fat-sexuality

The modern ‘epidemics’ of teen pregnancy and obesity can be understood as a modern manifestation of these sorts of anxieties about the ‘contagion’ of working class and poor communities, about “unregulated” female sexuality. Many sociologists have used the idea of “moral panic” to describe how society’s wider anxieties (about criminals, communities of color, the poor, immigrants, etc.) are framed as threatening to the social order, and transformed into hostility and volatility.

I don’t mean to imply that teen pregnancy is necessarily good for young women, or that there aren’t health outcomes of obesity (although the data has been surprising – with a recent analysis suggesting that being overweight might be actually associated with a lower risk of death). What I would like to argue is that since these “epidemics” – and these campaigns – disproportionately break down across class and race lines, these ‘shame and blame’ posters in fact serve to throw a cloak of moral legitimacy upon race and class panic.

The panic here is clear: marginalized bodies are out of control, unable to care for themselves or their children. Self-control (regarding sexuality, regarding food), so valued a Puritanical American ideal, is disintegrating, and a disintegration of the social fabric is sure to follow.

Public health campaigns which rely on shame rather than empowerment, which cast individual blame rather than crafting collective solutions, which target marginalized bodies rather than corporate entities like the food production and distribution industry, can be seen as symptoms of wider social ills: racist and classist public control disguised as public health.

—  This is why Sayantani DasGupta remains one of my favorite thinkers/writers. This post on the New York City’s “shame-and-blame” teen pregnancy and anti-obesity campaigns dig deep into the racism and classism of the city’s efforts. Check out the rest of the post on the R today!
Researcher Looking for Self-Identified Fat Young Adults of Color

Fat studies researcher looking to pay $10 to self-identified fat young adults of color for interviews on fat identity, sexuality, race, and the Internet.

Hello everyone!

My name is Philippe Fradet and I am a graduate student at San Francisco State University in the Sexuality Studies program. I am seeking participants for a study with self-identified fat young adults of color who currently live in the United States. I’m looking to interview people of any gender and sexual identity, of any socioeconomic background, and of any physical and mental ability status. Interviews in this study will focus on four topics:
· fat identity, including self-acceptance and personal histories;
· sexuality, including sexual identity, sexual practices, and sexuality as a fat individual;
· race, including the interactions of race, fat identity, and sexuality;
· and the Internet, including how the Internet is used to build community and support.

If you are interested in participating in this research or if you have any questions, you can contact me either by email at pfradet@mail.sfsu.edu or by sending me an “ask” or “submission” on my Tumblr (fatdisid.tumblr.com) with your Tumblr account.

When you contact me, please let me know a bit about yourself and your interest in the project. In order to participate in this study, you must identify as a fat person of color and be between the ages of 18 and 25. Participants will be given a $10 gift card to Amazon.com for participating in the project. All interviews will be conducted using the voice chatting or phone call features of Skype, which means anyone in the United States is welcome to participate. Your name and participation in the project will be kept confidential, and you can contact me with any questions. I will be posting any pressing questions about the project on this blog.

Thank you for your interest!

 

Philippe Fradet
Master’s Candidate
Sexuality Studies Department
San Francisco State University
fatdisid.tumblr.com
fatdisid@gmail.com
(415) 799-7109

For fat Black lesbian and bisexual women, it is important to note that in addition to racism, we must also negotiate the realities of heterosexism, sexism, and anti-fat bias within the health care system. The fact that fat Black lesbian and bisexual women sit at the intersections of all these marginalized identities cannot be overlooked in our efforts to acknowledge the ecology of our health care experiences. Typically, however, larger-than-average weight among Black women is viewed as a symptom of the deleterious effects of other forms of oppression, and the effects of anti-fat bias within society (including within the health professions) on Black women’s health are often ignored… Research claiming that weight is highly predictive of the health statuses of people of any group systematically discriminated against by health providers is incomplete without an analysis of the confounded effects of low-quality healthcare. To what extent does poor treatment in health care systems due to size, race, gender, or sexuality account for previously identified correlations among weight, disease, and death for fat women?
—  Bianca D. M. Wilson, Widening the Dialogue to Narrow the Gap in Health Disparities: Approaches to Fat Black Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health Promotion 
REPEAT AFTER ME

WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DO WITH THEIR BODIES IS NO ONE’S BUSINESS BUT THEIR OWN

THIS APPLIES TO

  • WHAT THEY EAT
  • WHAT THEY WEAR
  • WHO THEY HAVE SEX WITH
  • WHO THEY DON’T HAVE SEX WITH
  • ANY MODIFICATIONS THEY MAY COOSE TO HAVE
  • WHETHER OR NOT THEY CHOOSE TO BE PREGNANT 
  • ANY SURGERY THEY CHOOSE TO HAVE
  • PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING THAT DOES NOT DIRECTLY PHYSICALLY EFFECT YOU

***For colored girls who have been called “thicker than a Snickers” and other dumbass colloquialisms when being called “attractive” was not enuf.

I do not enjoy being referred to as “thicker than a Snickers” and if you think I’m being nitpicky feel free to go and tell that to someone who cares. I do not enjoy being reduced down to the rack near the cash register at Walgreens. The years I spent learning to love myself and the messages I have received from other young women as thanks for having inspired them are more valuable than f*cking nougat. My body is not a piñata favor. My confidence is not confection.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m like Raven Baxter or Dionne Warwick or something. I know you’re thinking “I mean, it’s just something people say! Chill! It’s no big deal!” It’s only “no big deal” because you haven’t realized how…how…stupid it actually is! Not only is it offensive to compare a woman’s body to something that will probably kill you over time, it doesn’t even make any sense! Thicker than a Snickers??? Whet? In my expert opinion, Snickers bars are relatively average in size in comparison to other candy bars. They aren’t necessarily “thick”. Not even in consistency as compared to competitors. So wtf are you saying to me? In that case I’m thicker than a Milky Way too. And don’t you dare say it’s because “thicker” and “snicker” rhyme. Two words rhyming doesn’t justify them being put together to describe a human being. In that case, all of you loud ass n*ggas are officially louder than some chowder. Do you see how f*cking stupid that is? I dare you to put your ear to your next bowl of New England clam and make that sh*t make sense. I hope you scald your ear off.

I’m really proud of what I’m building for myself and I am proud of every woman (or man, I’m completely gender and identity friendly) who took a look at an image of me or anyone else and at least considered wearing that pair of shorts she told herself she has too much cellulite to wear. Body positivity is real and it’s hard. And I expect to be sexualized frequently along the way (a whole ‘nother topic), but for the love of God, stop stuffing this progress into a chocolatey outer shell! If you see an attractive women, tell her she’s attractive. Tell her she’s beautiful. Tell her she’s gotdamn fine. But do not tell her she’s 27g of sugar. Appreciate her life a little more than what truncating her down to food suggests. Her confidence is not confection. Stop trying to melt it in your mouth.

✌💅

When I was thin I was “too skinny.” When I became obese I was “too fat.” I found a sport I really enjoyed (weightlifting) and now I’ve apparently become I’m “too muscular.” Instead of being told I need to eat more or less, I’m told if I keep lifting I’ll get too manly. My husband is asked on a near-daily basis if I beat him up or if he’s still “the man” in our relationship. People joke about steroid use or that my muscles scare them. 

There’s no pleasing anyone but yourself. I’ve been underweight and I’ve been obese. It’s irritating hearing people imply I’m somehow less female simply because I lift heavy things or because I can flex— until now my gender was never questioned based off my body composition. So that’s… that’s something new I’m still trying to understand. I don’t think I look masculine— but even if I did, I don’t think I’d mind. 

Because I’m a dead lifting, tire-flipping, bench pressing, rope-pulling, Strongman extraordinaire. If your masculinity or femininity can’t handle me, kindly move aside. 

BE BRAVE! JOIN THE BODY PEACE REVOLUTION!

reblog if you have ever

Felt suicidal
Felt depressed
felt lost
Felt alone
Felt ugly
Tried to take your own life
Cut/harmed yourself
skipped a meal
Made yourself throw up
Been bullied
Felt down in any particular way

I promise to message every single one of you anonymously and try to help you in any way I can. x

2

Every Thursday we run a feature on Chubstr called Answerland. It’s basically a way for us to answer some of the questions we get from readers on a regular basis. The questions we get cover everything from food to fashion to sex. 

