Feminist Fat-Hate

Jessica at Feministing links to a really disturbing video for “the anti-gym” which involves a Manly Man humiliating and insulting a “chubby.” Because being told that you’re too fat to be seen in public is really going to encourage you to go to the gym.

But the chubby-hate is nothing new. What’s getting under my skin — and this isn’t anything new either, but the Feministing comment thread was just the last straw — is the fat-hate from fellow feminists. We get it here, too, although it’s usually from anti-feminist trolls; but I feel like every time I read a thread about fat on a highly-trafficked, mainstream feminist blog, someone has to start railing against the fatties. And then they cry about being “flamed” when other people call them out on it.

I realize that fat people are among the only groups left who it’s widely acceptable, even on the left, to publicly shame, humiliate and discriminate against. I realize that a lot of us fear fat, and that it’s a pretty good defense mechanism to pretend that fat people are just lazy over-eaters, and as long as we have self-control we won’t be like them. I realize that a lot of us have been brought up with the privilege of not having to recognize the numerous social and political problems that contribute to our so-called “obesity epidemic,” and to the framing of that supposed epidemic. I realize that a lot of people talk about fat on the internets and forget that they’re talking about actual people — people who are reading their words and becoming all the more hurt, frustrated and angry.

But no matter how many times we call them out, it continues. I’m getting really, really fucking sick of it.

So please, fellow feminists, knock it off.


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52 comments for “Feminist Fat-Hate

  1. nonskanse
    November 8, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    I’ll drink to that.

    Fat isn’t an adjective anymore, it’s a label. It means “useless” or “uncool” or “ugly” or “lazy”. Skinny automatically means “successful”, “healthy”, or whatever. WTF.

  2. Betsy
    November 8, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Hear, hear.

    What I’ve been realizing more and more is just how much the American fetishization of individual self-determination seeps into aspects of life other than economic. I thought I was somewhat liberated from these ideas about health (well, except for smoking. That’s one area in which the epidemiology is quite clear – smoking dramatically increases the risks of many life-threatening diseases). But then someone I love who, at 70 and in apparent fantastic health (thin, frequent biker, ate healthily, didn’t smoke, better endurance than I have at age 27) suffered a severe heart attack, and I was absolutely shocked. It made me realize that however much I thought I’d liberated myself from these ideas, I still, deep down, thought that (some kinds of) sickness is a punishment for how you live, and health is a reward for how you live. I just never expected someone in his health, at his age, to have such a problem.

    I think that’s why people get so angry about it. We see bodies and health as evidence of moral strength or failings, much the same way puritans looked for a devil’s mark on the bodies of suspected witches.

  3. November 8, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    and for the love of God, please stop telling me how concerned you are about my health when you are not only not my doctor, the closest you’ve ever gotten to medical training is watching House.

  4. ErinPD
    November 8, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    I realize that a lot of people talk about fat on the internets and forget that they’re talking about actual people — people who are reading their words and becoming all the more hurt, frustrated and angry.

    Seriously.

    This fattie thanks you for this, Jill.

  5. exholt
    November 8, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Agreed.

    I was a target of this as a kid before my growth spurt and some of my older cousins are currently targets of this at the hands of my older relatives. What’s worse is that the older relatives forget that they grew up during times of war, social chaos, and severe deprivation in a country ravaged by decades of war. In their childhood world, the only people that they felt had enough resources to be fat were the decadently wealthy. My cousins and I constantly were lectured on how good we’ve had it compared to them and that we cannot take having to go several days without food like they did. Though they have spent most of their adult lives in the US, they don’t seem to realize that circumstances are different even after I attempted to emulate their storied refugee lifestyle to the point my BMI dropped to 16 (I know the BMI is a crock) at the end of my frosh year. Only diff is that they now mainly target the older cousins. :(

    Has anyone done a comprehensive historical study on fat-hate in American and other societies?

  6. Daomadan
    November 8, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    exholt: Check out some great pro-fat blogs like Big Fat Blog (http://www.bigfatblog.com/) or the Big Fat Index (http://www.bigfatindex.com/).

