A Note--

I'm putting back online the archive of a fat activism blog I kept for a few years, back when I was first organizing and putting my own thoughts about fat activism into words.

I'm not updating this stuff- I'm not going to really respond to anything if you comment.

This is just an archive of old work and old thoughts.

If you want to reach out to me- Twitter is usually the best way.

 

Weaponized disgust

While I do not recommend the experience of getting hate mail and harassment for months on end (never-ending), what the experience does have going for it is a glimpse into the mindset of the people who hate and fear fatness. 

They all basically say the same 4 or 5 things, over and over, with very little variation. I've addressed a few in the past. But there's one motif that I haven't discussed yet, and that is the disgust. 

People are not shy about telling me that my body disgusts them. I've been fat basically my whole life, and people were always telling me that my body (that I) disgusted them. 

So it doesn't surprise me that a recurring theme of the abusive hate mail I get is, "Fat people can't wipe their own asses" or something about cleaning fat folds. 

And I've been thinking about that- how this disgust is used to dehumanize and other fat people. It's so common. 

When I notice these patterns- these people saying almost the exact same thing, over and over- I wonder where this propaganda began.  It sticks out, and I wonder about it. 

Ok, so let's address the supposed issue at hand first- yes. Some fat people need assistive devices or other assistance to clean themselves after using the bathroom, or in order to maintain hygiene in other ways. So do some thin people. 

There's a word for people who need assistance or accommodation with tasks that others take for granted- it's called disabled. And if you make fun of disabled people- you are a terrible person. You should feel bad about yourself.

There is also another group of people who need help with cleaning themselves after pooping. Those people are called babies.

So how can we reconcile the mainstream view of fat bodies as disgusting and babies as cute? It's pretty simple. Disgust is used as a propaganda weapon by the powerful to further dehumanize marginalized groups of people.

You can see it in the ways menstruation is discussed (when it's discussed at all). A bodily process that fully half the world's population will experience at some point is treated like it is the most filthy and profane thing imaginable. 

The blood and the stains and the clumps of tissue. Tampons and pads and how can we hide this terrible curse/crime?? 

Contrast that with the comedic way mainstream culture treats semen.

Can you imagine the role reversal in It's Something About Mary, when instead of putting semen in her hair- Cameron Diaz gently brushes menstrual blood into Ben Stiller's hair? Just super casual like. 

(I imagined the look on a Generic Dude face when presented with this scenario, and just about fell out laughing. Omg LOL 4EVER.)


I am sure to receive all manner of outraged replies to this- all along the same lines- but do you think it's ok for someone to get so fat that they can't do... whatever. Blah blah.

Yeah. I think it's ok. I mean, what you do even mean, is it ok? What kind of question is that? Is it ok that this person over here that makes me uncomfortable- that I find disgusting and can't find any empathy towards- is it ok if that person is alive and continues to exist?

YES.

YES. YESSSSSSSSS. For fuck's sake and for the people in the back- YES IT IS OK. 

You don't get to decide who is "not ok", who isn't allowed to live, who should make their entire life and existence into an apology. 

Because NO ONE should have to do that.

(Except maybe the people who spend their time looking for vulnerable people to harass. Y'all could stand to do some apologizing.) 

And all this disgust and bias against fat people reinforces fatphobia that can be deadly. 

 It's hard as hell to get decent medical care when doctors see fat"...patients is a great waste of their time, viewing these patients as annoying and noncompliant."

Disgust is used against all sorts of groups. If you start to listen for it, you will here it everywhere. And it's something to watch out for. 

Because disgust is the death of empathy.

 

Dietland and Spy- Reviews

I have TWO recommendations for fat positive media! I am so excited to have something great to say about a book and a movie I absolutely loved.

First- Dietland by Sarai Walker.

From the summary on Amazon-- "Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse. With her job answering fan mail for a popular teen girls’ magazine, she is biding her time until her weight-loss surgery. Only then can her true life as a thin person finally begin.

