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Fuck your body policing.
December 24, 2011 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Stop hating your body. Embrace your beauty, love your body. Single-link to a tumblr blog focused around the idea of body positivity. Some pictures NSFW.
posted by MaryDellamorte (125 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
There are lots of body positive tumblrs out there. See also FY, Girls With Curves.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:10 PM on December 24, 2011


Curves Ahead also does this well.
posted by jeudi at 4:10 PM on December 24, 2011


Men need this body positive thing (first time I heard this, seriously) too. * googles body policing *
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:15 PM on December 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Single link vanity.
posted by Winnemac at 4:16 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd just be happy if if I could find a bra that fits. Even the places that sell bra's for "larger" women don't sell things that fit me right. *sighs*
posted by strixus at 4:16 PM on December 24, 2011


So, there's the mindset that women should try to look like the airbrushed models in magazines, and there's the mindset that equates the idea of not being 300 pounds with "fascism" and "bigotry". Is there no middle ground of sanity on this issue?
posted by kafziel at 4:22 PM on December 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


Is there no middle ground of sanity on this issue?

Both sides hate you if you're middle ground so you just shut the hell up and let them have their holy war.
posted by Talez at 4:25 PM on December 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


On the Curves Ahead link there is a cool flashing back and forth doubled photos of with/without makeup and a pushup bra; it almost makes her look like a different person entirely.

I wish we lived in a world where these kinds of messages were superfluous and everyone already felt good about themselves, but sadly we don't live there yet.
posted by Forktine at 4:27 PM on December 24, 2011


Kroppsbild is a Swedish version.
posted by leviathan3k at 4:27 PM on December 24, 2011


The Thickness (NSFW).
posted by stinkycheese at 4:29 PM on December 24, 2011


So, there's the mindset that women should try to look like the airbrushed models in magazines, and there's the mindset that equates the idea of not being 300 pounds with "fascism" and "bigotry". Is there no middle ground of sanity on this issue?

Both of those mindsets are wrong and are not part of body acceptance.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:35 PM on December 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


Kafziel, I'd be happy to help with your bra search - I'm a 36GG so I feel your pain! If you haven't read it you might find my comment about bra-sizing useful, and I recommend Elomi (a division of Freya and Fantasie) for great plus-size lingerie.
posted by ukdanae at 4:38 PM on December 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, there's the mindset that women should try to look like the airbrushed models in magazines, and there's the mindset that equates the idea of not being 300 pounds with "fascism" and "bigotry". Is there no middle ground of sanity on this issue?

I agree that those mindsets do exist and that both are harmful but this blog very clearly does not propagate either of those views.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 5:01 PM on December 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


You'll never see a men's version of this. Fat women are victims of body fascism. Fat men are punchlines. Lazy and perfectly deserving of insult based solely on their bodies.

And yes I'm perfectly aware of Girth & Mirth and the huge chubby chaser phenomenon in my gay community. I'm not talking about jackoff sites so don't bother going there.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:01 PM on December 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


So in other words I guess your sanity is this FPP.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 5:02 PM on December 24, 2011


You'll never see a men's version of this. Fat women are victims of body fascism. Fat men are punchlines. Lazy and perfectly deserving of insult based solely on their bodies.

I'm sorry, I must have missed the people making fun of fat men in this thread.
posted by empath at 5:05 PM on December 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


So, anyone want to help me start a skin tag acceptance Tumblr?

No?

oh...
posted by Samizdata at 5:09 PM on December 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


And I will personally eat anyone ITT that makes fun of fat/chubby guys... (I may carry it well, but I have evolved from an innie to an outie.)
posted by Samizdata at 5:11 PM on December 24, 2011


Foci for Analysis: Men need this body positive thing (first time I heard this, seriously) too. * googles body policing *
That was one of the first things I noticed, too. Scroll, scroll, scroll- hey are there NO men on this site? No guys who look like me and are okay with that, and surrounded by love and affection despite it?

I truly believe men are getting the short end of the body image stick these days, as there are no end of body positivity and sex positivity messages for women... but basically, none for men. Almost every fashion product touts the "Be yourself and be happy" ideology, such that it's not clear why any woman has an alleged body image issue. And while the history of female beauty standards was shameful and sexist... imposing those standards on men in this new millenium is not some great stride forward for women.

And as a man, being told we should be metrosexually attractive, ripped, toned and still also be strong, confident and masculine and also be a successful breadwinner... it seems we get the worst of both worlds, judged on our looks and our accomplishments. Added to that, our very sexuality is seen as something gross and shameful, and our imperfect bodies (as ethnomethodologist says) are a punchline. We aren't even allowed any real sex toys or sexual expression besides furtive masturbation, much less have access to a fully-stocked emporiums like Toys in Babeland (yes they have a small selection of male sex toys there and no, I don't suppose many people buy them; and you all know that if a man had a drawer full of fleshlights like a woman can have a drawer full of vibes, he's be Creepazoid Supreme). Our bodies are universally seen as less attractive than women's, by men and women alike. If a woman is lonely or feels bad about herself, that's society's problem to fix with blogs like this; if a man is lonely or feels bad about himself, he's a pathetic fucking loser who deserves it.


Oh, and also: you can all hate on me, but the real failing of "body positivity" blogs is that the change can't come from within. That's the great lie in any of these feel good messages. A few of the people in the OP link are, pretty objectively, not physically attractive. Think I'm wrong, and should shut the hell up? Fine- you fuck them. Not "friend" them or "hang out" with them- fuck them.

Because that, more than some mealy mushy "yay us!" messages, would make them feel okay with their bodies. Because a blog full of feel-good posts is pretty useless if, at the end of the day, the same people were getting laid as frequently or infrequently as they were before. Telling someone they should feel attractive, but following that up with "But uh not to me because I have standards" isn't exactly empowering to anyone.
posted by hincandenza at 5:15 PM on December 24, 2011 [27 favorites]


A few of the people in the OP link are, pretty objectively, not physically attractive. Think I'm wrong, and should shut the hell up? Fine- you fuck them. Not "friend" them or "hang out" with them- fuck them.

Because that, more than some mealy mushy "yay us!" messages, would make them feel okay with their bodies. Because a blog full of feel-good posts is pretty useless if, at the end of the day, the same people were getting laid as frequently or infrequently as they were before. Telling someone they should feel attractive, but following that up with "But uh not to me because I have standards" isn't exactly empowering to anyone.


You're missing the entire point. Body acceptance isn't about someone's attractiveness or fuckability factor. It's about not shaming others for looking a certain way or not feeling ashamed for looking a certain way. You can respect and accept someone while not being physically attracted to them.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:25 PM on December 24, 2011 [28 favorites]


A few of the people in the OP link are, pretty objectively, not physically attractive. Think I'm wrong, and should shut the hell up? Fine- you fuck them. Not "friend" them or "hang out" with them- fuck them.

