Thin People Only Clubs

What a Load of CrapI got an e-mail that said “I don’t care how athletic you are, there is no such thing as a fat athlete.”  Why would someone use their limited time on Earth to send me this is anybody’s guess.

It is definitely some extra special hater logic and it got me thinking about the way that so many people try to maintain their sense of superiority/maintain their stereotypes/oppress fat people by creating “thin people only clubs.”  They tell us that being an athlete isn’t just about athletics – but you also have to be thin; being stylish isn’t just about style, you also have to be thin; you have to be thin to be beautiful; you have to be thin to be sexy; you have to be thin to like your body and on and on and on.

At its base, this is about creating definitions that exclude people based on how they look – whether the club is athletes, fashionistas, or just confident people who are happy with their bodies.  I think a lot of it stems from people who have built their self-esteem on a foundation of weight bullying and fat shame.  Their self-esteem is predicated upon the idea that they are automatically better than a fat person because they are thin.  Since they can only feel good about themselves by convincing themselves that they are better than someone else, they have to protect this at all costs. Their self-esteem requires that the fatties go along with the idea that we can’t be part of their clubs until we are thin. When this is threatened, whether it’s by fathletes, fatshionistas, or just a fat person rocking a bikini on the beach, they seek to restore the balance of power by insisting that thin is a prerequisite for the “club”.

I suggest that we just say no, and insist on our place in the club.  You don’t have to want to be an athlete, but if you want to. you can be an athlete an any size (and the Fit Fatties Forum has over 3,000 fathletes of all abilities proving that.)  You don’t have to care about fashion but if it interests you then you can be a fashionista at any size.

Those who think that they get to decide the identities we claim for ourselves are making a massive Underpants Rule violation. They are laboring under the misapprehension that they are the Underpants Overlord of fat people’s identities –  that we need their consent or acceptance to claim our status as athletes, fashionistas, sexy, beautiful, or confident. We can eliminate the middle man and just claim and own these identities for ourselves, rejecting the idea that it’s anyone else’s job to tell us what we can or can’t be. So if someone tells you that you can’t be what you are unless you are thin, you have some options in reply. Remember that these are just suggestions, if they don’t resonate with you then obviously you’re free to ignore them!  If you have some ideas of your own, feel free to throw them in the comments:

“What in the world…I mean…what in the WORLD, would make you think that you get to tell me what I can be?”

“Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, – you actually think you can tell me whether or not I’m a a fashionista? Dude, that’s hilarious.”

“I was not aware that you were made Underpants Overlord of the Athletes – I’m going to need to see the decree.”

(looking genuinely perplexed) “Sorry…I’m just having trouble imagining what would lead you to believe that I care what you think.”

“Oh, I see you’re looking for your beeswax. Sorry, but it’s definitely not here.”

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Published in: on February 13, 2015 at 8:16 am  Comments (25)  

25 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I LOVED these three comments! – “I was not aware that you were made Underpants Overlord of the Athletes – I’m going to need to see the decree.”

    (looking genuinely perplexed) “Sorry…I’m just having trouble imagining what would lead you to believe that I care what you think.”

    “Oh, I see you’re looking for your beeswax. Sorry, but it’s definitely not here.”

    I think the title of Underpants Overlord of the Athletes (or any other group) is one of the funniest titles, and I just love it.🙂

  2. The whole ‘you can’t be x unless you are y, as well’ thing is naked prejudice at its worst. You know the variations: you can’t be good at math unless you’re a boy; you can’t be athletic if you’re not straight; you can’t live in this neighborhood unless you’re white.

    All of these sick ideas are about retaining privilege and have nothing whatsoever to do with having a healthy relationship with reality.

    • I hate the whole “if you’re this, you can’t be that” mentality. I get it a lot in political discussions, especially — being libertarian and somewhat objectivist is way out of line with my religious beliefs, or so I’ve been told — but you’re right. It shows a break with reality to oversimplify people and demand that they fit in categories that make them comfortable.

  3. Good column. But I’ll be ever so slightly picky and say that I’m sorry that these e-cards always have skinny women in them.

    I have some passable Photoshop skills, and if I wasn’t so busy with the temp job du jour, I’d totally set this space up with some fat-centric e-cards of our own. 🙂

    • That is SO weird – I was just thinking the same thing! I love your idea of creating fat-centric e-cards. Hopefully someone here with more free time will “steal” it and do the deed. Thank you for sharing.

      • I read your comment thought that Hilda would be perfect for the job. So I put a couple together:






        Let me know if you would like to see any other ones.🙂 Those were fun to put together!

        • Glorious!

        • ZOMG! Stacy these are fabulous! I love Hilda all to pieces and back again!

        • Excellent work, Stacy! Thanks. 8)

        • I love all of these!!!

  4. Like I’ve said before online: players gonna play, haters gonna hate, trolls gonna inadvertently expose their own deep-seated emotional issues as they project them on others in a futile effort to raise their own self-esteem.