    They’ll both have a lot of great links and resources.

  7. Daomadan
    November 8, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Oops, messed up the links:

  8. Daomadan
    November 8, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Damn, third try is a charm….

  9. Daomadan
    November 8, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Okay, tags aren’t working. Can you fix this Jill? ^_^;;;

  10. November 8, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    I’m fat. I know I’m fat. I know what health risks it entails. I’ve lost over 50 pounds on three separate occasions (once approaching 100 pounds), and put it all back on and more on three separate occasions. I appreciate the “concern for my health” that makes people point out that I’m fat and need to lose weight because I’m a lazy fatty, but I’m already quite aware of how much I weigh, thanks.

  11. roses
    November 8, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    Betsy, I had a similar experience. A friend of my dad’s had a heart attack, and I swear to God my first thought on finding out was: “But he’s not fat!” Never mind that he was a smoker, and smoking has a much greater proven risk of heart disease than obesity. The fat=heart disease connection was just so firmly entrenched in my mind that the idea of a thin person having a heart attack was completely inconcievable.

    We totally have this idea in this culture that if you do everything “right” in regards to diet, excercise, smoking, you will live forever. And that if you die, it must be your fault for doing something “wrong”. It is insane.

  12. Psychobunny
    November 8, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    Hell, my thoroughly-internalized anxiety about people commenting on my weight is precisely the reason I won’t go to a gym, and do belly-dancing classes instead.

  13. AnthroBabe
    November 8, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    After reading the concern trolling on the thread, I had the same reaction to raginfem as one of the posters:

    “Boo hoo, don’t let the door hit you”

    And, roses, “…if you die, it must be your fault…” LMAO

  14. Mnemosyne
    November 8, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    and for the love of God, please stop telling me how concerned you are about my health when you are not only not my doctor, the closest you’ve ever gotten to medical training is watching “House.”

    I’m always astounded how many people feel free to walk up to a total stranger and give them “health advice.” Would you walk up to someone in a wheelchair and make a diagnosis on the spot?

  15. Betsy
    November 8, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Would you walk up to someone in a wheelchair and make a diagnosis on the spot?

    Mnemosyne, I swear some days I think there’s people who would.

  16. November 8, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    I was out with a friend last night showing him some of my recent sketches when he came across a picture of an elf with a jet pack, ray gun, and funky pigtails. I’d given her unique features, like a low forehead, arced eyebrows, puckered lips, and a round face as well as shorter limbs and a plumper physique. I explained that I wanted some variety in the women I draw, and I wanted her to look distinct, like a real person. He reassured me, I think, thinking I thought I’d failed to make her pretty enough by telling me that she was cute and “not at all chubby.”

    And I said, “well I wanted her to look chubby.” and he shook his head saying, “No, no, don’t say that.”

    So I said, “Why not? I call myself chubby. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”

    I know no one would agree with me, but that’s how I see myself, and I like it.

  17. Eileen
    November 8, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks for commenting on this. The comments on that thread frustrated me too.

  18. November 8, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Mnemosyne – sadly enough, there are people who will. Of course, they’re usually the same people whose ‘medical advice’ is “pray hard enough, and Jesus will take away your disability.”

  19. southern students for choice - Athens
    November 8, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Three words, two web links, one quote:

    Venus of Willendorf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Willendorf

    “The statue’s feet don’t allow it to stand on its own. Due to this it has been speculated that it was meant to be held, rather than simply looked at. The purpose of the carving is subject to much speculation.”