Can do, sir!

If there's anything to criticize here, it's that the page is teeming with eye candy, in my view.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:29 PM on December 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is why I'm so glad the gay bear thing exists, even if I find a lot of the stuff surrounding it really annoying. To be able to pull up one of a million tumblrs and see guy after guy with a "worse" body than mine, but see them appear totally confident in their own sexuality and their own skin really helps with my own body image issues. Sad that women and my straight brethren don't have much of a similar outlet.
posted by yellowbinder at 5:30 PM on December 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


CREEPAZOID SUPREME
posted by stinkycheese at 5:32 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


2N2222: Can do, sir!

If there's anything to criticize here, it's that the page is teeming with eye candy, in my view
Oh I agree; if anything, most of the people posting there are fine, and some are quite fine. But a few... and that was my point. Those few need reinforcement deeper than strangers who are more attractive than they are saying "Oh look, we have so much in common!" online. :)
posted by hincandenza at 5:34 PM on December 24, 2011


stinkycheese: CREEPAZOID SUPREME
Get two Creepazoid Supremes with a side stinkycheese bread, now only $16.99 at Domino's!
posted by hincandenza at 5:35 PM on December 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


(always delivered at your back door)
posted by stinkycheese at 5:36 PM on December 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


How the Hell did that wander off onto sex toys?
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:37 PM on December 24, 2011


Thank you, MaryDellamorte!
posted by theredpen at 5:42 PM on December 24, 2011


hincandenza, I know people who look like the more..."unattractive"...photos on the site you're probably thinking of, and they have very loving spouses. A screw for every nut, etc....and you don't find that person who's insane for your "unattractive" figure unless you are convinced you rock enough that you can relax into your own sexuality. YOU don't have to sleep with anyone, but someone else probably would, minus any hangup on the part of the stereotypically unattractive person.
posted by availablelight at 5:47 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hincandenza, the idea that there's an objective standard of beauty (and that you're the one who sets that standard) is bullshit. People are attracted to and find beautiful all different kinds of bodies. I promise.
posted by verbyournouns at 5:57 PM on December 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Sometimes what the scale says is important. One can celebrate their body for what it is, I'm all for that, but obesity is still unhealthy.
posted by Oh OK HA HA at 5:59 PM on December 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


I truly believe men are getting the short end of the body image stick these days

Dude, that's just so not the case. I have three daughters and one son, and I could probably count on my fingers the number of times someone has commented on the physical appearance of my son (the eldest, a fine looking boy), while the number of times people have commented on the appearance of my daughters would outnumber all the fingers and toes in my family many times over. From their earliest years women are conditioned to believe their looks are of central importance in how people perceive them, so they are especially vulnerable to body image problems.
posted by ericost at 6:01 PM on December 24, 2011 [49 favorites]


Trust me, bigger people don't need you to point out it can be unhealthy.
posted by yellowbinder at 6:01 PM on December 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


Sometimes what the scale says is important. One can celebrate their body for what it is, I'm all for that, but obesity is still unhealthy.

Re-read thread title.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:04 PM on December 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


But he's doing a service to all teh fatties who might not have noticed or been mocked since they were young and letting them know.

Sort of like how fundamentalists really just love humanity so much they want gays to know how they aren't favored by god and so they have to shame them out of it for their own good.

'Cause it's not like they would have heard about it on their own before or anything.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:10 PM on December 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Sometimes what the scale says is important. One can celebrate their body for what it is, I'm all for that, but obesity is still unhealthy.

Sorry but the blog isn't about celebrating obesity, did you even look at it? It's celebrating the fact that your worth as a person isn't dependent on any of the following characteristics: stretch marks, thighs that touch, skinny legs, cankles, no breasts, breasts that hang to your stomach, a flat ass, an ass you could set shit on, cellulite, double chin, hairy legs, hairy armpits, skin disorders, missing appendages, or a myriad of other things. And most importantly that your worth as a person isn't measured by how attractive others find you.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:30 PM on December 24, 2011 [41 favorites]


I'm a fan of watching presumably liberal/progressive people try to discuss body image, and particularly fat body image, because it really brings out the ugly, schoolmarmish, nanny-state sanctimony that right-wingers actually believe is our sole stock in trade. I like seeing it exposed because I think progressive-minded people need to admit that they are, in fact, just as prone to bigotry and knee-jerk thinking as their supposed opposition, and getting it in our heads that people, and I mean all people, are capable of being dogmatic and uninformed. You can't change the world until you can change your own flawed ways of seeing the world.

Fat people know they're fat. Non-fat people think it's their mission to point this out.

Unhealthy fat people know they're unhealthy. Sometimes they can do something about it, and sometimes, despite every bit of self-appointed, can-do, motivational rah-rah rallying, parental torture, social shaming, and endless, endless dieting, fat people are just fat people by biological design. Informed fat people will tell you about health at any size, which is a hell of a lot more humane and realistic than the one-size-for-all lockstep. Naturally skinny people or people who've managed to lose some weight love to point out the health "angle," though.

It's just discouraging, how quickly people leap to standardized critiques.

"Well, it's all well and good to love one's body, but fat is still unhealthy."

Rephrase. Rethink. The "this, but that" line is worthless. Is loving one's fat body a deterrent to health? Is shame the only path to fitness? What a grim world view that entails.
posted by sonascope at 6:32 PM on December 24, 2011 [61 favorites]


'Cause it's not like they would have heard about it on their own before or anything.

Because something has been said somewhere else at some other time doesn't make it irrelevant to the conversation. I have no problem with celebrating one's body and self worth irrespective of what others think, but I don't see how I'm a "fundamentalist" or homophobic for pointing out that several of the photos on the blog are of horribly obese individuals, and the one post about not caring what the scale thinks is what set me off.

Sorry but the blog isn't about celebrating obesity, did you even look at it? It's celebrating the fact that your worth as a person isn't dependent on any of the following characteristics: stretch marks, thighs that touch, skinny legs, cankles, no breasts, breasts that hang to your stomach, a flat ass, an ass you could set shit on, cellulite, double chin, hairy legs, hairy armpits, skin disorders, missing appendages, or a myriad of other things. And most importantly that your worth as a person isn't measured by how attractive others find you.

Fair enough.
posted by Oh OK HA HA at 6:40 PM on December 24, 2011


Embrace your beauty. Love your body. Recharge your insulin pump.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:41 PM on December 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Recharge your insulin pump.

Really, was that necessary? One can be non-svelte and non-diabetic.
posted by smirkette at 6:51 PM on December 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


Scroll, scroll, scroll- hey are there NO men on this site? No guys who look like me and are okay with that, and surrounded by love and affection despite it?

