Dudes in capes, dudes in cars, dudes in space. In many parts of the country right now, if you want to go to see a movie in the theater and see a current movie about a woman — any story about any woman that isn’t a documentary or a cartoon — you can’t. Where did all the women go? At The Movies, The Women Are Gone : Monkey See
This article illustrates just how big of a problem we have with the lack of representation, not just of women but of POC, queer and trans* people, fat people, people with disabilities, etc. The vast majority of media is centered on and catering to thin, able-bodied cishet white men. This article is about gender representation in movies, but the industry is even WORSE when it comes to race. In most places in the country right now you couldn’t even find a female centered movie to go see if you wanted to, let alone one featuring men and women of color. It is so frustrating and marginalizing to almost EVERYONE. And yes, part of it is that it is summer, the time of the testosterone-fulled, hyper-masculine action/super hero blockbuster. But let’s not pretend it changes much at any time of year.
We need to see ourselves represented in the culture, in all our different manifestations, in order to understand ourselves and each other as fully human. It may seem like a small thing but it is SO IMPORTANT. Blogs like this one can only do so much to fill in the gaps of our cultural imagination. Is it any wonder that our culture lacks empathy for people of color, women, queer people, trans* people, people with disabilities, fat people, when the only characters we routinely asked to imagine and identify with are white men?
Marilyn Wann discovered this ad in her hometown and shared it on her Facebook page after posting a letter next to it, complete with an open list for signatures, that states:
“This ad promotes negative stereotypes and prejudice about weight, race [and] class. Children deserve respect [and] joy. That’s what we think.”
(The physical list has since been taken down/removed by an unknown source.)
Some of her followers (notably Lynn Novak) also discovered that the ad included a heavily photoshopped photo that included darkening the little girl’s skin and fattening her appearance, replacing the milk in her hand with a packet of juice.
You can also see the original image on their homepage:
Now, I work in the advertising world. I sit in a gaggle of creative people who are directed to do things like this by clients, or who may genuinely feel there is nothing wrong with the harmful perpetuation of stereotypes this sort of work represents.
But I know better.
Labeling foods as “healthy” and “unhealthy” is inaccurate, especially when these messages of ill-health are being directly correlated with images of fat bodies, feeding into the kind of hysteria and fear of obesity that breeds hate and body shaming.
The bottom line is that different foods, drinks, and sugars effect different bodies in different ways.
If corporations and government organizations want to have a discussion about health and sugary drinks, that’s one thing - but there is no doubt that these messages can be expressed without pulling fat bodies into the equation, or feeding into harmful stereotypes about fatness and health.
There is so much more to be said about this ad regarding implications about diabetes, class, and race - But I will save that for those who may be better equipped to add to the conversation.
It is no coincidence that government agencies (and diet companies) are now targeting communities of color with “obesity prevention” campaigns. The photo/ad above is only one example, but what you see are agencies going into these communities and instead of trying to solve systemic racism or poverty, which has a far larger impact on health than body size, they are only pushing to eradicate fat people.
This is aside from the photoshopping of the original image to create a child that not only looks older, darker and cartoonish is incredibly dehumanizing, fat phobic, and racist.
Millionaire socialite Annie George, 40, went on trial Tuesday for allegedly keeping an undocumented immigrant as a “slave” in her upstate New York mansion.
According to CBS 6 in Albany, Valsamma Mathai, 49, testified Tuesday that she was held in the 30,000 square foot, 26-bedroom Llenroc Mansion in Rexford, New York for six and a half years as she worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and slept in a walk-in closet.
Mathai, an undocumented immigrant from India, said she was picked up at a New York bus station by George’s late husband Mathai Kolath George, who spoke her native tongue and offered a job that would pay $1,000 per month — a significant raise over the $100 per month she was making.
When she arrived, however, Mathai claims she did not have her passport or visa, and soon discovered she wasn’t allowed to leave.
It wasn’t until the National Human Trafficking Resource Center received a tip from the woman’s son, who prosecutors said recorded a conversation with George, that agents came to her rescue. A criminal complaint was filed last March.
George is facing a charge of harboring an undocumented immigrant, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
That the worst thing they could charge this woman with is ‘harboring an undocumented immigrant,’ & that that’s a crime that carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison is baffling. This woman should face criminal prosecution, but not for giving shelter to another human being.
How ‘bout false imprisonment or kidnapping or torture or extortion? What does it say about our criminal justice system that HARBORING AN UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT is worse and/or more prosecutable than all those other things?
THIS THIS THIS is why it is SO frustrating when people refer to other other non-citizens as “illegals.”
THEY ARE NOT CRIMINALS. MORE OFTEN THAN NOT - THEY ARE VICTIMS OF CRIMES LIKE THIS.
THIS IS NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT. I REPEAT
THIS IS NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS VERY REAL.
SO WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT ‘ILLEGALS’ (the fact that this is a term used for a person disgusts me ) REALIZE THAT YOU MORE OFTEN THAN NOT ARE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO WERE BROUGHT HERE AGAINST THEIR WILL.
AND DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE I JUST CANNOT.
THE WOMAN WHO HELD THIS WOMAN CAPTIVE DESERVES A SENTENCE WORSE THAN DEATH. SHE STOLE THIS WOMANS LIFE.
OH AND SHE ALSO OWES HER BACK PAY.
