About This Site
I am fat.
Though this is a term loaded with meaning, expectations, perceptions, denotations, connotation, representations, imagery, criticism, and commendation, I intend it as an observation. It is statement bogged down by history, psychology, culture, biology, sociology, economics, and geography. It pervades our cultural media more than we realize. It pervades our minds more than we realize. (“Wow, look at how fat she’s gotten!”; “Woo, boy, look at that fine fat ass!”; “I am so fat!”; “Look at my little man, he’s gotten so fat! Look at those chubby cheeks!”; “I don’t know if I’d date a fat guy….”)
I have more fat than the average woman. I am just bigger. My clothes size is bigger. My bras size is bigger. My jewelry size is bigger. My shoe size is bigger. Heck, my towels are bigger! It’s just a fact of life and accept it for what it is. It’s a part of me, as much as the fact that my eyes are green and my hair is wavy.
What puts meaning into my fatness is other people. Some may think of it as repulsive, or something to use as an insult against me. Others may value it and view it as a part of my beauty. I would estimate that it is more likely to be seen as a negative than a positive in our contemporary culture – a no-brainer to most of you. As my 10th grade English teacher and mentor, Evelyn Sideri of East Meadow High School, once put it, “[Being hateful to fat people] is the last acceptable prejudice,” – and I agree with her. But there is a growing faction of people who support fat people in their efforts to break down stereotypes, discrimination, and boundaries that society has imposed upon them. They are part of a somewhat underground campaign known as the Fat Acceptance Movement, as well as a a sub-category of the campaign known as the Fat Feminism Movement. Out of these has emerged a very new and very controversial academic field known as Fat Studies, which parallels Black Studies, Latin Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and other similar academic fields in how previously under-respected social groups have gained enough significance within our culture to warrant attention from the academic community.
I intend to explore these campaigns and this area of study, as well as how culture and media represent fat people within our society. There will be negative things, but positive ones as well. It seems as though the work of the activists, particularly the Fat Feminists in the 1980s, has made a noticeable impact on how our culture views fat people. Personally, I have noticed quite a change in the past five-to-ten years in how now more widespread the positive image of fat (more popularly deemed “curvaceous” or “full-figured”) women has become. From the recent growth in the number and popularity of stylish plus-size clothing brands (no more muu-muus and oversize tees for us!) to the ever more ubiquitous appearances of “Love Your Fat Self!”-style self-esteem booster books and chick-lit novels. I think a lot of this has to do with the growth of the usability of the Internet in the last ten years, which has allowed for non-tech-savvy people to create online communities with people like themselves. In other words, fat women are meeting other fat women from all over the world, and through social computing, they are commiserating, sharing ideas, boosting their confidences, and they are creating and spreading the gospel. Of course, this is a major topic that needs a full post, and so I will elaborate on this at a later time.
The point is, to misquote The Color Purple‘s Celie, “I’m big, fat, I may even be unattractive, but dear God I’m here, I’m here!”