Thursday, October 15th, 2009
So, my last blog post sparked some interesting reactions..
I’m new to this FA stuff. And new to blogging about it. New to thinking about it, new to talking about it. So it’s not suprising, I guess, that I’m constantly suprised at how people react to what I post.
This was a blindside for me, for sure. There’s comments floating around telling me I’m not fat *enough*. Fat enough to .. what? Call myself fat? Think of myself that way? Talk about it? Blog about it?
My reaction to this is pretty much the same as the “Oh! you’re not fat!” ones. Open-mouthed, gaping, eye-rolling disbelief.
I feel like a kid, banging on the door of a clubhouse. In my head it’s a tree house with lots of warnings on the door. Through the gingham-curtained windows you can see all sorts of interesting things.
Omega: *Knock Knock Knock* Hi! Is this the “we’re fat and that’s okay” club? Can I come in??
WFATOKC: What? You? No way! Get Lost!
Omega: *crestfallen* But.. why?
WFATOKC: You’re not fat!!!
Omega: .. huh?
WFATOKC: You’re not fat ENOUGH. Sure, you’re fat enough to be mocked, excluded and shamed for your size. You’re fat enough to be considered obese by a doctor, and be lectured for it. You’re fat enough that many people think you’re fat. You’re fat enough to it to be the first perjorative out of anyone’s mouth when they are trying to have a go at you. You’re fat enough to shop in plus-size stores. You’re fat enough to qualify for Xenical or lap-band surgery, if you wanted them. You’re fat enough to be hooted at by morons in cars when you walk down the street. You’re fat enough to be stared down the nose at in high-fashion stores and be told snootily “Oh, we have nothing here for YOU.”
….but you’re not fat ENOUGH.
Omega: But.. but..
*door slams in face*
I get that, at size 18, I am on the “smaller” end of fat. I get that people fatter than me have more to deal with. I get that my problems are less in some areas than other people who are fatter than me. I GET THAT.
Some people call those of us in this size range “inbetweenies”. And that is what it feels like sometimes. Too thin for the “properly” fat kids… too fat (way, way too fat) for the thin kids.
What’s a (maybe not fat enough) fat girl to do?
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Here’s something I think every fat person faces sooner or later..
It normally happens around the time you start really identifying as fat. Just when you get comfortable enough to say “I’m fat” in the same way you might say “I have bright red hair.” “I have blue eyes.” You might like or dislike these attributes to a certian degree, but they are not inherently good or evil. They are just an accurate description of your physical appearance.
Sooner or later, you will get somone saying “Oh! You’re not Fat!!”.
It seems as though they are saying “Oh! Don’t say that terrible thing about yourself!”.. with the assumption that “fat” is a horribly negative term and not someone ANYONE would want to describe themselves as. Like saying “I’m hoplessly lazy”, or “I’m ugly”.. as though it’s a subjective, negative thing you need to be talked out of.
How the freak do you respond to that?
Here’s how I handled it recently – for good or ill. Some context, just in case it’s useful.
I was in a silly short film. My friends and I love the author Neil Gaiman, and he said on his blog that if anyone filmed themselves doing a dance that he wrote about in his book “The Graveyard Book” then he’d blog it. So, with that challenge at our feet, we had to make this thing. (Yes, we are that geeky.). So we did! It was fun! And then it did get posted on Neil’s blog, big cheers all around. The link to the film is here
Here we are.
Can you tell which one I am?
After someone was critising the film, I said “I’m not the director, I’m just the fat girl dancing in the back”.. you know, to identify myself. I figured it was an obvious attribute to distinguish me from the other people in the film.
And then I get this, from another commenter: “Following additional scrutiny, I feel confident in declaring that you are NOT fat.”
My reply? “If that was meant as a compliment, then thank you. But I am fat, and I am totally okay with that. “
He comes back with.. “We clearly have different criteria for what constitutes “fat”. Or you’re speaking another language.”
..at which point I think I just have to let it go. Or it starts to sound like I am fishing for compliments (if you assume “not fat” is a compliment). Or that I just have self esteem issues.
I really don’t know how to respond when people say this. I get it a lot, and I doubt there’s a fat girl out there who hasn’t copped it on more than one occassion.
