And I’ll say it again …

I guess my last post was relevant. Over at Big Fat Deal, I found this post this morning, when checking out links from the Fat-o-Sphere.

So I guess it’s not just the diet industry that has us all in an uproar about our bodies. It’s the media in general. Or society, culture, people: since we all contribute to that industrial mill of media that spits back out at us what we put into it.

I simply cannot believe that people are having a conversation about how they would rather be shorter. That being fat would have been better had they been smaller in some other way. That they compensate for their tallness by dating taller men, because women are supposed to be diminutive.

Good god! Is this what we are coming to? I mean, fat prejudice, feeling bad about fat, I get that. Every day we face messages about how we can control how big our bodies are. We are told that if we simply were not lazy, our bodies would be thin, svelte, free of cellulite, and the ideal 120 pounds. Oh wait, I’m sorry, in today’s world, it’s more like 105 pounds. And all women should weigh 105 pounds. We are all the same.

I get that I have to convince even N, who is naturally thin, that some people are gentically predispositioned to be fat. That fatness actually does serve a purpose. That fatness actually wards against certain diseases of aging, such as osteoporosis. I get that we all have been conditioned to believe that fat is bad, and it will kill you. I get that we all have been conditioned to believe that somehow, if fat people were better people, they simply would not be fat. I get that it’s a false corollary: People who are oppressed would simply stop being oppressed if they fit into the oppressing culture’s norms. The End.

But height? Now women are going to feel bad about height? There are no diets for height. There are no media articles about losing vertical inches. There is no Height Watchers. In fact, in some countries, people undergo drastic surgery to help them gain inches. Gain inches vertically, lose inches horizontally — that has always been the maxim.

Until I read the comments in BFD. And it seems that women simply want to shrink all over. They want to be less, especially when compared with men. They want to simply waste away to nothing, and if they can’t in weight, why not in height? It would be better to be small in some category, to be cute, petite. Somehow, smallness makes us more womanly, more feminine, more acceptable.

Wow. Smallness also makes us easier to control. It also makes us less visible. It makes us less noticeable.

Potentially, we fat ones can lose a bit of weight, and struggle and waste our time trying to keep it off, fighting a losing battle, pun definitely intended. We can spend a lot of time trying to not take up space in that way, because weight can be altered, to a certain extent. Whether dieting and bothering to make drastic changes is healthy is an altogether different matter. But height? That is simply not alterable at all, without actually breaking our legs. And yet we persist to dream of a body that is different, that is less, that is not our own.

It is still a distraction. When will we realize we have a right, a responsibility to claim space, to be heard and seen simultaneously? I fear that feminism will not be successful until women understand that existing within bodies that are actualized as they are to be, outside of what the dominant culture expects them to be, is absolutely imperative.


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