Saturday, 14 November 2009

Fatness is unfeminist

Again, I've been forced to contemplate the disappointing reactions of feminists to views from fat women that challenge assumptions. Marianne of the rotund wrote a post at CiF. Amongst the usual slurry of hate a few interesting things were said, a couple of comments that for me epitomized the problems most feminists seem to have with fatness.

In this case I'm referring mostly to white middle class slim feminists of course. I must admit, having listened to their endless whines and gripes over the years, I thought they'd be more able to extend the same favour, not approval, but the capacity to listen. The ability to recognise it wasn't always about them, in the way that is de rigueur if you aren't one of them.

I've found out the hard way, how unequal that is. It's not that I didn't know before, I didn't realise the extent though, I finally do. Mswoman;
I have to admit to being really conflicted about this issue. Not on the issue of hurling abuse at fat people I hasten to add, that's never right and never will be. I'm also not conflicted about joining the author and others in condemning the beauty industry/the media and so on for perpetuating ridiculous and for most people completely unattainable standards of acceptability when it comes to body size/looks etc.  
I've quoted rather a lot I know, but I did not want to reduce her comments merely to those that were tiresome. She goes on;
And I will say that what I do find frustrating and quite dangerous at the moment is the way that parts of the feminist blogosphere in particular seem now to be trying to sell obesity not only as a valid and empowering lifestyle choice.
Selling. I know we all now realise the error of our ways and recognise that capitalism is the only way, but putting the other side of a one sided crusade is not selling anything. Obesity. Obesity is the construction of the state of being fat as a disease. I do not accept it as such, full stop. Lifestyle choice? Fatness is not a lifestyle of any kind whatsoever, anymore than thinness, or being plump.
which I'm sure it can be for some, but as something that's entirely without consequence: because quite clearly it's not.
If you're sure, why don't you STFU then? Then there's this, who incidentally the above assured everyone was a troll, probably but a troll who is bang on the money with a certain mentality;
20CenturyWoman I am a feminist... .. and although I do feel that a great many women are overweight for reasons of unhappiness which is engendered by an oppressive patriarchal system, women who are fat or overweight are essentially undermining their own claim to the boons of liberation and feminism.
So far fat is unfeminist;
In many ways I see becoming fat as 'self harm'... and in much the same way that I despise the horror of FGM, equally i condemn the act of making oneself fat... it is a crime that women commit upon themselves.. just like FGM.
That's female genital mutilation. Not only do fat women let themselves down, but also detract credibility from the feminist cause and individual women who take pride in themselves i.e are slim. Described as a troll, another contributor "imogenblack" said no, she'd heard the same thing from friends of hers. She supposed it was a reaction against the dungareed man hating stereotype that people have leveled against feminism.

For these mild comments they were described as self hating by 20CenWoman;
Let me be clear in saying that I do NOT disrespect Marianne in any way for allowing herself to fall below respectable standards of health or weight. That is her CHOICE and I would fight for her CHOICE to remain unhealthy and unattractive if that is what she wanted... it is her right as a WOMAN to decide for herself.. this is what feminism is all about... That said, I feel that as a force, feminism would be a more determined and powerful movement if women were to maintain high standards, morally, intellectually and physically.... I realise that this sounds draconian.. but I envisage a world where each woman can feel proud of who she is... where she can look at herself, inside and out, and say "I am a woman"... What we are asking of men is 'respect me'... how can we ask that if we do not respect ourselves?.. if we do not respect our minds AND our bodies?
I don't wish to be bracketed with people like this. 

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