Last year, the amazing Hanne Blank asked me to write a blurb for the revised edition of her book, Big Big Love. If you’ve got questions about love, sex, or intimacy as it relates to being a person of size, I definitely recommend this book. You’d be hard pressed to come up with a question that isn’t somehow addressed within its pages. Learn more about the book at Chubstr, and follow Hanne on Twitter

Obesity, Sexuality, and Society: The Politics of Being Fat

by Angela

When was the last time you rolled your eyes or recoiled in disgust at a fat person? Or used a term like “fluffy”, “cuddly”, or “big but beautiful” to describe someone close to you who just isn’t quite thin enough? Congratulations, you are being an active participant of the last societally acceptable discrimination: fat shaming. Most people don’t believe this is a problem. Not only is it just wrong, but it has tangible effects on its victims. Fat people can have eating disorders, can die from over exercise and starvation, can commit suicide due to excessive body negativity, and have a whole host of problems we normally attribute to the thin people. Today we’ll explore these problems, their causes, and what we can do.

Obesity is linked to many different forms of societal oppression that are relevant to the era. Often times, these oppressions can intersect. For instance, being poor and being fat often go hand in hand. Organic foods, even “healthy” produce can often be very expensive to feed a household. It’s a lot easier for most families to buy the cheaper, not-so-healthy foods, just to make sure their families are fed. Reading this study opened my eyes to the gender oppressions that go along with being fat. To summarize, the study found that among overweight females and males, females have a harder time finding sexual partners, despite the contrary to popular belief. Really? The female body is so sexualized in our society that as long as it is thin and attractive, everyone wants it. However, take a step outside the societal beauty norm, and you’re lucky that anyone wants to sleep with you. This is an issue that I have dealt with myself. When I was younger, I had crushes on just about everyone I was friends with. However, I was often rejected because of my size, something that has transferred over to my attitudes with relationships today. 

This doesn’t always just apply to sexuality. Often, people who are fat have a hard time moving up in the workplace too because of their size. It’s often said that they “don’t dress well enough.” The issues surrounding this are manifold. Often, they can’t dress well enough because, well, nice clothes can be expensive, especially when you’re big. There tends to be a correlation between being fat and being poor, because let’s face it, it costs less for a McDonald’s value menu than it does to eat organic produce and lean cut meats. There’s also the common concern that health insurance costs more for overweight people. Even though it’s been found that “people who are “overweight” (with a BMI of 25 to 29.9) live longer, on average, than those at a normal weight (a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9),” it doesn’t matter. Regardless of weight, we need to treat people as equals. It doesn’t matter that someone can “choose their weight,” even though that’s not entirely true. I can choose my clothing, religion, hair color, and makeup style, and I still deserve respect. 

So what can you do about these problems? For one, have some common courtesy and respect. Don’t act disgusted at fat people. Don’t call your kids undesirable because they’re fat. And don’t act like being fat is the worst possible outcome in the world. We can all also stand to benefit from questioning both our own thought processes about fat people and other’s thoughts and comments. Asking why someone feels or thinks a certain way can open up doors to conversations about societal norms, and help alleviate some of the oppression. And lastly, re-evaluate the way you act around fat people. Don’t treat them more delicately or not talk about food. Don’t prod them into making healthy choices. At the end of the day, it’s their body, and we all need to respect each other’s choices in that arena.

I guess the main issue with fat politics is the same as that with gender, race, and religious politics: we are all human, we share the human experience, and we deserve respect. Anything less than that is nothing short of disgusting.

 Additional Resources:

 

 Angela is a 17 year old genderqueer high school student from Arizona.  Through learning about feminism, Angela has been able to cultivate healthy relationships and became a feminist through research on their school’s debate team. Angela is now greatly immersed in the world of sex-positive feminism, and strives to be a resource for others when it comes to issues involving feminism, sex, or body image. Read more of Angela’s posts here.