It’s the Big Fat Carnival!! No. 4 to be precise. We are so proud to be hosting this carnival, which was created by our favorite ringmaster, Ampersand. Our theme is fat celebration! Acceptance is perfectly well and good, but celebration is what we all need.
Let’s start by visiting not a blog post but an entire blog. At least seven or eight different women at BlogHer mentioned this site to us; we had already seen and blogged it. Bonnie opens the door on the deep dark secrets about what pregnancy and post-partum bodies look like, and the results are a joy to behold.
Becoming a mother changes everything in your world – including your body. Here we share images of our bodies during and after pregnancy so we can see what real women look like.
Celebration is the theme in I love my body posted at All Girl Army. Adrienne is clearly a world-class celebrator:
I, for one, gave up hiding beneath sheets and behind curtains at the age of five. I do exist. And I love my body.
I want clothing that shows that. I want shirts that hug my breasts and waist. I want pants that fit in the waist, hips, and butt. I want to have a selection of flattering dresses, enough suits to look professional when necessary.
People say, “but you can order online. You have Lane Bryant. You have Torrid. Can’t you just sew something?” Or even, “have you tried losing a little weight, fatty?”
My sister doesn’t have to. Neither do any of my friends. Why should I?
Fat-celebrating novelist and poet Susan Stinson pointed us to her account of the NoLose Flea Market in New York City, a lively account of friends and fashion. However, she did not point us to this gloriously sensual poem which is even better (and too good to excerpt; read the whole thing).
And our guest blogger Lynne Murray got pretty celebratory herself, with How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Fat:”
If the body were the Starship Enterprise, which crew member would fat be? One of specialist Ã¢â‚¬Å“engine roomÃ¢â‚¬Â crew membersÃ¢â‚¬â€œlike Ã¢â‚¬Å“ScottyÃ¢â‚¬Â Scott in the original Star Trek, or Geordi La Forge in The Next Generation, monitoring the dilithium crystals that power the ship, reinforcing the hull against cold and external attack, and keeping the engines running in the best of times and the worst of times.
Then there are posts we just want to celebrate, like this perfect rant from Navelgazing Midwife. Here’s just one taste:
An ideal OB/GYN office visit would NOT make fat women feel like shit or blame every ailment from hangnail to cancer on their fat. Any discussion of weight loss or fat-related illnesses can be precipitated with, “I know you are aware you weigh more than what medical research feels is healthy, do you have any questions that might include discussing your weight?” If the woman says she does not. DROP IT.
The celebration of the scholar is a different kind of celebration altogether. Chameleon at Redemption Blues describes herself as an “academic class traitor,” and she clearly kept the academic frame of mind. Her extraordinarily thorough analysis of current British moral attitudes toward childhood obesity is a treasure trove for scholars and activists alike. The rousing ending, in part quoted from Hillel Schwartz’ Never Satisfied, tells you where the analysis leads:
If we really want sanity to be our guiding principle when it comes to feeding our children we would be well-advised to translate SchwartzÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Utopian musing into practical policy in the here and now: Ã¢â‚¬Å“In a fat society, children would be fed and fed well when hungry. When they were fed, they would be satisfied, because there would be no snares laid around food. Feeding would be calm and loving, always sufficient, never forced. Children as they grew into adolescents would acquire no eating disorders, since fat people and thin people would be on equal terms and there would be none of that anxious dieting which so often starts off the career of an anorectic or bulimic. No one would be obsessed with food because all people would have the opportunity to be powerful and expressive beyond the dining table.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Moral panic about fat clearly extends past the doctor’s office. Michelle on Peggynature wrote quite a letter to the Daily Mail in response to a nasty editorial about taxing fat.
“I also make a point of challenging bigotry, particularly when cloaked in bogus concern for my health. Your rant is not about health; being the focus of contempt, derision and disgust expressed by strangers in positions of power and influence is scarcely beneficial or conducive to anyone’s wellbeing. This is about making simplistic value judgments based on aesthetics. Plenty of thin people eat all manner of garbage and wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go to the gym if you paid them. They also snort coke, sink eight or nine pints in one sitting and have unsafe sex with folk whose names they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know and about whose sexual history they know sweet FA. Are you planning to tax them?”
And here’s the celebration: They came to take her picture and they (at least planned to run) her letter as the lead-off on the letters page! I hope she updates and tells us what happened.
The staunch and reliable Big Fat Blog has a post right up our, and particularly Laurie’s alley, on the subject of Fat and Art, linking to a very thoughtful piece from the New Statesman. (Registration is required; the bugmenot registration-avoiding link is on the BFB page.) Here’s a quotation from the article:
The corpulent body has become artistic shorthand for our flabby consumer lifestyle.
It was not always so. Some of the earliest known sculptures – such as the magnificently rotund Venus of Willendorf, which dates back to roughly 24,000BC, and the Venus of Berekhat Ram, which is 230,000 years old – are lovingly carved stone figurines of female torsos with exaggerated breasts, buttocks and bellies.
This, of course, is connected to our post Colette’s Weight and Erica Jong’s Issues, which takes on how people (including feminists) of our time try to overlay our own culture’s craziness onto the past.
“How dare they claim that Colette wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t gorgeous? And how dare they even imply, let alone state, that you have to be extraordinarily sexy to overcome being fat? WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s with these two contemporary women trying to put one of the sexiest women of her time on a diet?”
We need to write to mo pie at Big Fat Deal and get permission to use her movie review format. This particular review is of Sideways, and it’s excellent: “It’s nice to see a naked fat chick on screen enjoying herself in bed.”
The review format is even better than the review. Categories include Stereotypes, Fat Jokes, and Rating on the Offense-O-Meter. Seriously, mo pie, may we?
To wrap up this particular carnival celebration, we direct you to Nalo Hopkinson, fiction writer extraordinaire with the holy grail for fat women. Really. This is the single most practical fat-related blog I have ever seen.
No more chafing thighs! … It’s silicone in a powder-gel form. It dries in seconds, it’s colourless and unscented, it lets skin breathe, and it doesn’t wear off. Let me say that again. The gel doesn’t wear off until I wash it off. Understand that I can reduce the inner seams of a pair of corduroys to gauze in weeks, just by walking around in them. But the silicone gel doesn’t budge. It is so bloody astonishing to not be gasping in extra layers of protective cloth in hot weather, to feel air on my legs in summer again.
Yes, complete with purchasing instructions. Debbie’s buying some, and we bet most of our fat readers will too. Think of the present-giving possibilities.
We’re grateful to Ampersand and Meloukhia for pointing us to posts they didn’t write, and to the folks who submitted their own terrific posts.
Big Fat Carnival