and if you don't have a "weight problem" and you resent people thinking/implying that you do, please know that *I* won't make that assumption about you because you're fat.
If there ARE health repercussions to your being fat, I'm not one to cast stones. I'm not exactly miss superhealthy emotionally or physcially. I mean, in some ways probably I am, but in other ways I'm not. So if it's an issue for YOU then it's an issue for me, in terms of supporting you. But if your issue is just that other people are assholes, then, I agree, and my experience is that people mostly for the most part really don't want to be jerks, but yeah.... let's bite 'em! Or at least give them the deep freeze cold shoulder and the stink eye.
Let's definitely NOT have sex with them. (The jerks. Let's have lots of sex with non-jerks though.)
And, last comment on the Jezebel article, while I kind of disagree with the writer, I LOVE that she contrasted her experience of being in SF around cool people who helped her to outgrow stressing about her weight as a major facet of her identity. One thing that I love about NY is that as kind of harsh as this town can be, it always welcomes interesting over pretty. Yes pretty gets privileges but it's also looked upon with suspicion as being potentially two-dimensional and, god forbid, not interesting (new yorkers hate to be bored).
Not sure if this discussion is done, but I see that Jezebel has picked it up (and made me feel bad for dissing them because who doesn't love the Jez?)
And I feel like they really create a safe space to be very vulnerable, and I hope, also to heal. Ladies need some healing from some issues of being in the pretty/notpretty dichotomy. Just like dudes need to be okay with not being mr. alpha male (I loved a comment I read about Mr. Rogers, where someone thought he was gay, obviously, and that made her mom realize how little exposure her daughter was getting to men who were emotionally open. the phrasing in the comment was way better). But guys got shit to deal with too, emotional straight jackets and fears of inadequacies.
Anyways... on this "fat" thing. It's a "looks" thing.
So, if we could start there... It seems like a lot of people buy in to this idea that overweight people are not attractive, or certainly not as attractive as thin people.
Right there, you have to start with:
IS BEING ATTRACTIVE really so penultimate? Because as I have mentioned before, LOVE is really the gooey stuff, so if you have a bunch of unattractive people, there should still be plenty of love to go around, so really what's the diff?
Should you hate yourself if you are not beautiful? I think the issue with fat is the.... "but you COULD be, if...." and that carrot (sorry, *bad metaphor*!!) is the crux of the issue.
BECAUSE IT IS A MORAL FAILING NOT TO BE PRETTY IF YOU COULD BE, IT SAYS SO RIGHT HERE IN THE BIBLE. Old Testament, i believe. Or maybe it was in one of the new books? ANYWAY, IT'S IN THERE!
So all these fat ladies are pretty much betraying all that is good and sacred every time they take one step further from being *the most beautiful they can be*
AND THAT IS THE THING I HAVE AN ISSUE WITH. HOW dare they?
well, because that's just so utterly preposterous.
I think we would *all* benefit psychologically, if we could all just avatar it up a bit, and walk in the big dude's shoes, the hot girl's shoes, the fat girl's shoes, the little person's shoes, etc. etc. etc.
People, we are not these forms we inhabit. That's not like a news flash, is it?
That said, yeah... take care of the body. Usually one of the best ways of doing that is to take care of the soul.
I really did not mean to be insensitive to the depth of this issue for folks for how deeply it's penetrated & injured.
The thing about "fat" though, is it's not like saying, hey you should be white, it's better than being black.
Something I heard over and over on Jez is "I resent this story of weight loss, I am not losing any weight, and I don't feel like I should have to in order to justify my existence, and it's really really hard to do. (and I feel judged for not doing it."
First I DO think it's good to start with some numbers.
LADIES, if you are not skinny and you're extra curvy and that feels pretty good to you (or would if people didn't think you should look like people on tee vee (do people still watch that?) then... YOU ARE PROBABLY NOT FAT.
From what I gather, the bmi thing does seem a little iffy. Non-skinny girls are not fat by default.
Now, if you ARE fat, meaning your body does not feel at it's optimum (not for looking the american-beauty-standard-circa 20th/21st century "hot" but if you feel you are a bit less groovacious cause it's slowing you down)
then can we all take a deep breath here and EMBRACE THE FLESH.
If you do have extra fat, then you're soft. That's not all terrible. (And if that's what you've been saying all this time, then... yes, you're leading the way here...)