Do you get all preachy? “Hmm, it seems as though you’re attaching some negative connotations to the word “fat” that I don’t. Understandable, given all the hatred out there, but what you mighn’t realise is by saying things like that you’re actually perpetuating those negative stereotyes. How would it be if I just was fat, and that was all right?”
Or maybe just an all out rant.. “Are you on crack or something? Maybe you need to get your eyes tested!! I AM FAT! I promise, I’m not lying, I really am, please have another look at the picture. It’s okay to agree with me. I promise this is not a trap! I’m fat! ITS OKAY TO ADMIT THAT!!”
I just don’t know. What do you do when you cop this one?
Monday, October 12th, 2009
Let’s start with the bad..They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so let’s just have a look at this, shall we?
This has been blogged at Boing Boing and all over the place, and Ralph Lauren have been keen to get it taken DOWN, lodging DCMA’s with wild abandon. Unfortunately for them republishing an image like this for the purposes of “critisism and comment” is pretty much THE definition of “Fair Use” so they’re not having a lot of luck.
I don’t know about you, but my very first reaction when looking at this image is “What the F*%K??” – it looks very glaringly and obviously wrong to me. The proportions are ridiculous, and it’s just silly looking… her head is HUGE compared to the rest of her body.. what is up with that?
What I can’t understand is how this got to print.. I am presuming that between this photo getting butchered in photoshop and the magazine going on the shelves there would have been a fair number of eyes on it. Why didn’t anyone pipe up and say “Umm, this is stupid?”
It’s obvious to me that there’s something drastically wrong with this image. Is it because I don’t live in “Magazine land” that my eye hasn’t been warped beyond all sensibility?
This puts me in mind of environmental disasters – like when they are using something toxic to make homes, or in people’s food.. the people who have the highest rate of exposure get sick first, and display the most obvious symptoms.
Is this what is happening here? We know these images are damaging, to all of us – tall women and short women and fat women and thin women, young women and old women.. these images? They don’t make ANYONE feel good about themselves.. even the tiny portion of the population that actually look like the (pre-photoshop) models don’t feel good looking at these images..
And if you look at them too long, too much – your eyes get poisoned by them. Your idea of what a woman looks like gets warped. Warped so badly, you might let something like this get all the way to the printers.
This is a dramatic example of what is happening to all of us on a smaller scale.. the only thing we can do is try to limit our exposure to this posion, and balance it out with positive, realistic images of women as much as we can.
Enough of that, I think I’ve ranted enough.
On a more positive note.. the most popular women’s magazine in Germany, Bridgette, has recently announced that they will no longer be using professional models in their magazine. Their press release is below, translated more-or-less-understanably via my trusty google translator..
Because beauty has many faces BRIGITTE starts the initiative “Without Models”: From now on, all photo spreads for BRIGITTE will not be photographed with models, but with women like you and us. What counts is the personality. We invite you to join in!
So we start a revolution:
BRIGITTE there from 02 January 2010 only
From today, all photo spreads in BRIGITTE, from fashion to beauty to living and fitness, no longer produced with models –
but with women like you and us.
Because women do not need a deputy. They can require nothing more. Because clothing is now no question of trends, but of personality. Because not only create new looks on the catwalk, but on the streets, in schools, on concert stages, in the cinema, in a café around the corner. Because we want to show fashion and beauty in the future women who are not subject to the often perverse laws of the business model, but middle of their lives.
Because there is nothing better than WOMEN.
Hmm, real women? No more photoshopping or airbrushing? That sounds like a step in the right direction to me. I find myself hoping this is a great success for them, and that other magazines follow suit.
Because I enjoy sitting down with a magazine as much as the next person.. but I’d rather some eye-candy instead of some brain-poision, wouldn’t you?
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
Well hell-oooo Axis of Fat!
I’m Omega. Yeah, as in Ω ..
I’m a goth. I’m a steampunk. I’m a DJ. I’m a feminist. I’m a mother. I’m a geek. I’m poly.
Oh – and I’m fat.
I have been gifted by the fates with a classic hourglass figure. Regardless of my weight, my waist is always 10-15 inches smaller than my bust and hips, which are always the same size. It was true when I was a size 8, it was true when I was a size 20, and it’s true now, when I am a size 16.[img_assist|nid=56|title=Omega, being a poser despite the signs..|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=243|height=324]
I have bright, bright, BRIGHT red hair. It’s been this way well over a decade. A lot less people freak out and point since I moved to Melbourne from Brisbane a year ago.