BET YOU THE GOVERNMENT WON’T GIVE IT TO HER - YOU KNOW WHY - “BECAUSE SHE’S AN ILLEGAL, SHE DOESN’T HAVE A RIGHT TO WORK HERE.”
YOUR RACISM IS SHOWING, JUDICIAL SYSTEM.
bell hooks, Eating the Other
This is why it makes me mad when people say they’re into someone who is “ethnic”, it just means they’re into the idea of someone’s race, wanting a part of it, and to acquire that or I guess “taste” that culture they try and sleep with someone who is labeled “ethnic”. Often people who are considered “ethnic” are either hyper-sexualized and are seen as “dominant” and aggressive almost animalistic while others are seen as submissive “slaves” for the “masters” to control and dominate and use. There is no in between or normalcy when it comes to People of Color, the “ethnic” group of people, which is a group label usually made up by white people but it’s not limited to just them.
With respect to Bell Hooks, I think the underlying phenomena she describes is a human truth. Though the assignment of traits to various races may differ.
Still very astute nonetheless.
- fat shame is not the last acceptable prejudice, seriously. Look around you. Get it together.
- if you blog diligently about thin privilege but are unable to check your own privileges? GTFO. Stop looking up at the privilege you lack and start looking at the ones you’ve got.
- yes fat phobia sucks but if you shout to the rafters about being fat bashed but then say nothing about racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, ageism or any of the other bad isms? You’re doing it wrong.
- if your message is “fat is beautiful” but the subtext of every post you make is that fat is only beautiful when white, youthful, “beautiful”, able-bodied, hetero, cis-, economically advantaged, and always falling in a lockstep line with the slavish & brutal corporate fashion industries? umm you’re not helping, bro.
- let being fat inform the way normativity works in our world, how those of us with fat bodies fall outside the “norm” which is a system of classification set up to place on a pedestal the white, the young, the wealthy, hetero & cis people of this earth, and yes, thinness is part of that but only a slender fragment of the larger picture. Let your experiences being fat bashed inform the way you process race, class, gender, sexual orientation, class status, age, “ability”. Don’t just rally to be treated the same as other thin, young, white, pretty people.
thank you and much fatty loveness.
The above is very important. Read it, then read it again.
And WIN on the gif.
Fat people clearly should acknowledge all the intersectionality of privlege, but the way this is written, it sounds a like weight priviledg takes a back seat to the other ones mentioned. That is called oppression olympics and most people make a policy of not doing that. Fat people no more need to constantly be dealing with race in their activism than race activist should be dealing with sexuality. Yes, recognizing that no privileged and no oppression stand alone is important, but choosing one cause and making that your focus is also okay.
This last here? That’s privilege talking.
It’s bullshit. The OP takes thin privilege as a given, and does not, anywhere, engage in oppression olympics. What it DOES do is call on white, straight, cis, TAB, and/or male fatties to acknowledge their privilege in other areas because it’s the right thing to do. Because if you call other people on their privilege over you, but don’t acknowledge or talk about the privilege you have over others, you are a fucking hypocrite.
This is an absolutely classic privilege-person whine. I’m a white feminist, and I see other white feminists pull the same kind of bullshit when WOC try to talk about racism in feminist spaces.
White fat people ignore and talk over fat POC in fat spaces all the fucking time. And you’re doing it now.
If you cannot grasp intersectionality and different axes of privilege, or if you can’t stand to acknowledge ways in which other people are oppressed, then you need to go adjust your thinking and educate yourself. And in the mean time, get the fuck off my side.
To paraphrase Flavia Dzodan, my activist will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit. And when your activism is bullshit, I will fucking call you on it.
On of the places where fat acceptance is FAILING is in building an intersectional foundation. There’s nothing in the original post that plays Oppression Olympics, nothing that questions or hierarchizes the existence of fat hate. What there IS, and what we as fat people should in fact be conscious of as we work in an activist way, is the acknowledgment that we exist within a system that is built on oppression — and if we fail to let that inform our fat acceptance, then fat acceptance fails to be anything other than a movement for white pretty (mostly middle class and able-bodied) people who just happen to be a little bit fatter than the “norm.”
When we talk about making fat acceptance inclusive, this is the meat of it — we build a movement that actively welcomes EVERYONE by explicitly addressing the issues of intersectionality and using that as our framework.
The OP said, “Let your experiences being fat bashed inform the way you process race, class, gender, sexual orientation, class status, age, “ability”.” I would add to that — let all of those things inform the way you think about and talk about fat bashing. Because your experience is not universal and all of those things impact body politics on a fundamental level.
There is not, to my mind, any such thing as “choosing one cause” — we all have finite energy and we might put the bulk of our efforts under one heading but no cause is functioning in a vacuum and the movement we build as fat people should not simply replicate the current oppressive social paradigm in the way it deals with other oppressions. If you cannot even begin to make an effort to see how other oppressions are related, then you are not paying enough attention to the other people involved in your “chosen” cause.
Bolded emphasis mine. This thread addresses the some of what I was writing about a few days ago, around relative size privilege and the difference between body positivity and fat acceptance. It is impossible to make an effective, honest, and truly inclusive social justice movement without constantly acknowledging the intersectionality of oppression. Though, as Marianne said here, and I sad yesterday morning, it is totally OK (and in fact perhaps more practical) to focus your limited energy to one or a few areas of identity politics, but if you don’t remain vigilant and open about your own privileges and fail to acknowledge how the oppression you are fighting against intersects with others, your politics will fail.