Shopping and fat-shaming

February 12, 2009 at 9:50 pm (bullying, feminism, personal)

Last Saturday I went shopping with my cousin.  Big mistake.  I was looking for someone who had the stamina to last an entire day because I needed a hell of a lot of clothes.  My cousin agreed to come with me to take her mind off her newly found singledom.

She spent the entire time helpfully pointing out that I could fit into the clothes better with just a little bit of exercise and some healthy eating.  I never asked for this helpful advice by the way.  It was just offered.  How nice of her right?

Personally, I’ve never thought my body should be changed to suit the latest fashion.  I’m actually (mostly) happy with my body in that I don’t care enough to not be happy.  I feel wrong for having to point this out, but for the record, I’m not overly overweight.  I’m not skinny, and nobody would ever use the word to describe me, but it’s not something that keeps me up at night.  My aim in life is not to be attractive to men, so I’m not going to cry over not achieving that.

I believe in buying clothes that suit me.  Not picking a body that suits the clothes I’ve bought.  This is a ridiculous attitude and I feel sorry that my cousin has grown up in a world that thinks this is an appropriate way to think about clothes shopping.  I’m also furious that she ruined MY experience with this crap.  Honestly, my siblings and I are the only members of the family who don’t starve themselves into having a “perfect” body.  It’s not worth it, and I don’t want to hear shit from my cousin’s because it’s not the number one priority in my life.

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5 Comments

  1. ubuntucat said,

    “My aim in life is not to be attractive to men, so I’m not going to cry over not achieving that.”

    I realize that’s a part of it, but the way things are now, the whole culture of shaming women into thinness seems to be more about having higher status among other women and fitting into “cute” outfits than it has to do with actually attracting men (“cute” here being what women generally consider cute instead of what actually attracts men).

    Most het men don’t want someone who’s overweight, but they prefer women who have curves and natural breasts to the emaciated Kate Moss look that some women strive for.

    Good for you for not giving into that.

  2. skinny said,

    Well the truth is that most of us actually can’t control what we look like due to genetics etc apart from a bit of faffing around either way unless you are into surgical tosh.

    And I really don’t care what men want either. They can take me or leave me (so to speak), but there is no reason to denigrate the ‘emaciated ..look’ that some thin women naturally have.

    It may surprise women who are not thin, but actually it is very boring and dull and damaging to self-esteem to be called boyish, flat-chested, and unsexy. This comment is directed at ubuntucat btw.

    I don’t want to hear what het men prefer from a woman, just like I don’t like men saying what women prefer. I just. don’t.care.

    And I disagree that women are fitting into ‘cute’ outfits because of a desire for achieving highest status among other women – there is only one reason for that and we know what it is. It involves men.

    So I don’t agree with your comment ubuntucat. At all. Feminism is not about targetting the group of women who does not fit into your peer group and criticising them for it. It is about rejecting patriarchal requirements that women feel obliged to meet.

    Oh, Why I’m Bitter, I thought your post was good.

  3. wouldn't rather be any other size said,

    In my experience, the whole “men don’t want overweight women but they don’t want Kate Moss either” meme is just another myth perpetuated by the media. I have plenty of fat friends and skinny friends alike who are found attractive by lots of men.

    The real problem here, and I think this is what why I’m bitter is getting at, is the fact that women are only assigned value based on the opinion of men, and that’s wrong. So it’s better if we, as women, can see ourselves as valuable no matter what we look like (which is something we can’t change). The opinion of men shouldn’t factor into it anywhere.

    This was a great post btw and I hope I haven’t misread its intent.

  4. incognotter said,

    “Helpful” unsolicited advice is rarely helpful and always rude. Period. But in this day of eating disorders, fat-shaming is particularly unhelpful and particularly rude, and downright dangerous. Your cousin is many kinds of wrong.

    Oh, and ubuntucat, the blog post was about behavior, not the author’s body. She is complaining about someone else’s unsolicited opinion of her body and you replied with yours? That’s some major privilege, dude. Get over it.

  5. Weight Issues « WhyI’mbitter’s Weblog said,

    […] birthday, an event that is by all accounts meant to be a happy occasion where possible, my cousin (this one) put a super amount of thought into my birthday present.  She got me health food and put it in a […]

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