Remaining positive about our bodies and keeping our head above the water of diet culture is a constant struggle.[Content Note: This article will discuss the use of the word “diet” in both a general sense and a restriction sense. The point of this post is to help dismantle diet culture and educate those on the effects of it. I understand if just reading the word is triggering for some folx. Please take care of yourself.] When a doctor asks you about your diet they mean, of course, what foods you consume to keep you alive. Unless you’ve told them that you’re dieting, they generally don’t mean the restriction of calories and foods that your body needs (until of course, they do meant that). This is probably the most neutral manner in which we use this word and it’s still triggering and violent. The word diet needs to be stricken from our vocabulary until we’ve moved beyond diet culture as a society. Diet in the most neutral terms means just the food you eat. “My diet consists of meats, veggies, fruits, and grains,” for example or “I’m trying to maintain a vegan diet”. This is however, not how we use the word most often. The vast majority of the time when we speak of diet, we are talking about dieting. “How’s your diet going? Did you try this new diet? I’m on a new diet!” are all common phrases that we hear all around us in our everyday lives. Which is why if someone asks you how your diet is and they legitimately mean “are you getting enough nutrients” most of us make the immediate association to “are you restricting enough?” Diet is a weighted word that has come to mean, by and large, the act of dieting and food restriction. Even in body positive, no-diet talk spaces, using the word diet to speak of food choices colors all further conversation with the idea of restriction and all that comes with it. Well meaning suggestions are suddenly suspect and in the back of our mind we hear that programmed, little voice that is telling us that whatever we’re eating, it’s too much, it’s not right. Kicking up this mental storm causes us to fall back into the same habits that diet culture supports. What Sonya Renee Taylor in her book, The Body Is Not An Apology calls the “Body-Shame Profit Complex (BSPC)” which speaks of how shame is used against us but is also the same mechanism as diet culture that sets the stage for companies to profit from out our self-hate. It is also a tool that keeps people, especially femme presenting people, oppressed. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a negative effect on masculine folx, because it does, it is just that it is marketed much more heavily to femme folx.
It Has Nothing To Do With Clothing — Black Women’s Bodies Are Hypersexualized No Matter What We Wear
Black women's bodies are hyper-sexualized and we need to make sure the language around body positivity doesn't reinforce racist and sexist fetishization.Demetria Obilor, traffic reporter at a Texas news station, recently responded to body-shaming comments made about her style of dress. The comments focused on her body size and her choice to wear clothing that does not hide her figure. This situation is reminiscent of Patrice Brown, more commonly and affectionately known as Teacher Bae, who suddenly found herself under a microscope and under review by her employer when a photo of her went viral and garnered comments about how her wardrobe was inappropriate for the classroom. Both of these women, and many more, are fighting a constant battle against unwarranted and unwelcome commentary about their bodies and how they choose to dress them. Not necessarily because of their size, but because of their shape. “Has anyone seen Channel 8’s new morning traffic reporter? Her name is Demetria Obilor & she’s a size 16/18 woman in a size 6 dress and she looks ridiculous,” wrote Jan Shedd in a now-deleted Facebook post. “I understand that when I watch Channel 8 I’m going to get biased reporting and political correctness, but clearly they have taken complete leave of their senses. I’m not going to watch Channel 8 anymore.” The post went viral after Chance the Rapper retweeted a screenshot of it with the simple caption “BIIIIIIG MAD.” https://twitter.com/fabfreshandfly/status/926508650947940352 https://twitter.com/chancetherapper/status/926519148988989441 Obilor's response was astute, matter of fact, and refreshing: “A quick word to those people: this is the way that I’m built, this is the way I was born, I’m not going anywhere, so if you don’t like it you have your options.” While I support Demetria and her response to the racism and body shaming she continues to experience, I feel like there's something else to be found beneath its many layers. Something else about this situation bothers me. Both Obilor and Brown are “pear” shaped, light-skinned Black women. Their very existence in the bodies they were born into is readily fetishized, and not just by the color struck purveyors of colorism. With their light skin, small waistlines, and prominent hips and butts, they inhabit the seemingly most desired, coveted, and worshipped body type, for Black women especially. But there is something at play here besides the fact that people of all races, genders, and sexualities constantly attempt to police Black women's bodies. It's beyond the fact that Black women, regardless of appearance, are always-already sexualized. It's beyond the fact that curvy body types are always deemed inappropriate no matter what we wear.
Far too many people see fat bodies being desired as an impossibility, and see fat people as wholly unworthy of physical intimacy.At least two women and one man have brought a lawsuit against Usher for knowingly exposing them to herpes and failing to disclose his status prior to sexual encounters with them. Though, he reportedly denies this. One of the women involved in the case against the R&B superstar has come forward to reveal her identity. Her name is Quantasia Sharpton and she is a fat Black woman. Quantasia’s public appearance and acknowledgement of Usher’s alleged abuse defies social expectations for a fit and famous man – the collective assumption that any sexual partner of his would be a thin woman. It is simply unfathomable, to many, that Usher would ever find her fatness attractive. Lil Duval, the human trash pile at the center of the recent Breakfast Club Boycott due to his “jokes” about murdering trans women, posted tweets expressing his sheer disbelief. [embed]https://twitter.com/lilduval/status/894565778640564226[/embed] [embed]https://twitter.com/lilduval/status/894573878416113664[/embed] He is not alone in his sentiments and his fans joined in on the fatphobic rampage against Quantasia. Far too many people see fat bodies being desired as an impossibility, and see fat people as wholly unworthy of physical intimacy. These people are wrong. Fat women fuck. A lot. We have just as much capacity to be sexual beings as thin women do. Fat women can and do experience passion and romance – one-night stands and forevers and everything in between. Tender, raunchy, sensual, acrobatic. We are not strangers to these intimacies, and to deny us this possibility is to deny us our humanity. Amid conversations about desirability politics and fatness, it is important to keep fat humanity at the forefront, because the dehumanization of fatness and fat people is at the forefront of fatphobia. This is demonstrated in Lil Duval referring to Quantasia as “this” in his tweet – as if she were an inanimate object, rather than living, sentient, and human. But her worth and humanity are not determined by her sexual or erotic capital. Desirability should not be a prerequisite for the humanity of fat people, and I will not use evidence of men desiring her body type as the central argument against the misogyny-laced fatphobia that she and all fat women continue to experience. Whether or not people find us attractive, we deserve the right to exist free from the oppression of fatphobia.
How can we create a more inclusive discussion about the very common endocrine disorder, PCOS?By Toni-Marie Gallardo Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that affects 10% of people with ovaries. It can lead to ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, problems with ovulation, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It is caused by the body’s overproduction of androgens, under production of progesterone, and insulin resistance. This is a brief explanation, but I don’t want to regurgitate the same narrative that most of the PCOS online community spouts. Black, indigenous women, trans and gender nonconforming people of color (BIPOC) are often left out of the narrative. I was officially diagnosed with PCOS in 2014. I say officially, because if you’re anything like me and other BIPOC, then you are already familiar with the dangerous but necessary tradition of self diagnosis. It took me three years to overcome the generational trauma that most BIPOC experience when going to the doctor’s office. Low income communities and hourly wage earners often aren’t able to take time off from work, aren’t made aware of all their options, don’t trust physicians, or are simply used to creating their own remedies through traditional means. Today, although I am Mexican American with the privilege of healthcare, the trauma manifests as telling myself “it’s not that bad,” or “I’m being dramatic,” which is usually reinforced by family members. I brought up the symptoms of PCOS to my mother–she laughed and said I was just Mexican, thick and hairy, and gave me twenty bucks to start waxing.
Dear Virgie, Do you think we should stop using words like “thin” and “fat,” since they draw attention to size differences and only increase the divide between people? Dear Friend: This is a complex question. On the one hand, I totally see