Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On Subversion and White Women.

Every few months or so some company (most recently Dove) or lady rag (Glamour, Cosmo whomever) decides that they are going to be the Captain Save A Hos of the universe. Last year I talked about Lady Gaga being the face of a new body love revolution and why it pissed me off.

Right now I've read about ten to fifteen articles around the internet where Thin Pretty White Ladies are extolling the virtues of body love and acceptance in the form of pointing out their "flaws" and using the language of self help books everywhere. LOOK AT ME I HAVE A FAT ON MY ASS AND I OVERCAME.

Etc. Etc. You've seen it.

I remain unimpressed.

I've seen a lot of arty farty things on tumblr and elsewhere that use the language of subverting the dominance of the Thin Pretty White Lady with more Thin Pretty White Ladies, but maybe they don't  have on obvious make up or they are making stupid faces.


or not.

Here's the thing.

Subversion at it's root is not just putting an "ugly" face on the predominant beauties and calling it done.

In this context all that does is frankly piss off a lot of people who are in actuality, just by walking around in the world with their heads up are walking talking subversion.

In FA we have the same problem.

The hourglass beautiful White lady with big tits, a big booty and killer clothes is the Optimal Fatty.

Honestly, a lot of those people who are heralded in FA circles aren't saying anything all that deep beyond You Go Girl style feminism.

On one hand yes it's nice to see a glamourous fat person doing some glam things but, at what point do we start saying okay this is not really doing it and this person does not represent us or me at all.

My problem with this phenomenon in both FA specifically and in the world at large revolves around the absolute fact that I am not and never will be close to the Thin White Lady ideal.

I won't.

Most of you won't.

Furthermore, those of us who are far away from that idea have been doing this work for a long time. I am not here for people who whether willfully or not steal my work and the work of people like me.

I am not okay with the Thin Pretty White Ladies leading the charge against discrimination that let's face it, in the US they don't experience on a wide scale.

If we take the example of the Thin Pretty White Lady and her bit of fat on her ass, let's put her in the world of a fat person.

This is touching again on the differences between interpersonal problems (name calling, body policing etc) and institutional bias.

In this context I would like to know if that jiggly saddlebag on the thigh or the small protuberance of a bloated belly has ever caused this Thin Pretty White Lady to be denied, flat out denied basic medical care?

Generally speaking, that doesn't happen.

As I pointed out in the follow up to the interpersonal vs industrial yes it can happen but it is not the norm.

The fact is that what these (most often, and used loosely per usual) women are fighting is not in fact the soul crushing, life destroying status quo.

Most often they want how pretty and awesome they are to be reinforced.

That has nothing to do with getting me, or other fat marginalized people the things that matter. No I dont' give a fuck about Abercrombie not serving the plus size market. We KNOW they don't, have y'all looked at their websites and choices of models? come on now.

The Thin Pretty White Lady LOOK HOW PRETTY WE ARE AND WE TOTALLY DON'T GIVE A FUCK body acceptance is not what the rest of us need.

What we need is to destroy the Thin Pretty White Lady Ideal as an aspirational goal.

We need access to the basic health care that many of us pay for out of pocket, so we can live the best lives we can.

We need for those who do cater to plus size customers in terms of clothing to understand that no we don't want the worst multi animal print muumuu they can come up with. We want choices that range from couture to 19.99 pants.

We need for those Thin Pretty White ladies to yell as loud when it comes to how we are treated as they expect for us to yell about how they are treated.

We need for the Thin Pretty White Ladies to instead of taking the mic and running with it to say, hey these people know their shit listen to them.

We need for the people who believe themselves to be bucking the system by feeding us images of the current acceptable ideas of beauty and personhood to shut the entire fuck up.

We need to stand up for ourselves and our voices.

We need to not just accept the rah rah look how pretty someone is and understand that while it might feel good (if you fall into the closer to the Thin Pretty White lady Ideal than not) for a minute, it's not sustaining.

We need to look at ourselves and say, does this serve my needs?

What is my solution?

Fuck pretty. Fuck rah rah lady rag articles. Fuck Thin (or not so thin) Pretty White Ladies being the face of my needs.

I walk around in this fat Black body that is often loathed and desired, I walk around with my head up and I survive. I come here and i write stuff. I support my friends of Color and my Queers and the people whose voices tend to be drowned out in the noise of the misplaced authority of the Pretty White Ladies.

On the small scale I wear whatever the fuck I want.

I take damn fine care of myself as I can because I have to.

I survive.

My survival and the fact that I am talking to you right now is a big ole middle finger to a world that tells me constantly from all angles that I am not only not good enough but that I will never be good enough.

I open my big mouth and I talk. Or I use my silence as a weapon.

So no I'm not excited when I see a lot of the buzz or hype around acceptance because it's not for me, it's not for you and that's fucking bullshit.

Homo Out.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do wish there were more voices like yours. I'm white, but I've never been pretty, and at this point in my life, I'm far from thin. I bought into the ideal that I should either look like a Playboy model or a runway model early on, and when I was twelve years old, I became bulimic. I've always had a big butt and comparatively small breasts. I did every spot reducing exercise printed in the Lady Rags that my mother bought, and yet my ass was still big. I've never even remotely liked my body.
I agree that the plus size models tend to be larger versions of the "Perfect" hourglass model. I've yet to see a woman who looks like myself modeling clothes, other than on a few personal blogs.
(I'm just shy of five foot seven and currently weigh a bit less than 300 pounds, just as an idea of body type.)
It's not that I'm saying anyone in particular has to find me "hot," in fact, I don't care if they do or not. It's a matter of seeing other body types besides that one. No one should be bullied for their physique.

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