Conversation with the Comments

My last entry generated a couple of thought-provoking responses.

Dan’l, I think you’re right. Invulnerability was too strong a word. The issues we talk about are very complicated and it can be easy to overgeneralize. I agree that fat is not only a feminist issue; neither is aging, nor ability. Men over a certain size suffer every bit as much discrimination and pain as fat women, even if the size boundary for women is considerably smaller. It’s not about fat men unloading their self-loathing on women. It’s about the way the society manipulates us so that it’s hard for us to work together. If you haven’t looked at the Familiar Men gallery, you might want to see some of the beautiful pictures of fat men.


James, awareness is not acceptance, or comprehension. You say that the acceptance of one’s own body leads to the acceptance of others. Our work is about our belief that the acceptance of other bodies leads to the acceptance of one’s own. As you know from your own work, accepting our own bodies is so socially out-of-bounds that most people who find their way to it do so through input from the outside. Without images to help us learn to accept our own bodies, some of us are going to lash out under the pain of self-hatred. That being said, when people do accept their own bodies first, you’re right; that does lead to the acceptance of other bodies.

Body awareness without acceptance is an age-old tool used to make people dislike themselves in the ways that are the most profitable. We believe that women who spend an hour or more a day “beautifying” themselves often want men to care for their own bodies in comparable ways that may be differently gendered, and are not necessarily good for the men.

–Laurie and Debbie

One thought on “Conversation with the Comments

  1. I’m interested in how much time per day people spend “beautifying” themselves. I remember realizing when I was a teenager that magazines promoted the idea of a beauty routine, morning and night. There was a 1-2 year period where I did that stuff: woke up early, put curlers in my hair, blow-drying, makeup. During the day there was constant make-up and curling iron messing around in bathrooms between classes. At around 15 I realized it was pointless and destructive. One to two hours a day! Spent on what?

    The rhetoric now is of “taking care of one’s self” – self love, reducing stress, etc. On top of beauty and pleasing others and conforming to particular images. If I’m not sitting around lotioning myself with organic body butter for an hour a day, gosh, it’s probably bad for my health.

    I can’t remember who said this but it was some famous feminist who said that most beauty rituals for women had the purpose & function “to signify the woman’s readiness to devote her time and energy to a man.”

    That said, I like a whore’s bath; it’s sort of a ritual thing to prepare for a date by intense grooming of myself…

    Just – not all the time as a daily routine.

    Another vaguely related thought:

    This post was pretty interesting – We Wear Short Shorts about veiling, hot pants, and women’s facial hair

    “Regardless of the idiocyncrasies of local custom, patriarchy will not suffer a woman who does not strive with her every fiber to achieve success in the mastery of feminine drag.”

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