    Woman from Willendorf

    http://witcombe.sbc.edu/willendorf/willendorfwoman.html

    “In fact, her most satisfactory, and most satisfying, position is being held in the palm of the hand. When seen under these conditions, she is utterly transformed as a piece of sculpture. As fingers are imagined gripping her rounded adipose masses, she becomes a remarkably sensuous object, her flesh seemingly soft and yielding to the touch. ”

    We can think of more to say, and will, at Feministing. But we’d much rather take off from that perspective than the (likely) intentionally offensive advertising of that gym or the (likely) troll who made the post on Feministing. We’re bright kids, bright enough to distinguish (usually) better an artful troll from a sincerely self-described feminist with mental issues. We read a LOT more than we post, and we’ve frankly never heard of “raginfem”, but given this (apparent) troll’s post here, we’ll be they are purposly choosing their name for a double meaning — probably most people took it to mean “ragin’ fem”, but we’ll just suggest that if the post is indeed a troll, it’s also meant to mean “rag in fem”.

    See what we mean? While offensive language shouldn’t be dismissed or ignored entirely, it’s possible to take provocative language like this too seriously, and weaken our arguements in the process. It would seem better to talk about how the Venus of Willendorf and so many other images from history and prehistory are feminist, not to mention “fat affirmative”.

  20. November 8, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    this has been something i’ve been waking up to recently…it’s pretty sick that the discussion has gotten down to *how* we’re going to cluck our tongues and wag our fingers.

  21. Katy
    November 8, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Mnemosyne:
    Yes, people do! My mom has intense chronic back pain, arthritis and other physical problems and can’t walk for very long at all. When this all started 3 years ago (cause as yet unknown) I tried to get her to use one of those complimentary little scooter chairs certain malls and grocery stores have. She never would because people had made comments about how she *looks healthy* and therefore doesn’t need anything like that. People are still very hung up on the appearance of health and not interested in letting individuals and doctors determine the status of someone’s health.

  22. kate
    November 8, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    I took a scan of the comments and it looks like ‘raginfem’ is the troll who seems to have some serious anger about people being fat.

    I really believe that rage about ‘fatties’ has more to do with conformity and control than anything else. Fat represents lack of control, or conversely or more honestly, it may represent a lack of being controlled.

    We live in a society that demands conformity and where people fear stepping out of line any minute, what with heartless corporations running their lives, people living on credit, afraid to break out of the norm for one minute for fear of complete social annihilation.

    I think “fat” is hated as a symbol of what so many people want but must deny themselves. Its projection on a very serious level.

  23. Angiportus
    November 8, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Seconded here. I have a mother who considers herself a big feminist, and she still blames fat people for being fat; 2 cousins who bemoan their own weight when they get together…it gets old. I have been doing my best to re-educate them, starting with “When you don’t know, give them benefit of the doubt”…
    Of course, if it becomes widely uncool to bash fat people, I am afraid of it becoming cool to bash introverts/loners like me. I just think it’s time to leave all this scapegoat crap behind. Now, what to replace it with?

  24. Shivster
    November 8, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Yeah, Raginfem’s comments made me really angry. However, she’s not just a random troll, she’s been around feministing for a while. Which I think makes it worse TBH. I found it interesting to contrast an earlier comment of hers about being gay with her defensive argument re being fat.

    http://www.feministing.com/archives/007592.html#comment-98508

    “We live in a country that was founded on the principles of religious freedom and freedom of conscience – so in other words, even if being gay IS a choice, PEOPLE ARE FREE TO MAKE THAT CHOICE. Engaging in sadomasochism is a choice, engaging in sex of ANY kind is a choice – I think we can all agree on that. And since we live in America, a land of supposed freedom to live one’s life the way one chooses, we should all be able to make our own choices about our sexual lives. It’s that simple. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a choice or not – this is a matter of civil liberties either way.”

    Yet she couldn’t accept what was basically the same argument when it came to fat people.

    Sounds like she has a bit of Teh Fear about getting fat, which is understandable in a society where it’s ok to fling cake at chubbies on national tv, and may explain her attitude a little.
    http://www.feministing.com/archives/006955.html#comment-76919

    “A drug that would make me start winking cheekily at boys AND eat less? Sounds like the perfect solution to a booze-filled Saturday night at a club – I’d be less timid AND less likely to get the munchies! :)”

    Sad, but she’s young, and maybe she will learn, at least I hope so.

