Recently, there has been this radical phenomenon happening where once only commonplace Fat Phobic oppression is actually getting called out enough on social media that they cross the invisible barrier through to mainstream media, picking up buzz, anger mixed with confusion, and confirmation of what all body positive warriors, myself and team WYV already know to be true: we are currently living in a society where fat is a fully acceptable reason to be shamed on a constant, daily basis. We also know this to be true: it’s time to get the EFF over that total BS!
To prove just exactly this point, I rounded-up 3 of the most trending stories exposing Fat Shaming from the past couple of weeks – from a prom dress to a condom to a post-baby belly, quite a fitting sequence to display just how pervasive the symptoms of this Fat Phobia epidemic truly is (in case you didn’t pick up on that from any of my other articles)!
Alexus Miller-Wigfall’s floor-length red dress was deemed inappropriate by school officials, who decided to force her to leave her own prom early, later giving her a one-day suspension from school for her dress not meeting the dress code requirements. According to the senior when speaking with Penn Live, the school’s assistant principal noted her breast size as being part of the problem, saying, “You have more boobs than other girls. The other girls have less to show. ” After uproar from her mother, fellow students, and social media outlets, district officials decided that Alexus would not have to serve her suspension on Friday, which feels like the most minor of steps toward making this situation right? There’s no way to un-fat shame someone, the damage has been done. However, the damage leaves us with this appropriate reminder of actually breaking the cycle of Fat Phobia in America, and we are greatly thankful to Alexus for shining her soulful beauty from the inside out serving as an amazingly strong example to other high school girls to be confident in their own skin! (Sidenote: you are one of the most fashion-forward prom-goers I have ever seen, and I couldn’t love this whole look on you any more!)
Our next dose of disgusting comes from a greetings card company back on the British motherland. Cards Galore, recently stopped selling the condoms pictured above after being called out on Twitter for their sexist and body-shaming ways. There are oh so many things wrong with this condom design that I barely know where to begin, but let’s just tackle the baseline, shall we? It will never ever be ok to leverage the same drawing used outside of public bathrooms with the accompanied words “enter” to discuss the act sexual intercourse with any womyn…Did I say EVER!?! Now to the next level: It is certainly NOT OK to then further suggest that there would be a type of womyn’s body that one should not enter, emphasizing that body is a fat one. Also, I’m just wondering when the leap of fat shaming being sexy came in, because that could be the most dangerous leap of all (besides that baby chub rolls meme I shared last week).
Thanks to friend and beyond talented model, Saucyé West, I was alerted to this recent segment of a show I admittedly never watch: The Dr.’s, which tackled the topic of Fat Shaming. The topic was sparked by a British mum who posted the above photo of her flawless post-pregnancy abs adding the triggering line “No Excuse.” While the discussion with this mum was a fairly run-of-the-mill let’s celebrate fit moms sort of thing, the following discussion with Body Positive Activist Tigress Osborne was anything but socially normed!
Tigress’ answer to the doctor’s question about the ab fab photo was pure brilliance! Simply but bluntly put, she said that both her body and the British mum’s body should be celebrated together (I know, very revolutionary for the times we live in) – and that she would have had no problems with the mum’s original photo showcasing her beauty if the association with “no excuses” hadn’t been made, because all bodies deserve to be honored and loved! Watching Tigress speak with such passion, conviction, and confidence was beyond inspiring. She acknowledged the work of the British mum, but also highlighted that a movement around that type of body celebration exists. As of now, Tigress pointed out, fat celebration still needs to happen in a mainstream way. Cue: this goddess standing to show off all the curves and swerves she’s working with! (*LOVED this moment, which felt extra powerful for me to see done in front of doctors, as a long-time patient in the Fat Phobic medical world.)
Of course there was some problematic and inherently Fat Phobic language that subsequently got thrown around once Tigress made her proud declaration of self and body love. Firstly, one of the female doctors quipped back that they had to acknowledge the links between fat and certain diseases such as Cancer (falsely conflated statistic reminding readers to question who profits off of skewed and biased research) – in one fell swoop this MD womyn tried to undercut the whole of fat acceptance; probably without realizing what she’s been trained to do automatically. Next, the young male doctor stepped-in to try and counterbalance to this more obvious jab, which only served to distract and de-rail the important conversation at hand. Essentially with a winning grin, this traditionally handsome doc expressed the basic sentiment: “As long as your doctor says you’re healthy, we agree!” What seems like a moment of solidarity is actually another complexly problematic statement. This is because many doctors are already deeply Fat Phobic (in fact, engage in Fat Shaming ignorantly on a constant basis), thereby infusing societal beliefs into medical myths masked as truths. So the doctors of many individuals have already enlisted their Fat Shaming upon those patients, and very well may believe that everything would just magically (not biologically or scientifically) get better and heal, if their patient “lost some weight.” Research and doctor’s with no financial strings attached, have already highlighted the fact that BMI’s are totally fake, BS, governmental constructs based upon white, male, heteronormativity, which in turn debunks the term “obese” into a meaningless comparative observation! Also highlighting the fact that when people are sick, having more weight on their bodies can be to their advantage, whereas losing weight and becoming emaciated could bring you closer to death (Just in case you had forgotten, we wanted to take this moment to remind you!)
Thank goddess the show was progressive enough to feature this babe in her bikini – giving zero fucks and loving life, as well as her “bakery full of rolls” (the beautiful sentiment which she accredited back to model Saucyé West).
(*keeping in mind that Tigress’ booms back to the Dr.’s Fat Phobic remarks were edited out as she told me.*)