Omega

Blatantly Obvious – Being Pregnant isn’t the same as being Fat.

To me, the crux of the “Fat Acceptance” movement is a core belief that hating yourself, and specifically hating your body, is a bad, bad thing. I see it more of a “Body Acceptance” movement, to be honest. All of us, fat, thin and everyone in between needs to be a little kinder to ourselves. None of us are doing ourselves, or anyone else any good by hating our own, or other people’s bodies. 

We all know that body-hate is fashionable. Many of us in FA World also realise that body-hate is really damaging, and that it’s an epidemic sweeping our society that’s doing a heck of a lot more damage than the supposed “Obesity epidemic” the media is so fond of talking about.

Sometimes it seems as though this particular form of hate has become so acceptable it’s considered normal. So normal, in fact, that it seems it’s a suitable riff for a paid blogger on a national media site. 

Case in Point: Alison Godfrey, and her recent rant on her blog “The Naughty Corner”. Her blog entry is entitled, “Third trimester pregnancy – what it’s really like.”

At the time of writing her entry Alison was 35 weeks pregnant, right in the home stretch of pregnancy. Unsurprisingly, she’s uncomfortable and cranky. 

So cranky, in fact, that she didn’t have time to spell check her entry, let alone determine the difference between “your” and “you’re”, but we can forgive her these minor infractions. After all, she has a new life growing inside of her, and as any woman who’s ever been pregnant can tell you this is not only a wonderful, joyous time, but also an extremely uncomfortable time, physically.

In the third trimester, one would expect that morning sickness (who ever named it that, clearly never had it) would be well and truly over, thankfully. Unfortunately Alison seems to be choosing to continue to erupt with bile right through her pregnancy, and this vitriolic outpouring of hate directed at fat people is just as odious and unpleasant as anything that nausea-causing-hormones might make you produce. 

Apparently it’s not the muscle-relaxing hormones flooding her system, causing every bone joint to loosen and ache that’s making her uncomfortable. It’s not the baby inside of her, dancing a tango on her bladder and digestive tract, altering her centre of balance and pushing her stomach acids upwards for heartburn and reflux fun that is the cause of her grief. It’s not the fact that she has a small person occupying some of the space where her lungs used to be that’s causing her to huff and puff if she exerts herself. It’s not the fact that her entire body is using all of its energy to GROW A WHOLE NEW HUMAN BEING INSIDE OF HER that’s making her feel utterly exhausted… 

Oh no, it’s because she is “Fat”. And in her newly “Fat” state, she has gained an intimate understanding of what it is like for all people everywhere to be fat. 

It would not take a genius, one would think, to realise that having a living, moving little person occupying your abdominal region is a vastly different physical experience to having fat deposits in various places all over your body.  This simple fact seems to elude Alison. We’re treated to several paragraphs of how what she is experiencing must be in all ways similar to the living hell that any fat person must be residing in on a daily basis – in her dystopian fantasy world.

WHY would anyone choose this, she asks plaintively. Why indeed, Alison? Let’s ignore the irony that Alison perhaps chose to get pregnant and definitely chose to stay pregnant, wilfully and stubornly exposing herself to these various physical discomforts. 

Why would anyone choose to be fat, when they are ridiculed, scorned, and when hating them is so accepted by society that something like this makes it to publication?

Perhaps, dear Alison, it’s because they don’t actually have a choice. Perhaps, and I know this sounds an utterly LUDICIOUS idea, but try to contemplate it for a moment.. perhaps they are accepting of the body they have, and not consumed with self-hatred. Perhaps, even.. they’re fat and healthy, and NOT experiencing symptoms day-to-day that are the same or similar as a woman in the third trimester of her pregnancy. 

Some women experience the darkening of their skin when they are pregnant. This can be quite pronounced. Some women get what’s called a “mask of pregnancy”, and their skin gets all blotchy, with light and darker patches. Would it be acceptable for a woman who was experiencing this symptom to rant and rave on a national news site about how she had a new understanding of the lives of other darker-skinned people? “I’ve got a confession to make – having Cholasma faciei/melasma makes you intolerant of black people. I can’t find a makeup base to match my skintone, it’s terrible! Why would anyone choose to be dark-skinned, it’s just so hard, why don’t they do something about it?”