But when Plum notices she’s being followed by a mysterious woman in colorful tights and combat boots, she finds herself falling down a rabbit hole into the world of Calliope House, a community of women who live life on their own terms."

I'm going to give away slightly more of the plot than this summary does- so be warned. But I feel like I have to, in order to explain why I am so excited about this novel.  So if you want to be completed unspoiled- buy the book and skip ahead to my review of Spy. 


I didn't know how badly I wanted to read a book like this one, until I had. I was excited even in the first few pages, because Sarai's observations of the life of a very fat woman are so sharp and poignant.

Plum is caught by the fat hatred she has internalized- suspended and trapped, while the world moves on without her.  I loved and identified with her as she began to rage at the systems of fat hatred and the objectification of women's bodies are made clear to her- turning her pain into rage, making the inwards, outwards. She learns to put that rage where it belongs- on a world that treats her like garbage. 

Additionally, there is a female guerilla terrorist organization called Jennifer who is taking violent revenge on misogynists and rapists.  

If you follow me on Twitter and saw my glee at the plot of the latest Mad Max movie- you will know that I am extremely excited about the idea of reversing the typical gender roles of violent action movies and other violent genre stories- where men are the heroes and women are the victimized.  

Dietland is an explicitly feminist take on some of the basic plot points of Fight Club. I think the disgusting violent misogyny and objectification of women that is everywhere and unescapable in our world is a much more compelling call to violent guerilla action than the  thwarted white man entitlement of Fight Club.

What if Tyler Durden was a girl and instead of punching other dudes, she murdered rapists-- that's an idea that is compelling as shit to me.  Like- you could do a thousand variations on this theme, and I'd be thrilled with every single one of them. 

This book is amazing. It's also violent as hell, discusses the hatred and pain of fat women, and discusses rape. It's dark. Be warned. 

It's also stylish as hell and sharp as a razor. 

There's a couple of places where the politics don't exactly match up completely with my personal politics, but y'all. A couple of places here and there is a sight lot better than most of the media entertainment I consume. If I waited until I had politically perfect media to consume, I would die of old age and boredom first.  I mean, I am still watching Game of Thrones, which is pretty much the definition of politically indefensible. 

If this sounds good to you-- buy it! Read it! Read it so we can talk about it!!


Ok, so let's talk about Spy, which is a takeoff on spy movies, largely Bond ones, by Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig. 

I LOVED this movie. I loved Melissa McCarthy in it, and I loved how deftly it skewers the assumptions about fat women- the low expectations of our worth and abilities. 

The movie never once even uses the word "fat". There are no fat jokes about Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy's character), except in the assumptions made about her by other people. The movie clearly thinks the people making those assumptions are buffoons (when they aren't outright evil). 

Susan is given a low expectations assignment with an unattractive negative stereotype as her disguise. But she is capable of so much more, and the movie really gets going when she breaks free of this stereotype and blazes her own path. 

She gets more and more glam as the movie goes on and has properly action hero style action scenes! I wanted to scream with happiness, to see a woman of her size doing action chases and fighting-- and I don't find it played for laughs, because she is the most capable person on the team. 

Caveat- there are basically zero people of color in this movie, except one guy who we never get the name of who is in one scene, and 50 Cent, who plays himself for a tiny role. 

I wish they hadn't done that, but they did.  Also, there are a couple of poop jokes I could have personally done without, since I don't like poop jokes. (Too gross.)

But I would totally recommend Spy, and I'm hoping to see it again soon. 

This makes me even more excited for Lady Ghostbusters, y'all. OMG. 

No such thing as "too fat"

Continuing the series about fat activism basics.

"It's ok to love yourself, but don't get too fat."

This is something I hear all the time from people who want to claim the suddenly trendy label of body positive, without challenging any of their underlying assumptions about fat people.

These people are still buying into dangerous and destructive ideas about health and fat people. 