    I always find it very difficult when people who are involved in any sort of anti-discrimination movement show discrimination to other groups. I most often find this (because of the places I most often visit) in relation to feminism and bisexuality and fat-acceptance, which as a fat bi woman, gets right on my tits! (bit of a British phrase there = makes me v v pissed)

    Anyway, I’m ranting now and have already spent too much time looking through this woman’s posts but it is indicative of the reasons I no longer check back with feministing 20 times a day, I’m sick of this shit.

  25. Shivster
    November 8, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    Gah – I may have unintentionally made her comment re being gay look bad by only quoting some of it. Please click the link for full disclosure! She was saying ‘being gay isn’t a choice but even if it was…”

    I would really hate it if someone half-quoted me like that……. must rectify mistake!

  26. DDay
    November 8, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    kate – You’re right. The reason she said “how do I know I’m going to get flamed for this?” is becaused she has gotten a negative reaction everytime she says “fat is evil!” on every post like this.

  27. November 8, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Word to this post, Jill. I had to stop reading the comments thread over at Feministing–it just made me too angry. You’d think that people who have probably been marginalized or stereotyped at some point in their lives (ie: “All feminists are ugly!!11”) would have more empathy for others who have had similar judgements hurled at them (fat people) but apparently not.

    Sad.

  28. southern students for choice - Athens
    November 8, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Ok, just one person here now, so I’ll refer to the writer as “I”. I did a google search of the web, blogs, and through the google cache of Feministing for “raginfem” and only found one other post by that author, and that was on the Feministing site.

    It’s worth some thought, but no time really arguing the point, exactly what the thoughts of “raginfem” really are. It looks like the posts might be a troll for outraged responses, but a few of their other posts — and they’ve only posted one other time under that name on the web as indexed by google, and that one other time was at Feministing — aren’t at all trolls but rather have a very young, almost juvenile tone to them. And I don’t mean that to demean very young web authors, it just reads strange to me, I’ve read posting and flame wars between tweens and younger children before that sound more mature and thoughtful than some of what “raginfem” wrote..

    It’s possible, I suppose, that the author has some mental issues, or developmental issues, and seriously mean the things she/he is saying, or maybe they’re just trying to troll and posing as some stereotype of a immature or easily provoked feminist. If “raginfem” had posted more often under that name I’d be maybe better able to second-guess their thoughts and motives, but I’ll just speculate it might well be a name made-up for some provocative posts at Feministing.

    In any case though I don’t really want to get into an arguement with the poster, or the people they provoked. I am having some second thoughts on posting anything more than a funny and tasteful response…I don’t want to encourage them if they’re a troll and I don’t want to insult them if they really mean what they say and are innocent of saying something deliberately insulting. It’s amazing how touchy though people can be over the issue of body image and discrimination against people outside of media stereotypes of health and beauty. If someone had made a overtly racist, sexist, or religiously bigoted comment, it would have been acknwoleged as offensive — if it had even gotten through the moderators or have been allowed remain on the blog — but I doubt it would have provoked the number of responses that this avowedly serious comment did.

  29. If
    November 8, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    About the advertisement and who that’s supposed to appeal to, I have similar reactions to a lot of the gym ads that I hear or see. On the radio some years back here, this gym had this “catchy little jingle,” that went something like: “Don’t wanna be flabby anymore! Doooon’t wanna be a fat guy! Look at me, I’m a pear!” and so on. Aside from being angry and upset, I just couldn’t understand what person was supposed to say, “OMG YES! Now I want to give you all my money and spend all my time in your company.”

  30. November 8, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    I’m always astounded how many people feel free to walk up to a total stranger and give them “health advice.” Would you walk up to someone in a wheelchair and make a diagnosis on the spot?

    Mnemosyne, I’ve seen this happen while I’ve hung out with a (young, cute, female) friend of mine who uses a chair. Sometimes it’s as blunt as “what’s wrong with you?” Sometimes it’s “But you don’t look handicapped!” (yes, they say “handicapped” or sometimes “crippled.”) Once a person tried to make us leave the disabled parking spot at a restaurant because he saw my friend’s upper half (cute fact, slim torso) through the window and insisted she couldn’t be disabled, despite the fact that a wheelchair was visible in the back seat of the car.