Check out the Swedish one linked above; I'd guess it's about 1/4 or so male, of a variety of shapes and sizes. I don't know if they are surrounded by love and affection, but they are at least putting naked photos on the internet, so they are doing something right, no?
posted by Forktine at 6:52 PM on December 24, 2011


Unhealthy fat people know they're unhealthy.

Like any generalization, there are degrees and counter-examples. I just vividly remember a formerly fat person telling me that if you had talked to her when she was 300 pounds, she would have told you she felt perfectly healthy, and it wasn't until she lost the first 100 that she understood how mind-fucked she really was.

Many unhealthy people in this way are rarely unhealthy all at once, seemingly overnight. It's a pattern of several years, slowly building, so each marginal change goes unnoticed. You were healthy yesterday, gained a quarter pound, and you're healthy tomorrow, too.

Pretty soon you get used to this pattern, and you can't see the problem as any problem at all.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:54 PM on December 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm done here. I'll be in the marzipan pig thread because faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.
posted by yellowbinder at 6:56 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


One can be non-svelte and non-diabetic.

At ages 20 and 30, sure. But come talk to me about age 60 when these folks are either dying 20 years before they should be, or they're chained to a drug regimen of some kind, or both.

Beauty standards are one thing. But biology? Not even a single fuck is given about how beautiful you thnk you are.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:59 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah well, apparently you know better than I, Papa Bell. I, an active, non-diabetic fat person, am going to go take a walk. Thank you for crapping in this thread on Christmas Eve. Cheers.
posted by smirkette at 7:03 PM on December 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Question: what is healthy enough? A fat person who wants to lose weight has to make sacrifices, and if they decide those aren't worth it and they are okay with being fat and probably less healthy, then some people seem to think they are a moral failure.

I'm not very fat, and based on my appearance these same people would not judge me. But I am in very bad shape. (Like, my heart rate goes up noticeably just from walking up a couple flights of stairs.) Am I the same kind of moral failure for say, not running several times a week? Maybe, but I don't really want to right now. I'm okay with being out of shape. I certainly don't get judged: I've had these kinds of discussions in person and nobody every hassles me about my terrible fitness.

The concern about health is legitimate, but in many cases it's a red herring. Skinny people whose health is poor don't face the same judgment. And fat people whose health is actually legitimately good generally get judged anyway: I've seen people just plain deny that they could be healthy, or even accuse them of lying, or their doctors of being wrong.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:04 PM on December 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Embrace your beauty. Love your body. Recharge your insulin pump.

Hi, I'm actually type 2 diabetic. And I would really, really, really appreciate it if you wouldn't use the condition I have to deal with for the rest of my life as a cudgel to beat other people with. (Not to mention that it doesn't work. I had doctors fat-shame me when I was overweight, and it didn't help; all it did was make me feel like crap. Oh yeah, and my girlfriend at the time, who was always higher on the BMI scale than me, had consistently lower blood-pressure and blood sugar readings than I did.)
posted by asterix at 7:13 PM on December 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Yes. It's funny--anyone who knows me in person, doctors included, isn't worried about my weight. I'm healthy. I'm in remarkably good shape for a woman of 60 - I've won age group world championships in my sport, most recently this year - but I have always carried extra pounds, more than the few pictures I saw on that blog. So did my mother, and she worried about her weight all her life even though she had a Ph.D. in microbiology and was a ground-breaking Episcopal priest. Her weight didn't kill her - Parkinson's did. My grandmother carried extra weight and worried about it all her life even though she was the matriarch of an extended and devoted clan of overachievers. She died in her late 80's, not from her weight because she was as tough as iron, just basically from being old. I wish I didn't worry about my weight. The anxiety does me no good. The odds are high (with my low cholesterol, low blood pressure, physical fitness, and good habits) that something else will kill me anyway, though, because everybody dies. It just won't be my weight that kills me.

But that won't stop people who don't know me and don't know what they're talking about from judging people like me, will it.
posted by Peach at 7:25 PM on December 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


In one study, those who had high levels of physical activity, a healthy diet, did not smoke, and consumed alcohol in moderation had an 82% lower rate of diabetes. When a normal weight was included, the rate was 89% lower.

But by all means, call me a jackass if it makes you feel better.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:27 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


[CPB, you're edging into soapbox territory - give it a rest, hey?]
posted by restless_nomad at 7:29 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't really want to start a meta thread about this on christmas, but I kind of think we should just put this thread out to pasture before it turns into an unholy clusterfuck. The mods shouldn't have to deal with this this weekend.
posted by empath at 7:48 PM on December 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


As someone who is too ugly to get laid, I see it as my right to shame other people for their bodies.
posted by planet at 8:07 PM on December 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I will not stop hating my body. I found out today that I don't just have the flu, I also have bronchitis, and an as-yet-undiagnosed lady infection. All told, the one doctor visit ran me about $800, since I don't have insurance, and it involved swabbing, a blood draw, and filling prescriptions.

So yeah, my curvy woman body can fuck the fuck off. It may be soft and smooshy and dreamy, but it is an asshole.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:13 PM on December 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


But by all means, call me a jackass if it makes you feel better.

O.K. Edify us. Exactly what BMI level (assuming the extra M is mostly fat) is the cut off such that one can be allowed to feel good about their body? Alternatively, going the other direction, when should we start the mockery and shaming of others?
posted by smidgen at 8:20 PM on December 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sigh.
posted by zephyr_words at 8:38 PM on December 24, 2011


By the standards of American society, I am pretty thin, though after living in China where I was an XL in pants, my idea of what is thin and not has changed considerably. I exercise nearly every day, watch what I eat, etc. Still, I always feel too fat, but my worst critic is myself.

So, thank you for providing these links, showing our bodies in our perfectly normal glory. It's amazing to see these women being so brave to show themselves as they are, although it shouldn't have to be that way.
posted by so much modern time at 8:49 PM on December 24, 2011


sometimes, despite every bit of self-appointed, can-do, motivational rah-rah rallying, parental torture, social shaming, and endless, endless dieting, fat people are just fat people by biological design.

Six months of following /r/loseit has made me seriously reconsider this position.
posted by stroke_count at 8:54 PM on December 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


for those who read(saw) the post:

friskypixie:
body appreciation! whatever shape your body is, whatever weight your body is, your body is the vessel for that beautiful soul you hold and your lovely soul never changes. i have a very peanut shaped body, ahaha, i have extra curves, i don’t have a thigh gap and my hips are large, but, i love my body nonetheless. so, thumbs up for body positive thinking


sexuality is a whole lot more than a picture, but is there a limit? should we celebrate anorexia? what about zoophilia? How about a tumblr on murder? No limits, no judgments, we are what we are.

Merry Christmas.
posted by Shit Parade at 8:59 PM on December 24, 2011


Nope... hard as I try, I just can't get worked up about someone being overweight.
posted by Kloryne at 9:07 PM on December 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Christ. Are you healthy? Fit? Humans of the opposite sex are programmed to recognize that, so don't worry.

