Unapologetic fat people, coming soon to your living room

Huge, a new show about teens at fat camp, and that stars Hairspray‘s Nikki Blonsky, premieres next week on ABC Family. Judging by this interview with Blonsky, and by the promos, this show is going to do its best to break the mold. Seriously, how often do you hear lines like “everyone wants us to hate our bodies. Well, I refuse to” in the mainstream media? How often do you hear a fat person saying, proudly and without remorse, that they have no intention of losing any weight? Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about Huge. In her interview with The Frisky, Blonsky says,

Huge is groundbreaking because it has never been done before. I don’t think there’s ever been a full cast of plus-size people before. Now there is and kids can tune and say, “Hey, those people look like me and they’re going through the same issues I’m going through.” In this show, we don’t just deal with, “Oh, let’s go jogging and swim 20 laps and lose 30 lbs.” It’s not about that. I mean, eventually as you watch the show, you’re going to forget it’s about a weight-loss camp. You’re just going to get so invested in the characters. We deal with everything from eating disorders to body issues to sexual orientation to everything that every teenager is going through right now.

Imagine that, fat people depicted as normal people dealing with issues other than being fat! Sounds pretty great, though of course I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve actually seen a few episodes (and judging by the look on Blonsky’s face, and her posture, in that poster, it seems wise to avoid jumping to joyous conclusions just yet).

I saw a big billboard advertising Huge last week, and it made me smile. There was Nikki Blonsky, a big fat gorgeous woman in a bathing suit, five stories high on the side of a building, advertising the new show that she’s starring in. But then, I turned the corner and staring back at me was an equally large billboard for H & M, featuring two women in bikinis who were anything but huge. And I was reminded that of all the ads I was going to see that day, Blonsky’s was the exception.

It was a sad, but important reminder: Media that features positive images of women who don’t conform to the rigid definition of beauty provided by Hollywood and the fashion industry are fantastic, and if Huge is everything it claims to be, then we should celebrate it as a sign of progress. But no matter how great it might be, it’s only one show. We need to keep demanding and supporting media that represent all women, of all shapes, colors and sizes. Hopefully, Huge will be an important step in that direction, but even if it is, we’ve still got a long way to go.

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59 Comments

  1. Dena
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad that a show such has this has even had the opportunity to be broadcast on mainstream television and not pushed aside. I hope that it is a success to show children and young adults all over the country that beauty is not just about your size or outer appearance, it’s about what’s inside. Hopefully it can infuse some new discourse into mainstream America about what beauty means and looks like. *fingers crossed*

  2. LivingOutLoud
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Being anorexic is no better or worse than being obese, and neither should be glorified. I agree that people of all sizes should be given the decency to be given roles that are not focused on their weight or label them as the token “fat” person. People are people, regardless of their size.
    However, I will not get on this feminist kick that obesity, and the support thereof is OK. I find it as being a true disservice to women. I know that there will be people on here who want to argue that they are 50 pounds overweight and healthy, and that is just delusional. It’s not healthy. Why is Nikki Blonsky eating herself to an early grave? That is a FEMINIST question I would like to see addressed.
    Acceptance of people of all sizes is one thing…telling women it’s ok to be obese is another. I see a lot of the latter going on on this website. Women are dying in this country left and right because they are obese. How is enabling this feminist?

  3. Comrade Kevin
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ve often wanted to know who comes up with fashion, style, and conceptions of body image. Is it some small group of fashion designers?
    If you’ve ever seen a sculpture of Michelangelo before, you notice that even the “women” in his works have prominent male body parts. In my opinion, likely this is because he was gay.
    At times it feels as though fashion works on the same concept. I’m not saying necessarily that fashion seeks to exclusively appeal to the desires of men, but that there must be some reason why women’s bodies are expected to conform to a standard that might not necessarily be achievable for most women. I think once we figured that out, we could really make some serious strides forward.

