Tuesday, June 02, 2009

An interesting question.

Okay I started this forever ago now but wanted to make sure I was presenting what I wanted to say in the way I wanted to.

Over the weekend I got an anonymous question from a regular reader. I won't repost the whole thing here as she'd like to remain totally anonymous. Essentially what she wants to know about is my experience in this sort of body as an adult.

She admitted that she's one of the people who looks at someone like me and thinks inwardly that I am not really fat and she does not understand the place of someone like me in the fat community. She said it hadn't occurred to her prior to finding smaller fat folks on the Fatosphere and in Fatshionista on LJ that smaller fat folks would have any of the same sort of problems pretty much at all.

So some of the issues I have personally (Now I may be Queen of all I Survey however the vote is still out among the smaller fat folks about who is queen) experienced and experience daily.

One of the things that probably bothers me the most at this size is the assumption by the world at large that I am a work in progress. That I am at the midway point between some 'horrifying' before picture and the 'lovely' after picture. I think at the size I am which is probably a little larger than average in spots (I'll get to that later, that has to do with proportion) it is assume that I am actively losing weight.

And when I correct people on this point a lot of them get pissed off.

Most of the time I can let that roll off of my back. Sometimes, it's a really fucked up thing to deal with.

I think that too many people feel far more comfortable trying to exert their will over another persons body when said body is close to what they think it should be. What can often be construed as a privilege is sometimes an ass flavored burden.

So there's that kind of thing.

What else?

Doctors. Can we talk about health care for a minute?

I have had countless doctors give me the following speech in one way or another.

"If you just cut down (insert whatever here) and do more (insert other whatever here) you'll lose those last 20 pounds in no time."

Now usually those conversations lead to me being angry because after asking me once and I decline the "weight help" how about just fucking treating me for what I came for?

You dig?

For me personally as I have probably mentioned size is way less of an issue for me personally than economics is. Frankly, I'm of the mind that regardless of the size of another human being if they have awesome fatshion advice or whatever I'm down to listen. Even if it doesn't pertain to my currently size 14/16 ass.

My advice my anonymous friend, is this.

I can't tell you the Inbetweenie/smaller fat experience. What I can tell you is what goes on in my slice of the universe. I highly advocate that you and whomever else instead of focusing that this person is not the same size as me, instead take that set of blinders off and actually look at what that person with the different ass is saying.

For instance (I'm totally talking about you here Lesley) Lesley over at Fatshionista.com has an entirely different body shape than I do. Like even if we wore the same size, our bodies are still entirely different. Now that being what it is, I could reasonably say that I don't read her fashion posts because we are so different.

But, I fucking love Lesley. Her aesthetic is not mine, our bodies are way different but I think she has some ass kicking style and after being a regular reader of her wardrobe posts I've been clued into some shops and deals I would have otherwise never heard of.

Now because I have stayed with the fashion posts, that has led me to her other posts which are equally awesome.

See what I did there?

This also ties in with the whole diversity and intersectionality thing in the fat community.

There are lots of folks in the Fat community talk about a lot of things. If you can only deal with one sort of fat talk, then you're not going to get the richness and full awesome flavor that the fat community has to offer.

Additionally it's not the job of bloggers or even groups of bloggers to make sure that readers are exposed to diverse voices. The onus of that is on the person taking in the information. If diversity is important to you, you have to take the responsibility to either learn to find diverse voices or points of view that are different than yours.

If you can't hack it, or can't widen your horizons to take in those other voices it's your fucking loss. No really it is.

You can't just talk about wanting this or that to magically appear in a community, chances are it's out there. It's up to you to find it.

I had more planned to say but I seriously digressed so I'll save that for another post.

So to end it, again my homies feel free to ask me anything you wanna. You can do it anonymously via my form there (sexytimes questions, wardrobe questions, whatever questions) and if you ask I won't quote your question word for word.

All this said, I am off. I need some water to counteract my mega assload of coffee I've had today.

I love you guys.