Can I now ALSO take a moment to say, as someone with some very definite bisexual leanings, that I find NON-THIN girls attractive, and I am pretty sure the hairpin backs me up on this one (in fact, I'm positive). Girls, GET YOUR BURLESQUE ON. If that's not you and is too far out for you... Hey brains are attractive too!
But like I said, it's not quite the same as saying, hey white's prettier than black, you should change color if you can (but too bad for you if you can't, you're uggo).
Because obviously black women are supes amazing and damn beautiful and lovely.
Howeves, it's not totally amazing to be mired in some body issue stuff, and it's good to work thru that. It's not MORE important than other, less visible stuff. People have much "worse" stuff to work thru. Shit can get dark, darker than just "I'm not pretty and I have no willpower". In fact, the dark stuff doesn't really take a form, per se. It can take many forms. But it usually does boil down to a lack of love.
So take the initiative to love yourself. Let's REALLY just ignore all the noise and focus on the important stuff. You have TROUBLE loving yourself?
Keep trying... any "dieting" you're doing or conscientiously objecting to should all come secondarily to just who the fuck is the you doing it?
To me, this voice from this woman seemed empowering. I got the right message from it. NOT PERFECT. Not perfectly spiritually clean.
But the core of it, which seems to me basically that SHE FOCUSED ON SOMETHING ELSE seems pretty legit.
Staying Fat could absolutely be aspirational. I admire someone MORE who chooses to walk in a difficult path rather than cave to convention.
I'd WAY rather hang out with that person. I'd WAY rather have sex with that person.
So while the outcry over this article may be a necessary step in carving out space for existence, I'd like to say that I do still think the hairpin is different than jezebel in that certain things are a given here. Things like fat girls can be hot.
And if you don't believe that, and then an article is written here like this one where someone says, I lost weight without trying when I devoted myself to being myself, and now I am kind of trying to maintain that accomplishment in my physical body, but there's some issues around that...
I think it'd be way cooler to see people perhaps anticipating some pitfalls she may be facing and saying..... Girl, I am glad some issues got worked out for you but be careful not to equate yourself with your size!
You made me feel bad because you equate healing with being thin! Where are the stories where the person doesn't get (less fat) and is still a winner?
For her healing DID make her thinner. And I know that's an old trope, but you know what? I can hear that one *over and over* again. NOT because of the thinner part. But because the message is DO YOUR THING. Not to get thin. She didn't do it "to get thin".
Is she worried? Does she express anxiety?
YES. SHE DOES.
And rather than respond to that worry with our own anxieties, we should be reassuring her. And congratulating her. NOT FOR GETTING THIN.
I think you'd have to be an idiot to think she would want your congratulations for that. I suspect she would think you were stupid if you congratulated her for getting thin (even though, yes, there might be a part of her that this would resonate with. Hey, there's a part of me that would like to taser people for funsies or bite them hard. It's a pretty small part, but there's a biter in there, none of us is purely any one thing, and that includes virtuous wise or smart).
She seems like she's pretty into being healthy. And, honestly, she does seem like she is potentially in danger of losing her step WHICH IS ALL THE MORE REASON why she needs our support, not our critique. I mean, a valid, thoughtful critique, yes. But not just the one that might be more based on making assumptions about the narrative of her story in context.
Or rather... I think those assumptions about the context are wrong. Because this in NOT within the parameters of society-at-large. It's within the context of the hairpin, where certain things can be taken for granted. Certain inalienable rights and whatnot.
I think a LOT of "fat" (not just people with different body types who are good with being bigger) people's stories have that same result when they are successful in that area (of perhaps turning less to food for comfort, food should probably not be a major source of comfort for the simple reason that we're emotional beings and how we feel is important, and if you have very strong feelings about food, maybe your life could use more variety, because creativity is much more kind of interesting, like if I just want to lie in a warm bath all day, maybe that's reverting to the womb or something? Food might be similar. It was a primary source of comfort, and it's provides some of the spice of life, but not the major one? And if it is, then you need to balance that out with the very real limitations of being in the body? I mean I hear heroin is totally the shit, but that amazing feeling is totally not worth the down side, so I'll pass on that self destruction. Food can become self destructive, too).
I don't think it's shaming or moralizing (demoralizing). I think it's honest.
I'm not expressing it well.
(and appartently I did not end up shutting up on this subject. I blather on a lot.)
Anyway, here's a post from Jez that I thought was really cool.