This idea of body positivity is extremely weak sauce. It basically exists to tell women who are already considered socially acceptable, how acceptable they are.

It wants them to separate themselves from the deviant unhealth of fatties and to recognize that in their thinness- they are deemed worthy. 

The acceptable, slightly larger than the extremely thin norm we are usually presented with-- brought to you by corporate advertising, by Dove and Target and the not actually plus sized models of Lane Bryant-- this is the capitalist soundbite co-opting of an actually revolutionary idea.  

And that idea is that there is no "too fat". That we don't draw lines to say- past this line, past this weight- you are no longer a person. Past this line, we turn you into an other, and we treat you like an enemy. 

If there is a number you have in your mind- 300 pounds. 400 pounds. 800 pounds- throw it out. 

There are people who fall over that line, whatever you imagine it to be. And those people- they have thoughts and feelings. They have loved ones and dreams and they ARE PEOPLE. Just like YOU are. 

Fat bodies that fall over these arbitrary lines are treated as objects- objects for disgust and ridicule. That is not ok. These bodies are people, and you must stop stripping them of their humanity. 

I will accept no arguments as to health.

The health argument is a subject for another time, but I will say, thin people are not subject to pass muster as "healthy" to be allowed their humanity. 

There can be no lines in this way, because we can't allow people to be left out.

The biggest people are the most vulnerable to the worst kinds of fat hatred and discrimination. And I am not interested in any body positive or fat acceptance movement that leaves out the people who need it the most.  

If we make room for the largest, most super size fat people and make sure they aren't left out or erased, then the positive changes we make will include everyone.

That's what I want to happen.  I won't settle for anything less. 

Not the last acceptable form of discrimination

I'm going to go ahead and continue the theme I started last week and talk about fat activism basics.

Hey, fat white people. Let's have a little chat. :)

Fatness is not the last acceptable form of discrimination. 

This is something that I see white people who are new to fat acceptance saying. I said it myself, back before I learned better. 

But it's not true. Racism hasn't gone anywhere. Sexism, homophobia, transphobia, disablism-- none of these things have gone anywhere. 

I'm going to assume the best of the people saying this so we can really dig further into it.  What I feel like people are trying to say here is- "Wow, people can say really nasty things about fat people in almost any context and there are zero consequences."

That is a true statement. But people often continue to say really nasty things about non-white/feminine/gay/trans/disabled people too. They may (or may not) choose to disguise these things behind coded language, but they certainly are there. 

As a woman, I promise you, sexism is still alive and well. 

If you think- no one feels comfortable saying racist things in public anymore, that's just not the case. Because we as white people, are not immediately aware of the racist things that are being said- they are still happening. Someone may swap out the word "thug" for the n-word, but the rhetoric is still ongoing.

When you don't see the racism or sexism-- that invisibility is a huge part of what privilege is. 

I'm going to assume that you don't think of yourself as a racist. If you define being racist as, "I hate people who aren't white"- I should hope you aren't. 

But we all know that's a pretty low bar, right? Like, "I don't hate everyone who isn't white" is just about the lowest bar in the world.  There are people who aren't even making it over that bar, but that doesn't absolve us of the responsibility to try to do better.

And, as we talked about last week (specifically in reference to fat issues)- discrimination is not just about words. Or even primarily about words. 

What is clear to me now, that was not when I first found fat activism and thought "last acceptable form of discrimination" is how much racism is a system and isn't really about who dislikes who.  

(I would really suggest reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' article in The Atlantic called The Case for Reparations.  Like, I suggest it a LOT.)

With everything that has been happening since Ferguson, and not just happening, but actually being covered by the media this time- it seems like we really should all be able to agree that racism is a thing that still exists, and that there are plenty of (white) people out there who are just fine with it. 

So not the last form of discrimination. Not the last "acceptable" form of discrimination. 

