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Fat, Thin and Everything In Between is What We Want Feminists to Look Like

August 27th, 2013


By Lindsey Averill

Kelly Martin Broderick posted this picture on Facebook:

Kellyfeminist

Only to have it changed into this meme:

082113feministmeme

It is clear that the meme attempts to use Kelly’s body type – her fatness –to insult feminism and underscore the a misogynistic misnomer that only women who are outside of the male gaze, i.e male sexual desire, choose to become feminists.  Clearly, the meme is childish, cruel and not factual (many people are attracted to fatness… whole dating sites dedicated to fatness). But, the meme also underscores exactly why feminists need to continue to concern themselves with issues like body-positivity and fat-empowerment – because when women speak up about their rights, they are still being pigeon holed based on their appearance.

Whenever something like this happens, I am reminded why, as a feminist, I still need to be fighting this particular fight – the fight for each woman to feel excellent about her body and the bodies of other women. I hate to say it – but sometimes even smart, savvy, dynamic, influential, informed, feminist women feel that they have a right to judge their bodies and the bodies of others, particularly if they are judging that body for being FAT

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In the mainstream, fatness is understood as always negative and therefore we are allowed to shame and torment it in ourselves and others. We discuss weight gain and loss endlessly: cabbage diets, juice cleanses, nutrisystem, weight watchers…We call out our own muffin-tops and condemn our saddlebags. We pose in pictures with our chins stuck out or turned to the side to look thinner. We fear fatness at every turn, and we save our “skinny jeans” because we refuse to believe that our bodies are awesome at any size.

I don’t mean to oversimplify, but arguably anytime we accept the shaming and brutalizing our bodies or the bodies of others, we are failing to see and dispute a source of oppression. As women, particularly feminist women, we need to constantly examine the messages that the media projects about our gender and our bodies and try to stand up and speak up when we see injustice.

I see injustice towards fatness. I see this injustice keep amazing women from feeling powerful and confident. I see internalized fat-hatred keeping women from being and doing awesome in the world.

I’m over it.

This fed-up-with-it-ness is why I’m telling you about Kelly Martin Broderick because she is over it too. In response to the meme Kelly wrote an article for xojane entitled, “My Picture was Stolen and turned into a Fat-Shaming Anti-feminist Meme on Facebook,” and she created a tumblr, “We are What Feminists Look Like.” The tumblr calls for “folks” to send in their pictures or thoughts that make it clear that feminists come in all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, sexualities, genders, nationalities, political parties… you get the idea. I was thinking you should send in your picture – be over it too.

I sent this picture:

Feminist Bride

Also, if you’re ready to stop feeling oppressed by fat-hatred you should check out these amazing body-positive blogs, speakers, books, and coaches:

The Routund – Marianne Kirby

Big Fat Feminist – Kaye Toal

Dances With Fat – Ragen Chastain

Riots Not Diets – Margitte Leah

The Adipositivity Project –Substantia Jones

Body Love Wellness – Golda Poretsky

Extraordinary Being – Lindsey Averill

Two Whole Cakes – Lesley Kinzel

Big, Big, Love – Hanne Blank

Fat! So? – Marilyn Wann

Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere: Quite Dieting and Declare a Truce with your Body – Kate Harding

Hot and Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion – Virgie Tovar

Body Drama – Nancy Redd

These suggestions are just the beginning – the world is full of amazing body-positive people, all you have to do is look.