I met a personal trainer who had been anorexic, then got pregnant, gained 100 pounds during her pregnancy and then finally got her shit together. I can remember her telling me that her trainer told her she was on her way to death if she didn't fix her life, and then when she got pregnant all of the bad feelings she had about herself didn't go away, she just pushed them all onto eating "for the baby". She was the first person I heard who told me that food can be the thing people use to try and heal themselves and that you can't tackle your weight problem until you tackle your hurt. It was totally earth shattering for me. I had been from food, to booze, to sex and back to food and nothing had ever filled the hole for me until I figured out what I thought I had been missing. One of my aunts got gastric bypass and lost all the weight and didn't realize that her marriage problems didn't go away just cause she was thin now.
Now that I feel more complete as a human being emotionally and spiritually I've had a good run at weight loss.
I truly believe that a part of the failure part of weight loss for so many women is because we think we can fix our ourselves on the inside, by changing the outside but it's really the other way around.
And if you feel judged I'd like to support you in throwing shade on any who might judge you.
Eff them, ya know? Sometimes you have to be strong and be a good example of a human person in the face of petty stuff that tries to drag people down. And sometimes it can seem like the world is against you, but that's why it's important to have supportive people who've got your back.
(That includes any self-judgers you've got within you, fuck them too).
@WaityKatie I will personally beat up anyone who screams at you (you hear that internet?!)
But it's a cheap shot to say dissent isn't tolerated around these parts. This IS dissent. This is what a bunch of respectful, dissenting, evolving conversations looks like.
I see both (or like the various shades of 50 -- oh good grief that book of all lameness which I will never read got stuck in my head) sides of the argument, and I agree with a lot of them, and I like the fuller picture that's emerging as a result of those various points of views engaging.
So...... can we at least agree that it's okay if you're the bomb no matter what your physical form? Rock on with your bad self.
If you're healthy, cool. If you're not healthy in some way I'd like to support you in getting healthy. Not in any way related to weight, just as a person on this planet, ya know?
After one more correction, then seriously, I'm out:
I mean I think she's drawing a connection between being happy and being fat
from the inside out not the outside in.
That's a true place she is standing in. Where a lot of people stand in.
Weight is not the issue. How other people feel about weight isn't even the issue even though it complicates it a hundred-fold.
There is a much bigger issue, and in the echo chamber, you have to be the one. You have to be the one to believe. Not to ask/demand/request that everyone else stop the feedback loop. Yes, it's hella helpful. Yes, I would go so far as to say it's even somewhat crucial.
But basically you have to be the one. Then you can spread it from there.
I just... basically... I'm not in love with Jezebel, you know? And I'm kind of in love with the hairpin a little bit.
As someone well versed in a strident voice and it's limitations, I just think maybe it's better to have more conviction and to create that from a place that takes itself a little less seriously because in some weird way that actually makes it way more true.
WHY IS THERE NO ERASE BUTTON ON THE INTERNET????
whoops. I totally flailed here. I should be doing work and I'm procrastinating. Serves me right for slaking off.
I meant to post this link: http://thehairpin.com/2011/08/the-best-time-i-was-a-200-pound-beauty-queen/
and somehow I got locked out of editing, when I was really going to delete that posting anyways not actually leave it up there for all eyes to see.
oh the private shame!
In my feeble attempts at defense, let me just say that I think that the hairpin actually has this great alchemy and even though it SEEMS like just this little nook on the web, I think it's actually something much greater, like a little bit of a forefront. So I'd really like to see it evolve in the most amazing way possible.
Which I think is totally possible and I look forward to it.
and also: I haven't read this lady's book, so I might totally change my mind after reading it.
Anyway, I am SO sorry about my rant, and I shall never post here again.
Thank you and good night to all.
@Cat named Virtute
I am sorry to be rude here, but if I am going to be chill with designer bags (and believe me... I could TAKE A STANCE on that one.... designer, pffffffftttttt (puts on smartypants judgy hat, steps up on soapbox)...), then I'd like to point everyone to a little posting on
and point out that I personally think it's a pretty brave thing for this lady to post so honestly about being in her process, and the implications of fat shaming.
It particularly struck me about being a receptacle for other people's lousy-ness (vis-a-vie the horrible guy she slept with, I think I know that dynamic out there, and it's one all girls labor under regardless of which end of the spectrum they are at, "beauty queens" get it just as bad -- so nice to be "loved"/receive kindness just because of how you look - knowing just how tenuous that line is and what the results are of crossing it...that's a great feeling to know how/why you are valued.)