No? Don't make a blog about it, at least.
posted by cmoj at 9:30 PM on December 24, 2011


"They shouldn't be loving their bodies until they are thin!!" I really, really don't understand this attitude. Being healthy is healthy, fine, but If you don't really and truly love your body, it seems like finding that real deep-down determination that you need would be really hard. Like, why do I give a shit? First thing you have to do is decide you love your body no matter what. And why shouldn't they? It's their body for goodness sake. I really can't believe what I'm reading in this thread.
posted by bleep at 9:38 PM on December 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


The serious comment: A little over ten years ago, I was in Cleveland, playing kickball with some friends. It was a hot, late afternoon in the summer, and the scene was shrouded in hazy, yellow light. The guys, with whom I was playing, decided to take off their shirts, for comfort. Though they were skinny, nerdy boys, whose physiques had brought them ridicule growing up, they looked glorious. You could see their muscles working in tandem to help them dash and dive, and it just made so much sense. You're overheated, you're running around, you're young and healthy, why wear a shirt?

Meanwhile, I knew that a female friend and I had both, privately, obsessed over whether to wear shorts (jiggling, cellulite), and that despite our vocal lady-positive attitudes, there was no way in fucking hell that we were going to take our shirts off, and feel the sun on our backs, and our torsos pushing forward against the breeze. Which was sad.

For me, it's not about "loving the way you look." That's fine and all, but how about this? You are not merely how you look; that is not the sum total of your life as a physical being. You are not how sexually appealing you feel to others, or how sexually appealing others find you. Your body is a wild and crazy machine. It's a vehicle, and a computational unit, a life support system, and a self-replicating device. Which is not to say that sites like this are bad in any way. I just feel like they can help people (and us ladyfaces in particular) to stay hung up on appearance, causing them to miss out on all the other awesome and fascinating and sometimes disgusting stuff that bodies can do.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:52 PM on December 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Well, I will say, IMO, that this girl (SFW) is really underestimating how cute her smile/smiling face is.

And, yeah, thanks for the skin tag support too, ya'all...
posted by Samizdata at 9:55 PM on December 24, 2011


Thank you for crapping in this thread on Christmas Eve. Cheers.

Sorry, but an FPP just a couple days ago said christmas was the best time for bringing this up.
posted by 445supermag at 10:02 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's like marriage. You have to be ready to love your body in sickness and in health; in fatness and in thinth.
posted by threeants at 10:14 PM on December 24, 2011


OKAY ALREADY!

I have skin tags...

And...

And...

And...

I'M FAT! ARE ALL OF YOU HAPPY NOW?!?!?!

runs off weeping
posted by Samizdata at 10:19 PM on December 24, 2011


No, seriously. I am pretty chunky.
posted by Samizdata at 10:20 PM on December 24, 2011


And really do have skin tags in places that are terribly hard to hide without being fully dressed.
posted by Samizdata at 10:31 PM on December 24, 2011


Thanks for sharing. Great site. Too many women (including good friends of mine) simply do not realize how beautiful they are.
posted by bryanthecook at 11:15 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


You are not how sexually appealing you feel to others, or how sexually appealing others find you.
Spoken like someone who is sexually appealing to others and takes it for granted.
posted by planet at 12:06 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


but obesity is still unhealthy.

So? Do obese people have to be shit on at every turn and reminded how unhealthy they are? Are the women on that site not reminded enough that they are fat and (maybe) unhealthy? Why do you feel the need to point this out? I think at this point, that is common knowledge. That doesn't mean they can't work toward loving themselves.
posted by Malice at 12:07 AM on December 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


First thing you have to do is decide you love your body no matter what.

I disagree with this - and it's a really weird, unproductive statement. What you need to do is love yourself. Don't love what's physical aboutyourself, because love implies attachment and your body is always changing - for better or for worse.

Love your identity, and separate your identity from your physical self. Once you get to this point, you can address whatever needs addressing - if you feel you're too fat, too thin, bad haircut, out of shape, dry skin etc. you can objectively get down to business because shit I love myself and this really is sub-par right now.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:09 AM on December 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


what the "fat is unhealthy" squad never seems to realize is that even if they're 100% right about the health aspect, everyone still has the right to love themselves. Everyone. Fat, thin, sick, healthy, addicts, poor people, republicans...

Sometimes perfect healthy physical specimens have accidents, or come home from wars missing limbs. Are they supposed to love themselves less now? Sometime morbidly obese people lose the weight, get into the physical shape that society deems acceptable, and yet their lives don't miraculously become perfect. Should they have waited to start loving themselves?

All we have is who we are right this moment. And that is the person we should work really damn hard at loving with all we have.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:10 AM on December 25, 2011 [17 favorites]


There was a guy in my high school who was called "fatty" (yes, that was his nickname) every day of the year except around athletics season, when he would beat the jocks at 100m and 200m by an embarrassing distance.

Well, I guess he was called fatty then too, but respectfully.
posted by vanar sena at 2:03 AM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


billyfleetwood: "what the "fat is unhealthy" squad never seems to realize is that even if they're 100% right about the health aspect, everyone still has the right to love themselves."

It's simply a matter of managing to keep a level of self-respect and mental stability when a stranger says, "oh hello, you're very fat." That's not even self-love, that's simply self-preservation.

Folks having trouble understanding this: imagine every mistake you've made in your life, or every little source of guilt or embarrassment or shame was marked on your face like a tattoo. Now imagine walking around in public, where everyone thought it was okay to comment on it. "Man, you were a real asshole that one time. You should be ashamed of yourself. I don't know your name but I'm perfectly comfortable ridiculing you and questioning your right to breathe air."

Yeah, maybe you've earned it, maybe not. But now try and imagine the kind of self-image and self-control you'd need to handle it without falling apart.
posted by vanar sena at 2:13 AM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry, I missed the start of yesterday's discussion about how unhealthy and unattractive my 295 lb, size 22 body is, because I was out enjoying my regularly-scheduled 2.5 mile run, then met my lover for a smokin' hot Christmas Eve romp. Please, carry on.
posted by Sublimity at 3:58 AM on December 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


One of the things I regret not doing most is not pushing harder against my doctors about whether or not I was ready to undergo a kidney transplant operation. What they're looking for in a donor is not just a physical match with the person recieving your kidney, but also whether or not you yourself are in a good physical condition to recover as well as possible from the operation. And of course one of the signifiers of being in good condition was obesity and despite the proven scientific wrongness of it, it was of course BMI that was used as a measure there.

So it was that despite me being in a good physical condition, cholesterol more than alright, blood sugar ditto, everything else as well, because I was quite a few kilos over what I should weight, I still needed to spent several dreary months dieting and exercising to get rid of that fat, while my wife Sandra was getting more and more ill on dialysis. Finally we did manage to persuade the surgeons to go ahead even though I still hadn't reached my target after almost a year of serious, four-five times a week exercising and strict dieting, but by that time Sandra herself had almost wasted away.

