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 Post subject: Potential TRIGGER WARNING: Kickstarter Project
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:29 pm 
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This is a bit of a difficult read if you experience a deep-rooted fear of "fat", no matter what size you are. So, be forewarned, read only if you are armed against letting it reinforce your ED, and remind yourself: the body is never an apology.


Quote:
Kickstarter Project Seeks to Battle Rampant Discrimination Against Thin, Athletic, Pretty Women

Britton Delizia has had ENOUGH of the oppression of slender, fit women. And she's doing something about it!

Britton Delizia works really hard to stay in shape, fighting the good fight against a culture that would prefer she not exercise or put any effort into being thin. She is bravely battling the numerous social pressures to be fat. And she wants women to know that it’s acceptable to do the same, to be athletic, and healthy, in spite of ubiquitous forces arguing that it is BAD to want these things.

So she’s launched a Kickstarter to fund a photo book to do just that.

Confused? Titled “I’m learning to apologize for my Metabolism,” her project will present a “collection of images of women standing up against a society that protects fat culture while bastardizing thin and athletic women.”

Still confused? Yeah. Me too.

Delizia’s argument, bafflingly outlined in the project description, is that there is some sort of organized effort to shame and dismiss women who are athletic or slender. She says:

Quote:
Its undeniable that when we stand a skinny, athletic or even average sized female next to a larger (even if less healthy, overweight or obese) female, that unless we live outside of this stigma, we as Americans will assume that the heavier person is funnier, smarter, nicer, and less sexually promiscuous, all because she is not as thin or physically fit than the girl next to her.


Huh.

Funnier? Perhaps. The idea that fat people are funny is a fairly well established cultural assumption, albeit one that very often means we are laughing at them and not with them, especially when they are women.

Smarter? No. Indeed, socially and even scientifically we tend to believe the opposite -- that fat people are inherently dumber than non-fat people, an ideology borne out in dubious studies that suggest that fat people have stupid kids, and that IQ decreases as weight goes up. Are these studies full of shit? Probably. But their continued existence would indicate that fat people are not generally considered smarter than not-fat people by the average person.

Nicer? Maybe. I mean, we kind of HAVE to be nice so people don’t get grossed out and hate us right away. “You know that fat lady in our building? Oh yes, she’s disgusting, but she’s so nice.”

Less sexually promiscuous? Well.

I know, I know -- it’s fairly absurd to even give this the credence necessary to unpack these points. But let’s soldier on anyway.

Quote:
The premise of the book is not to bash or assault any single body type, quite the opposite. I want to share the stories of women who have dealt with this discriminatory action.


Er, you may have blown this premise already.

Quote:
Why should a woman have to apologize for wanting to be fit? Why should a woman have to apologize because she likes to run? or eat healthy? or just has the metabolism that is geared to keep weight at bay?


FINALLY, something we agree on. No woman should be compelled to apologize for wanting to be fit, or for enjoying running, or eating however she likes to eat. Nor should any woman be made to apologize for having a certain body shape or size, regardless of what the specifics may be. But to blame an obesity revolution for the sudden oppression of athletic women -- well, that’s a bit of a stretch.

Let’s take a moment to hypothesize what a person who comes up with this idea might be thinking. She might be thinking that she’s hearing a lot more about fat people these days. She might be seeing things in the media -- a slow trickle, but a trickle all the same -- that are not uniformly critical of those individuals subsisting under the yoke of obesery. She may have seen the video of that Wisconsin news anchor who stood up for herself against a fat-shame-y viewer letter. She may have caught our own xoJane fatkini gallery this summer.

And she might be thinking, wow, suddenly there’s fat people EVERYWHERE, and they’re not all actively hating themselves. They’re living their lives! Being seen in public! Not hiding themselves in muumuus and basements, only venturing out in darkest night to replenish their stockpiles of bacon and lard, diving back into their hiding spaces like waddling flabbified vampires returning to their grease-stained lairs at the sunrise. They’re acting like people. Like they have a right to human dignity! THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO STAND!

Some years ago, I wrote a post on my now-mostly-defunct blog that mentioned a conversation I had been having about my belief that the obesity epidemic is mostly a bunch of trumped-up paranoia, in which my conversational partner said, “Yeah, but you sure do seem to see a lot more fat people than you used to.”

