#fatmicroaggressions

[Content warning: criticism of fat shaming]

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville started the #fatmicroaggressions tag on Twitter.   (If you’re not familiar, “microaggression” is the concept that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, or genders can be interpreted as small acts of mostly non-physical aggression; the term was coined byChester M. Pierce in 1970.  I am most familiar with microaggressions via http://www.microaggressions.com/.)

Melissa started with the old chestnut we’ve all probably heard too many times:

"You have such a pretty face."

“You have such a pretty face.”

Others included one I hope to never hear again while sick:

"There's nothing wrong with you that losing x pounds wouldn't solve."

“There’s nothing wrong with you that losing x pounds wouldn’t solve.”

…and one that seems to be declining as my age advances:

"Are you sure you should be eating that?"

“Are you sure you should be eating that?”

Others came fast & furious.

#fatmicroagressions "urrrgh, I feel fat" (said with fear/disgust/shame)

“urrrgh, I feel fat” (said with fear/disgust/shame)

"How do you wipe??"

“How do you wipe??”

Obviously reading this can be upsetting, in part because it reminds of when we’ve had these thrown at us.  But there’s camaraderie in sharing.  Some are common enough to be an in-joke.

"Have you tried dieting?"

“Have you tried dieting?”

Other things fit into less-common portions of the fat experience. Most fat women, for example, wear US women’s size 24 or below…but millions do not.

"We carry sizes to fit every body!" *stops at size 24*

“We carry sizes to fit every body!” *stops at size 24*

And most people probably do not think about who attends conferences on public health in regards to obesity, or why weight bias scholars are often thin and thus don’t have to face fat bias on their own.

No fat people speaking at the so-called "obesity" conference.

No fat people speaking at the so-called “obesity” conference.

Harassing women is depressingly common. Some people might think fat women get to avoid it. They’d be wrong.

Man at a club: "Hey baby, c'mon dance with me." Me: "No thanks." Him: "Whatever. Fat bitch. You're ugly anyway."

Man at a club: “Hey baby, c’mon dance with me.” Me: “No thanks.” Him: “Whatever. Fat bitch. You’re ugly anyway.”

Here the impression is that the fat hate might have been avoided if the writer had complied with his ask. However, when unhappy, he used “fat” as a go-to insult — along with “bitch” and “ugly”. It says something about what our culture does and doesn’t value.

"No one would rape someone as fat as you."

“No one would rape someone as fat as you.”

And here the anger is even uglier.  It asserts the myth that rape is about a man’s uncontrollable desire for an attractive woman.  It asserts that being “rapeable” is a standard to aspire to.  And it is a threat.  The person who states “No one would rape someone as fat as you” claims to know what rapists would do.  By doing this, that person claims to be a rapist.   Implied is also that “no one would believe you so I can do as I please”.  As Amadi notes, this also intersects with the concepts of rape culture and intersectionality. Fat does not exist in a vacuum. 

This is getting depressing, and I’ve barely skimmed the surface.  Feel free to check out the convo or post your own here.

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3 thoughts on “#fatmicroaggressions

    • That’s a lot of really neat camaraderie and also social justice activism going on via twitter. It’s not a format that suits everyone, but I’ve met some really great people and learned a lot through using it.

  1. I read your blog regularly. I put it in a feed so I can’t miss it, that’s how much I like and need your writing. I get a LOT out of what you have to say. I am SWOONING that you linked to me. Seriously. GOSH.

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