  4. krod
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I had a completely different reaction to seeing these ads for the first time last week. While there may be potential for the show to do some good things, it only reinforces the fact that a non-super-skinny woman cannot be a character, she can only be a fat character. A show starring an overweight woman isn’t a show about a woman, it’s a show about a fat woman. There is a similar show on Lifetime very much to the same effect. It’s as if we can only get away with putting a “fat” woman on tv is with hyper self-awareness–”yes, we realize she’s fat but it’s ok, it’s a show about fat people! Don’t worry!” I hope the show can have a very positive impact and brings about a change in body issues in entertainment, but for now I could do without it!

  5. BrainPickerTem
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t heard of the show until now, but it looks interesting so I’ll definitely check it out.

  6. SarahSimone
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    If someone who is heavy really is unhealthy, then I don’t have a problem with a doctor telling them to eat healthier and exercise. But the way that society functions, everybody and their mother feels like they can tell you to loose weight, you’re unhealthy etc. even if they have no idea what your situation is.
    I’m naturally predisposed to being heavier. Everyone in my family is overweight. At the beginning of college, I worked out three times a day and practically starved myself. And I never got skinnier than a size 8. So when I eat normally and exercise moderately I’m about a 12. And even if I go to the doctor and get told my blood pressure and cholesterol are good, random people on the street still think it is their business to tell me I’m unhealthy.
    Beyond that, I don’t think it is glorifying obesity to have a show about overweight people. It is simply showing that fat people are human beings too. And anybody who has ever been overweight can tell you that people do treat you as less than human for not looking perfect. Nobody deserves that, no matter what your opinion on their “health” might be.

  7. missmelancholy.myopenid.com
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I agree with what you’ve said.
    A lot of us support universal health care. I think it is a contradiction for the feminist community to OK being obese when sorry, science does prove that obesity does put people at a higher risk for a lot more health conditions. If we want universal health care, wouldn’t one of the focuses be prevention? Diabetes is a huge problem because people don’t eat right. A way to solve the problems that come with type 2 Diabetes is to lose weight. If you make healthy choices then chances are you will give less money to big pharmaceutical who could really care less about our well being, just profits.
    I’m all for accepting people of all shapes and sizes. I think BMI is a terrible measure of how “healthy” someone is. I think “fat acceptance” has become more mainstream and this is a good thing because not all of us are size 0 model types, but all sizes need to be accepted, big and small!

  8. krod
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I think some of what you are saying here is important, but there is a difference between encouraging obesity and saying a person’s worth should not be determined based on her body, with the idea that skinny=good, fat=bad, and that an overweight woman can have thoughts, feelings, opinions, and a life that all matter just as much as a skinny woman’s.
    “Being anorexic is no better or worse than being obese, and neither should be glorified.”
    I think you might be confusing obesity and compulsive eating or bingeing. Obesity itself is not an eating disorder, it is a body type, and I think this conflation of terms is part of the issue here. An obese person is not just a glutton who is constantly battling weight. That seems to be part of the point of this show.
    And while obesity makes many people unhealthy, it is not true to say that someone cannot be overweight and healthy. The BMI with the highest life expectancy is actually in the “overweight” category. Eating and lifestyle have more to do with it than what would meet the eye.

  9. smiley
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    LOL,
    I could not agree more.
    As someone pointed recently on this site (not an OP), being ‘plus size’ is considered to be a lifestyle choice, but being anorexic is a disease. Why?
    Why indeed. Would a similarly gushing OP have been made about a show about anorexics (or even thin people)? The arguments put forward by the OP apply just the same: “everyone wants us to hate our bodies. Well, I refuse to”? “How often do you hear a THIN person saying, proudly and without remorse, that they have no intention of GAINING any weight?” Not to mention media supporting women of all sizes and shapes.
    I am at a loss.

  10. Monty
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    From what I understand about feminism, the concern isn’t so much with women who are trying to be healthy (exercising, eating healthy, etc) and lose weight as a result of good lifestyle choices. The problem is more the extent to which culture has blown that ambition way out of proportion. Eating disorders or dieting to be able to fit into a size 0, and other extremes is more what feminism is concerned w/ as I understand it.

