while parts of being fat can be a shared experience with all fatties (airplane seats suck, people think we’re lazy, most restaurant booths are no fun), being fat is, on the whole, very different for everyone. we all bring our identities into a space (real or virtual).
i am white, educated, straight, cis-gendered, able-bodied, a US citizen, and English is my first language. These are my privileges and they have allowed me to walk through the world in a certain way. I am also fat, which has allowed/forced me to walk through the world in a certain way. I do not pretend that my fatness and my relationship with it is the same for other fat women. doing this blog, processing my own issues with my body as well as criticizing/examining society’s issues with my body is an exercise that is incredibly important to me and it is also something I am able to do because of my privilege and, equally perhaps more importantly, I experience it differently because of my privilege.
i may be treated more kindly than a woman of color who is fat or a person with a disability who is fat because i am societally acceptable in other ways (read – white, able-bodied, etc). i may be treated worse because, as Lesley states, society may choose to see me more than it chooses to see a woman of color.
In an absolutely fantastic post a couple of years ago, Tara Shuai likened the problems of the current fat acceptance movement with the second wave of feminism. She is right. She says,
Fat acceptance bloggers are guilty of the same sins of white feminism in that there is often a wholesale grouping of all fat people under the same oppression umbrella, with little or cursory examination of how things like race, class, sexuality, gender and gender presentation, ability, and age play into the fat equation. At minimum, folks in the fat acceptance movement need to take serious stock of their own position in the world, and how their privilege may be blockading their understanding of how other peoples’ experiences, identities, and embodiments change the way they experience their fat and how their fat is experienced by the world at large.
My hope is to do just that – to understand that my experience with being fat is my very own and is not indicative of how others may experience theirs.
Update: This was just posted at The Rotund and it’s great.