Of this, a commenter observed, and I’m paraphrasing here, “When I bought my car, suddenly I started seeing my car everywhere. But that wasn’t because there was an abrupt increase in people purchasing and driving the same car as me -- it was because I was just now more aware of that particular car.”

The number of Honda Civics on the road doesn’t change when you start driving one, although you might start seeing them more, because it’s a car that has captured your attention. Thus, isn’t it just possible that an increased awareness might be coloring Delizia’s concept of how “society” now “protects” some undefined “fat culture”?

When people who have enjoyed a certain level of social privilege (OH SHIT Y’ALL I SAID THE P-WORD) see that privilege being eroded, they tend to freak out. A good recent example is the uptick in racist rhetoric seen since President Obama took office -- seen recently in the “OH CRAP, we’re not a white country anymore!” reactions to his successful reelection campaign.

This is not to suggest that everyone who opposes Obama’s administration is a racist, because that’s simply not true. However, the cultural shift signified by the popular election of a multiracial man with a funny name to the highest office in the land has startled and even scared many white folks who may fear for their continued dominance in a country where white folks are quickly losing their population majority in the first place.

Racism, obviously, is a very different injustice than fascist body culture, one with far more insidious and pervasive institutional underpinnings, and I am not attempting to conflate the two. But it works as a ready example of what happens when a group finds itself losing majority ground it has always taken for granted.

In this case, we have a woman -- and probably more, if we’re going to be real about it -- who sees the landscape shifting. Maybe she is worried that these new, diverse bodies are going to eclipse the ones she is used to -- the ones she values and patterns herself after. And she feels threatened. And you know what? It’s not an unreasonable worry.

Because for most of us, our entire lives have been spent seeing minor variations on one feminine idealized slender body everywhere we look. It seems natural then that there might only be room for ONE. That if we are seeing more plush bodies now, and more and more, soon that will be all that we see.

But I don’t think that’s what any of us want -- even those of us who are proponents of that terrible, destructive “fat culture.”

Delizia knows this book will “upset a few people.” But she has a higher purpose.

Quote:
...if it just makes it into the hands of ONE little girl who feels like she has to be overweight to fit in with the current 70% of the overweight population of America, and it gives her the strength to know that being healthy isnt a bad thing.

Then this whole project is worth all the time and effort i can possibly afford to put into it.


For some, the kneejerk reaction -- beyond the obvious THIS IS FAKE, RIGHT? -- is to rain down snark and ridicule upon this woman with a thousand tiny chubby hammers of incredulity. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? This is what we want to ask, right? We want to mock her. We want to say, “I’ll give you something to feel persecuted about, young lady.”

But I'm not down with that. I don't want to bash Britton Delizia, as that's an unhelpful, unconstructive non-solution. Because here’s the thing: Women are so fucked up by our fucked up body culture that even their perspectives on what is real are sorely fucked up. We don't need to be in competition with each other. I promise.

Nobody should be shamed for being healthy, and nobody should be shamed for being unhealthy. Nobody should be shamed for being thin, and nobody should be shamed for being fat. We should all extend a mutual respect for one another and our natural diversity, and appreciate that our differences -- and our willingness to bridge them -- make us powerful and even beautiful. There is, in the immortal words of Glenn Marla, no wrong way to have a body.

It’s not that complicated. And I didn’t even need to crowdfund a photo book to say it.


http://www.xojane.com/issues/kickstarter-project-britton-delizia

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 Post subject: Re: Potential TRIGGER WARNING: Kickstarter Project
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:34 pm 
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This is so well done! thank you for sharing, Sally!

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 Post subject: Re: Potential TRIGGER WARNING: Kickstarter Project
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:23 pm 
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Hard read, though, eh? At least, I was emotionally pretty affected by it.