Another point that is really really important to keep in mind- fat people are all kinds of people. Every other type of discrimination impacts some people who are fat.

Black and indigenous fat people. Fat people of color. Fat queer people. Fat trans people. Fat women. Fat disabled people.  

Fatness impacts people in different ways, depending on a huge number of other factors- not to even mention class or if your personal parents are abusive or all sorts of other things.

By positioning fatness as the "last" discrimination, we are ignoring the fullness of the identities of fat people who experience discrimination in other areas of their lives.  

That's not ok.  Let's not do that to each other.

Another trap to avoid is comparing discriminations, especially comparing with the idea that this one is worst than that one.

Especially don't compare fat discrimination to racism, ok? Because it's not actually anything like racism, and I think we all know that. 

I know it sucks when people say "just lose weight" like that's an answer to fat discrimination and refuse to take it seriously when it is seriously impacting your life.

But comparing fat discrimination to racism is not going to get people to take it any more seriously.  And upsets people who are actually impacted by racism.  It's not ok. Please don't. 

There are some useful comparisons to be made to the discrimination against gays and lesbians, if we can be careful about it. Fat activism was started by queer people, and academic fat studies has roots in queer studies. 

But, I would urge you to think about not comparing it to anything. There are issues that are strictly fat people issues, and that's ok. The lack of a one to one comparison doesn't mean those issues aren't real or that they don't matter. 

I am not the first person to point out the issues with this phrase, and I won't be the last. Let's go forward and do better. 

Fat Shaming Versus Fat Discrimination

Recently it seems like more and more people have become aware of the fat acceptance/activism movement.  I believe that's a mainly positive development, because I believe there are fat people out there who really need to hear what fat activists have to say.

I believe there are some drawbacks though, and as more people hear about and want to join the movement, we are in danger of diluting some of the more radical elements of what fat activism is or can be.  (Or is to me, at any rate.)

So maybe now is a good time to think about defining terms and stating goals and talking about tactics. 

I am planning some posts around what I see as basic principles and basic tactics- all with the understanding that I am not the queen of fat acceptance, that FA existed before I was even born and continues to be an evolving topic of discussion among many many people. 

I'm figuring these things out as I go, like we all are. 

Today, I want to tackle the phrase "fat shaming". 

It's kind of weird to me, that this phrase has somewhat entered public consciousness. It seemed like no one gave a damn about fat people's feelings for as long as I can remember. It seemed like being fat meant you weren't supposed to even HAVE feelings. 

So I suppose, in a way, that people are even talking about fat shaming is a good thing. 

But the thing that inevitably happens, the surest bet in the world, is as soon as anyone says "fat shaming", someone will pipe up with "thin people get shamed too".  *Sigh* 

I have serious problems with this, which I've gone into in great detail in the past, but what I will say about "skinny shaming" in brief is- it's a derailing tactic.  I never hear about the epidemic of thin shaming until a fat person tries to speak. And I somehow never see the defenders of thinness ever defending fat people (especially women) from the ever constant attacks we endure. 

And as a derailing tactic, it works. I've seen it work. And I have been thinking about it and I wonder if the phrase "fat shaming" is a bad tactic. 

I mean, it's accurate. Our culture is certainly pushing down the idea that fat people should be ashamed. But I feel like it evokes a sense that what we're talking about is simple name-calling. 

And yeah, it sucks to be called names. I don't like it. None of us like it, I'm sure. But we all know what we're really talking about is way more than simply being called a name. 

I am trying to use the phrase "fat discrimination" or "fat stigma" instead of fat shaming. Because what I'm really fighting here is the discrimination.

I want to fight the discrimination that occurs in a medical context where the conduct of medical personnel would be recognized as shockingly unethical if only the patient was thin.

I am concerned about so-called "wellness" programs in schools that promote eating disorders in children.

I want to fight our culture's terror that a child would grow up to look like me- a thought so terrifying that it leads to people condoning the abuse and harassment of fat children.