  11. stabbygail
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Only two comments in and someone jumps in to save the obese people! What on earth could you possibly know about Nikki Blonsky’s heatlh, eating habits, or her potential lifespan? And perhaps more pertinent, what possible business of yours, mine, or anyone but Nikki Blonsky’s could it be?
    I would suggest the following:
    http://kateharding.net/faq/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/
    It is really important for fat teens, fat girls in particular from my experience, to see themselves presented as normal, worthwhile, and deserving of attention (and not just pearl clutching THINK OF THE FAT CHILDREN!!! attention). I would really prefer a show like this not to be about fat camp (UGH), but I do know I would have loved to see a show about fat teenagers doing teenage things when I was that age.
    I seriously long for a day when Feministing can post on fat acceptance/HAES/related topics and not have this kind of thing pop up ASAP.

  12. Tabs
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I think there’s a big difference between fat-acceptance and so-called “obesity.” I think there’s support for a healthy body, regardless of its shape, color, etc. – in an attempt to get girls away from scary-skinny standards and to encourage self-love in all. I think you’re mistaken in saying that “[feminists are] telling women it’s ok to be obese…” I’ve never seen that.

  13. sugaredharpy
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I find it odd that you think there is permission granting here…or that women are needing anyone’s permission to be fat or otherwise…or that it’s permission granting that makes anyone fat.
    Dying left and right due to being obese is a clear overstatement based on most studies I’ve read, as well as my doctor who concerns herself is weight stability (for those on any point of the weight scale)and not assuming health problems when there is none. Fat does not equal unhealthy.
    Read here to get a quick primer:
    http://kateharding.net/faq/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/

  14. Emily Rose
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I do understand your point, but in fairness to the show, I’d reserve such a harsh judgment until a few episodes have aired. Media does often swing between extremes of fat-shaming and thin-shaming, but with Huge, we get an overweight cast of characters who are attending fitness camp to lose weight. The premise of the show is that these characters want to lose weight. I don’t think I’d call that enabling.
    I’ve read other articles about this show, including an interview with Nikki Blonsky in which she says a couple of questionable things which, I believe, would fall into the category of “enabling.” The show itself, though, is drawing a line between representing different body types and enabling obesity. Bigger women are represented, but are represented as struggling to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
    Here’s to hoping Huge doesn’t end up as tacky as I fear it could.

  15. gemma
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    If you’re curious about how someone in the Fat Acceptance movement might respond to your concerns about the health of fat people, Kate Harding’s written a funny rebuttal. “Don’t you realize fat is unhealthy?”

  16. Brittany
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    It’s not delusional that being 50 pounds overweight is healthy. We need to stop going by pounds and start going by blood pressure and cholesterol.
    And you know that telling women it’s ok to be obese and acceptance of all sizes is the same thing, right?
    It’s awfully privileged of you to assume that all women can lose weight or can afford the means to buy healthy food. I ballooned in weight because of a tumor, but close-minded human judgment made them assume that I was really just a pig with no self-control.
    It’s feminist to tell a woman that she’s okay the way she is. It’s not feminist to judge her or assume things about her private life. It’s feminist to believe that she’s a grown woman and if she wants to eat as much as she desires for any reason then she may. It’s not feminist to assume that she needs babying or help. If Nikki Blonsky wants to “eat herself to an early grave”, it’s her damn body and her damn business, and the last thing women need are condescending people believing that they can tell women what to put in their bodies.
    Why is it that it’s not okay to butt into the private sexual lives of women, but it’s okay to judge them for what they eat, which is just as private? Let’s not assume that someone has self-esteem problems or depression and that’s why they eat, or else we’ll never have real freedom of choice.

  17. Ariel
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Yes, because telling women their bodies are okay is totally unacceptable. Your argument is basically “we should accept people of all sizes except for the really fat ones, because that would be encouraging them.” Yeah, because telling people it’s okay to be who they are and how they look is totally enabling. Save your shaming for some trashy website. Not here.

  18. Synna
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Are you serious?
    Comments like this make my head explode so I’m just gonna post some links that you may want to check out to educate yourself.
    http://kateharding.net/faq/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/
    http://www.therotund.com/?page_id=190
    I’m disgusted that prejudiced attitudes like yours still pervade feminist spaces like this.

