Skip to content

“Feeling” fat vs. actually being fat

Posted in Uncategorized

After receiving violent threats and a stream of near constant abuse for weeks after my interview on NPR, I had promised myself that I would never, ever, ever blog about “All About That Bass” again. My interactions with fans of the song have been so overwhelmingly negative, to the point of having to contact law enforcement, that I can’t even stand to hear a few notes of it as I scroll on past on the car radio.

However, when someone has a dissenting opinion, and it’s presented reasonably and without threatening myself, my family, or my pets (Yes, even my pets deserved to die painfully because I didn’t care for a song), then I’ve got no problem hearing it. So, when a blogger wrote her own post about why she disagreed with me, I read it.

Warning: Before you go any further, I feel obliged to warn you that if you’re a woman size six to size fourteen, there’s a high likelihood that you will feel that I am unfairly excluding women of your size from the body positivity or fat acceptance movements, or singling you out, personally. If this post makes you feel that way, before you get too angry, I’d like you imagine what it feels like to have that happen in every conversation about body positivity that you’ve ever been involved with. And if that doesn’t work, just think of the last time someone asked you for a favor, despite never doing one for you. That will help you understand my point of view and the frustration I feel a little bit better.

 

I’m hesitant to link the post here; I know that my regulars are awesome people, but I get a lot of hits these days, and I can’t possibly vouch for everyone. Since I don’t know if someone out there is going to rage and attack her the same way I was attacked for my original posts, I’m on the fence. So, I’ll just excerpt the part I really want to talk about:

“My first criticism of this post is of the quote “This girl is not a fat girl. This whole concept of not-fat women believing they need to call attention to their not-fat bodies in order to promote body acceptance baffles me.” Firstly, I agree, she is not a fat girl. As far as the media is concerned, however, she would be considered plus size. A plus size model is often defined as anyone over a size 8, and sometimes even over a size 6. While not fat, Meghan Trainor is clearly more than a size 8, and I would bet just about anything that in the comments of her video many people have called her fat. And just because we do not consider someone else to be fat, does not mean that they don’t feel fat. Our opinions do not control other people’s feelings, and it is incredibly self righteous of you to believe that your opinion that Meghan Trainor is not fat would make any difference to how she feels. Moving on…”

On my original post, someone stated in the comments, “Fat is not a feeling.” That struck such a deep chord with me. For years, body positivity or fat acceptance seemed to be centered around making women who “felt” fat recognize that they were more beautiful than their thin counterparts. All this did was create a new standard of beauty in a particular category. Plus-sized models are often “all the right junk/in all the right places” models; their stomachs have some jiggle, but are mostly flat, their waists are nipped in, and their heads could have been transplanted from any industry standard-sized model, with well-defined cheekbones and not even a hint of double chin:

tara-lynn-plus-size-model robyn-lawley-plus-size-model

 

Remember when these women would have just been “models,” and not “plus-sized” models? It was called the 1990’s:

Cindy-Crawford-19

 

estelle

This is what “plus-size” has become. Cindy-Crawford-in-a-Pepsi-commercial bodies have become what we identify as “fat,” and it’s brainwashing women who aren’t fat into believing that they are.

Is that horrible? Yes. Should we be combating this image of the size 6 – 10 “plus-size”? Absolutely. The blogger has a point about the media making women feel like they’re fat. Just compare those photos again. And yes, if a woman is told that her perfectly fine body is “plus-sized,” she’s going to take a self-esteem hit for no reason, since we’ve all been told that “plus-sized” equals fat (when in reality, plus-size is merely a merchandising conceit). She’s going to “feel” fat. And that’s supposed to be our main concern: reassuring women larger than a size four, but smaller than a size twenty, that she isn’t a fat person.

But some of us don’t “feel” fat. Some of us are fat. We don’t have “all the right junk/in all the right places.” We have junk that magazines tell us they don’t want, as well. But our “junk” isn’t the stuff celebrated in songs written specifically to make us feel good. Where’s the anthem to the double chin? Where’s the song about back rolls, or fat aprons? Cellulite? Bingo wings? The message the media conveys to average-sized women is that they can be “fat” and still beautiful and valued, so long as they’re only  “fat” in culturally accepted ways. But what do women who aren’t “fat,” but are actually fat, get out of this? More body shame, not for being fat, but for not being a thin-enough fat woman with an attractive hip-to-waist ratio, and plenty of derision from those mid-sized women who feel under attack any time discussion of body image turns to criticism of the things that make them feel good.

We’re so concerned with protecting the women who “feel” fat that we steamroll right over women who actually are fat. So many comments I received on my original “All About That Bass” post insisted that the song wasn’t for or about people like me, and that the lyrics absolutely are body-positive because they help women feel better about their bodies. Better how? By insisting, “Don’t worry, you’re not fat.”

As a fat woman, I want to know why I should celebrate a song–or at least, why I should “stop looking to be different by choosing to be offended” by it, as the blogger suggests–because it reassures women by telling them that they don’t look like me? That they don’t look like women who are larger than me? “Don’t worry. You might ‘feel’ fat, but you’re definitely not, so you’re beautiful.”

As the blogger points out, the media does celebrate women who are slender. But the tide has started to turn. Runway shows are banning size zero models–the group that seems to take most of the heat for making women “feel” fat–from their catwalks. “Curvy” women like Christina Hendricks, Kate Upton, and Beyoncé are being held up as a standard of beauty, and a number of songs recently praised the rear-facing assets of women who don’t wear a size two. The persecution of average-sized women in the media is reversing; the stigma of actual fatness is not.

While average-sized women are concerned with not “feeling” fat, fat women are facing challenges that affect their lives far beyond damage to their self-perception. Plus-size clothing stores Lane Bryant and Torrid only sell clothing up to a size 28, at prices prohibitively expensive for low-income women. Buying clothing in a physical store is, if not impossible, then highly unlikely, for women who exceed the “plus-size” category.

Our health is at risk, too, and not just from the obesity-related illnesses we’re warned about; we’re faced with bias from the medical community that puts our health, and potentially our lives, at risk. Obese people face rising weight-based discrimination in the workplace, women especially:

“10 percent of overweight women reported weight discrimination, 20 percent of obese women reported weight discrimination and 45 percent of very obese women reported weight discrimination.”

I’m sure that to some, it seems like I’m blowing things out of proportion. Only one state in the US (Michigan) has a law against weigh-based discrimination. But surely, forty-nine states offering no legal protection for obese people facing discrimination is far lower on the importance ladder than making a woman who doesn’t like the look of her average-sized body feel sexually attractive? Those who face that discrimination–which is perpetuated by the continued celebration of the “right” types of bodies–shouldn’t be told to sit quietly and support those who “feel” fat while their shapes are currently being glorified.

