Defining “fat” and “thin”
I’m still reading and commenting over at that infamous Feministe post, which really means that I need to learn when to let go. Well, actually, I don’t need to learn when to let go, I need to learn to actually just shut up and let go when it’s become spinning wheels in the mud.
But alas and alack.
Anyway, I don’t have anything really cohesive to say about this but what the conversation has degenerated to is the whole question of defining fat and thin and whether or not it is appropriate for FA to create fat-only spaces (and if so, how to draw the line between who’s welcome and who is not). And I guess I’m just curious from my readers about a few things that I take for granted, and I am wondering if you take these for granted also.
1. I take for granted that people understand that, while bodies are on a spectrum and thus it is extremely difficult to define where thin ends and fat begins, that the people who are on the fattest end of the spectrum are the most marginalized by fatphobia. The most silenced. The ones furthest out on the fringes. The ones most likely to experience fatphobia affecting their social and economic livelihood.
2. I take for granted that people will be accepting of the idea that when someone experiences a type of oppression that they don’t, or even a sub-type they don’t share of an overarching oppression that they do share, that they would come at that idea with kindness and respect. That they will see any defensiveness they have to this as evidence of privilege.
3. That the people with “deathfat” or “morbidly obese” or whatever-you-want-to-call-them bodies don’t have social power over the people with “chubby” or “inbetweeny” or whatever-you-want-to-call-them bodies. That for the former to want to have some conversations about their own unique experiences, without being overpowered by the voices of the latter is no threat to the latter whatsoever.
I mean, am I really off-base with these assumptions? Because I find myself boggling when people don’t have the same ones. And maybe I’m the one who’s completely off here. I don’t think I am, but after nearly 200 comments on that thread I’m wondering, am I alone?