  19. Synna
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I wish the woman pictured looked a bit more unapologetic. Her body language implies she is shy/fearful/uncertain.

  20. The Boggart
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    The line “Imagine that, fat people depicted as normal people dealing with issues other than being fat!” caught my attention, and, if I’m honest, piqued my cynicism.
    I decided to check IMDB to confirm how right I was to be cynical, and it just so happens that every role that Nikki Blonsky has ever had has been one where her weight explicitly impacts on her character (Hairspray, Huge, Queen Sized), or at the very least is visual short hand for her status as “social outcast” (Harold).
    Yes, just imagine that.

  21. KBeck02
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    The point of the show is not to glorify people who are overweight and obese, but to represent them fairly. To say that she is eating herself into an early grave is a very unfeminist remark. Feminism is about individual choice. Nikki Blonsky is no where near the point where her health is in danger, but yet you claim she is killing herself? It is more dangerous for someone to be underweight than overweight(not counting morbidly obese). Thousands of years ago her body size was glorifed, put into art and now it is criticized.
    It is alright if you choose to not be overweight, but to judge another based on appearance is wrong.

  22. KBeck02
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    The point of the show is not to glorify obesity but to fairly represent the people who may be overweight or obese. These people are more than just weight and size. So to say that Nikki Blonsky is “eating herself into an early grave” is unfeminist and untrue. There is evidence that being underweight is far more dangerous than being overweight(not morbidly obese). Nikki Blonsky’s body is posing no real threat to her health but only to social criticism. The stress that is put on her to lose weight is far more damaging than a few extra pounds.
    Thousands, even hundreds of years ago, she would have been glorifed in artwork and considered a great beauty, but now she is the object of shame and ridicule?
    You may choose to not be overweight, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to be like you. If she is comfortable with her body, what right do you have to comment on it.

  23. Unequivocal
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Acceptance of people of all sizes is one thing…telling women it’s ok to be obese is another.
    I’m confused. Is this some sort of crazy dadaesque statement about the impossibility of genuine tolerance, or are you legitimately attempting to make a claim that equates to “STATEMENT A is one thing, but STATEMENT A is another”?
    You do realize that “acceptance of people of all sizes” and “telling women it’s ok to be obese” are the same thing, right?

  24. Cola
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    You know what isn’t healthy? Having the most tenuous grasp of science. http://www.skepticallyspeaking.com/episodes/53-obesity
    This is really only a primer, but some highlights:
    Sumo Wrestlers are some of the healthiest people in the world because of their physical activity. They only experience medical problems when they retire from wrestling and all the good fat turns to bad fat. This means physical activity is a better indicator of health than physical size.
    I don’t know if this covered in the podcast, but on the flipside, it’s possible for people who appear thin to be extremely unhealthy. Internal fat–if the person doesn’t exercise because they wrongly associate their size with health–can be just as bad for you as the stuff you see.
    Fat acceptance is not about promoting unhealthy eating habits of lack of exercise. Fat acceptance is about not punishing human beings because we think we have a RIGHT to do so. Who are you to wag your finger at someone who, for all you know, runs marathons? The problem is viewing fat as a MORAL failing.
    Teasing people, putting them down, causing them to contemplate SUICIDE for something that’s NONE OF OUR BUSINESS is probably one of the most anti-feminist things I can think of, especially considering the majority of such harassment and social pressure is directed at women. Men seem to get away with being fat more often than women (although I’m by no means suggesting their lives are much easier).
    Maybe think before you open your mouth to pass judgement?

  25. ggg_girl
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    - it’s generally not a good idea to make assumptions about folks’ health based purely on the way they look
    - fat is a feminist issue because women are disproportionately discriminated against based on body size
    - no matter what, people do not deserve the outright cruelty, harassment and discrimination that fat people too often face. treating fat people with respect is not glorifying obesity, it’s acting like a decent human being.
    more info: http://kateharding.net/faq/

  26. Cola
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    While it’s true that Michelangelo was probably gay, what one earth makes you think that’s why he’d masculinize the women in his paintings and sculptures? Doesn’t that presume that gay men are overly concerned with and influenced by their sexual preferences?
    It’s been a while since I went over Renaissance art, but if I remember correctly, Michelangelo used male models for his work, and then just feminized them in the final product. There are a number of reasons for why he might have done this that have nothing to do with his possible sexuality.

