As I began to work on this project more-- the art project I'm calling Being a Fat Girl right now until I can think of something better-- as I spend more time thinking about it, it is starting to evolve.
Originally, I was thinking of working with street harassment exclusively, but the subject matter has expanded. (Like my ass!! SEE WHUT I DID THERE!)
For one thing, I didn't want to use the words "Fat Bitch" over and over (and over and over ). Street harassers aren't exactly clever people.
I wanted to engage more with the totality of my fat lady experience. I wanted to use things that happened to me when I was a fat kid and when I was online dating while fat and all through my big fat life.
What a shame.
You have such a pretty face.
This one is from my childhood. Random ladies (and the occasional man) would say this to me, usually when I was shopping for clothes with my mom. Or if I was trying to preform "nice and dressed up little girl", which they didn't hesitate to let me know, was a complete failure.
I think I started hearing this around 7 or 8. And I can't emphasize enough--
The majority of this body shaming of a little girl is coming from COMPLETE FUCKING STRANGERS.
And it was devastating. Every single time.
In addition to being a super fucked up thing to say about a kid, it's confusing as fuck.
What does it mean? That if I'm fat, I should also be ugly? That if I lost weight, I could attain a truly Pretty self, and therefore be more acceptable in public? That access to all things Girl and Female and Pretty are cut off to me, because I'm fat?
All of the above?
Is it possible to be pretty in a traditional way and still be fat? What does it even mean to be pretty? Isn't the concept of Pretty a sexist tool of oppression?
Not to mention the intersection of race and Pretty. Since the dominant (White) culture is the one determining what gets to count as Pretty and therefore acceptable for a woman, I am benefited by being a white person and thereby having more access to whatever white culture has determined to be Pretty.
The way I read this comment now is that since I have some of the markers of what people would consider Pretty--
I'm white. I have pleasing facial features that read as feminine. I appear to come from the "correct" social class.
That it's a shame that my fatness comes in and ruins everything.
Fuck that noise. All of it. Fuck sexism and classism and racism. Fuck ALL of the bigotry.
In this series of photos, I am trying to make my "pretty face" look as weird as possible. And I have to tell you, I really enjoyed making the weird faces. Josh would tell you that I make weird faces all the time.
I am doing this project for the other fatties because it's important to talk about our experiences. Nothing is so lonely as thinking it's just you.
But I'm also doing this project for the non-fat people out there. Because when I tell non-fat people about my experiences, they are shocked.
This happens every day. It happens ALL the time. Right now, someone is informing a fat little girl that she's ugly. And this person is GROWN and ought to know fucking better.
I can't even count the number of times this happened to me.
This is the pain that never goes away. I've erected my punk rock Fuck You force field to keep myself sane and protected, but there's still a core of a little kid who doesn't understand why grown ups keep hurting her feelings and telling her she's ugly.
It's a core of rage and shame. And every so often, something dumb happens that sends me right back into that place, and I cry and I rage and it sucks pretty hard.
I demand to be treated like a person. I demand that my experience not be erased by people who tell me that I'm too sensitive. I demand the right to be left the fuck alone.
Which is really all I have ever wanted.