The end result was that she died last month, after almost two years in and out of hospital with various infections and such, which I can't help but think would not have happened had we done the operation half a year earlier when I might have been slightly less physically fit but she was much much better.

And for me, despite still being obese, the operation was a doddle and the only complication I had was a bloody hospital infection around the operation wound which all the diet and exercise in the world couldn't protect me against.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:07 AM on December 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


It continues to be very bizarre to me that people who purport to care about the health of obese people feel that stressing them out by shaming them will help their health.
posted by parrot_person at 4:45 AM on December 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's very nice that the Ew All Fat Is Icky Squad is happy with their physiques. I am glad for them, really I am. But it's really, really counterproductive to rant at people about it. We are all aware that you feel that way. We expect you to feel that way. People do. It's not something that escapes us. It's also not something we can escape. Virulent prejudice is an ugly thing. I do wish people would stop doing that.

I am saying "we" here because I cannot help it. But I am not A Fat Person (TM). I am actually an example of the other side of why fat-shaming is bad. I am 5'8" tall and I currently weigh 115 pounds, and I still think I need to lose weight. You can see my ribs and my spine and my hipbones. But I can point to all the places on my body with any "extra" flesh, and I can poke at them in the mirror and make horrible faces at myself and say horrible things to myself, and I do. And I am lucky that my body won't *let* me drop weight beyond this point-- I know because I tried, in my youth, a lot. Because I would follow it. And I have no idea whether there would ever come a point when I thought I was thin enough. I'm not anorexic anymore. But sometimes I wish I could just let myself go back there.

And it comes from the same place. It comes from the same years of hearing all the horrible things people say about fat people. It comes from the same media nonsense, the same allegedly caring warnings, the same bullshit. All of it. It's never been directed at me. But I have enough damn problems based on that vitriol existing, and being directed at anyone. And I hate to see it and know that it's making other people just as miserable as it makes me, and many of them much much more so.

The terror of fat in modern American (at least) society is BAD, guys. You're not just beating up on those icky icky fatties who totally deserve it for being so much lazier and unhealthier than you (obviously). It reaches much farther than you think it does, and hits people you would never guess are affected by what you say. No part of me understands how it can seem in any way reasonable or useful to keep grinding insults into people who have heard them all so many times before. WE KNOW. WE ALL KNOW. If you're satisfied with yourself and your level of physical whatever, that's a really amazing and awesome thing. But don't dismiss the value for the rest of us in seeing what other people really look like, real people who have not been photoshopped.

A world of people like me would be no healthier than the world as it now is, believe me. It would be a world of skinny people, I guess. But it would still be pretty damn ugly.
posted by Because at 5:16 AM on December 25, 2011 [16 favorites]


By the way, I feel I should emphasize that I do not feel the same way about other people's size that I do about my own. The body image problems are all inwardly directed. I feel no compulsion to be a jerk about it to anyone but myself.
posted by Because at 5:36 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's back-burner the obesity issues for a moment, and consider the aesthetic side of the equation by pressing "rewind" and looking through recent history:

1. A collection of erotic pics by the early 20th century photographer E.J. Bellocq. Note the resemblance in body type to those of the above links. Not a single svelt, Susan Sarandon-esque body in this group of highly sought, handsomely compensated prostitutes from New Orleans.

2. An oft-quoted excerpt of Victorian-era erotic fiction celebrating hirsuteness. It's easy to forget that the act of shaving the female body--though certainly present in ancient times and in many non-western cultures, both past and present--was entirely absent from and inconceivable in the west until relatively recently. Razor blade manufactures only began to ply their wares to women in the 1910s. Until then, legs, arms, and all other parts of women were left au natural, and razors and shaving were entirely a male affair. The baring of hirsute armpits by women in the "Embrace your body, love your body" link wouldn't have struck women in the Victorian era as brazen, daring or radical in the slightest degree.

Through a strange twist of logic, hair--on women and metrosexual men--has come to be associated with slovenly, non-erotic, lust-killing habits that lead to obesity. We expect the non-shaven body to be obese, and fail to see the erotic charge that, until post-seventies Playboy airbrushed it out of existence, used to be associated with hair.
posted by Gordion Knott at 6:30 AM on December 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


MartinWisse, I think your story highlights the danger of letting others, even at times doctors, determine what your body is capable of. Yes, there is a correlation between weight and health, but the BMI chart is only one measure, and the human body is a complicated machine with many, many moving parts. I'm very sorry for your loss.
posted by odayoday at 7:13 AM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


What never fails to amuse me about all the fusspot know-it-all Lucy Van Pelts out there who always need to chime in with "but don't forget how unhealthy you are" needling is that shame doesn't even work.

I'd argue we've never shamed fat people more effectively than we do now, where every other newscast has a slow-motion shot of some hapless woman with an enormous backside, shot from the neck down as an example of the "obesity epidemic" (with no irony, either, as the targets chosen are generally the people who have genuine problems like hyperthyroid conditions, not the flubbity average Joe on the street). Every other person is suddenly a public health advocate, just so concerned about their fat friends that they feel like every single time someone says "well, I like my body," they need to step in with a helpful addendum. The thing is "I like my body" isn't a synonym for "everything about me is exactly right," but there's this increasing reality-deafness among people who believe themselves to be the messengers of what we need to hear.

I'm a fat guy, according to the charts that, because they have no way of accounting for a guy who's six feet tall but with a 30" inseam, rate me as "obese." Six years ago, when I weighed three hundred pounds, I got dunked in a tank to check my body fat and my percentage came in under the "fit" range, which was a surprise, considering I was wearing a 48 waist at the time. Never had high cholesterol, never had high blood pressure, never needed medications, and I can kick the door off a car. Lost about seventy pounds five years ago, and everything was the same. My scooter topped out a little higher, it got easier to buy pants, I had a bit more grace getting in and out of my tiny roadster, sweated less in the summer, and I had a better view of my genitals, but not much changed. Had two career changes since, and about thirty pounds went back on because of my workload and distracted eating habits, and my cholesterol is the same, my blood pressure's the same, and I'm still strong as an ox and dense enough that swimming involves a lot of effort to stay afloat.

"Well, we're just concerned because you seem to have gained a bit of your weight back," the Van Pelts say, and I guess I should appreciate their concern in the same way I do when my holy roller Baptist relatives worry about me spending eternity in hell, but honestly, I just wish people would worry about their own lives, particularly when the worried people all carry around little rattly plastic containers full of Celebrex, Lipitor, Viagra, Prilosec and all the other mother's-little-helpers that get them through their days. It's the persnickety lot that's jacking up my health insurance premiums, not my roly-poly self.

I look just fine, at least on the days when I clean myself up so I don't look like an unmade bed.

