…On “inbetweenies” claiming “fat”.
I agree with a lot of what redefiningbodyimage is saying, but I think it’s really important for more privileged fats (as a white middle class neuro-typical straight-passing cis woman with no visible disabilities, I am one of these) to step back and make sure we’re not dominating the conversation in fat spaces or centering our own privileged experiences. This stands in any community and any movement and with all kinds of privilege. The fat acceptance movement is consistently dominated by white cis North American middle/upper-middle class voices, and allowing this to go unchecked has made it a much less inclusive and effective movement.
Of course folks of all sizes (including our thin friends and families and partners and allies) should be part of the fat acceptance/liberation movement, but it is hugely important that more privileged members of the community hold ourselves accountable for minimizing the alienating and endangering effects that our presence and/or actions have on less privileged members of the community.
Part of doing that is letting go of the privileged entitlement we feel to access all spaces and understanding that not everything is for or about us. As such, POC-only spaces, supersized-only spaces, disabled-only spaces, trans*-only spaces, queer-only spaces, working-class-only spaces, etc. are vital to to the survival and growth of the fat acceptance movement.
This. Bold is mine.
I agree that smaller fatties should understand our privilege within the fat acceptance movement, however, it is so important to reach out to young girls, often who are smaller because I know growing up as a size 12 “in-betweenie” I was the largest girl in my class and felt like a giant. Those feelings are valid and important to understand and recognize. Let’s be honest, in a world where even plus size models range from size 8-12, size 10s, 12s, 14s, etc… are often seen as fat by society. They may not experience the same levels of institutionalized oppression that a size 22 body does, but they still are victims of a society that views their body as unfit and undesirable.
I think this is a super important discussion to have but I don’t think the fat acceptance movement has anything to gain from discouraging smaller fatties from the movement, especially because in certain areas, certain locations, they may be the large fatties. I didn’t grow up in an area where anyone was above a size 14. There aren’t even plus size stores in our malls or in our towns.
Fat Oppression is especially tricky BECAUSE there is such a huge range, it’s not a black and white you’re fat you’re not in a lot of cases. There are people who are completely average, who may even have a flat stomach and an hour glass figure who weigh 170 pounds at 5’9” … who we may view as “not fat” but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t been a chubby child who was viewed with disdain by doctors and family members or that they aren’t fetishized for their curves or that they aren’t seen as having bodies that are too sexual or overt for certain clothes that would be considered acceptable on smaller bodies.
They may not be forced to pay insurance companies because of their BMI’s and they may not have difficulty on planes, but because fat-negativity in our society is so pervasive, it affects people in many different aspects of their lives and I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to tell someone that they aren’t fat enough to participate in a movement that allows them to reclaim the way their body has been seen by others.
I DO think that smaller fatties need to understand that they are not discriminated against in the same capacity and shouldn’t force their way into spaces for larger people, the same way that fat men should understand that their bodies aren’t seen in the same way or treated as poorly as women’s bodies and shouldn’t invade spaces for fat women.
This was longer than I thought it would be.
But I’m an in-betweenie who didn’t used to be an in-betweenie and fat acceptance has done so much for me and when I see young girls who have been conditioned to think that their bodies are grotesque discouraged from being a part of this movement that has done so much for me, it makes me a little defensive.
also, something to think about…
if we are trying to de-stigmafy the word ‘fat’ then why should someone identifying as fat be threatening to larger fatties? why can’t fat be a range? the whole “omg if SHE’S fat then what am I?” thing is extremely negative and while that sort of thinking is understandable in a fat-negative society, it’s definitely something that we should recognize as something that needs working on, not the original statement.
Whewww more things to think about. I’ll leave this here and come back to it when my brain is no longer in scrambles.