Saturday, 11 December 2010

Bodies belong to people

Over at discourse Samantha put up a video of an interview which included her-and Christine Morgan talking about underwear for fat people, it focused on those higher up the scale because that was something the programme makers could go "oh ah!" about, excuse my awkward phrasing but I will not use that vile phrase morbid nor do I feel comfortable with deathfatz as that feels like a specific in joke, rather than a more general one.

The post itself is about finding and using rational terms for those who are bigger, but after the discussion, something struck me that might be worth saying.

Taking a look at the opening frame of the video, you can see a young woman posing with a pair of large underwear to give an idea of their size. Not to insult her as a person, but she strikes me as looking really silly. As I said to spilt milk in the comments, I know the effect they are going for, but I'm a bit past having my buttons pressed by mere comparison to thinner bodies. I'm not ashamed and I do not think any other fat(ter) people should be either.

From what thinner women tell us, she'd be pretty mortified if I wore her draws as a necklace to show how utterly 'insignificant' and ickle she might seem in comparison to me.Which brings me to an important point.

When there was talk of allies of FA and what thin people could do etc.., at first I was surprised as I thought we'd all be in it together, sort of thing, but that didn't always fit. What has increasingly occurred is that thin people, women especially need to wake up to this kind of mis use of their bodies. Using their bodies to show up other people's steals it away from them too in part. It can be that insidious.

What we have to understand here is that this woman's body is being used as a tool to size ab absent fat woman's body. When I look at it, her body may not provoke any strong feelings, but that doesn't mean it has no overall effect on how people come to react to thinner bodies. They come to signify something that is not quite human, so they can become a bit less human, even though what they signify is supposed  to be positive.

And I daresay, they come to associate the pain they may feel from those comparisons, with seeing a thin body.

Some may say, its complimentary to her and deeply insulting to the (non appearing) fat woman, possibly, but what you have to see is she isn't there in her own right, she is a tool to measure another very marginalized and probably highly ridiculed and abused body. It is in comparison to that, highly charged body, that she seems overlooked, in some ways, she's not that much more present than the absent, because of the purpose of her being there.

What gets shoved into the background when people talk 'thin privilege' is that thin people, women especially need to consider rescuing the iconography of their bodies too, something a lot of them don't consider because they-their bodies-are not under the same kind of attack as others.

This mis-use of thin women's bodies to demean others, sometimes less fat than the women not featured, is part of why they may find themselves treated to aggression and resentment

Thinner women need to become more cognisant of this requisitioning of their own bodies merely to personify perfection of look, health as a visual admonishment for others, even if that feels like a win.

The alienation from other women feeds into the appropriation of the 'real bodies' theme as they have been separated out from other bodies to personify what to many is an unreachable and unrealistic ideal.

When their bodies are used in these kinds of ways, they need to defend the integrity worth and value of their very real bodies with their stories. They need to speak up, " I am healthy, because that's how my body is with its genetic, environmental legacy, not merely because it is thin" or "My body is struggling right now, honour it by not erasing that with pretence that it cannot be because it is thin".
In a different way, their bodies have been appropriated and depersonalized from being the kind that millions of women have, whether they are just that way, or it feels like a struggle, their metabolism must do most of that-whether the latter category are ready to hear that or not- so the natural thin (or fat) is not just a body that is like that without effort.

They must decide whether their bodies exist because they are theirs, without shame because they have to live up to an ideal they are being used to project, or whether they feel they do well enough out of that to go with the quo.

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