So SHE is working to OVERCOME those internalized feelings of low self-worth perpetuated by a (clearly innate to some extent /slash/default) tendency of our race (the human one) to scapegoat others because being awesome is a culturally learned technology, not the default setting of human behaviour
-- with our animalistic tendencies towards domination, social stratification and self-denial (some french movie said it best, but whatever... it takes intelligence and creativity to deal with being human without being horrible and going off the rails, creating stupid mores that make everyone miserable for no good reason except that consciousness is a lot to handle and it makes it easy to turn on yourself and others, often at one and the same time).
So, what I am saying is... let's not do that here.
At the hairpin.
I recognize your "concerns" but if you GIVE an idea power then it retains power. That's why humor is so incredibly powerful and effective.
Is she valuing herself based upon her weight? (Would she value herself more with an expensive bag?) We all struggle with the issue of valuing ourselves.
But this ISN'T doctrine in the strictest sense.
She's making a connection between emotional eating and it's consequences. Not so much that she'll be fat-shamed. Is that a consequence? Is she signing off on that? I don't get that at all. But that it's an issue of taking care of her own needs in a positive way.
Not by ever-dodging the specter of being fat. She says she's trying to keep her weight in check to embrace her life, not negate her self.
She could just as easily be talking about drugs. Or lashing out in anger/anger management/being angry all the time. Or depression. Or having an overfilled social life but feeling unfulfilled. Or staying safe and reading at the expense of human contact (assuming one felt less than satisfied with that though there are so many great books to read, hmmm.... thanks, all those writers out there, especailly the banging amazing ones! but even the quiet little gems that can hit you sideways.)
This is her story, it's valid, it's honest and the "spin" about health or morality vis-a-vie weight and how that impacts YOUR self esteem is something that to some extent you HAVE to take OWNERSHIP of for your own sanity. So that YOU can be on terra-firma and can hold your own. I'm all for walking on eggshells but NOT on a permanent basis, even for such serious things as sexual abuse. (btw... holla Angel Haze). At some point part of healing is being able to take yourself a little less seriously.
(Unless you really like the prospect of me getting up on a soapbox all the time? I mean even MORE than I'm doing right now? BECAUSE I CAN AMP THAT SHIT UP AND SUSTAIN FULL BLAST FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER 60-70 YEARS and it's no thing. I just realized that I was maybe
missing the point
like that. And taking myself just a wee too seriously? I mean, I'm still pretty serious, but maybe a little bit of humor? And taking myself less seriously?
So FAT - big issue, and I've got your back on this one (like SO got your back, so promoting BODY POSITIVE love-fest, there's bitches BE DOING some work on this) but maybe lower your fat-bullshit-calling-radar just a wee bit, not to lesson the PASSION of your call to arms for self love (wow, that's a weird turn of phrase) and acceptance, but to temper it with a little humor so that you seem MORE committed, and MORE believable and authentic.
The take away here is.... fat people get treated like crap (by crappy people in a crappy society so that everyone can have a way to deflect their crap, including fat people who now have a very convenient/inconvenient deflection for their real crap).
If you deal with your crap you may or may not lose weight. But you will still have crap to deal with because everyone does.
when you are fat, you have to deal with a certain amount of everyone else's crap, which is extra crappy but which is likely to lesson as we deal with our own crap.
this is the crap I dealt with, and I find being creative helps me to deal with it. I don't let this have undo power over my life, and I found that when I was in my zone, it transformed into something new but it's still something I deal with.
ps. Dogs can be really cool.
Does she still have a ways to go on her journey?
HAS SHE FOUND TOTAL SELF ACCEPTANCE AND LOVE ? ? ?
No. She has not. But is she promoting fat-shaming or subtly reinforcing it? I would put forth that a certain amount of DEFENSIVENESS might actually do more to reinforce that meme. I don't think she's subscribing to a lack of self acceptance NO MATTER WHAT HER SIZE, but the fact that she still may have some lingering scar tissue about standing in that tough place... well I pretty much assume that she's working thru that and that's her journey, and I DON'T think telling her
SHE'S NOT DOING IT GOOD ENOUGH may be a bit... overloud and not quite the right tone in this case to promote TRUE self acceptance, not just a bunch of rules that we all SHOULD follow, but really can't and won't because they're not gentle good-hearted rules, but fearful rules.