  27. sorcha
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Lately, even after a workout, I’ve been feeling down on myself about my stomach. My hips, my thighs, I can live with and I can love. My stomach makes me feel hideous some days.
    I just put HUGE on my DVR to record the season. Good Goddess do I need to see some other women of size who fight to love their bodies!

  28. Brittany
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    I’m really surprised your comment got voted up as much as it did, too. And also sad.

  29. rosezilla
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Could you imagine the impact it would have to take the millions spent on weight loss products and spend it on healthy food. If, instead of 100 makeover shows to every ‘Supersize Me’, it was the other way around? If tabloids had stories about Monsanto and Tyson terrorizing farmers, instead of “fat” celebrities.
    Whatever statistics you want to throw around, I’d challenge anyone to find one that supported any of the diet schemes out there, from Weight Watchers to SlimFast. No one has really done a long term study of people who eat a diet that isn’t primarily processed, unless you count the longevity studies in places like Okinawa. You could shame a woman all the live long day into losing weight and the statistics show that she’ll diet and regain the weight, if she ever loses it.
    How much weight would we lose, and years and health would we gain, if we stopped subsidizing corn?

  30. Gular
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    While I get the feeling that some to most of those words are excited promotional talking (hi, it’s a fat camp for a back drop, I’d be intrigued to see how it plays as some characters will lose weight and what happens to them as time progresses in the series (again, backdrop is a fat camp).
    As for the body acceptance flame war, so long as your doctor says you’re healthy and you’re loving yourself, I really don’t give a shit what you look like. If you’re a big person, small person, average, or somewhere flexing in the boundaries, if you’re happy and confident in yourself, that’s what’s important.

  31. Kylie
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Firstly, throwing my two cents into the ‘statement a vs statement a’ argument;
    My genetic line lands somewhere between ectomorph and mesomorph (Yeah, there’s different, natural body-types. I suggest googling them if this is new information), both of my parents being on the skinnier side of things. Well, that was until my mom broke her ankle and got RSD. Because of her medication–or at least the medication she was one for a given period of time, her weight increased.
    While this was a healthy weight for her, her chronic pain and medication wasn’t going to let her lose it.
    I don’t bring this up because I believe she is an exception or should be treated as one. Her right to feel accepted is no different than any other woman’s. You wouldn’t know from looking at her what caused her weight, and guess what; That’s True For Anyone. The knee-jerk in this situation shouldn’t be “eat less, fatty”. Even if you say it with the best intention of keeping someone on this planet a little longer, You Are Still Part Of The Dehumanizing Problem.
    Okay, that out of the way, back to the show!
    I was really surprised when I watched the promos for this. After all, compared to their magazine ad, Nikki’s character does a complete 180. Heaven forbid we have a still of a larger woman looking comfortable? And she’s not naked or in designer clothing?

  32. LivingOutLoud
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I am not confused between obesity and anorexia. Obesity is not a body type, it is a disease…an actual medical condition.

  33. LivingOutLoud
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    No, they are not the same. There is an element of encouragement I see on this website about obesity. We chastise women for not eating or being too thin and tell them to go eat something, but when it comes to being overweight – which presents serious health risks, we pretend everything is rosy. It makes no sense to me.

  34. Liza
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Thank you for being the first actual voice or reason to respond.

  35. winniemcgovens
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    The thing that bothers me the most about the premise of this show is just the binaries of it. Feeding into the idea that people (especially women) are either fat or skinny, I just feel like the only sized women I see in the media are either size 0 or 22, no wonder we’re driving ourselves mad. Or if a woman is going to be portrayed in the media and ventures into a size past 2 she has to have giant breasts, a giant round butt, but still have an ity bity waist… simply not a natural option for all of us. While I do think this show has the potential to do some good, I would just really like to see a show with some size 8ish-10ish women with body types beside the mega curvaceous hour glass to help snap us into reality.