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 Post subject: Re: Potential TRIGGER WARNING: Kickstarter Project
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:57 pm 
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Well, i had to fall back on my trust in you in order to keep reading!
I read a lot on this kind of subject though so it may have been more accessible to me. I've actually found it really interesting and valuable to think about "thin privilege", having read one article about a woman's self-acceptance work and how it became important to her, not a skinny or even, maybe, 'thin' woman, to understand that she has thin privilege. I'll say it say again - she's not a skinny woman, but she has thin privilege.
I've been turning that over and over in my mind since I read that because although i am not skinny, and am even by some standards objectively 'fat' at my set point (this is something that I am trying to say without judgement, so I hope it can be interpreted as factual and not self-deprecating), I also have thin privilege. I can't buy clothes in every store, but I am likely to find something somewhere in any given mall that will fit reasonably well. I fit comfortably in most chairs, including public transport or airplanes (to the extent that anyone fits comfortably in some of those chairs.) Some people might be judgemental of me because of their fucked up ideas, but it's still definitely true that I experience thin privilege.
Because of the community I am in I've been able to learn a lot about privilege and my privileges (as a white, educated, non-immigrant, extremely fortunate person). So it's something I think about a lot - and how important it is not to self-flagellate or feel guilt about privilege, it's inherently a non-judgemental quality but it's one that one should be mindful of. For example, it is NOT anti-man to recognise male privilege; it is not anti-thin body types to recognise thin privilege. But it never occured to me to think about thin privilege as something I have and I feel as though it's been valuable to me to think about it, I don't know, maybe because it shakes me out of my internal 'crazy' mode and into line with my actual values, while still having to do with my shape.

I've made this a new rant but I've been thinking about talking about this here for awhile.

Anyway yes - I follow a number of fat acceptance blogs and am actively trying to desensitise myself to "fat" - to disentangle it, to put it another way, from "taking up space" as I talked about in my post the other day (here.) which by the way i am planning to return to when i collect my thoughts some more. Fat does not = taking up space. It just really, really doesn't.

To return to the article, I loved the part about 'you sure see more fat people around' being likened to suddenly noticing Honda Civics everywhere! What a thought-provoking notion .. there aren't more fat people around, it's just starting to seep into awareness that these people exist and are people.

And I also loved her point about competition. You know that line, I'm not sure where it's from originally, "Just because she is beautiful doesn't mean I am not" ? So important.
Quote:
Women are so fucked up by our fucked up body culture that even their perspectives on what is real are sorely fucked up. We don't need to be in competition with each other. I promise.


... I don't want the world we live in to be one where someone looks at me vs. my thinner friends and thinks that they eat more healthily, less [sorry, loaded and faulty word coming up] gluttonously than I do, and I don't want the world we live in to be one where someone looks at me vs. at a fatter person and thinks they must eat junk food all day. That is total B.S. and it's one of the reasons I want to get better because I can't have a true positive impact on this shit while I still have one foot in the belief that being fat takes up space, and that a good way to take up less space is to lose weight. Because it doesn't and it isn't.

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 Post subject: Re: Potential TRIGGER WARNING: Kickstarter Project
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:37 pm 
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I love this.

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 Post subject: Re: Potential TRIGGER WARNING: Kickstarter Project
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:34 pm 
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wickedrache wrote:
I've been turning that over and over in my mind since I read that because although i am not skinny, and am even by some standards objectively 'fat' at my set point (this is something that I am trying to say without judgement, so I hope it can be interpreted as factual and not self-deprecating), I also have thin privilege. I can't buy clothes in every store, but I am likely to find something somewhere in any given mall that will fit reasonably well. I fit comfortably in most chairs, including public transport or airplanes (to the extent that anyone fits comfortably in some of those chairs.) Some people might be judgemental of me because of their fucked up ideas, but it's still definitely true that I experience thin privilege.


Me too. Even now being medically obese I have few problems. I'm a US 16-18, an XL.

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 Post subject: Re: Potential TRIGGER WARNING: Kickstarter Project
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:21 am 
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wickedrache wrote:
I've been turning that over and over in my mind since I read that because although i am not skinny, and am even by some standards objectively 'fat' at my set point (this is something that I am trying to say without judgement, so I hope it can be interpreted as factual and not self-deprecating), I also have thin privilege. I can't buy clothes in every store, but I am likely to find something somewhere in any given mall that will fit reasonably well. I fit comfortably in most chairs, including public transport or airplanes (to the extent that anyone fits comfortably in some of those chairs.) Some people might be judgemental of me because of their fucked up ideas, but it's still definitely true that I experience thin privilege.
Because of the community I am in I've been able to learn a lot about privilege and my privileges (as a white, educated, non-immigrant, extremely fortunate person). So it's something I think about a lot - and how important it is not to self-flagellate or feel guilt about privilege, it's inherently a non-judgemental quality but it's one that one should be mindful of. For example, it is NOT anti-man to recognise male privilege; it is not anti-thin body types to recognise thin privilege. But it never occured to me to think about thin privilege as something I have and I feel as though it's been valuable to me to think about it, I don't know, maybe because it shakes me out of my internal 'crazy' mode and into line with my actual values, while still having to do with my shape.