I am concerned that fat people make less money and are more likely to be fired. 

I want people to know that dress codes are weaponized and used against fat people. 

Our children can be taken away. Juries are less likely to believe us. And the narrative that fat people don't deserve love keeps people in abusive relationships. 

It is time to call this what it is-- discrimination. It's not just shaming. It's not just name calling.  

This is life and death shit. Let's not diminish it. 

 

 

Make the abuse visible

I've been thinking about the ways in which abuse is perpetuated and pushed forward in our culture. Because we live in an extremely abusive and violent culture- a culture that silences victims and protects abusers.

Like how my parents used to say that I could never talk about what went on in our family with anyone. Never tell. 

The message of "never tell" only serves the agenda of the people who are doing the abuse, not the victims of it.

I think you should tell. If you can. If you're comfortable. 

It helps. Because no matter what, you are never the only one. 

Which brings me to the idea of "don't feed the trolls". Maybe this was good advice, in ancient internet times, back when we were swapping posts on message boards, and people would try to instigate massive flame wars. 

But for most of us, this is outdated and harmful advice, given by people who are not subjected to the daily abuse that is publicly being a person from a marginalized group on the internet- especially if you aren't a cis man.  

I don't argue with these "trolls" but I do keep screenshots of what they send me, especially on Tumblr, where I am getting the most hate.  Arguing would be a massive time waste and investment in someone who is not acting in good faith.

I also object to the term "trolling", because I don't think we need a special term for harassment that occurs on the internet, like it's somehow less real. 

I do this work on the internet. These things are happening to me on the internet. That doesn't make them not real.

So at any rate- without further ado- I present a selection of my hate mail/comments.  Because the last week has been pretty dreadful.  Maybe dragging it into the light will clear up some personal headspace for me. 

Trigger warning for basically everything. I won't blame you if you want to look away, but keep in mind- for me to continue to do this work- I can't look away. This is what is happening in my workspace. 

I'd also like to note that 99% of these comments are from the Ok2BeFat tumblr. This is how people react to the message that fat people shouldn't have to hate themselves. Ok2BeFat is extremely tame and always positive, and this is what I get back on the regular.  

I also haven't included the various stalkers I have (for reasons), but yeah, that's happening too. 

I don't believe in redacting usernames on shitty comments to save face for shitty people. So I didn't. 


The concern trolls. 

Yes, I do consider this kind of bullshit to be abusive. Because what it boils down to with concern trolls is- prove to me that you have a right to live. To be happy. That's abusive. 

There's a lot of people accusing me of being dangerous and that omg fatness is killing everything. 

Pretending that you're just "asking questions"? Check. Bullshit concerns about "tax payers"? Check.  Equally concerned about the actual real money governments spend on killing innocent people overseas? I super doubt it. 

Fat person buying into fat hatred, check. 

Making people go blind. Literally. 

My opinion is that you don't know what you're talking about and pretending to care about other people's health is not as good of a camouflage for your hatred of fat people as you think.

So brave. Note the fake concern and the pretend questions. 

I'm sure this person is really concerned about my life expectancy based on these fake numbers they made up. 

Just asking questions!  

We just have SO MANY questions! In no way are these questions loaded! Or an attempt at derailing!

There's so much going on here. 

This person is extremely special in that they are demanding I edit my blog to their satisfaction (lol no) and denying that fat people can have eating disorders. 


Stop saying that diabetes is not a moral issue or a punishment!

I wonder if y'all's mother in law and old friend are cool with you using their lives as a way to score points on internet strangers. 


Name calling. 

Here we have 2 super common Reddit and 4chan obsessions- impersonating activists (or SJWs as they would say) and the projection that fat women are just trying to get thin boyfriends.  

Wants to "torch" my blog. 

They really seem to enjoy imagining these impossible amounts of food. 

There's so much going on here. 


People who don't want to be told that stigmatizing and humiliating fat children is child abuse.  Which it is. 

It's apparently ok to feed (starve) a 9 year old child on 800 calories a day. And I'm a bad writer. (Boo hoo. Get your own blog, Talib.) 


The Nazis. Actual Nazis, so... yeah. 

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 6.24.00 AM.png

I just want everyone to know that based on my experiences writing about fatness online, that if you send me hate mail, I'm just going to assume you're a white power Nazi. Because SO MANY of you actually are. 


There you have it. A small taster of what life is like for people who do this kind of work. 

Why publish it? Because I don't like being in a position where I feel like I can't talk about something. Because people need to see this before they dismiss the need for fat activism to exist.  There is a lot of bigotry out there. This is just a very small sampling. 

Wellness programs are terrible and getting worse

What do we mean by wellness? I think most people mean including habits in their lives that make their bodies feel better. Doing things that we hope will mean we get sick less often. Taking a multivitamin, maybe. Doing some stretching. 

Who could be against taking a vitamin? Or taking a nice walk? Or eating "better"?

Well, for one thing, eating well means different things for different people. Making blanket rules about food is not useful. Also, even if it was useful to make blanket rules, no one seems to be able to decide what those rules should be. 

The other problem is that what should be suggestions for ways to live better have been turned into status symbols and sticks to beat people with. 

There's no such thing a suggestion any more when it comes to "wellness" and "health". 

Over the past decade, we have seen coercion of "health" creep into the workplace, through wellness programs, leading up to their inclusion in the Affordable Care Act. 

These programs are a neo-liberal, corporate way to push more health care costs onto disliked groups- especially fat people.  

Rather than addressing rising health care costs at the point where they are rising- large corporate hospitals and health insurance corporations- or moving further towards a single payer model that limits costs-- we are shifting the burden of paying for everyone's health care onto a group of people that no one will stick up for. 

Employers love this. Any why wouldn't they? Most fat people are not going to suddenly become thin people, so they'll never stop saving money. 

Many employers have started biometric screenings, where they can take blood samples and measure your blood pressure, in addition to your weight.  There doesn't seem to be much to stop them from gathering all kinds of information on their employees, all the in name of "wellness" and prevention. 

The employers say that these programs are voluntary. And if you consider paying up to $4000 in penalties to keep your medical information private from your employer- they totally are. 

Can we please be honest and admit that anything that involves a $4000 charge is not voluntary at all if you're poor. Add on top of this that a lot of people are already subject to subtle and overt coercion in the office.  How voluntary is a program if your boss tells you to do it? 

When I saw on Shakesville that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was suing companies over their intrusive and discriminatory wellness programs, I was relieved. 

Finally, I thought. Someone is going to push back on these corporations' unchecked intrusion into people's private business. 

Until I found out about Senate Bill 620- the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act.

Sponsored by Senator Lamar Alexander, this bill retroactively exempts employers from medical and genetic privacy laws (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act), and the Americans with Disability Act.  It goes into effect starting March 23, 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was signed. 

I wonder who insures Honeywell? It's Blue Cross/Blue Shield! And who is the 2nd largest contributor to Lamar Alexander? It's ALSO Blue Cross/Blue Shield!

Well, that's super weird. I am really so very surprised. *sarcasm*

Basically, Lamar Alexander is looking to prevent any other action by the EEOC by changing laws meant to protect people from invasion of privacy and discrimination to make sure that those laws don't apply to employers. 

I don't think employers should be able to force people to give up medical information about themselves and their families. 

Do you really think we can trust American corporations to keep your private medical information private and not use it in ways that discriminate? 

No one should be forced to give their boss access to their medical history. 

I started a petition on Charge.org to ask Senators that are members of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to not allow this bill to move forward. 

Please sign my petition.  And thank you. 

Fat Jokes- Take Two, the Trevor Noah Edition

Quick recap for those who haven't been following it- Trevor Noah is a comedian. He is going to take over the Daily Show when Jon Stewart leaves. 

