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