This is EXACTLY how I felt about the whole Lady Gaga eating disorder thing put together in the way I wish I had been able to put it together.
First of all, let’s call fat people what they are - FAT - not “fluffy” :)
Sure, Lady Gaga’s heart is in the right place. Anything that motivates discourse around body positivity is a good thing. It’s not what she’s saying or doing that’s the problem - it’s what’s NOT being said or done that’s the problem.
When thin-privileged people become icons for body positivity, there is often little opportunity to bring authentic discourse about fat rights into the discussion. The oppression of fat bodies in society is more prevalent than ever, but fat voices and experiences continue to be erased or deemed irrelevant.
Basically, it’s a different approach than I would take. Gaga is speaking more to people in recovery or struggling with eating disorders, promoting general outcry against societal norms, which is wonderful, but is very one-dimensional. She is still defending her weight gain in the press by saying she is in the process of dieting and trying to lose weight. She’s still entirely misinformed.
It’s a highly public statement coming from a place that basically says “Your body is a good body and you should love yourself…AS LONG AS YOU’RE NOT FAT, IN WHICH CASE YOU SHOULD STILL BE TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT, BECAUSE FAT IS STILL UNHEALTHY.” Which is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Not to mention, I prefer messaging that focuses less on “loving” ourselves as it shifts responsibility onto the individual (as if a lack of love within oneself is the real problem), when responsibility actually lies with the fucked nature of society.
Considering all of these things, I know it’s unlikely there will be any opportunity for her to bridge the gap between her message and fat positive or fatty-political issues. Ending fat discrimination is often left out of the discussion to remain palatable for the masses, or just not embraced altogether. It’s kind of a problem.
Until fat rights issues become the focal point of high-profile body positive discussion, I will remain unimpressed.
I think it is also important to point out that people need to actually LOOK at the state of her message board right now. 80% of the posts are before / after weight loss photos. There is also a huge OUTCRY of people trying to prove that she isn’t fat. There is as much distancing from being a big ol’ fatty as a person could make going on right now. This isn’t helpful for the people who want to be able to live in their body right now without being bullied, harassed or shamed into changing our bodies. Her message about embracing your “flaws” is undermined by the rampent fat phobia that is all over her site.
This week, the media has been especially brutal toward fat bodies. Not that it isn’t always brutal, but still.
We have advertisements blaming fat parents, shaming fat bodies, shaming fat CHILDREN, and goddamn military officials proclaiming that fat kids are the next national security problem.
We have a whole culture of people who think it’s okay to hate and shame fat bodies, who are TAUGHT to do these things. We’re told our bodies are part of a fucking epidemic. The entire fucking world is out to silence fat voices and experiences.
Gaga isn’t about to take that shit on - therefore, her message to me becomes null and void.
Put a fat body and a fat voice in the spotlight with something to say about this shit. Hell, give me a goddamn megaphone.
Like every other fat activist, I’m brimming over with things to say that DESERVE to be said and heard - but we will never get as much media attention as Gaga’s “Body Revolution” mediocre mixed-up internalized fat-shaming “body love” bullshit.
Can you feel my rage? I can certainly taste it.