  36. R. Dave
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    In this show, we don’t just deal with, “Oh, let’s go jogging and swim 20 laps and lose 30 lbs.” It’s not about that. I mean, eventually as you watch the show, you’re going to forget it’s about a weight-loss camp. You’re just going to get so invested in the characters. We deal with everything from eating disorders to body issues to sexual orientation to everything that every teenager is going through right now.
    Imagine that, fat people depicted as normal people dealing with issues other than being fat!

    I hope the show lives up to this goal, not least because I find even feminist discussions related to body size totally fail at it. I think all the “fat acceptance” vs. “fat hating” arguments in feminist spaces these days are totally missing the point by focusing on the very characteristic we’re saying shouldn’t matter! Personally, I don’t see a contradiction between recognizing that being fat is usually unhealthy and unattractive to most people and simultaneously recognizing that body size is only one facet of a person’s life that may or may not be particularly important to them and almost certainly doesn’t reveal anything at all about their character.
    For some people, being fat contributes to serious health problems, social exclusion, and personal recrimination. For other people, being fat is a relative non-issue. Both are genuine and legitimate experiences, so I hope Huge does a good job of capturing that complexity.

  37. Tia
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I’ll watch it to see for myself, but at first glance, it seems like another way to parade around fat people. Sure, there’ll be some after-school special “It’s what’s inside that counts” business, and maybe this is my cynicism kicking in, but I just don’t think we’re at a point where a feel-good-fat show is going to happen.
    And even even if it really and truly promotes body acceptance – which is not to be confused with “but you have such a pretty face” rhetoric – it’s still not what I want.
    Personally, I want to see some incidentally fat stars. Not shows based around the fact that they’re fat (and other teen issues or not, they’re at a fat camp here, it’s called Huge, fat is centrally themed) but instead just characters, living their lives, where the fact that they’re fat doesn’t really come up much. You know. Treat them like people, instead of pounds. Skinny people get more shows than I can count that make no reference to their weight. Why can’t fat people?
    As for the “BUT FAT IS UNHEALTHY” argument going on…how ridiculous. I’m willing to bet that 99.9% of the people crying out about the dangers of fat are just being hypocritical, socially conditioned jerks. You do things that jeopordize your health. Probably on a daily basis. Things that can make you sick, or kill you, and there’s a good chance my taxes will somehow benefit you when that happens.
    The difference? Fat is unsympathetic. Fat has been given connotation. Fat is labeled choice. Fat is worn on the outside.
    I know there are ignorant people who look at me and see my fat. Some people see my skin, some people see my queer orientation, some people see my gender, some people see my status as a young single mother. Some people see only what they want to see. The point is, I am more than those narrowly focused people will ever see. I have a story, a life, and a heart that’s yes- even bigger than my ass.
    And I use it to love myself.

  38. Lambsidivey
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Well fricken said! I feel like sometimes we go to an opposite extreme to counteract the first extreme. I feel like it’s underestimating people’s intelligence by saying “Okay, let’s go away from skinny-girls-are-always-happy-and-pretty by going to the ENTIRELY OPPOSITE END OF THE SPECTRUM to really drive it home!!” The point isn’t dichotomy. The point is that it shouldn’t matter and don’t be a judgmental ass.

  39. Unequivocal
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I sincerely doubt that the people who are saying “it’s not okay to be thin” are the same people who are saying “it’s okay to be fat!” Either you acknowledge people’s autonomy or you don’t.
    Further, a lack of discouragement is not the same as encouragement. I’ve been on the site a long time, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anyone write anything encouraging people towards obesity. If you can link to examples supporting your claim, I’ll surely admit my mistake, but to be honest, I doubt you’ll find any such examples.

