I had the privilege of attending the first Big Fat Blog Think Tank and, in addition to meeting some fantastic folks and learning a lot about Fat Acceptance as a movement, I also received a really awesome pin designed by Paul at Big Fat Blog that looks like this:
I affixed the pin to the flap of my messenger bag and anybody seated on the train or bus while I stand in the aisle has a direct, eye-level view of a simple, important, yet still quite subversive message: Love your body.
What’s so subversive about loving your body? Well, that depends on the body now doesn’t it? If we fit within the narrow confines of what this society finds beautiful, if we are thin but not too thin, or white enough or appropriately exotified or at least not too ethnic, if we are tall but not too tall, if we are able-bodied, if our hair is of the right texture, if we have the right size boobs, if we have no socially unacceptable body hair, if our skin is free of zits and wrinkles and freckles and moles, if our periods are light and our shit don’t stink then hey! What’s not to love? But what if your body falls outside the framework of what we are told is lovable?
Fruitfemme wrote stunningly about this idea of the unlovable body on Blogging for Choice day:
Bodies on the margins have always had to fight for integrity.
Untidy, abnormal, non-compliant, oppositional bodies.
Bodies that can’t be ignored when they’re too big or small or too female or too ambiguous or too uncaring of gender rules altogether or too mobile in a power chair or too loud with their sign language or too brown or too black or too difficult to categorize or too fertile/infertile or too damn many of the above all at once.
When your body fails to conform to the many requirements for attractiveness, when you refuse to harm yourself physically and mentally to abide by these ever more strict rules, when you love your unlovable body, you are being one subversive cookie. And when you wear a pin encouraging others to love their bodies, when you tacitly assert to the general public that you are okay with your own sweet, oppositional body just the way it is, you’re informing everybody who can read your pin that it is indeed possible to quit the game and come out ahead and love your unlovable body. That’s some heady and liberating stuff. And it terrifies those with something to gain from our continued self-loathing and whimpering compliance.
Some of you are aware that Rachel of The F-Word (wearing the aforementioned “Love Your Body” pin on her stylish lapel!) and Monique of BFD exhibited some iron-clad ovaries and appeared on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet today to advocate for the Fat Acceptance movement, going up against monomaniacal insane person Meme Roth and a very telegenic doctor who fit very neatly within society’s approved definition of attractiveness. At about 34 seconds in to the second video linked on BFD or Shapely Prose, when asked why she had such a problem with fat acceptance, monomaniacal insane person Meme Roth said:
When we first heard about the fat acceptance movement, I think we all thought it meant that we wanted no one to be cruel to any one at any size and I think every one of us would agree to that but it’s kind of become is somehow “big is beautiful,” a glorification of obesity, somehow obesity and feminism are connected, it’s really kind of gone off the bend.
In other words, Meme Roth is okay with fat acceptance as long as its primary goal is to eradicate meanness, but as soon as it begins to espouse a beauty standard that contradicts her own personal aesthetic opinions, it’s gone off the bend. The fact that she includes the intersection between fat acceptance and feminism as examples of around-the-bendness is pretty strong evidence that her problem is less with health and more with these uppity fat bitches daring to oppose the hegemony of beauty standards.
This tells me that Fat Acceptance as a movement has some serious potential to be about more than just fat, but can serve as a platform on which all nonconforming bodies can stand and shout “We love our bodies” until the walls come down.