If I lose my extra thirty, I'll look just fine, too. If I don't the same will be true.

Be comfortable in your skin isn't the same as believing yourself to be beyond improvement. Why on earth is that so hard for some people to understand?


Also, merry xmas all, if applicable.
posted by sonascope at 8:18 AM on December 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


The end result was that she died last month, after almost two years in and out of hospital with various infections and such, which I can't help but think would not have happened had we done the operation half a year earlier when I might have been slightly less physically fit but she was much much better.

That's really sad; I'm sorry. :(
posted by threeants at 10:03 AM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


What never fails to amuse me about all the fusspot know-it-all Lucy Van Pelts out there who always need to chime in with "but don't forget how unhealthy you are" needling is that shame doesn't even work.

It worked for me (lost ~75lbs when I was 20). If we're going to be taken to task for generalizing about fat people, no one should generalize about thin people, either.

In my experience, fat people who think they're fit and healthy do not know what fit and healthy really feel like. I know that was the case for me. Throughout my teens I fought my parents about losing weight, using (as others in this thread have) my various athletic achievements, generally low blood pressure numbers, etc. as ammunition against their nagging.

It wasn't until I lost the weight that I realized what I was missing.
posted by downing street memo at 10:43 AM on December 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


To do list:

1) Stop hating your body

2) Love your body

3) Rock your body
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:29 AM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Almost every fashion product touts the "Be yourself and be happy" ideology, such that it's not clear why any woman has an alleged body image issue.

While this might seem to be the mainstream message when someone is trying to sell something, if you look at women who are presented as publicly successful, almost all of them are conventionally attractive. They're thin, they have great teeth and hair, and clear skin. Every female news commentator, (almost) every successful female politician, every female CEO.

I'm a grown woman who is smart and ambitious and sometimes I get the nagging feeling that I'll never get as far as I want to because my hair is too flat and my nose is too big and I don't photograph very well. 90% of me believes that it's not true and I just need to work harder and smarter and I'll get ahead, but some days I look at a list of the "top 50 most influential women" and it just kills my soul.

On days like that I just need to repeat "Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ruth Bader Ginsburg." She is a lady who never let a nose hold her back.
posted by Alison at 11:46 AM on December 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Being an asshole isn't pointing out that someone's dog pooped on the carpet. It's grabbing their dog by the collar and rubbing his nose in it.

Peace on earth and goodwill towards men.
posted by danny the boy at 12:32 PM on December 25, 2011


I had to stop looking at the links, cos of the number of tiny, tiny girls "accepting" their large hipped, curvy bodies. The swedish site linked above also appears to be some sort of community for recovering anorexics, and comes off 50/50 bodypos/proana.

This 15 year old says:I have never, and I mean ever, been satisfied with my body. I gotten a little slimmer now in my teens, but am still trying to lose weight.

Another choice quote: I don't like my body, and I don't like how it looks. I am afraid to show my boyfriend even though we have been together three years.
posted by Iteki at 12:39 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Spoken like someone who is sexually appealing to others and takes it for granted.

Me talk pretty someday!

That was sort of my point, though. Speaking like someone who is sexually appealing, taking my appearance for granted, and focusing on the weird and wonderful shit my body can do, has made me a happier person.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:16 PM on December 25, 2011


Speaking like someone who is sexually appealing, taking my appearance for granted, and focusing on the weird and wonderful shit my body can do, has made me a happier person.
The problem, of course, is that other people don't take my appearance for granted at all.

Am I happy being unable to have sexual or romantic relationships? I have periods of happiness. But it's hard not to feel an emptiness and frustration from missing out on something that is just so important to, well, everyone. All the feel good bullshit in the world won't change that.
posted by planet at 1:35 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks for all the links to pictures of cute chubby girls. Merry Christmas to me!
posted by bongo_x at 2:07 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I promise that dwelling on your emptiness and frustration isn't going to change that, either.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 2:42 PM on December 25, 2011


>I promise that dwelling on your emptiness and frustration isn't going to change that, either.<

Good news! I was a little concerned.
posted by bongo_x at 2:52 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like hips. One of the reasons I married my exwife. After watching her dancing at a wedding, and watching those generous hips swaying back and forth, I was entranced.

OTOH, she is an exwife.

So, I suppose, I am making the point that chubby/hippy girls are bad, evil, horrible semi-people.

Or not.

What was I talking about?

A merry hopefully Krampus free Christmas to everyone!
posted by Samizdata at 4:02 PM on December 25, 2011


The problem, of course, is that other people don't take my appearance for granted at all.

Am I happy being unable to have sexual or romantic relationships? I have periods of happiness. But it's hard not to feel an emptiness and frustration from missing out on something that is just so important to, well, everyone. All the feel good bullshit in the world won't change that.


Conventionally ugly people get laid, have relationships and get married all the time. Your looks are not what's stopping you.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:33 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agreed with Mary. Look, you deserve sex, and love, and to feel hot and confident and attractive. These things are not forever out of your reach. But you have to be willing to resist the rejection to get there. You're rejecting yourself before you even give anyone a chance to reject you.

I get why you feel the way you do. I've been there. I've lived there. Our society shames larger people constantly. Even here on MetaFilter where I like to thnk people are mostly empathetic, we've had people say the linked pictures are a slippery slope to snuff films. Christ, what an asshole.

It's cliche, but you really do need to love yourself first. You are the only constant in your life, so why tear yourself down? It takes an epiphany for a lot of people to get this, it certainly did for me. Root for yourself, smile to yourself, look yourself in the mirror and say I love you. Forgive yourself your trespasses, and work towards improving yourself.

I'd start by really looking at the pictures posted and seeking out more of them. Or male if you are male. You'll find people just like you who are sexy and confident and sexy because they are confident.

I'm going back and forth on whether to push unicorn and post this, because who am I? A guy who still struggles with body image issues? A chubby gay guy who grew up thinking his body would guarantee he never found love? I found love and it didn't fix these issues. I lost love and that's when I finally realized I had to love myself, including my body. Yeah, you'll probably dismiss this as feel good bullshit, but it's helped me and it might help other people who have to deal with this shit daily, so all unicorns are go.
posted by yellowbinder at 5:17 PM on December 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


I don't profess to know very much about the whole body image topic, but I can't help than find it at the very least a bit incongruous that an antidote to prejudice against large persons involves putting said persons up on a website to be gawked at. I appreciate there are a host of arguments to say that greater exposure etc helps to normalise these types of body images in the minds of the general public, but it nevertheless seems to me that this strategy makes the topic an issue of optics rather than one of prejudice / rudeness / thinking. Maybe it's just me..
posted by peacay at 7:46 PM on December 25, 2011


Peacay, it's a user submitted blog. People are putting their own pictures up there. It also tackles other issues than just being overweight although a majority of the pictures are of overweight women.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:49 PM on December 25, 2011


