad. They are labels important for certain discussions.

For the record, I *never*

For the record, I *never* said that fat=unattractive.

And me not wanting to identify as fat is in no way saying that fat = unattractive. Just how I don't identify as mixed. I'm not saying that being mixed race is bad, i'm saying that I'm not mixed. It's seriously as simple as that.

"Not all body types may be attractive to you, but all body types are attractive to someone and no body type should be shamed."

Um, I know? I never said anything to indicate that.

"You can identify how you like."

Well, apparently not, considering all the flack I'm getting for not identifying as "fat."

yayy tasha

How did I miss this until now? Oh well.

I loved your fatties on TV post and actually read a lot of the comments, and then got angry and sad. This post sums up what I was thinking pretty accurately, except I would have been really insulting and mean. Good on ya!