    It doesn’t make it any less obnoxious, and it doesn’t mean they don’t spike my blood pressure. But I’ve made an effort lately to remember (and to tell them outright) that it’s fine if they think I’m whatever, because, fortunately for me, I don’t have to care what a random stranger thinks of me. The list of troll-granted labels I’ve gotten online just this week has included “yenta”, “lesbian”, and “radical feminist”. Still really fuzzy on how lesbian was supposed to be an insult, but, you know, whatever.

    • I would totally take radical feminist as a compliment🙂
      Lesbian would strike me as a neutral descriptor, and yenta would probably piss me off.

      • Like you, I would find ‘radical feminist’ a compliment, and ‘lesbian’ a neutral (if inaccurate) descriptor. As for ‘yenta’… yeah, that’s not the role I played in Fiddler on the Roof.

    • “Yenta”?

      I’m with you on wondering how “lesbian” is an insult, other than the implication that women are only lesbians because men don’t find them attractive. Which…I thought that particular stereotype was, if not dead, at least comatose.

  5. Lol these really made me laugh. Here’s some of mine, which remind me that despite being 400lbs and very, very bald…I can be sooo cute! In fact I’m cute BECAUSE of those things!

    — you don’t think I’m an athlete because of my mobility device? Wanna race?

    — I won first prize in a Jalapeno eating contest. It sure feels like I’m a winner. The medal says so too!

    — I don’t need to do jumping jacks to be a better cook. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

    — Sticks and stones will break my bones, but yes names hurt too. So much so that I’ll probably have another anxiety attack and end up in counseling. But you know what as a result, I’ll come out a better person. Thanks for your help!

    — Yeah but the Jerk store called and they have plenty of you! (I miss Kosmo Cramer so much!)

  6. From Merriam-Webster:
    ” athlete – a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina ”

    Huh. Nothing in the definition that excludes someone based on the ratio of their height to weight.

    There are fat people who are athletes, and there are thin people who are not. It’s based on training or skill, not what size clothing we wear.

    Frankly, if these jerks want to have their exclusive clubs, I’m of a mind that we should let them go off by themselves and have their own stagnant pools of humanity. Any group that is too snobby to embrace me as a member is a group that is too snobby for me to want to belong to, and they can stand off in their little circle-jerk, congratulating themselves on their mutual strokes, while I and other happier people go enjoy living without their unnecessary input in our lives.

  7. There was a blog post about Tess Munster two weeks ago where the term “Body Currency” was used to describe pretty much the same thing as “thin people only clubs”.
    http://www.themilitantbaker.com/2015/01/why-people-hate-tess-munster-and-other.html

    I think there’s a lot of truth in both terms. And your comments are really cool, too.
    But I’ve got one question: English is not my first language, so I struggle with colloquialism every now and then. Am I right that “Oh, I see you’re looking for your beeswax. Sorry, but it’s definitely not here.” means “It’s none of your business” in a sassy kind of way?

    • “Am I right that “Oh, I see you’re looking for your beeswax. Sorry, but it’s definitely not here.” means “It’s none of your business” in a sassy kind of way?”

      Yes, exactly. It’s a play on the phrase “It’s none of your beeswax” which means “It’s none of your business”.

  8. Yes it means mind your own business. Mind Your Own Beeswax! is the actual phrase. Ragen makes it even better though the way she says it!

  9. You can also say It’s None Of Your Beeswax. Means the same thing.

  10. What’s really sad is when I read the title of this blog post, I thought to myself, “Oh great, now they have thin-only dance clubs?” That’s the world we live in. I thought that was totally plausible. Messed up, but plausible.

    • haha The title threw me too. When I read the title I actually thought that it was going to be about thin only night clubs (which are actually already a thing since many night clubs have bouncers at the door that only let in thin women). I just thought maybe one of them had finally made it “officially” anti-fat girl – which, sadly, wouldn’t at all surprise me.

  11. This nonsense reminds me of the “He-Man Women Haters” club from the Little Rascals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBIC8JTQMMQ

  12. Reblogged this on thedancermohana and commented:
    “They tell us that being an athlete isn’t just about athletics – but you also have to be thin; being stylish isn’t just about style, you also have to be thin; you have to be thin to be beautiful; you have to be thin to be sexy; you have to be thin to like your body and on and on and on.

    At its base, this is about creating definitions that exclude people based on how they look – whether the club is athletes, fashionistas, or just confident people who are happy with their bodies. I think a lot of it stems from people who have built their self-esteem on a foundation of weight bullying and fat shame. Their self-esteem is predicated upon the idea that they are automatically better than a fat person because they are thin. Since they can only feel good about themselves by convincing themselves that they are better than someone else, they have to protect this at all costs.” ~ Ragen Chastain

    I said to a woman: “I’m fit and healthy, I like my large body!”
    She said “Well at least you’re doing something about it.”
    ?!?
    facepalm.

    Mohana

  13. I think the perfect comeback to a fashionista comment would be a snort and a blatant once over, finishing with a disdainful stare downwards and a look straight in the eye, with a suitably affronted, “You say that in those shoes?” Then brush past with a tiny head-shake, a scoff, whatever suits you best.


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