Kerishma.

Blogging for HONS 201: Feminism, New Media, and Health at Hunter College.

Attempt to Publish Book Celebrating Thin Women Misses the Point

Image from the Kickstarter page.

Image from the Kickstarter page. “I’m sorry the butt I work for isn’t as good as the one you ate for.” Whatever the hell that means.

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.”

Wait…what?

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.

Delizia states,

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:

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2 comments on “Attempt to Publish Book Celebrating Thin Women Misses the Point

  1. kyotoredbird
    December 7, 2012

    This is probably a response to the “real women have curves” movement, but you’re right, it misses the mark. Body snarking does happen against the very thin; as a thin woman, I’ve had strangers tell me to go eat a sandwich or to be careful so the wind doesn’t blow me away. When I was a teenager, a boy told me that I might “actually be pretty” if I ever filled out. I won’t say I’ve ever been overly-sexualized because of my body type; I look somewhat young for my age so I’m often mistaken for a teenager. I just get a lot of the “wow, you must not eat” comments and questions about eating disorders.

    HOWEVER, none of this makes it ok to snark on overweight women, either, nor does it trivialize the taunting, teasing, and rudeness experienced by bigger girls. A book celebrating how women come in all shapes and sizes (thin, curvy, athletic, tall, short, pear-shaped, etc) would have been an idea I could get behind. I can’t get behind this one. I’ve been teased as a thin woman; but I don’t feel victimized. Frustrated sometimes, yes. But not victimized. These women shouldn’t, either.

    • kerishma
      December 8, 2012

      Ugh, the “real women have curves” movement frustrates me so much. I feel like it’s well-intentioned, but misses the mark as well; it suggests that the naturally thin – or those who work to be thin/athletic – are somehow “fake” or not “real.” It just further creates divides by pitting women against each other, when what we should be doing is coming together to overcome the idea that one kind of woman is somehow more inherently “real” or better than others.
      Thank you for reading!

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This entry was posted on December 6, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .

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