    On a related note, my brother is developmentally disabled, and people used to constantly tell my mom and me (while my brother was there!) about kids they knew who had Down Syndrome and were so nice. This despite the fact that my brother does NOT have Down Syndrome; he just looks “retarded.”

    People are shitheads a whole lot of the time.

  31. November 9, 2007 at 12:22 am

    THANK YOU, Jill.

    And this is a great thread. How fucking refreshing.

  32. zuzu
    November 9, 2007 at 12:57 am

    Ok, just one person here now, so I’ll refer to the writer as “I”.

    Maybe you should all get your own logins?

    Some of the nastiest anti-fat stuff I’ve ever seen from feminists was on IBTP, in the comments. Back when I still read them. But then, the commenters who made those comments weren’t Quite Right.

    And can we forget the Great Sandwich War of ’07?

  33. bekabot
    November 9, 2007 at 1:23 am

    Assuming that raginfem is for real and not a mere puller-out of short hairs, I’ve gotta say that it looks to me as though she’s a prime example of what you get when you convince a woman that she’ll be loved, adored, respected, listened to, protected yet allowed to live her own life, but only if she manages to achieve perfection in every realm imaginable. Otherwise she’s fair game for every outrage life can dish out. And then some.

    Women who are fed this line and who swallow it end up believing that if only they were thin enough, pretty enough, witty enough, self-possessed enough, and endowed with enough joie de vivre and elan (et cetera), their lives would come right and they’d find out that they’d been living in the classless non-racist non-sexist free-wheeling but moral American society they were told about in grade school. They’d discover that they’d been living in this mythical polity all along, but had been too stupid to perceive it. Their social superiors would stop being mean to them; their social inferiors would stop being distrustful. Men would stop being mean to them and women would stop being distrustful. The world would suddenly reveal itself as a wonderful place. Life would open up and abound in possibilities.

    All these things, according to this theory, could happen, but the responsibility for bringing them about devolves on each individual woman. She is to make all these wonders take place, and how? Why, by becoming the sort of magical creatures such wonders happen to. Of course.

    What this actually is, is a downgraded version of libertarianism, and like all other versions of libertarianism, it’s dumb. But enough women buy into it–I’ve been running into them all my life–that that it must be compelling in the same way much fiction is compelling. At any rate, in a way, it’s comforting…up to a point. It’s a mythos that promises you that you can achieve your goals–but only if you figure out how to jump through a hoop that will always be held just beyond your reach.

    Women who subscribe to this view of life usually know that something is wrong, but if they’ve been following the programme with fervor and devotion, they’ll often be unable to divine just what, no matter how great the native strength of their head-pieces may be. (OTOH, women who follow this same programme with cynicism and with an eye for the main chance know exactly what’s wrong with it, but they make sure that others get snagged by its faultlines and pitfalls, so that they themselves can remain relatively unscathed.)

    My guess is that raginfem is a young woman who has met the main requirements of the Effortless Perfection checklist, but who finds that she’s still evaluated primarily in terms of her decorativeness, that she’s still dismissed by her social superiors, and that she’s still dismissed, for different reasons, by those who sit below her on the social scale. So she thinks, what’s up with this? Whatever it is, it can’t be me; after all, I’ve done my part. I’m thin and I’m pretty and I’m feminine, so why am I not irreproachable? Well, if it can’t me, it must be those other women, especially the fat ones. They’re the ones who are clogging up the joy-works. They’re the reason the world doesn’t run the way I was told it does. They have to be made to be perfect too, and then (o happy day) we can all go ahead and inherit the earth.

    JMO.

  34. Rosehiptea
    November 9, 2007 at 2:11 am

    What drives me crazy is when people interrupt fat women talking (in feminist circles) to say “Thin women get made fun of just as much as fat women.” or complain that fat feminists don’t sympathize with the problems of being thin. I know women who feel they are too thin and I do have empathy and I don’t tell them “Oh, just count your blessings that you’re not fat like me,” because that would be stupid. But actually, no one ever assumes that you are lazy or self-indulgent or can’t do your job because you are thin.