Homo out.


amy said...

i kinda wonder where this "you're too small to really be fat" thing is going to stop.

i remember being about a size 12 and 17 years old and REALLY identifying with fat politics. i was way curvier than anyone else i knew, and had FINALLY gotten comfy with my body size and felt fucking sexy for the first time ever, really. but i felt slightly awkward id'ing as fat, because i knew that some people wouldn't think a size 12 was truly fat, despite the fact that i'm only 5'2" (size 12 on a 5"2" frame is a hell of a lot different than size 12 on a 5'9" frame or something).

years went by and i gained some weight and was pretty steadily a size 18, and i really felt like i could say i was fat. i was bigger than most of the people i saw on the street, and was definitely one of the very few fat queers in my community.

and then i joined fatshionista, and now, even as a 22, i still feel like people are judging me for "not being fat enough" when i post OOTDs. i don't know if this is a US thing, or if it happens in cities like toronto that actually have a fat community too. (vancouver? uh-uh. there are very few of us)

i remember going to a femme conference years ago and everyone was FREAKING OUT worrying about the fat caucus. not worried about what we'd talk about, but worried about being judged for attending.

i don't get it. i don't understand why there has to be this litmus test for fatness. i totally understand the frustration of skinny friends whining about how fat they are, definitely. but judging people's for being an 18 instead of a 28 or a 12 instead of a 22? why? the most common explanation i've seen is the "but they don't have the same experiences as us" line. but no one has the exact same experience. if you take two people wear the same size clothes, they are both going to have a different fat experience. everyone's body is different, everyone's surroundings are different, everyone's situations are different.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that my ass is way huger than Shannon's ass, but I have found some of your fatshion talk more up my alley than fatshion talk of those with similar-sized asses. ;)

As for the in-betweenie thing, I think it's sooo pointless to go around silencing people who want to talk positively about fat issues, regardless of their size. It's not just a certain category of size that can talk about fat issues in a way that makes sense (fatshion, too) --- we *all* live in this world, from teeny-tiny to humungly-bungly, and thus we're all exposed to anti-fat messages, and therefore we all have something to say about why we think those messages need to be relegated to the garbage can.

MigiziNse-ikwe said...

Here's the thing that I thought of when I started an FA/HAES thread on my favorite forum; I am SEEN as fat, not average as my pants size says. I identify as fat, always have, even though I'm not 'death fat' or have muffin top and can comfortably *ha!* fly on a small airplane. However, I still struggle with accepting my body the way it is. I have a hard time identifying what my body wants when it wants it, from sleep to liquids to food to activity. I can't buy my size pants in certain stores and I've been told repeatedly that I'd be so pretty if I just lost x pounds, or to 'suck it in' during family photos.

It doesn't matter if someone ELSE says I'm not fat 'enough' to be apart of the FA community; this is where I identify and this is where read/lurk/comment.

http://www.gaiaonline.com/forum/lifestyle-discussion/fat-acceptance-health-at-every-size-read-first-post/t.37341773/ <---that's my FA/HAES thread on the forum. Don't know if you'll be able to see it or not without logging in.

wellroundedtype2 said...

Most of the time, I don't wear a bit of makeup. For me, a "made-up" day is when I put on moisturizer and lip balm. But I learn so much from when you post about applying makeup, and appreciate the art form that it is. It makes me think about makeup differently. It also makes me think about how hard it is to not be able to afford things that make a person happy.
I've been smaller fat and where I am now, medium fat, and I think the pressure to lose weight (and to feel I was never going to be small enough) was greater at those lower weights. Where I am now, someone has to be pretty ballsy to bring up my weight, unless they are also fat and are trying to bond.
How you write, and what you write about, all of it is very, very good. Sanity-supporting. World beautifying.

Anonymous said...

I try to teach my very thin, very young duaghter that people coem in all shapes and sizes. I think a strong fat positive movement is necessary because the harsh, abusive treatment that has been so much a part of life.

I have struggled with an ED for many, many years. I am not fat, I am not thin, I am in the middle. I am definitely fat by Hollywood standards and I have hated my body for as long as I can remember. This community has been a very positive part of my recovery. I am still working on accepting my body as is. You all inspire me.

Even so, there is a difference between being fat and feeling fat. I am under pressure to be thin, to be OK and fit in but I have not received the abusive treatment most larger women have.

I respect you all and feel very connected in a way I have not felt before.


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