Would that have made it past the editors to publication? Would that induce anything but horror and rage and disbelief in all who read it? 

It would have been completely, utterly unacceptable to publish – as this nasty piece of hatred should have been.

She admits in the first line of her entry that what she’s saying is blatantly discriminatory. In the same way that any sentence that needs to be begun with “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic, but…..” should not be uttered at all, let alone published, this collection of ill-informed hateful words should also never have made it past an editors desk. 

Shame on you, News Ltd, and shame on you, Alison. 

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  • nitrojane

    *applauds*

  • http://randomette.blogspot.com ErinAree

    This post brings me joy.

  • http://twitter.com/loriersea Lori Errico-Seaman

    I had a baby in March. I gained a total of 10 pounds during the pregnancy; what that meant was that I actually weighed about 20 pounds less at the end of my pregnancy than I did several years ago when I was breastfeeding my son.

    Let me tell you, how I felt in my third trimester was not in any way caused by the ten pounds I gained during the pregnancy. I was in constant pain. I had awful sciatica. I had terrible acid reflux. I couldn't sleep. I got out of breath at the drop of a hat. I was miserable.

    When I weighed twenty pounds more than that, but wasn't pregnant, I felt nothing like that. I had no acid reflux. I had no sciatica. My ankles weren't swollen. I could sleep. I was doing 45-minute cardio workouts without any problem. I felt great.

    Fat people (unless they happen to be pregnant) are not growing human beings inside of them. It's utterly absurd to assume that pregnancy discomforts are due to weight gain rather than being pregnant, but unfortunately it does seem to be increasingly common to assume just that.

  • http://melissamaples.com/ Melissa Maples

    While I agree with everything you've said here in terms of content, if you're going to go the route of snarking on a writer's apparent inability to spellcheck and choose the correct words before letting an article go public, then you need to be Johnny-on-the-spot about proofreading and editing your own work. Otherwise you leave yourself wide open to ridicule, basically inviting people to get in petty tit-for-tat grammar arguments instead of focusing on the real, valid issue you've brought up here.

    (hint: look up the difference between “allude” and “elude”)

  • http://www.coaxwithcandy.com sharnee

    Holy shit!
    That article of Alison's is the biggest piece of shit I have read in a long time. She must be seriously fucked up by some extreme pregnancy hormones to be going that nutty (seriously).

  • http://twitter.com/CyV CyV

    Thank you! _o_ -tweets-

  • shinobi42

    Awesome post. Yet another occasion in which this song is appropriate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJRzBpFjJS8

  • http://twitter.com/loriersea Lori Errico-Seaman

    The comments on that blog post are also unbelievably stupid. “I used to be fat and now I'm pregnant and I can't believe I ever felt like this all the time!” “I'm fat, and it's so awful, I'm glad you understand now.”

    FFS, people. Pregnant women in their third trimester have, on average, a human being that will go, in three months, from about 3 pounds to about 8 pounds living in side of them, taking up space that their bladder, lungs, and stomach used to get to enjoy. That human being who is living inside of them is relying on their supply of blood and oxygen, using their excretory system, and otherwise making huge demands on their body.

    The only explanation I can have for the level of stupidity I'm seeing over there is that people think that fat people have a literal thin person living inside of them, making the same demands on their body that a fetus makes on the body of a pregnant woman. Otherwise there is just no possible way I can understand how people cannot recognize that maybe the reason being pregnant feels crappy is because you are actually growing another human being using nothing but the resources of your own body, and not because of the 15-35 pounds most women gain.

    After I had both of my kids, my first reaction was, “Holy crap, you were inside of me.” I have big babies–9 lbs. and 8 lbs.–and it's so crazy to realize that this baby was, just moments before, inside your body. I cannot understand how anybody could think that the human being sucking life out of you as it grows is not the reason pregnancy is so uncomfortable. But it does go to show how batshit insane we've gotten about weight.

  • http://www.steampunkerie.com/ Omega

    Thanks Melissa.. good catch! :)

  • http://www.steampunkerie.com/ Omega

    I'd never seen this before.. and now I've watched everything they've done.. hilarious stuff, thanks for letting me know it existed! :)

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