[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:
- The author of the Kickstarter campaign thought that using hyperbole about “a society that protects fat culture” would be eye-catching, and,
- 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.