  35. exholt
    November 9, 2007 at 3:04 am

    Thank you for the links Daomadan. Thank you for posting this, Jill.

  36. November 9, 2007 at 4:49 am

    Well said, Jill.

  37. arcanu
    November 9, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Honestly, I can’t believe that anyone (thin, fat, short, tall, etc.) would want to go to this gym. I love the gym I go to because its a welcoming, comfortable, encouraging and serene environment. The trainers are all very fit, but lead by example and encouragement rather than through humiliating and degrading clients. This place sounds like a nightmare.

    The reason I am a feminist is because of my mother. She has struggled with weight her whole life, but she is also the most capable and hard-working person I know. Its really sad that even to be a feminist people have to look a certain way now.

  38. Anna B
    November 9, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Yes, yes, yes!!!

  39. November 9, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Thanks Jill, I’m glad you wrote this. I was really disappointed to see the thread, which I was hoping was just going to be a big old bash-fest on that anti-gym asshole, turn into what it did. But hopefully Jaclyn Friedman’s post about her great organization Big Moves today will bring some much-needed joy back into the conversation.

  40. Karen
    November 9, 2007 at 10:58 am

    THANK you. I was just reading that thread, and had to stop. In fact, I’ve mostly stopped reading all comments on posts or articles about weight, because I am SO sick of “well, it’s really for your health, and people are only fat because they eat crap and are lazy, you can change it, wah, wah, wah…” I can’t read it any more.

  41. tinfoil hattie
    November 9, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    Here’s another slight derailment, though not really:

    Why can’t I walk into Target, or Dick’s Sporting Goods, or a runners’ store, or Sports Authority, and find workout clothing for FAT PEOPLE like me?

    Why does everything in those stores stop at size “L,” which is really about Size 14, or maybe at an occasional, ugly, grayish “XL” (aka size 16) on the sale rack? If the rest of society is so concerned about Teh Fatties and our health, why not make it easier for us to jump into the fray in comfortable exercise clothing that fits? Why it necessary to jump through excessive and expensive hoops to be able to exercise? (Note I get my fattie exercise wear on teh internetz, or course.)

    I’ll tell ya why: (I love setting up and answering my own questions, don’t you?) For the same reason anti-abortion people aren’t really about the “baby.” Society wants to punish women on every level possible. And, though I’m not on that website, you do of course know who I blame.

    (BTW The book Slow Fat Triathlete by Jayne Williams is a great read, even if you never intend to enter a triathlon, or even a walk-a-thon, for that matter.)

    Feh. Done ranting.

  42. sirriamnis
    November 9, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    For Tinfoil Hattie: I buy men’s jammy pants at Target. They often look similar to the women’s work out pants, go up to at least a roomy 2X and cost $5 – $10 dollars less a pair. The Cherokee ones in particular cost about $9.

  43. November 9, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Jill, thank you so much for this. I’ll be leaving a post to thank Jessica too. I mean, the propaganda out there really is five inches thick, if there’s anyone on a feminist blog who is actually a feminist and thinks it’s perfectly fine to show an ad on TV and radio telling fat women they’re disgusting and shoving cakes in their faces and potraying them as being dumped by their husbands for thin models (and taking the dog too!) simply because of their weight. And truly, I’m less disgusted that the commercial was made — there are all kinds of kooks out there making all kinds of sicko stuff, after all — than the fact that major media outlets thought it was suitable to air.

  44. prairielily
    November 9, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    What drives me crazy is when people interrupt fat women talking (in feminist circles) to say “Thin women get made fun of just as much as fat women.” or complain that fat feminists don’t sympathize with the problems of being thin.

    I have done this, when I first started posting, but it was in response to comments about “skinny bitches,” and the like. It’s ridiculous to call a fat person lazy, and it’s ridiculous to call a thin person an untrustworthy bitch. But you’re right, it’s not about me. It’s just a variation on “What about teh MENZ?!!” and I understand that now. I just wanted to explain myself.