I have two amazing partners, and a wonderful nearly-teenage daughter, and a cat, and two rabbits, and a vege garden… I have a job in Communications that I enjoy, and I have enough hobbies to sink a battleship. My world is filled with love and laughter. Life is good.
And that’s exactly the mantra I was repeating to myself while listening to two of my co-workers talk about me. Our office bathroom is right next to the tea-room. You can hear through the wall. They didn’t realise I was in there.. and were saying..
(for clarity, let’s call them Office Bimbo 1 & 2.)
OB1 = Omega’s jacket is nice.
OB2 = Yeah.
OB1 = It’s such a shame. She obviously spends a lot of time on her appearance. But still she’s just..
OB2 = Fat?
OB1 = Yeah. I mean, no matter what she does, you know…
OB2 = Yeah. I know. I’d rather die than be fat.
OB1 = Yeah, me too.
Now I’d like to be able to tell you that I burst out of the ladies loo, enjoying their stunned mortification for a moment, and then said something blistering and witty and wonderful that rocked their skinny little bodies back against the wall with its sheer awesomeness.. and then I sauntered my sassy large ass right out of there with a triumphant wiggle.
But.. I didn’t. I just sat there. Till they went back to their desks. And then I went back to mine.
I have to work with them, you see. And – as much as their opinion annoys me, they have a right to it. No matter how stupid and ignorant it is, they’re entitled to it. I mean, I’d rather DIE than be that stupid, know what I am saying?
But gaaah.. they’d rather DIE than look like me? That’s pretty harsh.
Can you blame them, though? I mean, the range of “acceptable” if you listen to our media is pretty slim. narrow. not much wriggle room. (ha – see what I did there?)
Take this for example. This ad is currently holding pride-of-place on a huuuuuge billboard outside Flinders St station at the moment. I have seen it on buses and plenty of other places too. It’s for Kayser Lingere..
It’s selling underwear for different shapes of women. Great idea! But the models they have chosen…
Well, look for yourself:
[img_assist|nid=51|title=Kayser ad - pear|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=140|height=193]
[img_assist|nid=52|title=Kayser ad - hourglass|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=140|height=192]
[img_assist|nid=50|title=Kayser ad - column|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=141|height=194]
[img_assist|nid=49|title=Kayser ad - apple|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=141|height=191]
Now.. if you are anything like me – you will ask yourself.. are these the same girl?? (I dont think so..but they are so similar, it’s hard to tell) Is this photoshopped? (to within an inch of its life).. why oh why do people still think it’s okay to chop off the heads/faces of people in ads?!?
Their slogan? Perfect Fit. Whatever your size. (so long as it’s not more than an 18, or you’re fresh out of luck.) Sorry. I added that last bit myself. Told you I worked in Communications.
Don’t get me wrong. These women are gorgeous. Toned and terrific, every one. And now that the pixel wizards have waved their wand.. utterly flawless… but they are very, very similar. There are as many variations of smaller women as there are of bigger ones. Why, then, did Kayser choose these four, almost indistinguishable models when demonstrating different shapes?
Thank heavens they ‘shopped in cute little props to signify what “shape” they are meant to be, because otherwise I would find it very hard to tell.
Is it any wonder that young women would “rather die” than deviate from this “norm?” Not that is the norm anywhere outside the magazine ads. and the billboards. and the bus ads. Is this the message we want to be sending?
All right, let’s look what our friends at Kayser have to say about MY shape. The aforementioned hourglass. Here’s the description from their website. The brackets are mine.
The hourglass woman is considered the most feminie. With an ample bust and bottom she attracts a lot of attention. The hourglass woman must make the most of her curves, which are in all the right places.
(Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it.. no siree!)
Think tiny waist, voluptuous hips & generous thighs….
(In what alternate reality could the model they have chosen be described as “voluptuous”. We fatties have been using that word to avoid THE EFF WORD for years. And generous? If this is their idea of “generous” I wouldn’t want to work there come Xmas bonus time, that’s for sure…)
…..the shape that most women want to be.
(Really? Can someone tell the girls in my office that, please??)