Why fat positive spaces need to be intersectional spaces. Why it’s important to deconstruct how fat white women have white privilege when fat women of color do not. We need to have more discussions around this topic.
Now, before I get bombarded with angry comments from skinny people, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being skinny. I’m also not suggesting that being skinny and strong are mutually exclusive. I’m only pointing out that strength only sells when it’s sexy and, make no mistake, advertisers want very badly to make you feel like you are currently failing at both.
Strong isn’t really replacing skinny; being skinny is no longer enough. Now, ladies, you need to be skinny and ripped. It’s an additional layer of self-loathing (perfectly suited for hypergymnasiacs), just in case people had started to get desensitized to the omnipresent and psychologically crippling display of corpse-thin women in the media.
And what’s with the Playboy cover poses? The one on the bottom is basically a picture of an ass. The young lady on the top right is either confused about how to wear pants or the ad was meant to double as a promotion for whoever did her impressively thorough bikini wax. According to these photos, all this notable strength that is the new standard of beauty is only useful for the exact same thing being skinny was: sex appeal. Not adventure or longevity, or even ability; Nope, just for sexy times.
So I guess “strong is the new skinny” is, in fact, a totally accurate statement, just not so much in an inspiring way as in “the gears of modern culture crushing young women’s dreams” kinda way.
Read them all but “#5 Strong is the New Buzzword for Manipulating Women’s Body Image” has really good commentary how “strong” is being used instead of “skinny” while reinforcing the same standards of embodiment. This is only one part of the section I would go and look at the photos and commentary.
Trigger Warning: Rape. The author uses the term “rapey” which is horribly problematic in the last section of the post.
I was interviewed about the whole issue with Special K by Claire last week. This is a bit from my own portion.
The AMA’s decision is not only a dangerously flippant dismissal of the complexity of body size (and body diversity) in the heterogeneous United States, but also a complete refusal to engage with the realities and dangers of stigma loading. A disease classification may lead to Health Related Stigma (HRS), which is considered both a “feature and a cause of many health problems.” (italics added). HRS would, of course, be on top of other stigma a fat person is likely already facing from peers, family, media, and, oh yeah, doctors.
Obesity (fatness) – as an identity or an experience - does not exist in a vacuum. One’s experience as a fat person is mediated by their gender, race, class standing, ability, and citizenship status; these realities overlap, intersect and complicate the way that a disease classification may be stacked onto other marginalized identities. Furthermore, because women, poor people and people of color are likelier to be classified/seen as fat in our culture, the AMA decision de facto upholds sexism, classism and racism.