    Why does everything in those stores stop at size “L,” which is really about Size 14, or maybe at an occasional, ugly, grayish “XL” (aka size 16) on the sale rack?

    Not only that, but why are sports bras for well-endowed women so freaking expensive and hard to find? It just makes it more financially out of reach for poor women. Even going up and down stairs is good exercise, if you’re not holding your breasts in place the whole time because of the painful bouncing.

  45. November 9, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Jill, thank you for posting this. I am constantly amazed at your empathy and kindness towards the ‘fat’ issue because I look at someone like you (very beautiful and thin) and you are just what society approves of– and yet, you see this and call bullshit and have real respect for fat people without sounding condescending. You are a kick-ass feminist. I *HEART* feministe!

    I think the anti-gym in and of itself is very sexist. It’s not about healthy women, it’s about women that can be objectified sexually:

    http://tobestalks.blogspot.com/2007/11/anti-gym-seems-kinda-anti-woman.html

  46. Mnemosyne
    November 9, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    By the way, for women who’d like to go to a gym but don’t want to have to deal with the “anti-gym” types, see if you have an all-women’s gym anywhere nearby. They tend to be a little more accepting of a range of ages and body sizes than co-ed gyms.

  47. Amanda
    November 12, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you Jill.

  48. wriggles
    November 19, 2007 at 6:37 am

    I’m not going to thank anyone if you don’t min- I wonder what Zuzu has to say on all this fat gratitude. What are people so grateful for exactly? If raginfem is to be dismissed as a troll (with mental health issues to boot) Why the gratitude? It’s because raginfem represents plenty of feminist, troll or no. To pretend that fat hate has got nothing to do with feminism is a lie.

    So feminists are finally waking up to the fact that fat WOMEN might actually know more about their bodies than anyone else, oh wait, isn’t that supposed to be an idea central to feminism? That women are sentient human beings in there own right and not puppets of patriarchal authority, even if that authority is pimping science (and prompoting pseudoscience) to achieve this?

  49. littlem
    November 19, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Wriggles, to my observation — being personally “too skinny” to be accepted as attractive generally in flyover states and “too fat” for the Coasts — there’s some classism and ideology, although I don’t think always necessarily conscious, mixed in there.

    You see, if you’re an educated leftie, you figure out nutrition and the biochemical changes of exercise-generated mitochondria when you get your book learnin’ on at teh librarriz.

    If you’re a Red-Stater you sit on your butt in front of teh teeveez with ur Cheetoz and pack on teh poundz.

    It also conflates with working feminists being professional women and therefore having to be thin in the workplace to have an “accepted” and “professional” appearance.

    I’m too lazy to look up the studies (teh stereotypz theh burn ZOMG!1!) but there are some about how women with “too much bosom” are not seen as sufficiently “professional” in the workplace; that a B cup is just enough.

    (We’re Puritan enough as a society that I don’t even think I’ve seen any studies on women with “too much butt”; it smacks of analysis of ethnographic body types and we’re just not gonna go there.)

    It’s all very subtle, and very Puritan and Calvinist — and extremely anti-feminist.

    But I don’t think a lot of feminists want to think about it; either b/c they think it doesn’t affect them directly (and therefore apply the thought process described above of thin women telling larger women tired of the constant abuse being hurled at them “what about teh SKINNYZ?!”), or just because it’s extremely uncomfortable to have to consider …

    … being an Educated Progressive Feminist and all.

    And after all, it’s the correct train of thought. After all, if those Red Staters just got up off the couch and stopped eating Cheetos and got their heads out of their Bibles and went for a walk once in a while, they’d be thin, like us, right?

    Right???

    Officially OT: I’m not sure how I missed this debate. But wasn’t this asshat profiled already some months ago? Hasn’t he had enough press?

    Jill, thank you for calling attention to the issue.

  50. littlem
    November 19, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Sorry about the duplication; getting freako error messages from hell.

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