I don't think the take away is this is a crappy story because she is reinforcing the stereotype that you have to be thin to be happy, or that if you are not thin you cannot be happy.
She is drawing a connection between being happy and being less fat.
That is a legitimate connection to draw.
But fat is something you can SEE. I've known people who are less observant than I am who will state "oh, so and so's so funny, how can they be unhappy?" when clearly that person's jokey-ness is not coming from a happy place and the person is obviously deeply depressed (something that will be obvious to me, and will be revealed in heart-to-hearts later). Some people totally look like they have their shit together, but in reality are barely there.
Everybody's got crosses to bear, and I think this is a legit story by a legit kid.
Or else. we're. coming. for. you.
ADC, get the horses ready. We've got some poachers for you to bring to justice.
Take MY game -- my pheasant. I'll teach you a lesson, peasant. (Not literally teach, like in schools. Ha ha, schools! Hope you can afford a private one.)
Can I just put forth here, though, that I'm confident that we will actually change course and stop the massive disfunction. There are SO MANY bright minds, and the old ways I think won't hold up in the face of the tide of the massive wave education which has occurred in the last 100 years. Damn! So.Many. Grad. Students.
(And of course... So. Much. Student. Debt.)
I hope ADC, you are with me when I pray for reform to our current system, especially when it comes to Student Loan debt. Now THERE'S a scam.... Gotta love it.
(And, no, I don't have student debt to speak of so this isn't just sour grapes/buyers remorse on my part. It's concern for public policy.)
@a whole thing of candy beans (formerly jen325)
THIS RIGHT HERE....
ADC, I am sorry to say that you are the footsoldier to a VERY VERY VERY BAD thing.
Your attitude about "debters" shows just how in denial you are. Those sluts asked to be raped, and those poors chose to be poor. I am sorry, that's hyperbole I know, but for reals... We are not so very far from times of old, when the money skews were even more fer reals-fer reals and "poaching" (ie. killing the "game" of the landed gentry would get you in serious trouble... want to eat? Ha! hahaha. No.)
Here is a good article that is a little history lesson:
It is literally obscene and certainly usury what is allowed by lenders today.
Yes, some percentage of debters may be shiftless jerks, but I would argue that a far far larger percentage are simply poor people who may be either just trying to get by, or may have reacted to the CONSTANT bombardment of the message in our culture that your worth is based on what you are able to buy.
I have an old phone. I also have a smartphone. I also have a replacement for my old phone that is a smaller fancy regular phone. For some indeterminate reason (I think because I actually like the design factor of my old decrepit phone) I haven't activated my replacement phone, and I don't really like my smartphone as a phone... it's just too dang big, and I am a NON-purse carrying put-everything-in-my-pockets kind of gal.
So, I live in New York City, and, while it gives me a certain kind of "cred" with the real poor people of this town (which, culturally I will never be no matter how little money I have) like the very hard-working mexican and chinese folks who serve me meals (thanks, stand-in moms!) I am in most social situations extremely embarrassed to use my phone.
I hide it under my hair. I worry that people will look at me with a mixture of pity and contempt and confusion. Perhaps put a quarter in my coffee. I feel like I am walking around with pee-stained pants. I am ashamed.
Of my phone.
Now, that seems totally stupid, and it totally is, but it's also totally true.
I feel judged for my phone. Now granted, this is NYC, but still I'd argue that to have a little "DIGNITY" in our culture -- so, so important to self-esteem, one kind of needs at least a little bit of some "products". Or a hellofa strong inner sense of identity -- which I can assure you - I have, and I still surreptitiously make phone calls in many ordinary situations. But damn you old phone, I'm used to you! I find your handle-bar design slender and sleek! And I'm contrarian and a bit distracted (new phone, some day I might activate you, your design is nifty too!)
What I am saying here is.... Your job is bad. You might need to do it to keep at least one good person on the front lines, or to keep food on your table. But your job is bad. You are redistributing wealth in a very rigged and disfunctional way that is NOT a boon to our society.
You are contributing A FAR WORSE THING that the perceived "irresponsibility" of those lazy lying lousy loser debters whose life you make much worse to support a lazy lying lousy most-decidedly "winning" lifestyle of those who have so much and yet SO LITTLE in the way of ETHICS. It's nice to live the good life -- and the peons shouldn't even dare to try.