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today's fat post

Originally posted as a comment in a friends-locked post. The subject was this post in bigfatblog (excerpt follows):
I think that most people in size acceptance would rather shoot for acceptance than a smaller size; if people of all shapes and sizes are treated equally, then the quest for thinness becomes moot. But I don't purport to speak for everyone, so speak your mind.
This has always been true, although sometimes I've lost sight of it: I don't have any problem with my size. My problem is other people have a problem with my size. Parts of the world I inhabit aren't set up for someone of my size. I can't fit into some furniture, and I am constantly reading fat-hysterical, fat-hating stuff.

If I could make one wish related to my size, it would be that the world treated people of my size as normal. Furniture, toilet stalls, medical equipment, workout equipment is made to fit us, we show up in the media and are considered attractive and healthy, the medical issues we do tend to have are considered ordinary medical issues that normal humans have, clothing comes in all the varieties of shapes we are and even business clothing stretches to fit us when we're sitting down, showers come standard with scrub brushes for our backs, etc.

The fact that all of those things aren't true in my culture constitutes a constant reminder of fat people's second-class status. That makes it more of a struggle to maintain one's self-esteem and remind oneself that I'm not broken, the culture is simply lacking in accommodation.

I've made plenty of accommodations to the world - I'm on antidepressants partly because the world doesn't appreciate hermits, I dress in ordinary clothes and wear an ordinary haircut partly because the world doesn't have enough imagination to appreciate what I'd prefer to wear, and so on. I'm not interested in changing my body shape to suit the world.

On the other hand, if I could take a pill to change my body shape and size temporarily (as in for a period of a few days or weeks), I'd probably do so in order to experience some of the things I physically can't do with my current body, such as mountain climbing, or certain sexual positions. But I'd also take a pill to change into a cat so I could leap five times my height with no effort and have swivel ears. So that's not about wishing I were thinner per se.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
cjsmith
Sep. 13th, 2004 11:15 am (UTC)
This has always been true, although sometimes I've lost sight of it: I don't have any problem with my size. My problem is other people have a problem with my size.

[nod]. This is how I feel about being female. (Well, except for the FOUR chronic pain conditions I have, all of which are either vastly more common in women or do not exist at all in men.) Mainly, my problem is that other people have a bunch of prejudices about it. I'm in a broken culture.

It can be very, very hard to remember that. The messages are insidious, tenacious, and seemingly ubiquitous.
firecat
Sep. 13th, 2004 11:25 am (UTC)
Well said. There are loads of things that people sometimes are that the culture is broken about. And the messages are all that.
epi_lj
Sep. 13th, 2004 04:35 pm (UTC)
"[nod]. This is how I feel about being female."

This is also how I feel about being male.
cjsmith
Sep. 13th, 2004 10:44 pm (UTC)
Gah. Pretty messed up, isn't it? Blech.
firecat
Sep. 14th, 2004 12:34 am (UTC)
Although males potentially have a lot of privileges in Western culture, the expectations and prejudices look incredibly burdensome from here.
red_frog
Sep. 13th, 2004 11:26 am (UTC)
Curious
If you don't mind sharing, what would you prefer to wear?

I see the culture as becoming more accommodating of forms outside the narrow band of "normal". Still not totally accommodating--too expensive, I suspect--but more than it used to be. I see this in how more styles are available for tall women with big feet. At one point, I could not buy pants that were long enough. I still can't, not always, but enough people offer them now that I feel slightly put out when the pants aren't available.

Not perfect, but that, and the increase in larger size availability, indicates to me that there is change.
firecat
Sep. 13th, 2004 12:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Curious
Oh, I would prefer to wear all sorts of outlandish things. I wish people dressed all the time the way they dress for science fiction conventions and Ren Faires. But I don't even dress that way at cons, because I can't wear the stuff every day, so why spend the money?

I agree that the clothing industry has become much more aware in recent years that people of a wide variety of sizes are happy to spend money on clothes that fit them.
keryx
Sep. 13th, 2004 11:42 am (UTC)
I'd be thinner just so I could wear most "regular sized" clothes; but then, I'm a clothes horse at any size. But I've already made so many tiny concessions to what the rest of the world seems to expect that if the clothing size issue were out of the picture, I wouldn't want to change size just to make another concession.

Something this made me think about... In a way, actually, being fat in a fat-hating culture makes up for all of the little appearance things I don't do that would be fun - like, I don't have purple hair, or wear striped knee socks and ladybug shaped galoshes to work every day. If the culture were less broken about fat, in a way I'd find the tiny concessions more oppressive. Hmm.
firecat
Sep. 13th, 2004 12:37 pm (UTC)
I'm actually glad that I'm fat enough that most regular sized clothes don't fit me, because I already feel choice paralysis over the variety of clothing that does fit me.

So you feel sometimes like being fat is your appearance-rebellion? Not quite sure I follow your thinking there.
keryx
Sep. 13th, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC)
No choice paralysis over here. ;)

The other thing... I'm not sure I follow my own logic, to be honest. I was thinking the idea for the first time as I typed it. Essentially, yes, fatness is a form of appearance-rebellion that you can demand people be okay with; it's worth fighting over.
stonebender
Sep. 13th, 2004 01:53 pm (UTC)
Now there's a pill I wouldn't mind trying. Try out being an eagle for a day or dolphin. I wouldn't mind being able-bodied enough to try some of the more athletic positions once in a while.
firecat
Sep. 14th, 2004 12:35 am (UTC)
Yep, this is me waiting impatiently for the Star Trek universe. Or maybe the Steel Beach universe.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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