Once that was announced, people went through his Twitter timeline and dig up shitty, offensive jokes he made. Jokes about Jewish people, violence against women, and fat women.

Let me address the fat jokes, b/c that's my jam.

I am anti-fat jokes. I feel like it's possible to make a funny fat joke, but I don't remember ever hearing one. Mostly it's just people saying- fat women are disgusting, and then everyone's supposed to laugh.

So, yeah fuck that guy.

BUT. Here is the thing-- I am EXTREMELY suspicious that the mainstream is suddenly concerned about the feelings of fat women. The mainstream only bothers to notice fat women to shred our feelings and to mock us and the idea that we could even be people with feelings.

Amy Poehler spent 7 years making nasty little fat jokes on Parks and Recreation, and no one outside of fat activism ever said anything. 

Your girl Tina Fey loves fat jokes. And even Saint Jon Stewart makes fat jokes. All the time. 

ON the Daily Show. He makes the jokes ON the Daily Show.

Just google any time he ever talks about Chris Christie. (There are so many reasons to mock Christie, why go for his weight? He's a grade A asshole. You don't have to go there.)

NO ONE ever gets in trouble for making fat girl jokes. Ever. EVER.

So why is Trevor Noah? 

What do you call it when it's ok for white people to do something, but not ok for black people... I feel like there's a word for that...

Oh yeah, it's racism. It's structural racism, y'all!  I figured it out. 

Please don't be confused. Seriously, fuck him for his lazy bullshit, so-called jokes about fat women.  But, like FUCK EVERYONE. 

If you don't care when Amy Poehler does it, but you do when Trevor Noah does-- why is that? 

#droptheplus is fatphobic and patronizing

Stefania Ferrario is an Australian model. She is a AU size 8 (US size 4) and is apparently classified as a plus size model. 

Ajay Rochester is the former host of the Australian version of The Biggest Loser and is the author of several diet books.

Together they are pushing a campaign to drop the plus, which basically means they want all references to "plus sized" as a category removed, banned, etc.

Let's dig into why this terrible and infuriating. 

First of all? I am immediately suspicious of any so-called "body positive" movement that is being led by a thin model and someone who is associated with The Biggest Loser. 

The Biggest Loser is the televised torture and humiliation of fat people for the pleasure of those who hate us. It spreads dangerous ideas about bodies, and it increases the fat hatred in the world. 

Secondly-- Neither Ajay or Stefania consulted with any fat activists in any way before calling for the elimination of a category that does NOT apply to them.  

They have no clue about the recent history of plus size clothes, because if they did, they would know that calling for dropping the plus would immediately be perceived as a threat by actual plus sized women.

Retailers are constantly dropping the plus. By getting rid of their plus sized clothes. Target, Old Navy. the Gap... there are so many.

Even the stores that supposedly have plus sizes- don't always have them. Or they SAY they have plus, but what that really means is that they have a couple of small 1X sizes somewhere that are really just straight size large. 

It's not like it's ancient history that fat women had NOTHING. It was just a few years ago that I had to resort to buying men's clothes because I had no other choice. I can't even explain how humiliating that felt to me. 

Without access to the internet, I still would have nothing.

I would only have access to Lane Bryant's array of $50 each, solid colored T-shirts and Torrid's often years-long, bizarre design decisions. And that would be IT. 

These two are trying to give fat activists shit for "segregating" ourselves? 

Um... fucking EXCUSE ME? Quite a few of the boutique plus stores and lines that we have now exist because of FATshion bloggers and fat activists who made those clothes happen.

They don't exist b/c the straight size industry gives a goddamn about fat women. They exist b/c fat activists have spent years working organizing and fostering community among ourselves. 

We know about new brands and new stores b/c we tell each other about them. Those clothes will continue to exist b/c of our hard work and our money. 