I had to write a proper resonse to this as it's something I've been thinking about a lot too. Due to a lot of research/reading as well as a number of quite confronting experiences. I am privvy to a number of advantages simply because of factors beyond my control and I think it's so important for me, as well as others like me to recognise that. I don't know that guilt is particularly helpful here, but awareness absolutely is. It's baffling, because I cannot (and would not) ever pretend to "get" the experience of someone in a different position to me, but I think just keeping this awareness in the back of your mind can help you to be more open-minded and empathetic.

I respect the author's right to write about discrimination she feels she has experienced (I think everyone has this right and I am not her so I have no idea what her experience has been like). Like the author of this article seems to, I take issue that she is airing these concerns at the expense of people who are genetically different to her, and yes, she seems incredibly unaware of the privileges she has been granted which I simply find frustrating.

I find her arguments inherently sexist on a similar level to how I found those stupid memes of Marilyn Monroe or women described as "curvy" (ugh) with captions like "This is a real woman." Whether intentional or not, she is reinforcing a dichotomy between "fat" and "thin" and that is so harmful. It is also aligned with the depressing reality that in our Western patriarchal societies, women's worth is contingent on levels of "prettiness" (by Western standards of course). This argument is far too big for a little paragraph (or a thesis even). Blah fem rant etc you get it.

wickedrache wrote:
And I also loved her point about competition. You know that line, I'm not sure where it's from originally, "Just because she is beautiful doesn't mean I am not" ? So important.
Quote:
Women are so fucked up by our fucked up body culture that even their perspectives on what is real are sorely fucked up. We don't need to be in competition with each other. I promise.


... I don't want the world we live in to be one where someone looks at me vs. my thinner friends and thinks that they eat more healthily, less [sorry, loaded and faulty word coming up] gluttonously than I do, and I don't want the world we live in to be one where someone looks at me vs. at a fatter person and thinks they must eat junk food all day. That is total B.S. and it's one of the reasons I want to get better because I can't have a true positive impact on this shit while I still have one foot in the belief that being fat takes up space, and that a good way to take up less space is to lose weight. Because it doesn't and it isn't.


^ YEP. Everything there. Yes. I love that "just because..." quote. I saw a great photo the other day that read "Friends don't let friends fat talk." These hideous conceptions have been so relentlessly ingrained into our society that they're so difficult to escape. But I wholly believe that, even if just for our friends, we can make a difference. Like, when it comes up, literally saying "I don't do body shaming." It's so simple but so impactful. I said it once a few months ago and it stopped my friends in their tracks. It was like I could see a lightbulb pop up and they actually realised "Oh shit, that is exactly what I'm doing."

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 Post subject: Re: Potential TRIGGER WARNING: Kickstarter Project
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:13 am 
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Quote:
I saw a great photo the other day that read "Friends don't let friends fat talk." These hideous conceptions have been so relentlessly ingrained into our society that they're so difficult to escape. But I wholly believe that, even if just for our friends, we can make a difference. Like, when it comes up, literally saying "I don't do body shaming." It's so simple but so impactful. I said it once a few months ago and it stopped my friends in their tracks. It was like I could see a lightbulb pop up and they actually realised "Oh shit, that is exactly what I'm doing."


And that ^^^ is how change happens. One or two people at a time. Good going!

I have to admit that I thought while reading that this was maybe something from the Onion or some other odd publication, but then I read Rache's response and it made much more sense to me. Especially the privilege part. I do see this so often. Even the whole piece about not being able to buy clothing in certain stores because of size. AGh, if you can carry a size zero, you can carry a size 18! Especially when you , well for ANY reason, but really, when you realize that the AVERAGE size in the US is 14. And there are a lot of places that don't even carry that. ridiculous.

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