Update: Thanks to feedback from readers on this blog, they’ve taken down this highly offensive piece, and made an apology on Facebook. Way to go y’all!
Reader Thea sent me an article that expresses a sentiment that I’m disturbed to say I’ve been seeing more of. In the article, titled “Don’t Hate Me” a woman, who obviously knows that her actions are hateful, waxes on about a *gasp* fat women who dares to go to the same nail salon and…wait for it…gets a manicure. She wonders why someone who is so far outside the beauty ideal would bother having her nails done. She says: (trigger warning for general and specific fat hating jackassery and conflation of weight and health)
My point again? Hasn’t something gone wrong when pretty pink nails make someone feel better about their high blood pressure? When a serum helps someone ignore the cell mutations taking place in their body? When a good foundation helps someone smile through their insulin shot? I adore beauty products and they are truly there for all of us, no matter what our short comings. But priorities! Please.
First of all, how dare she make health assumptions about someone she doesn’t know and then seek to deny them happiness on the basis of her rectal pull guesses when even if she had all of their medical records in front of her this would be wildly inappropriate? How dare she call fat bodies – amazing fat bodies that breathe and blink and live – shortcomings. And how dare she suggest that someone who uses insulin (or any other medicine) doesn’t deserve beauty products. What the actual fuck!? Something has “gone wrong” here but it’s not with any of the people in her examples.
Even if we ignore the fact that body size and health are two different things, neither body size nor health should be considered a litmus test for whether or not we can dress, adorn, and decorate our bodies. Just like I have no obligation to comport myself so that men want to have sex with me, I have no obligation to take a pass on beauty products because my body doesn’t meet some artificial stereotype of beauty.
The idea that there is some sort of health hurdle that we have to jump to “deserve” a manicure or good foundation is ridiculous beyond all reason. I kind of wish I could ask her – how far does it go? If being fat means that, in her estimation, I shouldn’t get a manicure or wear foundation, should I just stop brushing my teeth as well? Should I run gravel through my hair instead of Herbal Essences? Screw that.
And let’s not forget that there are tremendous social benefits to meeting the arbitrary standard of beauty, including being passed over in hiring and promotions, based on the stereotype that we lack discipline and ambition and are lazy and unkempt. One of the ways to mitigate that prejudice (which we absolutely should not have to do) is through clothes (though well fitting appropriate clothes are not always accessible to us), and grooming. So what this woman is actually saying is that fat people should not have options for attempting to get social standing through traditional means.
Tragically this woman is a mother with two daughters and runs a health center. Talking about her feelings toward her body in one piece she says “And I’m female so I’m never happy!” though according to her bio “it’s safe to say she understands health, beauty and well being from the inside out.” I beg to differ based on a preponderance of the evidence. It is a good reminder that so much of the health and beauty advice we get is delivered by people who are supremely damaged by our effed up society, and by identifying and disregarding it we can help to stop the cycle.
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