So, now we know what #droptheplus is not about- helping fat people. Let's talk about what it IS about.

It's about making money for Stefania Ferrario and Ajay Rochester.  

Now, why would Stefania be labeled a plus size model? It's b/c most of the mainstream plus size brands use thin women to model their plus size clothes. They put padding on thin women and use clips in the back of the clothes to shape them around vastly thinner bodies than the people who will actually be wearing these clothes. 

This fucking sucks. It is basically impossible to tell from any photo in a Lane Bryant catalog how their dooky-ass handkerchief-hem, nightmare shirt will look on a fat body b/c they put a thin model in it. 

If Stefania was so opposed to this practice, it seems a little weird that this is how she is making her money. My guess is that she wants to up her profile so she can do straight size modeling instead and book better modeling jobs.  

Having 50 websites do the same hot take about plus sizes- each with the same photo of her coyly covering her breasts- will probably help. 

And Ajay Rochester has diet books to sell. She's an actor and an Australian celebrity. Her job is getting publicity.

Ajay will tell you that she can speak on this issue since she's fat now, but fat people can be fatphobic too. Also? The Biggest Loser.  She hosted The Biggest Loser. 

Let's make a new rule- Under no circumstances should a thin person have anything to say about plus sizes. 

If you don't shop plus- you have NO IDEA what that experience is like, b/c the lives and experiences of fat people and especially fat WOMEN have been made invisible.

Getting rid of the ability to even talk about plus sizes would just make us more invisible.

What else is it really about? Stefania doesn't want to be labeled plus size, b/c that's for fat people and she doesn't want to be lumped in with fat people.  

Yeah, no fucking joke, it's not a personal issue for you. And what exactly are these two proposing we do about size discrimination?

  From the drop the plus website

From the drop the plus website

We should eliminate discrimination by not talking about it! GENIUS! 

Like how we got rid of sexism by never mentioning it, b/c the word "sexism" makes men uncomfortable. 

I feel like y'all don't understand how structural discrimination works. *side eye emoji* 

And I highly fucking doubt you have the first idea what size discrimination entails. 

See- Twitter person who's name I cropped out to spare you the embarrassment of what you're saying here-- the thing is, when you're THIN-- you aren't being categorized by your size. 

That is how fat discrimination works. AGAINST FAT PEOPLE. 

It's almost like thin women AREN'T being categorized b/c of their size, unless you count being placed in the "good" category vs. the evil fat person category. Thin women never seem to count this!  WEIRD. 

"Why do you have to bring up labels", sniffs the person who isn't being stigmatized b/c of the category THEY are in. 

What other words can we think of that have been taken back by marginalized groups or tarnished by those in power... Like, why do you have to call yourself a feminist?? It's so hostile!

I'm just going to leave this one here and let you draw your own conclusions. 

Oh Tanzimat Apparel. You are not smart. 


Everyone covered the thin model's uninformed, ignorant, and insulting opinion on plus sizes and how awful it is to be associated with fatness. Did anyone cover the fat activist backlash?

Nope. One hundred nopes. 

Everyone talks about fat people but no one talks to us.  This is bullshit, and it needs to stop.

Look, Stefania and Ajay- here's the deal. The problem isn't the word "plus" in plus size. The problem is that people discriminate against and hate fat people.

You can't get rid of plus as a category, b/c straight size clothing is not made for us, so if you just change the word- call it Fun Size or Awesome Size or anything- whatever you call it is going to end up meaning all the negative things associated with fat people. 

B/c the actual problem? Is fat hatred. It's not some word. It's the actual harm done to fat people every single day. 

And I have to tell you, I am not excited to be lectured about what it means to be plus sized by someone who will never even SEE my life, much less understand it. 

This so-called campaign erases fat people. It is bullshit and it makes me furious. 

We don't need your "body positive" efforts that just add more stigma. That tell the already acceptable people how ok they are. We are suffocating on that already.