Women standing up against a society [that bastardizes] thin and athletic women

[Discussion of fat hate & discrimination]

OK, I wanted to give people the benefit of the doubt.

When Lesley Kinzel wrote about the Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a to stand up for “thin and athletic women” who are oppressed by society’s expectations, I wondered if:

  1. The author of the Kickstarter campaign thought that using hyperbole about “a society that protects fat culture” would be eye-catching, and,
  2. If the author of the Kickstarter campaign had conflated society’s dislike of visible muscles on women as “pro-fat”.

The photo of the author on Kickstarter definitely shows visible abs definition, and yes, “feminine” usually correlates to “few or no visible muscles”.  Some women do fear gaining visible muscle and avoid weightlifting as a result.  Women bodybuilders are sometimes viewed as “masculine” or “freaky”.

From the Kickstarter description of the project:

Collection of images of women standing up against a society that protects fat culture while bastardizing thin and athletic women.

[...]

There are millions of women out there and im sure you know at least one looking for a voice , not from tvs and magazines, not from victorias secret.. but from the ground level , to speak up and tell them that its okay to want to be in better shape.

[...]

But.. if it just makes it into the hands of ONE little girl who feels like she has to be overweight to fit in with the current 70% of the overweight population of America, and it gives her the strength to know that being healthy isnt a bad thing.

Then this whole project is worth all the time and effort i can possibly afford to put into it.

…. ah no.

Obese individuals are highly stigmatized and face multiple forms of prejudice and discrimination because of their weight (1,2). The prevalence of weight discrimination in the United States has increased by 66% over the past decade (3), and is comparable to rates of racial discrimination, especially among women (4). Weight bias translates into inequities in employment settings, health-care facilities, and educational institutions, often due to widespread negative stereotypes that overweight and obese persons are lazy, unmotivated, lacking in self-discipline, less competent, noncompliant, and sloppy (2,5,6,7). These stereotypes are prevalent and are rarely challenged in Western society, leaving overweight and obese persons vulnerable to social injustice, unfair treatment, and impaired quality of life as a result of substantial disadvantages and stigma.

— Rebecca M. Puhl and Chelsea A. Heuer writing in “The Stigma of Obesity: A Review and Update” published in Obesity.

Look, I get that nobody’s life is perfect.  There’s a reason the Romneys believed  their college years were a “struggle”.  There’s a problem with how our society regards bodies, especially women’s bodies, as open to public discussion.  But I have trouble believing that a thin, fit woman is going to be less likely to be hired than a fat woman with the same qualifications.  I have trouble believing that a fit, thin woman is going to be told to gain weight to when she goes to the doctor’s. And I certainly don’t buy this belief that women need to be told it’s okay to want to get into better shape when every women’s magazine assumes getting into better shape is every woman’s dream.

20 thoughts on “Women standing up against a society [that bastardizes] thin and athletic women

  1. I think, as you said, there’s an unfair stigma against women that are visibly muscular. And that’s a shame, and should be remedied. But it’s a far cry from any kind of social discrimination against women that are thin or athletic without being muscular.

    My suspicion is that the author was intentionally inflammatory in order to use buzz like this to drive traffic. Link-bait, the engine behind the internet.

      • I think this woman won’t find a following for her Kickstarter campaign for the same reason she won’t be able to get her book published: Her writing, spelling, grammar, communication skills, and general idea formation are appallingly poor. Add a false premise to it and you have a “book” that’s dead in the water. She would probably be more successful in raising funds to publish a book of photos from her fetish modeling career.

        • Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems with the modern internet is that outrage and deliberate misinformation drives more attention and thus more ad revenue than civil discussion and simple presentation of facts. I certainly do hope her Kickstarter fails, but you can guarantee her page got more views on Kickstarter than hundreds or thousands of more worthwhile projects there and on other “crowd funding” sites like IndieGoGo. :(

    • This Kickstarter project is getting a lot of publicity. On another discussion board, someone wrote, “I’ve never wanted to anti-back a project before. This is a first.”

  2. WOOOOOW. Yes, that’s right, young women feel PRESSURE TO BE OVERWEIGHT.Yep, that’s what they see on every magazine and TV commercial, to gain weight and not exercise otherwise they won’t be loved. Being fat is so protected in our society! Good thing when I was growing up as a chubby youngster I was protected by all this pro-fat way of life…OH WAIT.

    Absolutely ridiculous. People say constantly fat people are coddled in our society – I’d like to know where these magical places are, since I can’t look anywhere anymore without seeing “fitspo.”

  3. There is a pretty significant area of people that shame, bully, and put down visibly muscular women. They do it in the open because it’s socially acceptable too. So it shaming fat people.

    There is also an area of people that bully and put down thin and fit (yet still indivisibly muscular) women in general, but much of it is done sneakily, behind the scenes. Shame against thin and fat women are two different things and are not comparable since there are two different motives for doing each.

    I don’t know much about this campaign, but I don’t want to judge it too soon. I say let it be for now and see what happens.

      • If you look right at the Kickstarter, it starts with “I’m sorry the butt I worked for isn’t as big as the one you ate for”, and there are links to the woman’s blog, and it’s obnoxious.

        I absolutely support strength training for women and muscles for women, and would consider backing a Kickstarter project or any other project that shows strong women in a positive light. This isn’t it, the woman is using a pro-muscular-woman position as an excuse for an anti-fat message.

  4. What a load of utter nonsense!! We all know that billions of people develop eating disorders due to the societal pressure to be fat. WTH???

  5. I read this woman’s kickstarter and it made my blood boil. This is a form of bullying to go online and mock the body shapes of others and to believe that the same type of discrimination that fat women experience are equal to thin women. The very fact that believing that only thin and average weight women can be healthy, fit, and live active lifestyles is a bunch of bullcrap. There’s plenty of fat women who live healthy lifestyles. The sad thing about this woman and her kickstarter is that there are actually people who are backing her. And, I found quite a few of them are formerly fat people who seem to just hate their former self. (Which I think has a lot more to do with your psychological issues than just body issues.) In all, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. But, I hope her project never reaches it’s funding goals.

  6. I agree about “too much” muscles on women being seen as a bad thing. And often this is related to women not wanting to be “too big” or not slender enough. It’s interesting that she connects thin and muscular, instead.

  7. I understand that women who are “too” muscular, or whatever, get hassle. I have very thin friends who sometimes get treated appallingly. So I’m more sympathetic than most people.

    What bothers me, however, is the dig at fat people. Fat people also often get treated badly. It isn’t fat people, and “fat culture” (which is what, exactly?) that’s the problem here. This is taking a valid point, and making it so obnoxious that no one wants to touch it. Nice going, douche.

  8. Pingback: Rape of Women not Men, Kickstarter, and A Kitten | Living ~400lbs

  9. Another problem: the author, like many people correlate a certain “shape” to fit and athletic.
    That makes me chukle. By societiy’s standard, powerlifters (those who aren’t ripped) and olympic weightlifters are “fat and flabby”. But are they automatically unfit? There goes the problem. No one is talking about the exclusion of this FIT people in “fitspo” simply because they do not pass the visual test

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