Understood. I don't get why my seeing a self-submitted photo makes me think something better or more inclusive etc. That's all I meant. People have negative thoughts and ideas and backgrounds that they bring to seeing (and commenting!) on people that fall outside the regular body types. How does seeing these body types on a dedicated website change their prejudice and if it's not expected to to that, how exactly is it "tackling issues"?
Sorry, I don't meant to be combative, but it seems to me that this approach concedes ground to people with body-image prejudices :: that's it's a matter of the way you look and not the way you think.
posted by peacay at 7:56 PM on December 25, 2011


Sorry but it's about more than just about having a body type that falls outside of what society deems as normal. If you look at magazines, television, ads, movies and any other type of media, no one has flaws. No one has hairy legs, stretch marks, thighs that touch, stomach pooch, crooked teeth, thinning hair, skin disorders or I could keep going. And really when do you get a chance to see what the average, unairbrushed person looks like? Not very often. And the website isn't there to change the viewpoints of the people who like to body police. It's there to give confidence to the people who feel ashamed of their bodies. It's saying that having a body or parts that don't fit into society's ideal is okay because most others are like that too.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:19 PM on December 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


--It's there to give confidence to the people who feel ashamed--

Thank you MaryDellamorte. I wasn't intentionally trying to be obtuse, but I acknowledge I was only looking at it from one side; I do see how this would be a positive solidarity project for those involved.

I think this general topic would also benefit from some short web episodes that demonstrate how peeps of all body types can be heroes or compassionate etc - scenes showing how admirable behaviour comes from good people irrespective of body type. It's a particularly good medium for showing up narrow-minded thinking.
posted by peacay at 9:01 PM on December 25, 2011


I'm all for body acceptance. I am fully aware of how the media manipulates us all into aspiring to a standard of perfection unachievable by anyone. I understand that this is to make us buy things, and that we should love ourselves for who we are rather than what we look like, as much of a struggle as society may make this for all of us, regardless of gender. I appreciate the efforts of people who want to work against this, and applaud those who manage to accept themselves for who they are and to love their bodies, regardless of a few extra pounds.


But here's the thing. I'm thin. I have seen women involved in the body acceptance movement who feel that their acceptance of their body type involves pointing out how superior, how much more generous, how much preferable their body type is to mine. Every day someone posts to my Facebook some 'feel good' line about their 'curves', how they make them 'more cuddly' or 'womanly' than thin women. People who would never think of telling another person how fat they are seem to think it's perfectly fine to tell me I am too thin, to insinuate that I'm unhealthy or anorexic because of my body type. This is not okay, I tell them. Body acceptance means acceptance of all body types, not just the one that serves their your own agenda. They are, at that point, playing the very game that they protest so loudly against. I sometimes get thoughtful responses to this, sometimes I just get belittled. I mean, how could I know what it was like to be unhappy with my appearance? I'm thin, right?

The fact is, people make judgements about bodies. Especially, but not only, the bodies of women. I'm happy for those women who have genuinely learned to love the bodies they live in, but your acceptance of your plumpness should not involve scorn or derision of the thin.

Also, side note, really hate the use of 'curves' or 'curvy' as synonyms for heavy or plump. I'm small, but this doesn't mean I have the body of a 'stick', I still curve inward at the middle, and outward in other places....
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 9:05 PM on December 25, 2011


I've been severely underweight and I've been a little chubby. Neither end of the spectrum felt good, but I've never gotten so much positive attention as when I weighed 90 pounds and had hair falling out in clumps. During that time, loving my body was a very dangerous game because the only way to maintain that state was through chronic starvation. While I was in recovery, I remember grabbing new patches of fat as it grew over bones and crying. I had difficulty sleeping because I imagined these fat cells like tiny parasites crawling under my skin. Even when I reached a "healthy" weight, I would rub the few remaining spots on my body where I could feel protruding bones as some sort of reassurance of self worth. 5 years and many therapy sessions later, I went a little crazy during a semester abroad and gained a significant amount of weight. Was I healthy? Not really. But because I had gained a modicum of self-respect, losing the extra pounds was a matter of becoming more connected with my biological needs and paying attention to how I felt rather than subsiding on diet coke for weeks at a time. Loving my body meant that I returned to healthy habits and let my weight balance itself out.
posted by pugh at 9:13 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Basically, the point of that post was that loving your body is a hell of a better way to be healthy than feeling ashamed of it.
posted by pugh at 9:22 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The problem, pugh, is that while that is a good and healthy way to love one's body, that's not what these people mean by "love my body". They mean to react with outrage and anger if someone suggests your body is anything less than perfect, so that they can feel victimized and self-justified in being morbidly obese. Look at how many people in this thread alone have reacted to "If you weigh 300 pounds and are not a professional football player, you should probably lose weight" with "your worth as a person isn't measured by how attractive others find you."
posted by kafziel at 9:28 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Alltomorrowsparties, those women are not part of body acceptance and I agree with you that it's wrong. Putting thin bodies down to make themselves feel better about themselves is a form of body policing. I hate the phrase "real women have curves." Ugh. In the blog link, there are examples of underweight or thin women. I'll say it again, the blog is not about accepting fat bodies.

so that they can feel victimized and self-justified in being morbidly obese.


Again, the blog isn't about morbid obesity.

Look at how many people in this thread alone have reacted to "If you weigh 300 pounds and are not a professional football player, you should probably lose weight" with "your worth as a person isn't measured by how attractive others find you."


So you're saying that your worth as a person is measured by how attractive others find you?

Also, I'm not obese and my BMI is at the lower end of the normal range yet you used one of my quotes to prove your point of "They mean to react with outrage and anger if someone suggests your body is anything less than perfect, so that they can feel victimized and self-justified in being morbidly obese."
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:42 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the problem may be viewing "your worth as a person isn't measures by how attractive others find you" as a defensive and overly sensitive response.
posted by pugh at 9:43 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another choice quote: I don't like my body, and I don't like how it looks. I am afraid to show my boyfriend even though we have been together three years.

That was almost exactly my figure in my teens. I also thought the same thing of myself.

What the fuck was wrong with me? Oh, right. The fat haters and the fear of not being perfect.
posted by Malice at 10:22 PM on December 25, 2011


Conventionally ugly people get laid, have relationships and get married all the time. Your looks are not what's stopping you.
"Sick people get better all the time! Your illness is not what's killing you."

Try that out on somebody some time.
posted by planet at 11:15 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


i'm a bit late for commenting here but i would like to say that i find large women who are comfortable with their bodies to be extremely sexy.
posted by lester at 6:02 AM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just chiming in here to say I'm 105 lbs and I'm much lazier than any "fat" person I know. I am so lazy that I take the elevator rather than climb a flight of stairs. No one has ever said "you look unhealthy" or "you should exercise more."
posted by desjardins at 9:42 AM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I truly believe men are getting the short end of the body image stick these days, as there are no end of body positivity and sex positivity messages for women... but basically, none for men...