  40. Lambsidivey
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Grr. . . this was supposed to be a reply to winniemcgovens

  41. Steph
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    And actually, so is “overweight”.

  42. sarah_steel
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    There’s a difference between expressing concern for someone who is starving themselves to conform to society’s idea of perfection and accepting that some people are just NOT going to be thin.
    I’m dismayed that you’re completely ignoring the fact that a. not all fat people are unhealthy (in fact, I’m fat and I can out-run and out-lift many of my thin friends and my BP, cholesterol, etc. are INCREDIBLE.)and b. not all thin people are healthy. You’re shaming a fat woman for “eating herself to an early grave” without acknowledging that there are plenty of thin people who have HORRIBLE diets, high BP, high cholesterol, diabetes, and so on. Yet, because they don’t carry a few extra pounds they’re also free of the burden of fat shaming, wherein fat people are constantly shamed for being greedy, gluttonous, lazy, irresponsible, etc., by people who have NO IDEA how healthy they may or may not be.
    If you’re REALLY concerned about health, then, perhaps you could direct your attention to individuals–fat or thin– who truly represent an unhealthy lifestyle (eating unhealthy foods, blowing off physical activity, smoking, drinking in excess, etc.) rather than worrying about a few overweight individuals who may or may not actually have poor health.
    Of course, I suspect they won’t want your concern, either.

  43. kissmymango
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    It makes no sense to you because you’re arguing with your imagination. We don’t chastise women for being too thin – society does. We don’t tell thin women to go eat something – society does. Feminists are about NOT reducing women to their bodies. Which means, we don’t do it to heavy women either.
    You can cower away from the links people provided to correct your bigotted posts, but it doesn’t change the fact that fat does not equal unhealthy.
    HAES isn’t about eating whatever and not exercising. It’s not promoting “obesity”. It promotes the idea that one can be healthy at any size and one does not need to be thin to be healthy.
    This is not at all confusing to feminists.

  44. UnHingedHips
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Anorexia is actually a psychological disorder.
    It’s possible to be severely underweight/malnourished/etc. without being anorexic. There are many reasons one could be underweight, and many reasons one could be obese; anorexia and compulsive overeating are just examples of those.

  45. UnHingedHips
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    “…we get an overweight cast of characters who are attending fitness camp to lose weight. The premise of the show is that these characters want to lose weight.”
    I’m guessing the premise of the show is more that these are characters that have other people in their lives that think they should be forced to lose weight.

  46. Cola
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    What I wouldn’t give to go back to high school and tell myself to stop worrying about my weight and just love my body. I looked so damn good back then.
    What a waste! And so unnecessary. If only the culture hadn’t engineered me to hate my body no matter what my weight.

  47. Ali
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand your argument. We should not use weight or size as a marker for health partially because there are thin people who are just as unhealthy as fat people. A health focus instead should be centered on fighting a sedentary lifestyle or eat disorders (including binging). Demonizing “obesity” in turn works to demonize fat people. We have absolutely no proof to say the Nikki Blonsky is “eating herself to an early grave” and the feminist tradition of validating women’s experiences actually makes that a very ANTI-feminist question.
    And I would argue that there are so many reasons that feminism and fat acceptance should find a friend in each other. Fat acceptance helps us to look at issues of the mind/body dualistic discourse and how that can intersect with issues of gender to oppress people. Validating the fat experience also helps us to critically think about ways women and their bodies are policed by the male gaze, the western ethic of individualism, discourses of morality, and other institutions. It is no coincidence that as women have gotten more rights, the beauty ideal has become smaller.

  48. voluptuouspanic
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    As a person who has recovered from anorexia and lives everyday with the aftermath, I think your comment is really, really off-base. The same inequality that judges women on their bodies (fat or thin) is the inequality that fosters eating disorders.
    In addition, as another commenter pointed out, you can have an eating disorder at any weight. (Although DSM criteria on anorexia are under fire for the weight requirement.) I was a “healthy” BMI at my sickest.
    Why do we have to judge ANY woman on her weight as “healthy” or “unhealthy”? Why can’t we foster self-acceptance and healthy living? That’s absolutely not the same thing as “promoting obesity”. Weight is NOT health.

  49. voluptuouspanic
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Because what comes to be “actual medical conditions” isn’t influenced by society? It’s like saying something is morally wrong because it’s illegal.

  50. Toongrrl
    Posted June 24, 2010 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Well now you can be the fabulously beautiful person you became now, the kind that would be a good role model for kids.

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