I’ve read a couple articles recently about Meghan Trainor’s song, All About That Bass, wherein the writers are complaining that, while it’s great that the song is mainly about accepting your body the way it is, it sucks that it comes at the expense of thinner women. It seems the issue that is most often cited by feminists, is their disappointment in the line in which Meghan Trainor refers to thin women as “Skinny Bitches.” (And other similar points where it seems like Meghan Trainor is putting down thin women in order to bring larger women up.) Ok, yes, this isn’t a nice thing to say, but she then goes on to say “No I’m just playing. I know you think you’re fat” and that she’s “here to tell ya every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.” And I can’t help but feel that this is being blown completely out of proportion.
How many songs do you know that praise larger people loving their body the way it is? And how many songs do you know praising hot, sexy, thin, women? Even in the beloved 90’s hit, Baby Got Back, a song that I have seen many voluptuous women embracing and dancing their hearts out to, there are repeated comments about the girl’s “itty bitty waist” – not exactly the full-figured anthem that it was often made out to be.
People popping in with comments of “But what about the thin women?!” hit far too close to misogynists popping into feminist discussions screaming “But what about the men?!” Yes, women as a whole are oppressed. However, in regards to body size, fat women face far more oppression and discrimination than thin women ever do. So no, the song isn’t perfect, and hopefully in the future we can live in a more perfect world, but seriously, in the meantime, can we just have this one?
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of virtually attending the first annual Fat Activism Conference. There were over 40 speakers available, many well-known individuals from the “fatosphere”, and their words were so inspiring. As I listened to people speak about their fat activism journeys, from blogging to research to personal experiences, it sparked my desire to start blogging again.
I’ve thought about this many times over the last few years (wow, was it really two years ago that I started this blog?), but I would push the thought to the back of my mind, questioning whether I would have anything important to say, or if I would be able to keep up with regular blogging (as I’d like to do). But this time may be different.
The last talk of the Fat Activism Conference was about blogging, and specifically about what you can do to start blogging. It was absolutely the kick in the ass that I needed.
I listened to Ragen Chastain (from Dances with Fat) and Jeanette DePatie (from The Fat Chick and The Fat Chick Sings) give advice and anecdotes, but at first it felt like the same thing I’ve felt time and time again. I always want to blog, I enjoy writing just for the fun of it, and writing about a topic you’re passionate about makes it a million times easier…but then I started pushing it to the back of my mind, thinking I should come up with topics first, or a new fresh idea. Until the moment that they gave us listeners the exact advice that I needed: Do the thing.
Do the thing. Write, post, reblog, Tumbl, Tweet, whatever you can in order to get fat activism (or whatever your cause is) out there. Don’t worry about whether you’re good or bad at it or if you’re going to massively screw up. You’ll get better over time (practice makes perfect, right?) and you learn from your mistakes. So here I am, doing my thing.
A list of things my weight says about me:
- How much I weigh.
That’s it. It is my “numerical reflection of [my] relationship with gravity” if you will. And that number doesn’t mean a damn thing. It does not and can not say a thing about my health, how much I eat, my morals and beliefs, my character or attitude. It does not define me as a person or make claims about who I am. My weight can’t tell you what I had for dinner last night or what I’ll have for breakfast this morning. It doesn’t make a moral claim about whether I’m a good or bad person. All those attributions are created by society.
Having more fat on your body doesn’t automatically mean that you eat more, are unhealthy, are lazier, are stupid, or smell. Having less fat on your body alternately also doesn’t mean that you eat less, are healthier, are more active, smarter, and smell better. People with either type of body, and everywhere in between, are their own individual self and are made up from such a complex combination of characteristics that you simply can’t define someone and make assumptions based solely on their body size. Get to known a person for who they really are, rather than judging them for what you think they are based on stereotypes.
Why is it that we can accept that people are naturally taller or shorter, have bigger or smaller breasts, large or tiny feet, but we can’t accept that some people are just naturally fatter or thinner? Why is it so culturally ingrained in our heads that fatter people are doing something wrong to be that size?
Maybe, like breast size, it’s just the way they’re built. A woman with naturally large breasts didn’t do anything special to have them, they just happened to be that size when she was done puberty. Just like someone who has smaller breasts didn’t do anything special to have breasts that size, that’s just the way she was made. Just like the majority of women and men (“underweight”, “normal weight”, “overweight” and “obese” all included) probably aren’t doing anything special to be the size that they are, they just happen to be that size because that’s where their biology put them.
There is nothing inherently wrong with any weight. Some people are just naturally *insert weight descriptor here*. Sure, some overweight and obese people overeat, but so do some normal weight or even underweight people. Their bodies simply process the food in a different way. Some overweight people also eat really healthy, the same as some normal weight people, and yet they are still that size. This isn’t something that this person is doing wrong, it’s just the way their biology works and is not something that they should be looked down upon for.
Why is fat hatred and fat shaming still considered to be an acceptable form of bigotry in our society, often under the guise of “concern for their health”? Or even worse, often just as a somehow socially accepted form of bullying? Because let’s be honest, when you’re making a comment about how someone is “too fat to wear that” or any other unnecessary remark centered around someone’s weight and body, you’re right on par with every other bully out there. Another person’s body is none of your business and you have no right or need to judge.