These messages aren't being produced by some sort of PC Body Authority on behalf of women, you know, they are being produced by women themselves who felt they were getting "the short end of the stick" in the general messages that were out there about their bodies. If men want more body positivity messages in the world for them they need only produce these messages themselves. Of course if you're lazy you can do what I do and follow tumblrs by gay guys with inclinations towards the bear-ish end of the spectrum. It's nice to know you're somebody's "type."
posted by nanojath at 10:04 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


There have to be at least a couple pieces out there about body image and sexual self-consciousness issues that are unique to men. Why not put a post together, hincandenza, so we could actually talk about that on its own terms, instead of making another "they say women have it so bad but really men are the ones who are suffering" argument, as if there were only so much awfulness to go around?
posted by Adventurer at 2:24 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your looks are not what's stopping you.

Ooooh I'm so tempted to call bollocks on that one.

Any women who's lost weight will tell you the amount of positive attention from men sky rockets and overall, the attitudes of strangers is much more congenial when you're thin. I was marvelling over some of the social consequences for me when I lost the weight with a friend. Back when I was carting around all those extra pounds and I needed to cross an unmarked street I'd have to wait for all the vehicles to pass before I could walk across. Now the cars stop for me. People smile at me more, more helpful, more likely to strike up a conversation, more agreeable ... more of everything. The differences in attitude have been so striking I wonder what my life might have been like had I never gained an extra ounce because society is so heavily biased against overweight women.

So when planet said, "Spoken like someone who is sexually appealing to others and takes it for granted." up thread it made me think of the differences in how women are treated based on outward appearances like some of those expressed in the in/visible thread awhile back. Which, imho, is the point I thought they were trying to make. I'm not sure its fair to blame planet because they've noticed the bias and have pointed it out.
posted by squeak at 2:29 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


>Any women who's lost weight will tell you the amount of positive attention from men sky rockets and overall, the attitudes of strangers is much more congenial when you're thin.<

This don’t doubt this is true, but it may be more complicated. It seems to me that many larger women don’t dress nice, don’t act as friendly, don’t take care of themselves as much because they don’t like the way they look. I’ve had women say to me "why bother trying to look nice, I’m fat" or "I’m not buying any new clothes until I lose weight".

Maybe they lose some weight and feel they’re more attractive, so they act more attractive, buy new clothes and socialize more. I’m a man, but I’ve spent plenty of time clothes shopping with women and I know it’s not easy, and can be harder if you’re bigger.

Of course this isn’t always the case, some people are just weird and don’t like fat people.
posted by bongo_x at 2:45 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


bongo_x, if we think the obese are lazy, stupid, mean [insert favourite stereotype about the obese here] how is better fitting clothing, or a nicer shade of lip stick going to help? The underlying prejudice will still exist regardless of whether they're snappy dressers.
posted by squeak at 6:47 AM on December 27, 2011


>if we think the obese are lazy, stupid, mean [insert favourite stereotype about the obese here] how is better fitting clothing, or a nicer shade of lip stick going to help?<

Some people do think that, some. What I’m saying is that sometimes it’s just the person who thinks that about themselves and assumes everyone else feels the same. You can’t just say that everyone hates fat people because some people have a problem anymore than you can say everyone in this country hates black people. I’m often thinking "why is that cute fat girl dressed so horribly?"
posted by bongo_x at 9:26 AM on December 27, 2011


I put on about 40 pounds between August and December of... 2005, I think? (Combination of unusual work stress, a living situation that made me eat out a lot, and a really ill-advised crush. Long story.)

My fashion sense didn't change, my self-image didn't change (I was surprised as fuck when I stepped on that scale in January, let me tell you) but the way random people reacted to me on the street sure as hell did. Because it was such a short timeframe, I got a before-and-after look almost as effectively as putting on a fat suit.

It's not a self-image issue - at least, it isn't necessarily started by a self-image issue. People react to fat women differently than they do to skinny ones, even absent all other factors. It's not at all helpful to tell the fat women once again that they're doing it all wrong.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:33 AM on December 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't think I made my point so even though it's waaay late and I'm wondering whether I should say anything at all, but this tab has been sitting open with a half finished thought for days now ...

Some people do think that, some.

A lot of people do, but they're not taunting you with fatty fatty two by four, or pelting you with twinkies in the public square, it's much more subtle than that.

One of the biases is we hold is that the overweight are less friendly, less sociable. You said it yourself with, "larger women ... don’t act as friendly", but is she really less friendly, or are you just assuming she is then projecting that? Then "Maybe they lose some weight ... socialize more" which is another stereotype; that the thin are friendlier, more social, have more friends. And that's why I wanted to call bollocks. This stuff is a separate issue from whether we think she has good fashion sense, or not. Going out on a limb, it's probably a safe bet to assume that you have the same thoughts about thin women too.

Imho, at the core of this is, the more we believe someone should be held personally accountable for their actions the more judgemental we become and boy can we be oh so self righteous about it.
posted by squeak at 10:19 AM on January 3, 2012


>Going out on a limb, it's probably a safe bet to assume that you have the same thoughts about thin women too. <

True, but I generally don’t find thin women attractive, so I don’t really care.
My point was more that there can be a lot of factors involved in why someone thinks they're being treated differently, and the fact that some people really do treat them differently just confuses it more.
posted by bongo_x at 5:45 PM on January 4, 2012


But, I'm arguing something more basic; unconscious thought (implicit associations) and snap judgements from strangers (the halo effect) and how those things taint how we treat people and you want to argue its about self esteem and and feeling sexy in a flirty skirt and kitten heels*.

*arrrghhh*

Men!!! ;)

*I don't even know if that's a good combo because I wear jeans, t-shirts and combat boots all the time.
posted by squeak at 9:07 AM on January 5, 2012


>But, I'm arguing something more basic; unconscious thought (implicit associations) and snap judgements from strangers (the halo effect) and how those things taint how we treat people<

Yeah, people do that, including you I bet. Do you have a plan for changing that?
posted by bongo_x at 10:42 AM on January 5, 2012


Do you have a plan for changing that?

One of the only effective ways is to bring those assumptions up to your conscious mind so you can examine them and notice when they're affecting your actions. Which is the purpose of this conversation, I think. I can't tell if you're just being terse or if you're trying to get a dig in, but I don't see your angle here.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:20 AM on January 5, 2012


Of course I do. Though I can't help but think some of it has been reinforced, sanctioned and taught to me. All I can do is reassess why I'm jumping to conclusions when I catch it and hope I don't do it again.

Plan? A universal one? We're too effed up to fix, someone should've ordered a massive recall a long time ago ...
posted by squeak at 11:59 AM on January 6, 2012


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