Blogging for HONS 201: Feminism, New Media, and Health at Hunter College.
In a world where fat women are refused medical care because of their weight, poorly represented in the media (when or if they’re represented at all), and constantly stereotyped as lazy, unhealthy, or unhygienic, one woman dared to be different and took a stand…by starting a Kickstarter campaign to publish a book “standing up against a society that protects fat culture while bastardizing thin and athletic women.”
I am all for body positivity; I love all body types and constantly try to check myself when I move towards body snarking. But I cannot, for the life of me, understand where this woman got it in her head that thin, athletic women are persecuted by society. The book, created by Britton Delizia, is meant to be filled of photos of thin, lithe women holding up signs similar to the one above in order to help little girls who feel like she needs to “be overweight o fit in with the current 70% of the overweight population of America, and it gives her the strength to know that being healthy isnt a bad thing.” Because TV shows like The Biggest Gainer, Dance Your Ass On, and Extreme Makeover: Weight Gain Edition, are constantly solidifying and institutionalizing negative attitudes towards the people who dare to work out in popular culture.
Its undeniable that when we stand a skinny, athletic or even average sized female next to a larger (even if less healthy, overweight or obese) female, that unless we live outside of this stigma, we as Americans will assume that the heavier person is funnier, smarter, nicer, and less sexually promiscuous, all because she is not as thin or physically fit than the girl next to her.
People will also assume that the overweight woman is more gluttonous, less healthy, more lazy, more sexually undesirable, and more sexually-starved. (I can’t find it now, but there was a particularly despicable meme that circulated around the time of Occupy Wall Street’s press peak; an image of a fat woman excitedly hailing a cab, with the caption: “Take me to Zucotti!” in reference to the reports of sexual assaults in the campsites. Because as a fat lady, she should be grateful that someone would even want to rape her.)
But, unwittingly, I think, Delizia makes an interesting point. There are certain cultural stereotypes we have embedded in female thin-ness (even if they are considered the “good” traits to have), just as there are stereotypes in fatness. According to Delizia, if you’re thin, people think you’re a slut; but if you’re fat, you’re lucky if someone even considers having sex with you. It points to the larger social system in which women just can’t win; you’re damned if you’re too skinny, and damned if you’re not. Delizia could have engaged in a project that celebrates all kinds of body types, instead of falling into the patriarchal system that seeks not only to commodify women, but also pit them against each other, as she does by attempting to publish this book.
Also, her solution really reminds me of Jenna Maroney’s camp for girls on 30 Rock for its ineffectiveness, uselessness, and inability to see the larger problem at hand: