Feeling Fat vs. Being Fat

I will admit that I get annoyed when a size 2 friend complains that she has to get out her (size 4) “fat jeans” because she’s bloated or whatever. It’s not that I don’t want her to feel her feelings, it’s that I know that all of my jeans are “fat jeans” and that the difference is that if an airline loses her luggage she can find “fat jeans” in her size at any women’s clothing store and I cannot.

That’s where I came from when several blog readers asked me to read Daisy’s Piece for XOJane “I‘m Fat and I’m Not OK  With It” [Trigger warning for every possible reason including fat shaming, eating disorder talk, and a metric assload of negative body talk.]  Daisy doesn’t name her size but she does include pictures and she looks to me like she would be considered thin by most people, which she admits in the first paragraph.

The subtitle is “I don’t want to accept my body and I’m not ashamed to admit it.”  To which my initial response was “um, ok.”  I want to be clear that my goal is that everyone has the option to love the body they have now – I’m not trying to compel them to.  And unless I missed it there isn’t a big cultural push telling women that they should love their bodies and not try to lose weight.  If you want to hate your body that’s entirely your right and you’ll be supported by most of the dominant culture.  But just like allowing gay people to marry doesn’t compel straight people to marry same-sex partners,  other people choosing to love their bodies does not force others to love theirs.  You are not the Beastie Boys, you don’t have to fight for your right to self-loathe.

When I first read through the piece my initial reaction was a bunch of anger.  So I took a breath, and made an attempt to separate things that I thought were really inappropriate from things where I was projecting.  Like when she says “For me, admitting I feel fat is admitting I’m weak. It’s admitting there’s something about myself I don’t like, but that I’ve allowed to happen anyway.” When I first read that, I assumed it meant that she thinks all fat people are weak but upon reading it while doing lamaze breathing I realized that she is only speaking for herself and she didn’t say anything about anyone else. I don’t agree with what she’s saying, but she is within the underpants rule.  There are a lot of statements like that in the article.  I realize that while I think I know what she thinks of fat people based on this article, that’s me guessing, inferring and assuming.  While I’m in no way guessing about her situation, I know that when I had an eating disorder I hated my own body but had no problem with other people’s,  so from my individual anecdotal experience it’s possible.

Then I read this line from the article “That being said, there are probably some of you who are OK with your weight, but maybe shouldn’t be. ”  Blow the whistle, ring the bell, we have a clear underpants rule violation.  How dare she try to tell other people that they shouldn’t be ok with their weight? Inappropriate and out of line and there’s no excuse for it.

She also says “I’m writing it because it’s how I feel and because I think it’s OK to want to improve one’s body. I’m writing it because I think xoJane underrepresents that point of view in an admittedly noble attempt to make us all feel equal and beautiful.”

Here’s where I think it goes off the rails a bit.  xoJane is one of the few places in the media that isn’t shoving weight loss=improvement, thin=beautiful down everyone’s throat.  I find I’m really annoyed that Daisy decided to make it her job to bring this perspective to one of very few spaces that come from a different point of view, especially when she could easily spend her time in one of the thousands upon thousands of places online, in print and in real life that support women spending a ton of time, energy, and money hating themselves and their bodies.

She mentions “I know; I’m privileged to have the option to feel fat while swimming in a pool in Napa. I get it.”  But I would argue that she really doesn’t get it. She gets that coming from a wealthy family gives her privilege but she doesn’t get the fact that “feeling fat” without actually meeting the social definition of fat belies the tremendous amount of thin privilege she has.  To be clear, I understand that in a world where the diet and beauty industries spend millions in advertising to convince us that we’ll never be enough and we are bombarded with images that are utterly unattainable, it’s very difficult for anyone of any size to escape unscathed.  That said, I think the veritable definition of thin privilege is writing an article about how you feel “fat” and hate your body because you think you are 12-17 pounds overweight, while you tell other people that “maybe they shouldn’t” be okay with their weight and complain about the inconvenience of having to write your article without fat shaming.

I also think that there is a degree of insensitivity to the article – It’s a bit like saying “I only have $10,000 left in my bank account, I’m so poor!”  in front of a homeless person. You may feel that way and you are allowed to say it, but I think it’s a monumentally insensitive thing to do.  I think that this article is especially insensitive since she admits that she wrote the piece in part because xoJane just doesn’t have enough articles about self-loathing. So yeah, thanks for that Daisy.

I am an unrepentant Will Smith fan from the Fresh Prince days, and there is a song of his called “Lost and Found” that comes to mind here:

Lost is when you hide behind the freedom of speech
While sure you’re free to do it
But what it mean to do it
Did you mean to do it
Did you need to do it
Did you take time to think about the seeds you ruined?

Thin women who “feel” fat are allowed to feel that way, and to talk about that, but I would ask – is it necessary?  What are you hoping to gain?  Why do you feel the need to retell the story that is saturateingly common in our culture?  Knowing that it adds to the crushing weight of oppression, stigma, and suffering that fat people live under every day, how important is it, really, for you to call them your fat jeans?

Pre-ordering is almost over!  Pre-order my book now to  get an autographed copy and free shipping!

Fat: The Owner’s Manual – Navigating a Thin-Obsessed World with Your Health, Happiness, and Sense of Humor Intact, with foreword by Marilyn Wann, is now available for pre-order.   This is a book about living life in the body that you have now, making decisions about what you want in the future, and how to get there.  Whether you want to change your body, fight for size acceptance, just live your life, or understand and support your fat friends and family, this book was written to provide the insights, aha moments, humor, and hard facts to help.

Become a Member, Support The Work!

I do HAES and SA activism, speaking and writing full time, and I don’t believe in putting corporate ads on my blog and making my readers a commodity. So if you find value in my work, want to support it, and you can afford it, you can  become a member (you get extra stuff, discounts, and you’re always the first to know about things) or a you can support my work with a  one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free. If you’re curious about this policy, you might want to check out this post.  Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

Published in: on June 18, 2012 at 10:01 am  Comments (68)  

68 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m not sure what is more disordered about the xojane post – that the writer is so clearly in a place of pain about nothing in particular (sorry, hyperventilating over whether or not to get into a hot tub is pretty trivial), or that xojane would actually choose to run this. How does undigested neurosis advance any debate or discussion?

    I hope this harshness doesn’t get my comment deleted. But, really, how twisted are things when this sort of insecurity – as painful as it is for the person suffering it – passes for debate?

    • … or that xojane would actually choose to run this.

      Also agreed on this.

      Of course Daisy is entitled to feel however she feels about her body, and she deserves to have some outlet for processing those feelings. She’s even well within her rights to make statements that pass judgment on other people’s bodies and experiences (equating “improving” a body with being thinner, deciding that some other people shouldn’t be okay with their weight, etc.). I find the second line of statements hurtful, inaccurate, and offensive — but I’m not going to say that she should never be allowed to say them anywhere.

      But xoJane is an online publication that’s crafted itself to be, in part, a safer and friendlier space for fat people. And again, while they certainly have the right to publish whatever material they see fit, publishing pieces with lines that judge people (generally) based on body weight is directly against the idea of being a size accepting space. They don’t get — and should not have expected — to have it both ways.

    • ” or that xojane would actually choose to run this. How does undigested neurosis advance any debate or discussion?”

      My thoughts EXACTLY.

      Daisy’s brand of opinion and privilege-blindness are as common as dandelions. So why does xoJane feel the need to give it airtime? If we want to read that bs we’ll go to Cosmo or Woman’s Day or Good Housekeeping or People or Marie Claire or the New York Times or the LA Times or Sparkpeople or …

      • maybe they ran it as an example of how warped and twisted people can get over their body image. Maybe they ran it so we can laugh at the silly cow and tell her to get over herself :-)

  2. I always wonder how to tackle this issue when my thin friends complain. Thanks for this :) What you said about it being insensitive is exactly spot on. Sure anyone can have the right to say what they want, but it’s a question of manners!

    • Not sure why its insensitive if you are ok with your body image. I just feel sorry for them that they are so neurotic that they have to base their happiness on their waist size

  3. I chose not to read it, but I wasn’t surprised to see it. The comments on some of the size acceptance articles get heated and along the lines of “I am so sick of seeing this. can’t we just stop with the size acceptance pieces. there is too much here:” which is stupid. There are multiple authors on that site, and people can chose to not read something!

    • I have noticed this too and find it really sad and annoying. OMG people are being too body positive around me! How awful! Reverse sizism!

  4. Something I noticed also was a few references to watching her languaging, not because this is important as to avoid causing people pain, but because people may be “offended”. It smacks of the resentful cry of “everyone is so politically correct (PC) that I have to watch my words,not because they are hurtful and harmful, but because EVERYONE is just so damn PC”. I found this piece pretty yawn inducing actually and what is worse (and yet common for the anti-PC brigade) is that she thinks she is somehow being subversive and brave by speaking out, when all she is doing is whining

    • Yeah, that line gets really old. Look how brave and transgressive I’m being by saying what gets said a million times a minute already.

      • Yep KellyK. The “Im just saying what everyone thinks but no one but me is brave enough to say” discourse can be applied to most conversations where something bigotted, sexist, prejudiced, and racist is about to be uttered. And as you say, as though it is something new, and not the dominant conversation. sigh.

      • A point Ragen made in this post also. The sheer unoriginality of it.

    • This is exactly what made me not want to read this. The whole brave-person-stepping-out-to-speak-against-the-PC-police is so trite and overdone, and it’s not even logical. Yeah, you’re being really brave and rebellious by reinforcing the status quo. Fly high, brave maverick.

  5. You know what really go to me? There is the beautiful lady who is just the perfect size for her frame and her family (most notably her mother, who I did NOT think was all that attractive) calls her fat. It’s her family that really pushes on her the idea that she isn’t thin enough and so, after many years of fighting back she has given in and fallen sway to the same ol’ crap the rest of us hear day in and day out. It’s tragic. I am sad and angry about that. I hate it most when families cause each other such pain.

    XO Jane should not have run the article. Daisy has a right to her feelings (though yeah the line about how some people “shouldn’t be ok with themselves” DEFINATELY crosses the Underpants Rule line) but she didn’t have a right to have them posted THERE. Hopefully XOJane will have figured this part out at least and not run such garbage again because it does not suit their demographic.

    • I’m with you on that….I read the article and though “how incredibly sad”, and what an abusive environment she and her siblings grew up in.

    • I was called ‘fat’ by my family. It hurt for years. It still hurts when I remember it. The crap stays with you when you should have happy memories. Just recently, the first words out of my father’s mouth, “Was boy did you get fat?” I suppose I was ten to fifteen heavier than I was the previous visit, but it’s a way to ruin a life. Does the number on a scale have to be more important than enjoying life? Enjoying family?

  6. With a lot of fat-positive articles at XoJane, there are a lot of commentators (that I note that on their icons are thin to average) whining that they’re tired of hearing fat politics, which I can’t help but want to reply, “Then let’s give you more, you suckers!”

    Yeah, I’m horrible but I’ve just have had about enough of slim people derailing spaces where fat politics are talked. They need to get their thin privilege checked.

  7. I understand where she’s coming from. That’s the voice I hear in my head all day, every day. Granted, she is much smaller than me, but it doesn’t really matter. Unless you hold the record for largest person alive, there is always going to be someone bigger than you thinking “you don’t realize how good you have it/how much worse it is for me”. I obviously can’t be sure about this, but I would place money on both Daisy and I would scale highly on a test for body dysmorphic disorder.

    I would LOVE to be able to get to a place where I feel similarly about my body as Ragen does. I want so badly to get to that point. I tell myself all the things that my body does for me, and look at other people with similar bodies and think “that isn’t bad”. But so far, it hasn’t helped.

    I do think some of the article could be worded better, and “That being said, there are probably some of you who are OK with your weight, but maybe shouldn’t be.” is an awful thing to say. But I see where she’s coming from. There are some days that I can’t imagine getting out of bed because the amount of self-loathing I have feels like it’s crushing me to death. I’m crying right now just thinking about it.

    It reminds me of how people feel about depression. “No, don’t talk about that publicly, it’s shameful, hide it behind closed doors” is the same to me as saying “we don’t need articles about self-loathing”. Both are something many people suffer from, and saying something along the lines of “no, don’t talk about that, we only want positivity here” is harmful in my opinion. It’s good to get the message out there that other people feel the same way you do.

    (I don’t intend this as a criticism to anyone; just trying to state my thoughts on the matter.)

    • I am in a similar place re: self-loathing and have started to make some progress thanks to an awesome therapist. I think blogs like Ragen’s can help us fight against the 300,000 negative messages from the media, but my own brain is so good at generating negative messages, I needed a bit more help. (I see that somewhere else on XOJane, Daisy has written about “quitting therapy” but I can’t bring myself to read that one right now!)

      • Paraveina and Peregrin8 and everyone else who feels that way, I just want to give you a virtual hug and tell you it gets better. I know you’re fighting a hard battle, but you are worth the effort it costs to break out of that place of self-loathing. And you are not alone. <3 <3

    • Thank you. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who understands.

  8. I felt like the overall tone of her article was talking about her own experiences, and a lot of the commenters were very offended and had such a problem with that. I have read a few other rants about the article about what a spoiled princess she is, tons of hateful name calling, how she’s full of it because she’s obviously not actually fat so she shouldn’t call herself fat or feel fat – and it was really eye opening to me and revealing of the attitudes of a lot of the people who circulate these body positive sites, and many I feel aren’t so body positive when push comes to shove and I am left wondering why certain people chose to read the article when they knew what it was, but read it anyway and then acted like the article was forced upon their eyes as if they had no choice but to read it. I give props to the people who chose not to read it because they knew it would piss them off and they wouldn’t be able to deal with it in a healthy way.

    I’m not going to say I disagree with Daisy because it’s her own experiences….I don’t get to disagree with how someone feels about their own body. I don’t have the right to disagree that they feel justified in changing their body if they want.If I were her, I’m not sure I would have written the article because there is no approval or disapproval needed of doing what she does. I may have just kept it to myself because what business is it of anyone else?

    • Hey Ashley, I don’t think you are quite getting the issue here especially when you use peoples reactions to this whole thing as a measure of how body positive those of us in the fat-o-sphere are, and it seems those reactions have painted us all in a negative light even though we are a group of vastly different people with different thoughts and reactions.

      Now I have seen you around (Hi!) checked out your blog (cool) and found myself both intrigued and terrified of the snake pictures (snake phobia does that every time) and then I read the post about the troll you had visit your blog. That person was way unkind, and being a total jerk to you for doing nothing other than existing and daring to write a post that wasn’t really even controversial. That troll was highly uncool and I am sorry you had to deal with that. It seemed as though this was a first for you but I think it could help to kind of make you understand a little bit more of a world it seems you don’t right now.

      First off imagine getting hundreds of those kind of hate filled messages on a daily basis, totally unprovoked except for the fact that you dared exist. Imagine getting them not just online but when you go out into the world, when you turn on the news, or even standing in line as the supermarket. Imagine that you had a ton of people who don’t even know you saying those things to you, or behind your back loud enough for you to hear whenever you were out in public. This way you don’t get the ability and pleasure of just deleting them and you also have to deal with the fact that the people around you hear the same thing and so you get to deal with the uncomfortable issue of people not knowing what to say or do and looking at you to see how you will react. Also please imagine that no one around you steps in to defend you against these strangers. Can you imagine that the world would soon become a very lonely and hostile place right? Ok but we are just talking about strangers who don’t know you and so yeah we can totally write them off as losers who don’t matter but please continue this journey with me for just a little bit longer.

      Imagine you are actually out with friends or family who you love and care about, and whose opinions mean a lot to you. Imagine being in that situation and still no one tries to defend you against the hurtful words/actions they just stand there silent or tells YOU to just ignore it. Then consider how you feel when you realize that the reason they aren’t defending you from awful hate filled stuff is because they kind of agree with the person saying that stuff and so by staying silent or telling you to ignore it they are reinforcing that you deserved that kind of awful treatment just for the act of … existing. Now imagine it is your closest loved ones saying these kinds of things in a much more subtle way. Does the world in this situation seem like a inviting uplifting place?

      Now this is something you just have to imagine, and you get the choice to shut off that scene but for fat people we don’t. We live this on a daily basis just by daring to go out of the house, go to an event or attend a family function. Many times this happens to us in a place or at a time where we can not defend ourselves because it will be looked at as though WE are the awful ones. At work people will get upset or offended if we speak against it, people who can effect our jobs, in a family setting reacting with the hurt and anger we feel could cause a huge uproar and so often times we do just have to pretend like we are ignoring it, or make a joke of it. So many of us have managed to carve out spaces in our lives that are “Safe.” Places that are just a little oasis from the massive amount of messages we hear daily that tell us we are awful. Places that we can talk about how we feel, how we deal, how we carry on, without being told that we are wrong or unwelcome. These places, blogs, communities, forums, groups become very important because it gives us a little break from all the hatred, it allows us to verbalize the feelings we have and it allows us to vent so that we can go out and take another load dumped on us. These places are sacred, and so yes many of us treat them as such and get quite defensive because to a lot of us it is our safety net that allows us to carry on.

      When someone comes in and starts telling us that we SHOULD be making space for them, we SHOULD be respecting their right to carry on the very same hatred that brings us to a breaking point, that we SHOULD not react badly and that we SHOULD just ignore it and be nice and welcoming to that invasion into our somewhat safe spots, yeah there will be emotions. We get SHOULD on on a daily basis, often an hourly basis. We are constantly having it thrown at us that we SHOULD be smaller, prettier, less, and how we are failing this. All this SHOULD builds up until honestly we can’t handle the SHOULD anymore. So yeah there is anger because our safe space has been taken away, because the pile of SHOULD has grown to be to big, and we are hurt, and tired of dealing with it. Blogs are one of the last places that many of us have that we can vent those feelings, so yes it is really no surprise that there has been anger shown on many blogs, because anger is what comes from feeling hurt, despised, hated, and rejected on a level that you might not ever quite understand. Anger is a very valid feeling, and it is just that, a feeling that we deal with, we are allowed our feelings yes? Now you say “I don’t get to disagree with how someone feels about their own body.” I would imagine that also goes with getting to disagree with the feelings fat people feel when they are being told that they SHOULD share their safe place and allow hatred to invade it by someone who has the rest of the world as a safe place for their feelings of dissatisfaction of their body. Those are our feelings and yet we are often told we SHOULDN’T feel them. Fat people are not a hive mind, they all have different reactions and feelings to situations especially to ones where a place they may consider to be safe is being threatened, and they are each allowed to have, experience and even verbalize those feelings especially in other safe places like our blogs. That anger is rarely something we can show anywhere else so yes it often comes out in our blogs.

      Thing is I, being a fat person, can understand the anger, I can understand feeling upset when a post is written in a place that is normally a safe one going on and on about how awful she has it and how wretched she views being less than 20 pounds overweight. Along with seemingly snide comments about how some people should or shouldn’t be ok with their bodies, and how hard it is trying to watch her language so she doesn’t offend an sensitive lilies that might be reading. Honestly that is kind of like walking into a homeless shelter and going on and on about how awful your home is, how hard it is to keep such a big house clean and how you just die at the thought of inviting your friends over cause you haven’t remodeled your guest bedroom yet and it is still decorated in last years decor. It is just insensitive yeah? So ok while I am not one to vent a ton of outrage with really mean language and name calling, there is a lot of hurt and frustration there and with hurt and frustration comes anger, so yeah I totally understand the anger and hopefully others can too rather than trying to police our emotions just allow us to have them.

      • Thank you for the insight. You’re right, I can only imagine getting that kind of hate thrown at me constantly and I can imagine why you would want a break from it. I can also see why people would feel hurt, frustration, and anger and would make extreme comments from that anger, I do it too on occasion. I don’t mean to pinpoint the fatosphere as a whole. I was just a bit disturbed by certain people’s comments about Daisy and I couldn’t tell you who they were, although there were others that expressed their frustration without name calling so I just wanted to say I wasn’t trying to generalize.

  9. I know this is not very productive, but as far as I’m concerned, Daisy can take her opinion that “some of us are okay with our bodies who shouldn’t be” and shove that opinion right up her thin, upper-class, snot-nosed beeyotch behind. People like her make me sick.

  10. Sheesh… she even trots out the “nothing worse” jive.

    “And, sorry, but there’s nothing worse than going to a class at the gym and realizing you’re the biggest girl there.”

    Daisy, for starters you are not a girl; you are a grown woman. Have some perspective! Nothing worse? Really? Ebola, anyone? Flesh-eating bacteria perhaps?

    I can’t even get into the head-spinniness of, so then when she *leaves* the gym, is being slightly-smaller-than-Daisy now the worst thing? Is she dooooming the next “girl” down?

    • Ha, that’s awesome.

      I guess I’m doing other women a huge favor (tee hee) by being in the gym and being larger than them, to spare them from that horrible fate?

      • Precisely. I mean, I know the only reason I go to yoga classes is to be the sacrificial fatlamb so that everyone else will feel better about themselves. Or, you know, because I like yoga — and in the studio where I go now, precious few people have mentioned it at all, and no one has made a big deal about my size. (And I have been in places where people have said and done things to shame me for my size, and it does suck, but it indicates a problem with the environment there rather than a problem with me.) While I sympathize that Daisy’s sentiment that it might be the worst thing *for her,* I’m way not okay with the general “you,” blanket-statement phrasing she used and xoJane let stand.

  11. “She also says “I’m writing it because it’s how I feel and because I think it’s OK to want to improve one’s body. I’m writing it because I think xoJane underrepresents that point of view in an admittedly noble attempt to make us all feel equal and beautiful.”

    Here’s where I think it goes off the rails a bit. xoJane is one of the few places in the media that isn’t shoving weight loss=improvement, thin=beautiful down everyone’s throat. I find I’m really annoyed that Daisy decided to make it her job to bring this perspective to one of very few spaces that come from a different point of view, especially when she could easily spend her time in one of the thousands upon thousands of places online, in print and in real life that support women spending a ton of time, energy, and money hating themselves and their bodies.”

    THIS.

    I’m fairly new to xoJane, but I like that its a fat friendly space. And then i read this article. Daisy is entitled to her feelings about her body, but there are plenty of spaces IRO and online where she can find like minded people. There are NOT plenty of fat friendly spaces, and I instantly felt fear and anger that xoJane might be taken from us too because of Daisy’s article.

    That said, I remember going through a lot of difficult phases before I got to the place I am in now, accepting, loving and celebrating my body, fat and all. Soon after first encountering fat acceptance blogs, I experienced a disconnect between being in awe of this new way of thinking, and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t comprehend ever accepting, much less loving my body. I knew it was possible to be ok with my body, even if it was fat, but I was convinced that _I_ could never accept _my_ body. It took me a long time to move past that and into true acceptance, helped by the honesty of some FA bloggers (right now Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby spring to mind) who acknowledged that it’s a process, that it’s difficult to become 100% OK with your body overnight. And of course, it’s not a linear process: some days I feel like I did way back when I hated my body: other days I feel like I could take on the world and win.

    Anyway, I can recognise an earlier version of myself in Daisy’s writing, I really hope she finds a way to make peace with her body, but this is something she would need to do within herself, rather than calling for changes to fat friendly spaces to suit her current mindset.

  12. What I come away from in Daisy’s post is a lot of pain and a lot of being “in the process” of trying to figure something out. I’ve been there.

    Mostly I came away saddened by the fact that she had her mother’s standards foisted off onto her at a young age and reinforced when she accidentally and unhealthfully met that standard. She has a right to “feel fat”. I remember feeling fat when I was NOT fat and NOT doing shit because I was “too fat” and crying when someone took my pic when I was “so fat and ugly”. Now looking back – I realize all the fun I missed and all the good times NOT recorded because of my body shame. What a mental fuck up that is.

    Now, like many of you, I choose to celebrate who I am. Daisy’s article had me nearly in tears not because of fat shaming or any such thing but because she so clearly is NOT celebrating who she is now and is letting the same old stereotypes get her down. She doesn’t have to actually BE fat to fall victim to these – that’s what’s so freaking insidious about them.

    So…today I celebrate me being me and you being you and Daisy being Daisy (regardless of her underpants rule slip). A toast to all of us. (clinking coffee mug to screen).

    • Your second paragraph was exactly what I felt when I read Daisy’s piece. I couldn’t articulate it, and you did such a brilliant job:).
      I wish I had spent my teens and 20s loving my body more and enjoying the moment rather than telling myself how fat and disgusting I was. I wish I was stronger back then, and I wish blogs like Regan’s were around then.
      xoxo

  13. While I did not and wil not read the article to avoid being triggered, Daisy herself makes me very sad. She is obviously in a bad place with herself. I am more disturbed and disappointed that xoJane chose to run such a negative, hate-filled piece of writing. I really would like to know why they thought it was a good idea. Provocative journalism? Telling both sides of the story?

  14. Her whole article reminds me of people in high school who would complain about themselves to get compliments. I think this is because she shows so many pictures – like she wants to give readers the chance to say “your arms are not big at all!” “you look just like your mother!” “oh, you are so beautiful, I wish I were you.” Maybe that is not the point, but to me it comes off like it is.

  15. Ragen, I am so glad you wrote on this, I tried really I did, and I couldn’t get more than two lines down before the steam from my ears was fogging up my lap top screen! I’m just curious did you leave a comment on the site itself? Not that it would particularly matter…but the point you illustrated that broke the underpants rule was spot on…in my world it broke the should rule. I used to have a money box for “should speak.” IT was like a swear box only we all put a quarter in each time we used the word should. Perhaps we should send her a tin?
    Thanks as always! Dr. Deah

    • Thanks Dr. Deah! I did not comment on the article, I really wanted to develop my thoughts about it and I thought this was a better place for that since I didn’t feel like I could be brief.

      ________________________________

  16. I think the reason that Daisy chose to submit her article where she did was it would get lost on any less accepting space, on xoJane she stands out, the tone she has taken, from my point of view, would be better suited to a personal blog as all it does it ask people to feel sorry for her and to reinforce her belief that she should feel crap about herself and try to ‘better’ herself.

    The article said nothing new, it offered nothing to the discussion and left a bad taste in my mouth, as I am obviously one of the people who shouldn’t feel good about my size and therefor deserve to be treated like crap in general. It took me years to get out of that mindset and I’m not inclined to let some over privileged whiner with a dysfunctional family tell me how to feel about myself.

    The woman probably needs therapy and possibly to cut ties with some of her family to improve her mental health. However we cannot force her to take these options, I hope one day she is in a better place mentally and can be happy with herself.

  17. Ok, I get it that everyone, no matter what their size is, has “fat” days, when they feel badly about themselves. But I don’t get that feeling here at all. It doesn’t sound to me like this woman has experienced any REAL fat discrimination at all, and that she’s using her “fat day” feelings to justify telling people who aren’t just having a fat day but are in fact FAT and HAVE experienced the discrimination that comes with that….what she thinks about fat people (ie to further discriminate, hurt, and encourage them to be self abusive). I feel this is one of those times when a “fuck you” is entirely appropriate.

  18. I’m not condoning what she said, but I’m a bit taken aback by the hatred I see towards this woman. I read the article and felt very sad for her and the abusive childhood she must have had to still be thinking this way as an adult. Oh, and who gives a shit if she’s “over-priveleged”? Does this make her any less entitled to feel what she feels?

    She needs counseling, not derision.

    • I definitely agree with you, Amanda. I went and read the article and was really saddened by it. My irritation is more directed at the magazine for irresponsibly publishing such an article, without disclaimer, explanation, or very good editing.

      • Exactly. And yes, it seems like the magazine dropped the ball here…

  19. I will admit that I only read about 1/3 of this article. It hit way too close to home and was really painful for me to read. Although I can understand a lot of opposing view points that have been shared in the comment section, I can only speak from my personal experience. So this comment is based on that, not what I believe is true for others. I try and respect the underpants rule.

    I have spent the last 1/3 of my life struggling with an eating disorder and really bad body image issues. I can relate to the “I feel fat feeling” really really well, yet from a medical/realistic standpoint I have never been fat. I have no idea what it is like to be shamed and stigmatized for my weight constantly.(other than what goes on in my own head) In fact I can’t even begin to imagine it. I deeply respect and am inspired by those who love and accept their body while dealing with a world that is full of fat hate. I can honestly say that I probably wouldn’t have the guts or strength to handle it, especially with such humor and grace.

    However, I know that it is like to have those “I feel fat” feelings and to allow them to keep you from living your life. I have spent countless years doing that, unfortunately still do. As well as feeling guilty about it because my body is closer to the “ideal standards’ that our culture has created. I’ve been shamed by those that have larger bodies than me, because I don’t get it and should just be happy with what I have. While hating myself and body at the exact same time.

    Hating your body and feeling fat is universal and really not dependent on your size. And I really do believe this is something that we should all remember. Although Daisy did project some and express some questionable views, I think this article shows the pain that she is in and is not meant to offend others.

    Although I hope that one day both Daisy and I, will accept our bodies for what they are and be able to love them unconditionally, I also hope that we as humans can be more accepting to others feelings, even when they don’t completely make rational sense. I applaud and truly look up to all of those people who love their bodies especially those that face hate and shame every day. But I also hope that you can respect my feelings and journey as well.

    • Fat is not a feeling. When I say I’m “feeling fat,” I may mean mean…

      – I feel undesirable or undesired
      – I’m physically bloated or uncomfy in these clothes
      – I’m comparing myself negatively to another person or an idealized shape
      – I feel ill at ease in this setting
      – I’m stuck in negative thought patterns and bad self-image

      Other people might have different items for the list. But none of those feelings are size-based. Tagging these thoughts with “fat” is no more accurate than assuming fat people are lazy or unwell. It does feed into size prejudice, whether we intended that or not. Part of my own journey is trying to identify my true feelings and label them more accurately, instead of feeding into fatphobia.

      • I agree 100%. You described that much better than I could have ever. I know the “I feel fat” is covering up a lot of things for me and I guess I didn’t describe that. My point of the matter is, the “I feel fat” feeling that a lot of people describe is universal, in the sense that it isn’t dependent on your actual body size. So just because people might not be fat by the standards of weight etc, doesn’t meant that don’t genuinely feel that way. Although there are people fishing for compliments and using comments about their body to gain those, I think making those feel bad because of feelings is insensitive. I guess that was the point that I was trying to make.

    • There seems to have been some confusion about this so I want to be clear that I do respect the feelings and journey of people who suffer because they identify as/ feel fat. (which I did state five separate times in the blog). What I suggested is that people respect that those of us who other people identify as fat have to deal with those feelings, but also have to deal with institutional oppression (seats are not made for us and if we complain we are subjected to shaming and additional expense, we are hired less frequently and paid less, discriminated against by healthcare professionals, the government is encouraging others to wage a war on us, we are blamed for global warming etc.) and so I asked that people who identify themselves as fat but live in a world that identifies them as thin take into account that, while our feelings might be similar, our experience in the world may be very different, when they consider how/when/where they discuss their (completely valid) feelings. Hope that makes sense.

      ~Ragen

      • Thank you for that clarification. That makes a lot of sense. I can’t speak for anyone else but my reply was more directed towards other people’s comments then your actual blog post it self. I think you articulated yourself well and I know that you are all about the underpants rule and respecting others journey and feelings. I am highly inspired by you and others who deal with the institutional oppression with your self worth intact and I won’t even pretend to know what that is like. Your blog and attitude has helped me in more ways that I can describe. Thank you for standing up for yourself and others as well as starting such powerful discussions on topics that need to be discussed.

  20. I rarely post, but this article about did me in. Regan’s post was entertaining and insightful. I then clicked on that stupid xoJane article. Seriously? I agree – why the heck would they run such adolescent dribble? Her perspective isn’t unique or helpful or even mildly enlightened. It’s the ramblings of a girl who needs to vent her insecurities b/c of damage her mom did to her. And obviously needs attention. She’s a dime a dozen and I’m disappointed that publication would think it was an appropriate article to run. Unfortunately, Regan’s brilliant blog got me to waste a few minutes reading it (only 2 b/c I had to start scanning, it was too nauseating) so hopefully she won’t get any positive feedback about “high traffic.” And yes, she is totally w/in her rights to have and also express those opinions. And it’s totally w/in my rights to actively ignore her childish “declaration” on herself and others. And think twice about xojane…

  21. Extreme defensiveness coming from a place of privilege is never a good look, in my opinion. I couldn’t even read the article after the first few sentences. Maybe I’ll try your lamaze technique and have another go at it :)

    • “Extreme defensiveness coming from a place of privilege is never a good look.”
      Oh, how I wish I’d thought of those words! They look so much more mature and enlightened than the “cry me a river,” which began my comment to her.

  22. Body dysmorphia is so incredibly insidious, and so encouraged by our society that I think it is the most undiagnosed mental health issue out there. Probably because I am large, clients that I see often will discuss their being fat quite openly. I sometimes try to understand how fat they feel by asking them to compare my body size to their own, and I will hear them say that they are my size. Let’s be clear here…I weigh 300 lbs, so the percentage of American women who are my size or larger is actually not that great.

    The hardest part for me about all this is understanding that this is reality for her. A recent study showed that fat stigma impacts people who think they are fat just as much as it does those who are actually fat. We might argue that actually fat people come up against it directed at them personally more, but I’m not sure that’s really true. This woman had, when she was a girl, constant teasing about the size of her butt. Does the teasing have less impact if her butt is smaller than mine, but we were teased in the same way?

    In a strange way, I’m glad that she wrote this and was published in the community she was, although I could wish that she left out her reflections on what other people should do or feel. It makes the point in ways that little else could about how powerfully utilized fat stigma is and how it can so easily become a part of our super-ego that the reality of one’s size is moot. Sadly, she may soon find that she is not ever able to be happy about a body that will continue to change in lots of ways as she ages, resulting in more pain and angst.

  23. Reading some of these comments here, it’s good to know there are people that see the big picture and can see past her thin privilege. I think just because someone isn’t fat doesn’t mean they are subjected to fat hate. It’s a cycle of body dismorphia. There are lots of people who fat shame just about everyone in the world, no matter how thin they actually are. To some people, if you don’t have the body of a Victoria’s Secret model or other fashion model, then you are fat hog and might as well be 400 lbs in their eyes. This is why I think Daisy’s actual size has absolutely nothing to do with how she feels about her body. It’s the way she has been treated growing up by her own family. She might be a specimen for thin privilege but in her own home of people who she loves and trusts, she’s treated like an actual fat person and that atiitude about her body has been passed on into her own mind. Her insecurity shines through and I’ll bet other people throughout her life has treated her badly because of how she treats herself. What exactly separates her experiences from any other fat person? Maybe sometimes people are too quick to call someone a thin privileged brat who has no idea what it’s like to be fat, but is that always the case? I don’t think so.

    • What exactly separates her experiences from any other fat person?
      In a few words, that the world is made for people her size. She doesn’t get charged double for airline seats. She likely wouldn’t get illnesses blamed on her weight, or get turned down for a job because she “didn’t fit the image”.
      I agree with you that you don’t have to be fat in order to be fat-shamed. But she can still fit in in many circumstances in which a fat person cannot, no matter how self-confident the fat person is feeling.

      • Feeling fat does get you turned down for job interviews. People that interview can see that one is uncomfortable. I could never get hired for even low level jobs when the economy was such that there were five jobs for every applicant in those fields until I started liking myself. No one will hire someone, especially now unless they seem to have a good attitude. Feeling fat won’t get you hired if you’re a size 2 or a size 22. Interviewers can usually seen when someone is unhappy with him/herself.

    • Yes. She does have thin privilege. But she also has emotional scars. We shouldn’t belittle her just because she “didn’t have it as bad”. At what point on the continuum will we accept her feelings at face value? Apparently 12 – 17 lbs “overweight” isn’t enough. Would 30 lbs be enough? 50? 100?

      I’m upset about the way Daisy violated the underpants rule, but I’m also upset that others are vilifying her for having legitimate emotions. It’s how I feel like when people say “You’re an engineer with a great job, boyfriend, friends and family. How could you possibly be depressed? Your life is sooo much better than mine!” and then I feel ashamed and have to hide my depression because I have a privileged life and therefore am not given permission to feel the way I do.

      The appropriate response to Daisy would have been “please don’t violate the underpants rule, and I hope you have a chance to talk this out with someone you feel safe with”. Not “omg you’re not even fat stop feeling the emotions you have no control over”.

      • But again, “fat” is not an emotion.

      • @peregrin8
        “Fat” isn’t an emotion. But self-loathing is, and we shouldn’t attack someone for being less eloquent about their feelings than we’d like. Am I a horrible person because I’m currently stuck in a cycle of self-loathing and depression? I would hope not. And I would hope if I tried to express that emotion, I wouldn’t have strangers on the internet leaping to tell me everything I did wrong while ignoring my very real emotions.

      • I do think it’s valid to criticize a published author/blogger for not just lacking eloquence but lacking either insight or perspective, so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree!

      • Hi Paraveina,

        Thanks for the comment. I hear what you are saying, but I don’t think that anyone is telling Daisy that she doesn’t have a right to feel her feelings. I think people are trying to express that her feelings don’t exist in a vacuum, and I think a lot of the reaction has to do with her repeated assertions in the article about how she has to give lip service to not fat-shaming, and what a terrible inconvenience that is, and the fact that she chose to publish her article on xoJane because it’s one of the extremely few places that don’t espouse her point of view. I also want to point of that telling everyone what an “appropriate response” is is an underpants rule violation. It’s cool if you disagree with my response but that doesn’t make it universally inappropriate.

        Thanks!

        ~Ragen

  24. If I was Daisy (or her family member) I’d be WAY more concerned with her drinking issues than her (perceived) weight issues.

    I don’t think I’ve ever read anyone’s supposedly professional articles or profile where drinking (day time, night time, all the time) is held up as some sort of prideful achievement. If Daisy stopped drinking every single day, she would most likely lose that dreaded, horrifyingly appalling and embarrassing 10-12 lbs in no time at all!

    • Oh yeah, and maybe after a couple weeks with a clear and sober mind she wouldn’t be so damn whiny and consumed about that 10 lousy pounds either. Alcoholism stunts (or regresses) emotional maturity. Probably why Daisy sounds like a 16 year old instead of a woman in her 30′s.

  25. I read only some of that article because I’ve been thoroughly unimpressed by her other writing (and I’m being kind here). I only read xojane for Marianne and Lesley but sometimes I get intrigued by a headline or two by other writers on that site and Daisy was the one writer on that site which I could not stomach way before this recent “I’m fat” post. The insensitivity you detect is spot on – she once wrote a post about how people are “too sensitive” and that people need to “get over” a lot of stuff they shouldn’t, such as social injustices. I’ll never forget her defending a racist headline re: Jeremy Lin. Daisy’s views are views that I don’t respect and the “i’m fat” post is the proverbial icing on the cake. I don’t expect anything better from her than passive aggressive b.s. like ““That being said, there are probably some of you who are OK with your weight, but maybe shouldn’t be. “

  26. I would like to suggest an interesting book that has a lot of essays about the subject of “feeling” fat and how fat is perceived in cultures around the world:

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fat-don-kulick/1006616914

    There is a particularly interesting essay that involves how women and girls engage in what is known as “fat talk”- where a bunch of female people who are not classified as close to obese go on about how “fat” they are as a bonding ritual…..yeah….”bonding” over hating yourself. How fucked up is that?

    And yeah, I think that I’m more comfortable in my (over 200 lb) body than my mom is in her (under 100 lb) body. I’ve fit in the same clothing for at least 5 years (barring pregnancy, and even then, I tend to be able to wear normal clothes until around the end of the pregnancy), while my mom is constantly bringing out the “thin” jeans and her “fat” jeans on a rotating basis. I walk around with an ease and comfortability that my mom can only dream about. She asks me how I can like myself even though I am fat. I told her that it’s a choice to like yourself as you are, and no one else can do it for you but yourself.

    And yeah, I think it’s messed up that people are trying to argue for the right to hate themselves. People already have that “right”- it’s called mainstream society. That kind of thought right there is just part of a wound that is inflicted on us as children, telling us we’re not good enough, that we’re not perfect enough unless we fit some ideal. That wound festers until we believe it and repeat it to ourselves and spoonfeed more misery and negative talk into ourselves in the hopes that if people see us self-flagellating enough, that we’ll be loved and accepted. And it doesn’t really matter what you look like or where you come from- this message cuts the same.

    But I do also think that it’s incredibly insensitive to act as though the pain that you feel must be passed on and paid forward to the rest of us, especially since many of us have spent years in self-loathing only to dig ourselves out piece by piece so we can be comfortable in our bodies.

    It is not my place to say what another person’s journey should be, or even that the path should lead them to peace with themselves. But it is sure as hell not THEIR place to say that my path must lead to more misery and self-hatred “for your own good.” Someone remind me what that “good” is?

  27. Great post! Thankfully, my friends are skinny but they know it, so I don’t have to listen to body-bashing from them. I do have to at school from random girls I can’t help overhearing, and also weirdly sometimes from my mom, but it’s not often.
    I have to admit: I’d be curious to learn more about your experiences with an ED, since I’ve been wondering if I might have one. If it’s not too dark or personal, I’d appreciate a post on size acceptance and eating disorders. It’s not a typical size acceptance topic, especially when the ED is binge eating disorder or compulsive eating, something that causes you to behave like a stereotypical “fat person.”

  28. I read the article and I remember feeling a lot of those feelings when I was a teenager. I hid my body and didn’t want to do certain things because other people might see that I was fat. Then suddenly I just stopped giving a fuck what anyone else had to say about my body, I don’t really know what changed but somehow a lightbulb went off and my brain just started reminding me that the only person who had to be happy with me was me. I’m probably the biggest woman in my family (Except for maybe a cousin who lives across the country), all my other female family members are smaller than me and I used to hear about how big my ass was or how I needed to “take care of myself” (i.e. lose weight). What I never did though was tell someone else they shouldn’t be happy with their size or weight. Screw that nonsense, if I knew someone who was bigger or smaller than me who was happy with their body I wanted them to tell me how to do it, how the shut off that inner hatred, not shame and bully them into my cone of self hatred.

    My problem with this article is that she’s blaming her inner neuroses on the 12-17 pounds she thinks she has to lose and then she’s taking her inner hatred and directing it at people who are happy with their bodies. If she wants to hate her body she can go right ahead, that’s her thing and it’s not my place to tell her she can’t. I can, however, tell her she can shove it if she thinks she has any right to tell anyone else that they shouldn’t be happy with their weight. She seems to be happy with the societal norm of body hatred and weight obsession and if she is then woo hoo for her but that’s not gonna stop me from liking my body, fat and all.

  29. “I’m starting with less booze, but this was before family dinner and I’d rather be fat than show up to one of those things sober!”

    This just sent off all kinds of alarm bells for me. This gal clearly has a ton of shit she’s incomplete about (as most of us do) and she’s choosing to focus her anger, confusion and incompleteness on shaming her body rather than digging deep and working on what’s truly causing her pain. And what an easy way out– you hate your body? I mean, how many Facebook groups/websites/forums/etc. are there for that? The author needs to get honest with herself and fast. Or, you know, continue blaming her unhappiness on her body instead of weeding out the root cause. But in that case she’d never realize it until she “got thin” and then found she was still miserable.

  30. OK I caved in and read the stupid article. She sounds like a very sad, confused lady (and probably a little drunk) who has suffered all her life from an obsessively judgemental mother and doesn’t actually know how to express how she feels so she projects how other people ought to feel. And doubly sad because she is so pretty and is missing out on enjoying that. I just want to slap her mother!

  31. What she doesn’t get is that her weight is not the issue. “Fat” has become a code word for so many different negative emotions – sad, lonely, frustrated, generally like a failure – that many people, women especially, can’t separate their feelings from their body size. This is where the oversimplification that “eating disorders are about control” comes from – if feeling anything negative is “feeling fat”, then the solution to every problem becomes “lose weight”. I feel terrible for her; that’s a miserable trap to be in.

  32. You know what’s sad? How much could this white, likely affluent, privileged, writer with a large audience lady be getting done if she weren’t beating herself up and obsessing about shaving 12-17 pounds off her normal-sized body?

    This shit is a trap.

    • I wish I hadn’t used the word “normal”. I don’t want to give the impression that her body-obsession is only sad because she is “normal” in that sense of thin. If you know what I mean. Because I am fat and I am normal too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: