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[Mod Post] Clarification on the fat front.
under pressure
theoryofgravity wrote in fatshionista
The community info page says:

4. There is no purity test for membership. One does not have to be a certain size or of a certain political persuasion to post or comment here.

I feel compelled to wax philosophical on this idea for a moment.

As we've all discussed thoroughly in the past, different folks have different experiences of fatness. As such, your mods are not comfortable drawing a universal line dividing the fat from the not-fat. We take things on a case by case basis, and try to believe the best of people and their intentions until proved otherwise. Recent discussions have covered the myriad ways in which our experiences of fatness differ, as influenced by our family backgrounds, ethnic/racial identities, socioeconomic status, geographical location, and so forth - the list goes on. As a result, not everyone agrees on what is fat. And that's fine! We don't have to agree.

However, given these differences, the mods request that members refrain from telling other members they are not fat - not fat enough to post, or not fat in general. Aside from sometimes making folks who dwell on the smaller end of the plus-size spectrum feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, there is a much more primary reason why we prefer people avoid this sort of talk.

Simply put, telling a person they are "not fat" also tends to support the concept that fat is somehow bad. Even when this implication is not intentional, it's there. fatshionista should be, if nothing else, a place where people can come and proclaim their fatness loud and proud, as a positive experience, and not be made to feel badly about it. Where people all along the fatness continuum can fiercely own their fat. Telling a person they are not fat diminishes this effort. For a lot of us, it can trigger back to days in which hearing "you're not fat" was the best we could hope for, because "you're not fat" often also means "you're not ugly" or "you're not undesireable".

Please understand, I am not singling out any member in particular, as lots of us have done this, nor am I trying to make anyone feel guilty or dumb for having made similar comments in the past. I am simply trying to clarify why we don't like the whole "you're not fat" thing, because I don't think we've done so before. This post is meant with the best of friendly intentions.

As always, respectful discussion is welcomed.

THANK YOU. I hate it when people try to tell me I'm not fat when I make a comment about my weight. At around 260 pounds, I KNOW you are lying when you say that. (you being the rhetorical, societal you). UGH.

Also, I don't like it when people say others aren't fat enough. When I was a size 12, I felt like a beast (mind you, I was in 7th grade, but still) and even at a normal range in kindergarten I was uncomfortable in my fleshy, taller than the boys body (where did that height go, anyway???). Most people in western society have dealt with this feeling, and just because a scale says someone is "normal" does not mean that they have nothing valid to say on their own experiences or from a political pov.


When I was a size 12, I felt like a beast

And if everyone jumps to assure you that no, you're certainly not anything so awful as FAT, you don't stop feeling like a beast but you do start pinning all your body shame on weight. "Fat" becomes the worst thing you could possibly be, because it's the thing nobody will let you embrace. I think that's happened to all of us, which is a good reminder that it doesn't help and is potentially hurtful when we deny other people their fat identity.

Oh ye of moderator-ly powers...

Would you consider adding a link to this post to number four?

Done! Thanks for the idea. :)

I agree with this for the most part ( and I am bracing myself now for the flood of comments I'm sure I will get from this because people seem to love to hate me ), but what about the girls who aren't even "fat" by society's standards that have been posting more and more lately? The girls who seem to just be young and have an odd sense of what their bodies really look like? Is it OK to allow them to be a part of a community that is for people who are "fat" by health standards? Does that make sense? At some point, aren't we just feeding into their misconceptions about their bodies, and possible disorders? I don't know. I should just keep my mouth shut, but I'm curious as to where the line gets drawn.

I agree because I totally get what you're saying.

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I really really really appreciate this.

I hesitate to post so often because I see those comments levied on other girls, and it's depressing and scary. I've said this to some of my other friends who are more my size........I'm too fat for skinny girls and too thin for fat girls, but I'm not even thin at all! It's so alienating and it hurts. I identify more with the women here than anywhere, but I often feel like I have to be a silent observer, like I'm not good enough.

So that's for saying this.

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go mod go... its always good to be reminded of stuff like this For a lot of us, it can trigger back to days in which hearing "you're not fat" was the best we could hope for, because "you're not fat" often also means "you're not ugly" or "you're not undesireable

i don't really understand why people feel the need to police other people's identity. i don't care how someone identifies, unless, of course, they are co-opting the identity to make fun of (or in the case of people who suffer from ed -- to do harm to themselves), and frankly, i don't think it is anyones business to tell anyone what they are or are not.

i do understand, however, that some people may feel uncomfortable with some of us smaller fats (if she thinks she's fat, what does that say about me?), however, i would argue that fat is not a bad thing. who cares if i (at a 14/16) think that i'm fat. my fat identity has very little to do with anyone else's fat identity.

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It reads to me like you think there is a hard and fast definition of fat. Were that the case, I think telling people that they weren't fat might not be so problematic. But fat is a variable term and being able to buy the largest size at anthropologie doesn't make someone not fat by all standards.

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This is a really thought-provoking post, because recently I have noticed a lot of people posting here who do not conform to my idea of fat, and that makes me uncomfortable, both because of the content of some of their posts, and because I am ashamed that I am quantifying and judging other posters in what is meant to be an open and supportive community.

I think the issue bothers me because I perceive the content of some of the posts made by some people to be the online equivalent of hanging out with the fat friend. I feel as if they don't think of themselves as part of the community, or as fat people, but that they feel they are better than many of the posters here because they take a smaller size.

Maybe this is me pushing my own insecurities onto the behaviour of others, but I do feel like there has been a recent trend of 'advice for our less fortunate sisters' and 'fishing for compliments about my small dress size' posts recently, and I don't like it at all.

This is an interesting point of view, and I'm glad you shared it. There may be elements of what you're describing in play here.

I'll have to think about this a bit more before I can give a more thorough response.

I really appreciate this being said. Thank you.

You're welcome. And ICON LOVE.

I'm really bummed that all of the interesting conversations I've been wanting to have in fatshionista are happening during a week where I have a huge deadline, but I am so happy they are happening.

I was just mentioning this morning that I've been feeling a bit depressed by the community lately, as I've been really sensing some hostility towards inbetweenies. I've also been bummed because I've been noticing some unsavoury behaviour from inbetweenies, too.
In it's most simple form, I hear the 'real fatties' saying that inbetweenies do not deserve to wear the fat badge because our experience hasn't been as difficult as that of someone who wears a size 22 or larger. From the inbetweenies I keep hearing gratuitous statements of "thinner than thou". Both are really counterproductive and neither are particularly body-positive.

At the risk of sounding like a hippie I'd like to see some disarmament here. Fat-phobia and mysogyny are everyone's enemies and it's pretty hard to make a movement happen when we're so busy alienating one another. I really wish I had more time to write about this and actually be articulate.

I agree that the community should be open to all, however, I disagree with this statement: "Simply put, telling a person they are "not fat" also tends to support the concept that fat is somehow bad."

"Fat" is a word that physically describes someone. If you had a community for red haired people, it would encompass many different shades of red, from strawberry blonde to reddish brown, etc. If someone thought that they had red hair, they should be included in the commmunity. Although, if someone's hair was clearly not red - for example, platinum blonde -- I don't think that telling them that they are "not redheaded" would imply that redheadedness is bad.

I'm not saying that anyone in this community should go around judging anyone else's fatness, because that's not the point of the community. I just don't think that telling someone that they aren't fat implies that being fat is bad.

Ideally, fat is a word that physically describes someone and nothing more, yes. And in many individual cases, absolutely, the person saying "you're not fat" may not mean to imply that fat is bad.

In reality, however, the word's colloquial useage tends to have a nigh-universally negative slant. Off the top of my head, I can think of multiple instances of negative application of the word "fat", heard everywhere, in the media, and from everyday people. I cannot think of one recent instance in which I've heard of red hair being levied in an insulting way (short of the "red-headed stepchild" thing, but I would argue that is hardly what most people think of immediately upon being confronted with red hair, whereas for most people in the US at least, fat is always a negative thing). Thus, when a person says "you're not fat", even if their intention is not to peg fatness as bad, it may be read that way by other people.

In fatshionista we try to counteract that, in part by encouraging people to embrace fat as a concept. Telling some of those same people NOT to embrace it is like taking two steps forward and one step back, in my opinion. If someone is posting here, we assume their intentions are pure and that they have valid reasons for allying themselves with fat folk, until they demonstrate otherwise.

I see the point you're trying to get at here, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Thank you so much for posting this. Obviously, I've waxed philosophical on this before, so I'll keep this short. :-) I think the really crucial thing here is that we assume that (until they demonstrate otherwise) people post here with good intentions. If someone is fatphobic, s/he should be called out regardless of his/her size. If someone is just "smaller than what I often think of as fat," then s/he probably came here for a reason, and this community may do him/her a world of good.

Oh, and I'd also like to add that a person's current size is in no way indicative of past experiences. Most of us have been fatter or thinner than we happen to be today, so implying that someone doesn't know what it's like to be fat simply based on a current photo just doesn't make sense.

"a person's current size is in no way indicative of past experiences."
sooooo true, and absolutely something i had to learn. my ex-gf is a beautiful in-betweenie (after WLS) and when we met she told me she'll always be a fat girl at heart. :)

On the whole I seem to have missed the unsavory "camping" behavior others seem to have noticed on here.

I will admit that when I was lurking still, I was kinda surprised to see people I consider to be "thin" posting. After some intropection and a few IRL experiences with some friends of mine I realized that my view of fatness was, indeed, very narrow.
The realization of this prompted me to push my own perceptions.
I started to view the posts from the "inbetweenies" as more of a postive, empowering thing... more in the spirit of: "Wow, fatness and fatophobia really IS a universal problem." rather than feeling as if they were fishing for compliments, hanging with the "fattie friends" to feel better, or harboring dismprohic tendencies. This view was further underscored by a recent shopping trip with two of my conventionally thin friends and a peek into how they view their "societally acceptable" bodies.

I dunno... I guess I am more inclined to look at it all in the spirit of camaraderie and common ground. Fleshing out contact with everybody whom is affected by the issue at large, banding together, and standing firm against the fatphobes proclaiming:
"Yeah, I'm fat... so what? Look around me! There are many more than just me, and we're all beautiful! So take your negativity and piss off!"

Hopefully this makes some sense. :)
I do agree with the mods on this one. No matter what your size or level of "fatness" the issue at large effects us all. Segregating ourselves into ranks of fatness only engenders dissention and endangers this very necessary movement as a whole.
It's not about who is fatter than whom, it's about loving ourselves for the diverse, beautiful creatures we are.
Our gender, nay our society has been divided into little boxes for far too long on this issue.
We should be standing together rather than apart.

/soapbox :)

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This is such a great comment--thanks for being honest.

Fat people can still look amazing, are still attractive, still find partners and have friends. And that's the first time I've ever really been TOLD that.

There are so few spaces (in US culture at least) where this is discussed--that's one of the things I love so much about this comm.

I meant to just say "Thank you for saying that!" but then I read the comments before posting, and got all depressed and sad. So almost didn't comment at all.


Thank you for saying that.