[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:
Others included one I hope to never hear again while sick:
…and one that seems to be declining as my age advances:
Others came fast & furious.
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.
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.
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.
Harassing women is depressingly common. Some people might think fat women get to avoid it. They’d be wrong.
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.
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.
- Brigid Keeley: “Being Fat In The World”
- Nudemuse: “#fatmicroagressions”
- Melissa McEwan: “Meanwhile, on Twitter…” (Shakesville)
- Amy McCarthy: “#FATMICROAGGRESSIONS: The 10 Most Revaealing Tweets On The Negativity Overweight People Face” (Bustle)
- Nina Bahadur: 14 Painful Examples Of Everyday Fat-Shaming (The Huffington Post)
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