"What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat," by Aubrey Gordon
December 10, 2020 4:52 PM - by Gordon, Aubrey - Subscribe

From Your Fat Friend, a book about the need for "fat justice." This book diverges from the well-trod path when it comes to fatness and fat people. In it, you’ll find a mix of memoir, research, and cultural criticism all focused on unearthing our social and cultural attitudes toward fat people, along with the impacts those attitudes can have on fat people, ourselves. Where our cultural conversation focuses relentlessly on personal responsibility and the perceived failures of fat people, this book seeks to zoom out, offering personal stories while simultaneously identifying the macro-level social, institutional, and political forces that powerfully shape the way each of us thinks of fat people, both in general and in particular.
posted by The corpse in the library (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Like men hearing about the pervasiveness of catcalling for the first time, thin people cannot quite reconcile the differences in our daily lives. It is too distressing to recognize that their fat friend lives with such a dramatically different reality. And it is too alienating to acknowledge the simple fact that their bodies have spared them from a tumult they never imagined. It is illogical. So, to them, it is impossible.

I kept running into that as I read this book. I'd find myself reflexively thinking "Oh but maybe this is the reason this bad thing happened," and then catch myself and have to acknowledge that no, the thing happened because she is fat and people can't accept that.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:39 PM on December 14, 2020

Body positivity has widened the circle of acceptable bodies, yes, but it still leaves so many of us by the wayside. Its rallying cry, love your body, presumes that our greatest challenges are internal, a poisoned kind of thought about our own bodies. It cannot adapt to those of us who love our bodies, but whose bodies are rejected by those around us, used as grounds for ejecting us from employment, healthcare, and other areas of life.

(and elsewhere)

Frequently, when I share my experiences with thinner people, I’m met with a confidential nod and a misplaced sense of shared experience. I’ll tell a thin man about my experience being reseated on a plane, and he’ll say, “I get it. We all have our insecurities.” A thin woman will meet my story about a stranger shouting slurs at me with a hand over her heart. “Bad body image days are the worst.” Thinsecurity is a seductive thing. It tells thin people that feeling badly about one’s own body is the worst—and only—outcome of difficult experiences with our bodies.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:41 PM on December 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

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