One of the ways that fat people are oppressed is through media erasure – as a culture we choose our singers, actors, dancers, comics, entertainers etc. based on their ability to meet a stereotype of beauty first, and then their talent. Thinness and the current ideal of beauty become the golden tickets that allow people to express their talent. People try to explain this away using ridiculous arguments about “promoting obesity” and “healthy role models,” arguments that fall apart under the most basic scrutiny.
Not only does this keep fat people from becoming actors, dancers, comics and entertainers, it actually makes people believe that fat people aren’t talented by default, aka Susan Boyle Complex. That’s why I’ve been so happy lately to see people who aren’t thin (I don’t know how any of them personally identify and I don’t intend to force an identity on them, this is just from my perspective) being highlighted for their talent.
There is the always amazing Gabourey Sidibe in her role on Empire which recently included *gasp* a sex scene, and her equally fabulous response to those who were so pathetic that they felt the need to hate on it:
Then on Dancing with the Stars openly gay singer/songwriter Who Is Fancy, sang about being boy crazy while openly flirting with the male dancers
And Jordan Smith has been absolutely killing it on The Voice
When people think of activism they often think of protests, petitions, blogging, etc. We can forget that showing up is an incredibly powerful form of activism. Not just if you can sing or dance or act, but showing up at that pole dancing class you’ve always wanted to take, going to see that musical, eating at that restaurant, asking to be accommodated (also known as asking a business to do what they already should have done – which is give people of every size the same experience.)
When fat people show up we can become the victims of fat shaming – that shouldn’t happen and it’s not our fault, and deciding that we would rather stay home is a completely valid choice. But every time we choose to show up – whether it’s to audition for America’s Got Talent or to watch our kid play the first lobster in the nativity play -every time we refuse to let the bullies and the bigots stop us from living our lives we remind people (though of course it shouldn’t be necessary) that fat people are just as varied in our talents, hobbies, and desires as any group of people who share a single physical characteristic and, more importantly, we help other fat people find the courage to live the lives they want to live and to make it clear to those sad little fat-shamers that they’ll have to peddle their bullshit elsewhere, because we’re not buying.
More Cool Stuff!
The Respect Our Sex Project is in the final push for their fundraiser. They are asking for donations of $5 (yup, just $5) to create access to sex education, resources, and gear for people of all sizes, physical abilities, ages, and anatomies. I think it’s a really cool project.
Like my work? Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. Click here for details
Book and Dance Class Sale! I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!
I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com