Do I want average-sized women to feel badly about themselves, just because they aren’t 250 lb. or larger? No, of course not. I want all women to feel good about themselves. But we should no longer tolerate women who “feel” fat to be at the center of the body politics conversation. We should no longer allow a woman’s “feeling” of being fat to be placed ahead of the reality of being fat. We cannot “get over” our feeling of marginalization or ignore the cultural attitudes that perpetuate it, just so a woman who will never face that same size-based discrimination can feel beautiful.

Yes, we’re all women, and we should all stick together, but some of us are no longer content to offer support that requires us to “get over” the perpetuation of attitudes that contribute to discrimination against us. Especially not when we’re asked to “celebrate” at a party no one has any intention of inviting us to.

 

Did you enjoy this post?

Trout Nation content is always free, but you can help keep things going by making a small donation via Ko-fi!

Or, consider becoming a Patreon patron!

99 Comments

  1. Smruthi
    Smruthi

    You are pakka right. I personally didnt feel that Meghan trainor was doing any good. Why? Because, she isnt fat. IF she had sung that every woman is beautiful, Without calling herself fat when she isnt, I might have had a different opinion.

    Dont worry about the people who mindlessly write a hate review and the like, Jenny. There are very young girls like me who look up to you.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      YES! Thank you for summing up what rankled me about the song better than I could. I would appreciate her support…if she hadn’t sort of implied that she’s a “big” woman when she’s not.

      October 5, 2014
      |Reply
  2. Annie
    Annie

    I genuinely don’t understand why you’re getting so much heat for this Trainor thing. (Possibly ‘All About That Bass’ is less popular here in the UK? Your post was the first place I heard it… and I haven’t heard it since either, to be honest.) I thought the original post was funny and completely inoffensive. CERTAINLY it was less firebrand-y than the Fifty Shades posts (which I love with my whole heart). I’m really sorry the internet is being like this to you. It’s completely baffling.

    Creepy postscript: I’ve been a lurker here for about two years, and I have read most of your 50SoG recaps three or four times because they (and you) are brilliant. I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Well thank you. And yeah, I don’t know why that song brings out the crazy. The weird thing was, for the amount of women who were angry with me, the men were the ones who were quick to threaten violence. I got a lot of, “I hope you get raped,” and “If I ever see you, you’ll be sorry” type shit.

      October 5, 2014
      |Reply
  3. Of course weight discrimination is a thing. Numerous studies have been done that show that a more attractive women is more likely to get hired than a less attractive woman. Two women with the same resume, one average and mousy and the other hot and blond, will not be hired at the same rate. While some people will only hire the best candidate, lots of unknowingly influenced by the person’s attractiveness, meaning that the pretty girl would get the job. This easily translates to weight discrimination, and it goes beyond that. For those women who are very obese, it isn’t just the interviewer unconsciously rating her attractiveness, but it’s also going to be the surface comments about her weight that most people will think. Even if the though is “God she’s fat, but that’s a good resume,” thinking that negative thought about her fat is more likely to cast a negative light on her interview.

    That being said, I guess I’m technically plus-sized? Before we tackle the industry considering size 6 as plus size, can we tackle the industry NEVER making pants big enough to cover my butt but not trailing along the ground? I don’t own a single pair of pants that end above the ground. /comepletelyofftopicirrelevantrant

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I want a pair of pants that takes into account assless fat ladies. My butt is misshapen, and this leads to pants-falling-down problems.

      October 5, 2014
      |Reply
      • Anonymous
        Anonymous

        Can those pants have a corresponding line of shirts that take into account fat ladies that don’t have DD+ chests? Please?

        October 5, 2014
        |Reply
        • Liz G.
          Liz G.

          We can combine both if these into the same line, and I can actually get some clothes!

          October 5, 2014
          |Reply
        • Suzy
          Suzy

          How about those of us who are DD but not six foot tall?

          October 6, 2014
          |Reply
          • Channy
            Channy

            Six feet tall? I have a difficult time finding any longer shirts to accommodate my width.. In my area, it seems like any wider shirts are also for little people.

            October 6, 2014
      • Danielle
        Danielle

        Oh my god, yes! I have no ass so am constantly dealing with saggy-ass pants syndrome.

        October 10, 2014
        |Reply
    • hellkell
      hellkell

      Apparently if you’re fat you’re supposed to be seven feet tall.

      October 7, 2014
      |Reply
      • Mara
        Mara

        And have arms like gorillas. I just sent back three sweaters because the arms ended up hanging off my finger tips.

        October 9, 2014
        |Reply
        • Laina
          Laina

          The frig, how are you getting long sleeves and everything I own is either a 3/4 sleeve or a cap sleeve? Like, my arms are getting cold here, can we not with all the cap sleeves???

          ALSO one trick I found was that if you’re like an average height, the tall sizes of T-shirts can be really nice to get a little extra length. I don’t mind the bit of an extra length. But I found this sweater once and I honestly don’t know if it was supposed to be a sweater or a sweater dress, but it was totally decent on me. Like just barely above my knees length.

          I mean. I have like a 27, 28 inseam. But still.

          October 9, 2014
          |Reply
  4. Genia
    Genia

    I have never posted before. I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog and all of this flak is bullshit. You are doing wonderful, inspiring and positive things on your blog. Don’t let any of these people get you down. Don’t let them compromise or affect your voice. Please know that you are loved, and valued, and your words mean so much to readers like me. I might not always agree with you but I enjoy reading your words so much that you, the blogger and author, have a place in my daily life. When I sit and read your site I am transported outside and away. Please don’t let these buggers get you down.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
  5. Donna Asher
    Donna Asher

    Maybe even more to the point: why do women have to be beautiful? When can we stop telling ourselves and other women that our primary responsibility to society is to be properly ornamental? When we can get over that, maybe people will quit being offended when a woman’s body isn’t the size or shape they think it should be.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • People can enjoy being beautiful while having other goals and valuing themselves in other ways. We don’t need to feel beautiful at the expense of others, nor do we need to be beautiful FOR others. Valuing our own beauty has plenty of benefits to ourselves.

      If society wants to make everyone feel ugly for arbitrary reasons, I don’t think the answer is to get rid of beauty or wanting to be beautiful altogether. Besides, I think that still implies that there are boundaries to what beauty is (since people would have to know that they are NOT it).

      October 5, 2014
      |Reply
    • noisyninja
      noisyninja

      Thank you! Nobody is talking about that! If women have more to offer society than just arm candy (and I think most people here would agree they do) then we must be judged on more than looks! People make all kinds of false assumptions about women based on their looks (whether perceived to be attractive or not) that they don’t always assume about men. I’m all about them brains.

      October 5, 2014
      |Reply
    • Nikki
      Nikki

      THIS. It bugs me so much when people are all, “Oh, don’t worry, you’re pretty enough” when I’m all, “And I could wipe the floor with at least half of you in an IQ test? Can we talk about how awesome that is, instead?”

      One of the major newspapers (I can’t remember which one) ran an article about Samantha Shannon, author of The Bone Season (haven’t read it). The article was half about the book, and half about how pretty the author is. I was raging out in the break room because this was a story about an author, about her work, and it kept coming back to her “english rose” complexion. Fuck.

      October 5, 2014
      |Reply
      • YvieJ
        YvieJ

        That irritates me, too, and once you see it in one instance, you never unsee it. It’s everywhere. Have you seen the gifs and pics of famous women shutting down that behavior and those questions. I hope this becomes more and more a celebrity trend. My particular favorite is- and I can’t even remember who said it- “How come you get the existential question and I get the rabbit food question?” (To her male co-star), or Hillary Clinton’s (paraphrased) “Are you going to ask the men about their designers, too?”

        July 19, 2015
        |Reply
    • Mandi
      Mandi

      This. 100,000,000 X this. When will our worth no longer hinge on our appearance?
      I knew my husband was the one for me when he said “why do you care so much?” When I complained about my size and unattractiveness. Not the usual patronizing “oh no, you’re beautiful.” He actually asked me, in a non-rhetorical way, why it mattered so much to me.
      He is literally one in a million, I think. Most men would not even question the value of physical attraction, but I believe it genuinely does not matter to him. Which is good, because I’m ugly. Lol.
      And no, I’m not fishing for compliments or saying that as a self-deprecating remark. It is just a fact: I’m not pretty. But that doesn’t make me any less of a person, or any less of a woman.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
    • YvieJ
      YvieJ

      Your comment is perfect, and gets to the root of the issue. Perhaps we have to work through the inclusion (rather than mere acceptance) of truly fat people before we can reach the point where no woman’s size or shape is relevant to anything but choosing clothing to put on it, but I sure wish we could get there faster. As long as we maintain that there is some kind of standard to which we must be compared, this problem will exist, slowly drifting from one trait to another on which to discriminate. Further, until we reach this point as a gender, we will not be able to get our collective $h!t together enough to meet the common injustices shared by all women as a united front. That was my biggest criticism of “All About That Bass”- it was meant well, but still measured against an upheld a dominant male’s perspective of beauty. For example, “That boom boom that all the boys chase,” “boys like a little more booty” etc.

      July 19, 2015
      |Reply
    • Lindsey
      Lindsey

      THANK YOU! I’m always on about this. While men also have beauty standards for themselves, those standards don’t usually effect jobs, buying things in stores, etc. If a man is ugly or fat but has a good resume, he’s still going to be hired. Not to mention, people are probably not going to think about how ugly he is during business meetings or when hanging out with friends. Will it affect his dating life? Sure, but that’s just one aspect. I’d rather have being ugly only impact one part of my life than have it be a problem every. single. day.

      December 2, 2016
      |Reply
  6. Em
    Em

    I’m really surprised that you’ve gotten so much flack for your review of the song. Then again, it’s the internet. I suppose I’m just being naive.

    That said, my personal beef with the song/video (and with other so-called ‘female empowerment’ anthems that rely on the same hook) is that beauty or acceptability for a woman is inherently tied to how pleasing we are to men. It’s not enough for a woman to accept herself or tell other women they’re beautiful regardless of size (as long as that size involves booty and doesn’t enter the realm of ‘skinny bitches/stick figure silicone Barbie doll’ ofc), she has to be validated by the mighty penis.

    As for the people pushing back against you with such vitriol, I do wonder how they reconcile ‘fat acceptance’ with harassing a blogger who herself talks about struggling with weight-related issues IRL. Boggles the mind.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • Petra47
      Petra47

      Hear, hear! That’s what most bothered me about this song.

      October 5, 2014
      |Reply
    • YvieJ
      YvieJ

      You are exactly correct about the male-driven standard. I just finished writing a reply to that effect. If I had read yours first, I would have just posted, “What she said”

      July 19, 2015
      |Reply
  7. noisyninja
    noisyninja

    I just wanted to say, as a woman who is not fat but sometimes “feels” that way, I’m probably the target audience for the song. However, I really enjoyed your review of the song and thought you brought up a lot of important points. Slavishly following our defending anything without accepting dissent is not a great way to be. I may not be a “fat person,” but the junk I do have is not in “all the right places” either. When I was growing up I was a bean pole, which made me feel really ugly, especially in middle school when all the other girls got their curves and I didn’t. I was straight up and down. Since gaining weight in college, I still don’t have an impressive hip/waist ratio, I’m just wider all the way down! Where is my empowerment song? Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful posts, they always make me reflect inward as I try to understand the world outside myself, and what my actions are doing to make it better or worse. I definitely don’t think your opinions about a silly (admittedly catchy) song warrant such violent responses!

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • Janice
      Janice

      You think thin people are not subject tk discrimination too? An Asian student who went to the University clinic went to get her breast lump checked. She left being told she was underweight regardless of what other health indicators say. She stuffed herself with junk food and the she still didnt get gain weight and was threatened to be kicked out of school if she didnt gain weight. They dont even care if she was eating unhealthy food.

      When I had to change doctors because of the new healthcare law my new doctor was suspicious of my appetite to ask me how’s my appetite. I was there for regular preventive check up and achilles tendonitis, not weight or eating issues. I look lean but I am a bit muscular in my lower half and at a healthy weight and body fat range.

      My problem with the fat acceptance movement in general is that they are into oppression olympics. To them it seems that oppression not related to size isnt valid.

      January 3, 2015
      |Reply
      • YvieJ
        YvieJ

        I’m really sorry you’ve experienced this. Your story is the reason I feel that we need to leave the external beauty standards behind altogether, because otherwise, the bias just drifts from one trait to another (today, over or under weight; tomorrow, curly hair and clear complexions?) Of course, there’s too much money in these industries and too much power in media that all derives its control from pitting women against one another. It sure does work, too. Even in civil, open-minded discussion like this, it’s hard to avoid an “us and them” mentality and generalizations of how entire groups of people think or behave because it is so deeply engrained in our cultural fabric. I caught myself doing that yesterday when I saw a woman with a can of chewing tobacco, and had to check myself. Until we get past stereotypes and male-driven standards, we can’t get anywhere as a gender. You’re right, though. Your medical care was directly akin to doctors who refuse to consider other systemic problems and insist that being overweight is the cause and cure for every single ailment. Neither is acceptable.

        July 19, 2015
        |Reply
  8. lia
    lia

    Anecdotal on the medical discrimination that people don’t think exist:
    In April, 2013, I was running and fell over. No clue why but I couldn’t walk and within a half hour had very intense pain in my knee. I called for a ride to the ER and the specialist they referred me to told me that the reason my knee hurt was because I was overweight. He told me that my knee would always hurt unless I lost weight. He gave me tips on ‘proper’ exercise (that an acquaintance who is personal trainer later told me were horrible for someone with a knee injury-leg presses are a no go, and they practically crippled me afterwards every time I tried). I went from a heavy but pretty in shape girl, to having gained weight and am totally out of shape now. After a little over a year and a half of dealing with being physically unable to run and in a ridiculous amount of pain by the time I was off shift at work every day, I went to a new doctor who immediately sent me for an MRI.

    Turns out, I’ve had a torn ACL for 17 months. The reason I can’t run has nothing to do with my weight, it’s because there’s no ligament holding my knee together. If the first doctor hadn’t been such a condescending ass, lecturing me for a half hour on how not to be fat and shushing me as though I were a child any time I tried to ask a question; if he hadn’t judged me on appearance and actually treated me medically, I would be rehabbed and running my chubby little heart out again already.

    So yeah. In agreement. I am sorry so many feel bad about their size, but there are more important issues at hand.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • Marimba Ani
      Marimba Ani

      I hope you got a lawyer.

      That’s unacceptable, and he owes you. (And maybe having his insurance rates go up will teach him to LISTEN to his patients.)

      I’m furious on your behalf,

      October 5, 2014
      |Reply
    • You speak the truth. It hasn’t happened to me*, but my father kept going to the doctor with horrible back and leg pain. The doctor kept telling him “well you’re overweight, you need more exercise.” So he’d try to exercise, and the pain would be excruciating. He’d tell the doctor and the doc would say to push through it, and my dad’s like no, you don’t understand, I physically cannot do this.

      Finally he went to a different doctor. Turned out he had multiple myeloma which was causing hairline fractures in his legs and vertebrae. The delay in diagnosis meant that he was too ill for the bone marrow procedure they wanted to do. Because, if you’re fat, that’s the only problem you could possibly have, right? Terminal cancer? Nah you’re just fat! Oh, it was cancer? Oops.

      *(I’m one of those size 12s that Jenny says she might be excluding and don’t worry Jenny, you’re not. The idea that I’d be considered “plus-size” is ludicrous to me.)

      October 7, 2014
      |Reply
      • Jen
        Jen

        THIS.

        I have been to doctors for an ear ache and have been told it is because I am fat.

        Yes I am fat and some things may be caused by that but seriously, an ear ache?

        It really bugs me when they won’t listen and just go “You are overweight”. I went to the gastroenterologist with abdominal pain and a colonoscopy showed nothing so she sent my to my ob-gyn (former now) who looked at the ultrasound and said any pain I had was because I am obese and should go on a vegan diet. It had worked well for him.

        I just want to be taken seriously and listened too.

        October 8, 2014
        |Reply
      • Amanda
        Amanda

        So agreed on your footnote! I’m a size 12-14 and it is more offensive than reassuring to me to hear, “Don’t worry, some guys like the booty!” Um… I wasn’t concerned? Thanks for the backhanded compliment I guess?? It turns out my self-esteem does not hinge on whether men I’ve never met find me physically attractive. I do feel bad for women caught up in that trap, but I certainly don’t believe you should make yourself feel better by comparing yourself to larger women and going, “Phew, at least I’m not that big!” Gross.

        October 18, 2014
        |Reply
    • Janice
      Janice

      and the fat acceptance people think theyre the only one systematically oppressed.

      One Yale student was threatened to be expelled from school if she didnt gain weight. She went in the school clinic for breast lumps, came of being threatened to be kicked out if she gained weight. She stuffed herself with junk food and still didnt gain weight. The school stopped bugging her about it when she made it public by writing in a published paper. Apparently, Yale does not care about her health, just some numbers.

      And for an Ivy league, I’m suprised they dont even read recent research. Asians in general have lower bone density and tend to have higher fat % at lower BMI…which is why in Asia the BMI cut off for healthy weight is 23, not 25.

      People of other sizes are equally oppressed, not just overweight or obese people.

      January 3, 2015
      |Reply
      • Laina
        Laina

        “My problem with the fat acceptance movement in general is that they are into oppression olympics.”

        Says the person who came onto a post about fat discrimination and oppression… to be all “THINSHAMING”.

        Stop. Just… stop. You’re showing a remarkable amount of ignorance regarding what privilege means. You can be privileged in one area, and not in another. If you’re thin YOU HAVE THIN PRIVILEGE.

        January 3, 2015
        |Reply
  9. Sharon
    Sharon

    I feel like I could write reams of stuff about this very topic because it’s so complex and so weighed down by illusory concepts about what looks good and why we should even try to look good. I’m not sure why I feel so strongly about it because I’m not fat but I guess like most women, if I’m not having some ‘feelings’ about my body today, then one of my friends or family is. I’ve been sitting here for ages typing, deleting, retyping.

    Essentially I agree with everything you’re saying here and in your original post, which was the first time I’d ever heard of the song. It’s just starting to get played here in Ireland so I guess can look forward to a few months of rolling my eyes when it comes on the radio in work. I’ve just watched the video all the way through and here’s some random thoughts:

    -Meghan herself doesn’t look much larger than me – (I’m a size 10-ish, I think that’s a US 6) and her back up dancers seem to be a bit smaller, so… what? In terms of actually showing women of different body types even Mika’s Big Girl You are Beautiful video was better than this (also a terrible song)

    -Girl shaking her ‘booty’ and ‘skinny’ girl beside her appear to be much the same size so bit of a logic disconnect there.

    -Apparently we can show a genuinely pretty big guy but not a girl so I call misogyny right there.

    -Sure, definitely, let’s get some prepubescent kids in on the booty-shaking, body-shaming action here.

    – Has anyone else noticed that the chorus has nothing to do with the rest of the song?

    Ok, I’m done now. For the moment.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • Sharon
      Sharon

      Oh also, I have a friend who had a similar story to the above commenter vis a vis Having a Sports Injury While Fat and that was just a whole steaming pile of BS and nearly put her off running even though she had been really enjoying it so eff that physiotherapist.

      October 5, 2014
      |Reply
  10. Diane
    Diane

    I really appreciated your post on All About That Bass. It helped me understand why the song had been making me feel so uncomfortable and I felt a little less alone in my dislike of it. It is such a Mean Girl song, making fun of people who are different from you and then saying “Oh I’m just kidding” as an excuse to keep right on doing it, even though you know you’re hurting feelings. There is nothing I hate more than people who try to excuse hurtful comments as teasing or a joke. No. Just no.

    And it sucks because the song is catchy and I really want to like it.

    But I can’t.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
  11. Layla
    Layla

    THANK YOU. As a woman in that size 6-14 category you mentioned, I’m fully not offended by this article. There’s no reason a size 8 woman should be made to feel that she’s ‘fat.’ I feel like that fat-mentality is a ruse to get ‘average-sized’ women to settle for Rush Limbaugh look-a-likes anyway. The entire media is set up to show Kevin James types ending up with Adriana Limas. So much so that when we see Kate Winslet paired with Jack Black we don’t bat an eyelash. Cause ya know, she’s kinda ‘fat’ right? And I love me some Jack Black, but c’mon. Kate Winslet is gorgeous! And no even called that out!

    And women over size 15? You’re not even supposed to exist.

    All this current body positive movement is doing is TELLING size 12s they’re ‘fat’. It’s for straight men. So they can make their size 6 girlfriend feel so bad that she’ll never leave him.

    I understand why people like ‘All About that Bass’ cause sometimes you just need a break from feeling like shit. And it especially works if you’re feeling like shit BECAUSE you think you can’t get men. So carrying on about how men like size 8s makes sense.

    The backlash you got for simply pointing out that song’s flaws is horrible. They threatened your pets, too!? WHAT THE FUCK. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I think some people get what a true body positive movement would be. You said it perfectly in your original article. So sad the message was lost on a lot of people.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • Jan
      Jan

      Yes! All of what Layla says. I’m in the mid-size too and totally support what you’re saying.

      It’s incredible how many people don’t seem to grasp that threatening you over something like this is effectively the same as writing you a message saying “hello, yes, you are so right that I cannot think of a single counterargument, I surrender the debate completely”. I’d say “did no-one ever teach them that priciple?”, but really it’s not too difficult for them to work out for themselves.

      October 6, 2014
      |Reply
  12. Marvel
    Marvel

    Hell, I like the song, and I still agree with all your points here. It’s a catchy song. It’s not, however, a great social message.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
  13. Irene
    Irene

    Jenny, as many other commenters have said already, I can’t for the life of me understand why you got effing THREATS in response to your honest post on that song. I just can’t. I appreciate that you’ve expanded your point with this new post. You’re right, there are women (people!) who feel fat, and then there are women (people!) who actually are fat, and who are carefully avoided by the media at best or treated as some sort of freak show at worst. You’ve taught me a lot and opened my eyes on a lot of issues I was blind to before. Don’t stop. Keep up the good work, aka this awesome blog. You’re a great, inspiring, extremely funny person.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
  14. Lieke
    Lieke

    Rock on, Jenny.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
  15. Tania
    Tania

    I definitely agree that, from a social viewpoint (and fiscal!), being fat and “feeling” fat aren’t even on the same wavelength, and anyone claiming it is is full of shit.

    But body dysmorphia is a terrible thing, and is different than the women who “feel” fat. My mother has, since I hit puberty, insisted I am fat and unhealthy constantly. I am a size two, but I have had panic attacks at the thought of going out in a bikini because of how “gross” I think I am. It affects me socially in that I don’t date because I get sick at the thought of having to let someone see me naked.

    I am not saying I have it worse – just that sometimes “feeling” fat is a crippling mental health issue.

    (And it isn’t because I think there is anything wrong with being fat, because I don’t think a person’s worth is even remotely tied to what shows on the scale.)

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Body Dysmorphia is a mental illness, and I am definitely concerned with the rights of the mentally ill and the things that affect or trigger us out there in the world. But the media’s role in Body Dysmorphia should have it’s own conversation entirely. One, because it’s grossly misunderstood and often labeled as simply being a little unhappy with one’s body, and two, because it’s a serious condition that, like so many other mental illnesses, deserves our full attention rather than a sidebar to other things.

      I hope this doesn’t come off as me criticizing your comment, because you make an important point. These are just my thoughts on how the topic comes up in response to the “fat”/fat conversation. I also find that some mainstream body positivity people who don’t suffer from Body Dysmorphia will bring up the subject like it’s a card in their hand when someone suggests that more attention should be paid to anti-fat discrimination, which isn’t fair to people, like you, who have to live with the condition, or fat people in general. If body positivity folks called more attention to Body Dysmorphia in its own space, we’d have a lot less conflict between but it needs to have it’s own space, away from people who are just unhappy with their weight or size.

      October 5, 2014
      |Reply
    • Janice-mantis
      Janice-mantis

      I too have body dysmorphia. It’s a terrible illness. So many people just dismiss me as trying to fish for compliments, or just “one of THOSE” girls who thinks she’s fat even though she’s skinny.
      I literally see myself differently. I know, medically, that I am underweight. I’m not stupid–I know I am unhealthily thin. But I also feel like I’m fat. And that isn’t something I feel or say just to make genuinely fat people feel bad about themselves. I feel that way due to a mental illness that is basically disregarded by everyone who doesn’t actually suffer from it.
      Hugs to you, my sister.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
  16. I can’t properly express my hatred of the Torrid we have out here. Depending on the jeans I wear anywhere from a 10-18 (because my thighs are huge and it’s muscle not fat and my ass is huge and that’s mostly fat). Every time I go in there I get the “you don’t need to shop here” spiel and that I’m “too thin” to shop there. This is why I just wear men’s jeans. Well that and useable pockets and consistently always having belt loops on my jeans.

    But as a non fat/feel like I’m fat constantly person (of course it doesn’t help that my mother keeps harping on me about my weight) I have to agree with all of your points here and in the original post about the song. Until you wrote it out (and the commentor above) I couldn’t put my finger on what I didn’t like about the song. But between those two posts and the above comment now I can.

    I’m sorry that you’re being threatened and all that because people are shitty, especially on the internet.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
  17. Laina
    Laina

    I think I might have said the “fat is not a feeling” line XD

    Whenever I hear it, I just want to ask – what exactly, again, are you feeling that you think feels like being me? Like, really think about that one for a minute.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
  18. Amber
    Amber

    That link about medical bias struck right where it hurts. When I was suffering the worst effects of… whatever is wrong with me, I was referred to a specialist who ignored everything I said and advised me to “stop eating chips.” His words. Now i’ve got the problems of someone three times my age. Thanks, assholes in the medical field. If I looked like Miss Trainor, I wouldn’t have had that issue, but because i’m legitimately fat, I now get to suffer through a barage of drugs designed to work through the years of neglecting serious problems.

    And yeah, you definitely did not deserve the shit you got for speaking out about the song. Seriously.

    October 5, 2014
    |Reply
  19. Robin
    Robin

    This is still such a sticky issue for me. The commenter who mentioned BDD addressed part of my concerns, because a large portion of my friends have either BDD or an eating disorder, and they feel super trampled all over when these discussions come up. I agree that this needs to be a separate conversation but it is one that comes up very often from the sufferers of these illnesses as well.

    I am a significantly obese woman (as Roxie from wtfplus would say, not to brag) so I absolutely see things from this side of the great fat divide, don’t get me wrong there. I have spent my life being told that literally every health concern I have will magically go away if I lose weight, up to and including dental pain, and astigmatism. (Yes, really.) So, I understand the medical discrimination. I absolutely understand the employment discrimination, and every other discrimination. You better BELIEVE I understand clothing discrimination. A person that’s under size… I dunno, 14 maybe? doesn’t have to look at their size of clothes on a size 0 mannequin or model and make a wild guess at what the garment will look like on them, or the crushing blow when it looks absolutely ridiculous on their body. They can either just see, or go try it on in person without incurring any expense.

    And oh my the expense is not at all insignificant. A t-shirt from Old Navy will cost a size 10 $5, and will cost a size 26/28 $15. And we always get that old chestnut about how it’s so much more fabric! Of course it’s more expensive! Well, no, because a size 2 contains much less fabric than a 10 and they’re the same price. So, if it’s not a fat tax, what the hell is it?

    Anyway, I went off on a tear there. Coming back around to it, I get being Fat rather than “fat,” but some part of me still feels icky about telling a person that their body type is unacceptable for any reason, even if it’s singing a (misguided and rather badly-written) song. I came to a realization about ten years ago that “eat a sandwich” is just as hurtful as “go on a diet,” and since then I have tried really super hard to not shame anyone for any body type. And honestly, that was the reason I had an issue with the song in the first place – the skinny bitches part. I guess I mostly feel uncomfortable, or at least unsettled, about anyone drawing a line in the sand and saying “you are not really fat because you are not one of the sizes on this side of the line.” And I’m seeing a lot of that in the arguments I’m seeing on this topic.

    Otherwise, I’m totally on board! At best, it’s a terrible song. At worst, it’s saying “this is the right body shape and size” which is no less damaging coming from (roughly) this side of the line.

    Also, just as a side note re: Torrid and Lane Bryant, I briefly maintained a tumblr called “Fat Fashion Done Right” that covered a lot of websites that offer clothing in very large sizes at much more affordable prices than Torrid and Lane Bryant. I learned that while you do have to still do a lot more searching, options are springing up. Even Forever 21 recently started selling plus clothes that I’ve heard in some cases fit up to a size 28/30. It’s definitely not fair or perfect, but I really do feel like we’re starting to get somewhere.

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
  20. ScarlettP
    ScarlettP

    I very much get what you’re saying, Jenny, and I think your point is extremely important. I’m glad that you are talking about this – this is a discussion that urgently needs to be had. The body positivity movement too, too often comes down to “You’re not *really* fat, so you’re still beautiful” and this is just such bullshit on so many levels.

    And it’s utterly insane that you are receiving threats of violence for stating your thoughts.

    I’m not sure, though, that the line between “feeling” fat and *being* fat can always be clearly drawn. I’m not sure where I fit in on that, either. (I promise I’m not making the weight equivalent of the “what about teh menz” argument here – please bear with me.)

    I have ridculous body proportions. In pants, I’m a size 12. I do have some extra weight, but all of it is on my belly. I have a very noticeable gut, to the point that people tend to guess my pants size as larger than it is, because they assume that the fat on my belly continues all the way around.

    In shirts, I’m a size 18 or so. This is the result of two things. I took classical singing lessons for more than two decades, starting in my teenage years, so my ribcage has grown quite large. Plus I just have really, really large breasts (i cup).

    I KNOW that I don’t have to deal with the same issues that someone who is, say, a size 22 (or anywhere on up) does. Let me say that right now. I KNOW that I am not fat.

    But I do not live in the United States. I am an immigrant to a culture where the average body size is very thin. So I *read* as fat, if that makes sense.

    I can buy pants in regular stores – usually – but I have to buy my tops in “large size” stores. Yes, they’re more expensive than the same shirts in smaller sizes in this country too. Bras? Forget it. I have to buy them online. Stores here just don’t stock them.

    Any time I’ve had a job where I had to wear a uniform, finding one that fits me has been an issue. I hear, “Oh…I didn’t realize you were THAT large. Hmm…I don’t know if we can find something for you…”

    I have been told, on several occasions, that I would have no chance of getting hired unless I lost weight, or at least got a breast reduction. I was told this by THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF HIRING. For A JOB WHERE APPEARANCE WAS TECHNICALLY IRRELEVANT.

    I have also been told by medical professionals that my PCOS and related medical issues would just go away if I weren’t so overweight. What the hell? I’m only about 10 pounds overweight – how about treating my condition instead of making irrelevant comments that only prove that you’re not seeing me anyway? Never mind the fact that PCOS often CAUSES weight gain.

    Like I said, I swear I’m not trying to make the weight equivalent of the “what about teh menz” argument. And maybe what I’m saying is even entirely out of place here.

    I’m not fat. I get that. People who *are* fat face a whole range of issues that I do not have to deal with. I get that, too. Not that you’re doing this, Jenny, but I have in effect been told, in other discussions on this topic, that I need to shut up and check my skinny privilege, because I’m not *really* fat.

    What the hell does that mean? The culture I live in *treats* me fat, so it’s sure doing a damned good job of making me *feel* fat. That seems to me to be something different than just “Oh, I’m not a size 2, so I feel fat.” “Feeling” fat, at least in my case, is rather more complicated.

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
    • YvieJ
      YvieJ

      I think we should be looking critically at- and taking action against – the cultural and media factors that make women feel fat in an effort to pit us against one another and maintain male control and profit. Your experience of “shut up with your skinny privilege” is a disheartening example of that system succeeding. Being fat, body dysmorphia, and feeling fat are separate issues, but none is more relevant than the others. Discrimination against being fat and making women feel fat share the same root in that system, and while my understanding (open to correction) is that body dysmorphia has roots in brain chemicals, that cultural bias certainly isn’t supporting women with BDD, either. Much of the criticism of the body positivity movement is that it doesn’t acknowledge other biases, and it’s a shame that we haven’t managed a united front against manipulated social factors. I’m reminded of the fact that historically, women and black Americans tried to fight for suffrage under a united coalition, but it disbanded because each pursued their own perceived separate cause with more fervor than the other. Apparently, it’s a common, natural pitfall in social movements.

      July 19, 2015
      |Reply
  21. “On my original post, someone stated in the comments, ‘Fat is not a feeling.’ That struck such a deep chord with me. For years, body positivity or fat acceptance seemed to be centered around making women who “felt” fat recognize that they were more beautiful than their thin counterparts. All this did was create a new standard of beauty in a particular category.”

    I agree that fat is not a feeling. But I have to disagree with this idea that it’s defined by a clothing size or is relative to whether one is obese/morbidly obese or not.

    I am currently at the highest weight I’ve ever been (thank you, thyroid and doctors who don’t listen to their patients). I am about a size 12 in most stores. My weight the last time I stepped on a scale was 165 pounds (I’m 5’3″). I suspect I’ve gained some since then, as the largest jeans I own are now slightly too tight but still wearable and I was 166 pounds when I bought them.

    If you look that height and weight up on the BMI scale, I am thisclose to being classified as obese.

    I am, however, an hourglass shape and I carry my weight very evenly. Other women my height and weight appear larger than I do (and some probably are larger due to exercise habits). But the simple fact is, I am fat — by all definitions, whether they are societal or scientific, I am fat.

    You may not see the rolls hanging off of my back when I’m wearing flattering clothing, but they’re there. You may not know how frustrating it is when I can’t get fully into a yoga position I used to be able to pretzel myself into simply because my stomach sticks out farther than it once did.

    And those plus-sized models are airbrushed. It’s unlikely their stomachs are as flat as they appear in the photographs.

    I understand that I’m not the kind of fat some women are. I understand I don’t get the same stares or whispers or whatever else. But my blood pressure is 20 points higher than it ever has been in my life. My cholesterol is 300. I’m both physically and mentally uncomfortable. Some of this is my thyroid. But I was this weight once before (before my thyroid went crazy) and I felt the same way.

    I spent hours trying to pick out something to wear to go to a concert on Saturday night and was practically in tears on my floor because most of my wardrobe not longer fits me and the things that do don’t look or feel right.

    Meghan Trainer is most definitely overweight. She is quite possibly at an obese BMI.

    Does any of this make that song OK? Nah. But as a simple fact, she is a fat girl. I don’t think it’s any better to put women against each other because they aren’t “fat enough.”

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I guess I just don’t see why it’s any more harmful to say, “you’re not fat enough,” to women who try to co-opt fat acceptance or body positivity in an effort to make themselves feel better about being fat. Fat people are told all the time, “You’re too fat.”

      Maybe because I’m on this side of it, but if I’m “too fat” to do things a person half my BMI can do, or I’m “too fat” to get the medical care a person half my BMI is entitled to, then I don’t see the harm in telling someone with half my BMI that they’re “not fat enough” to represent fat people in the media or the body positivity movement.

      As for your personal weight, if you feel like, hey, you’re overweight and need to take care of yourself to be feel better, I’m not going to be like, “You’re not fat enough to be concerned about yourself.” That would just be absurd. What I would say, however, is that if you compare your weight and size issues to someone a hundred pounds or a few BMI points heavier, they’re going to face more medical, employment, housing, and social bias than you do, and they need advocates more than women who are just slightly overweight.

      This issue isn’t, who’s fat “enough” but “why aren’t people over 200 lb. being listened to with regards to these issues?”

      October 6, 2014
      |Reply
      • Do you know how many times my doctor dismissed my concerns during just one single appointment a month ago because of me weight? Every single issue I mentioned, he boiled down to my weight. I needed to see an endocrinologist (and I got a referral because I insisted on it) and he sent me to a dietician.

        When I was 30 pounds lighter than I am now (a healthy weight for my height) and I was a size 6, he blamed my high cholesterol on my weight and told me I “could lose a few pounds.” Knowing what I know now, I was probably at the beginning of the thyroid issue then — FIVE YEARS AGO). High cholesterol is a symptom of Hashimoto’s.

        So if you think doctors not listening to women (and probably also men) is only a “fat woman” problem, you don’t know what you’re talking about. It happens to all of us and it happens to women who are a healthy weight but whose doctors don’t think they’re thin enough. It isn’t a “fat woman” problem. It is a problem with doctors in general.

        I don’t know enough about the other issues raised to comment, though my mother has been obese (even by these standards) her entire life and has gotten offered every job she ever interviewed for. I guess she’s lucky or maybe the issue has gotten worse over the years.

        I have also dealt with being told by heavier friends that I don’t have a right to my feelings because I’m “not fat enough.” I just see so much woman vs. woman going on and I hate it. This just feels like more of that.

        And to be clear, I don’t think Jenny was personally attacking *me* in this post or anything like that. I just wanted to share my experience because I don’t think there’s much empathy going on with this issue.

        You’re either too fat or not fat enough and I don’t think the argument is productive.

        October 6, 2014
        |Reply
        • JennyTrout
          JennyTrout

          I understand that there is medical bias against women. I truly do. And the fact that you’re feeling it only backs up what I’m saying. There is a medical bias that should not exist.

          But what I’m trying to express here isn’t, “Women under a certain size don’t have any problems at all,” but that no one cares to entertain the point of view of people at the larger end of the spectrum, because they want the message to come from “curvy” women with “junk” in all the right places.

          I’m not saying that you don’t have any problems or that you face absolutely no bias because of your size or shape. I’m not saying that women who aren’t obese have no problems or feel no pressure. I’m saying that women who are of a larger size have no voice, and are told that we should ignore serious problems in an effort to make other women feel good about their looks. Since you’re facing medical bias, you’re experiencing this phenomenon, too.

          October 6, 2014
          |Reply
          • Channy
            Channy

            I’m going to jump in on this conversation (if you ladies don’t mind) because a lot of what Renee had said, I was going to reinterate anyway… but I’m just going to add 100lbs to the equation.

            Right from the get go of this initial post, I was excited because I thought it was going to turn around and be more accepting of ALL fat women. It’s not a matter of “feeling” fat or “being” fat. Being fat is a subjective concept. If someone told you you’re fat. Guess what, you’re fat. If you’ve been picked on all your childhood, had 3 too many pieces of cake, see the double chin in the webcam when you skype with friends, you’re fat. I love what Renee is saying here because no two people will experience fatism the same way (hello, snowflakes). Two people can weigh the same but hold it differently.. in their thighs, hips, butt, belly, shoulders… fat to muscle ratio is also pretty key. In my opinion, one of the more damaging things we can say in the fat acceptance movement is, “You can’t feel fat because you’re not fat enough.”

            I’m 5’8″ and 255 lbs. My boobs are only a 38B and my pant size is usually an 18. My weight has fluctuated and the lowest I ever weighed was when I was 150lb and a size 10. I didn’t feel “plus size” at the time, I felt pretty damn happy for considering myself thin and in shape (re: no belly flab, good butt, relatively good sized thighs but no thigh gap, alas).

            I was also first exposed to “All About That Bass” by your blog the first time. I LOVED your 50FoG recaps (please dear God recap After, I beg of you!!) So when I saw the post, I thought “Oh, this should be good.” But after listening to the song, and the words (yes, even them skinny bitches part, I have no shame in grinning from ear to ear at it) I couldn’t help but wonder… Why do they have a problem with this song? It’s promoting healthy body image and acceptance for those of us more endowed in the fat cells. But I didn’t hate on anybody or threaten anyone’s dog, I just brushed it off and thought that maybe they didn’t get it.

            And now, a second (wait, isn’t this the third?) post in, and I think that maybe some people still don’t get it. What was an attempt to try and bring forward fat acceptance has been misconstrued and degraded down to a simple phrase as “She can’t sing about being fat, look at her, she’s clearly not fat enough.” Once again, being fat is a subjective concept and no one has the right to belittle anyone elses feelings and body image with regards to being fat, because everyone has experienced different hardships with their body.

            October 6, 2014
          • JennyTrout
            JennyTrout

            The problem I have with “feeling” fat is that we’re so concerned with women feeling fat, we promote those voices over the people who are being discriminated against in the workplace, who are receiving inadequate healthcare (like Renee), and who are denied housing rentals, etc. Body positivity seems to spend more time assuring women that they’re not fat, rather than saying, “So what? You’re overweight. But you don’t deserve the way the world treats you.”

            Curvy bodies are being celebrated now, and overweight women on the smaller end of the scale are feeling better about themselves. I would never want to take that away. I’ve even said about “All About That Bass” that if you take a positive message from that song, go for it. But all the problems that the women who need these messages face would be solved by concentrating on the people most in need, or at least giving the other side fair time. And I’m not seeing that happen in our culture. I’m seeing, “All the right junk in all the right places,” and “Where my big fat ass bitches in the club?” and it’s this revolutionary thing, and we’re all supposed to concentrate on that.

            It’s not that I’m frustrated so much that I would say, “You’re not fat enough to be positive about your body or advocate for fat acceptance.” I’m frustrated that “feeling” fat is the thing we’re all supposed to be the most concerned about, because it’s still stigmatizing overweight people to make someone feel better by telling them that they’re not fat, or that their body is just fine because it’s considered attractive. Meanwhile, I worry that when I see a new doctor, they’re going to overlook or dismiss symptoms of a serious problem because I’m overweight. Bot of our problems would be solved if that stigma were removed, but instead we’re trying to reassure women that they’re attractive.

            A lot of this probably doesn’t make sense, because it’s late, but I wanted to at least try to clarify my position.

            October 7, 2014
          • I don’t care, honestly, if people tell me I’m not fat or that I have “all the right junk in all the right places.” My fiance is happy with my body. My friends (always the ones who weigh a lot more than I do) assure me that I’m “tiny” (which, again, is a matter of fat distribution rather than reality) or that I look great. But the simple, truthful fact is that I AM fat.

            I finally saw the endocrinologist yesterday and I am up another 3 pounds since August. I have gained 13 pounds since February and I am on the cusp of being labeled obese. I don’t like that. What others think of my body is not relevant to me. In my case particularly, the weight gain itself was a symptom of a much more dangerous, underlying issue that got overlooked. I don’t feel well and it isn’t about how I look (though that’s part of it, it isn’t what concerns me most). I found out that my TSH in 2011 (when a nurse called and told me all my bloodwork was “normal”) was above 7. Ideally it should be below 2. If I’d gone for my last physical two weeks later than I did — because my TSH went from 9.28 to 3.75 in those two weeks — I would still be being told my diet is the problem rather than getting treatment for an autoimmune disease.

            And the fact is. I’m not even that heavy. I get that.

            I think the best thing women can do is accept themselves and not ask the rest of the world to agree or disagree. I post on a fitness website that has a forum and a lot of women will post threads asking if men like X (where X is some physical trait the woman asking possesses). The truth is, of attracting men is your concern, men like everything. One specific man may not like that trait, but there will be one right behind him who does. So looking good to please men is silly because they all have different tastes and I think attitude is more important.

            I am about pleasing myself. My fiance likes me at this size. He doesn’t want me to lose weight. When I lost weight in the past, he complained. And I don’t care. Because *I* have to like me. I mean, I like me, anyway. My self-worth isn’t tied to my physical appearance. But I also enjoy feeling pretty and I enjoy being able to shop and not end up in tears because nothing looks right or nothing is comfortable. I enjoy how I feel at a smaller size.

            It’s sad and disgusting that anyone gets discriminated against due to size and I do hope that can be changed. But keep in mind that we live in a world where not only one, but several people think it’s appropriate to threaten a woman’s life, her children’s lives and her pets simply because she doesn’t like a song that they like. There is no logic in that.

            I don’t always agree with Jenny, but I have never felt violent toward her.

            October 7, 2014
          • Amanda
            Amanda

            Jenny, I have really loved each of your posts on this subject and the perspective that you offer. I am a thinner (4-6) woman and while it has always been very easy for me to participate in mainstream feminist discussions on body issues, (because even someone like me has been called fat or had my body shamed in other ways, and it all just boils down to women never being good or perfect enough) it’s been invaluable to me to consider takes like yours that move beyond saving women from “feeling” fat and refocusing the conversation to more truly important issues.

            Channy, there is a particular part of your comment I wanted to respond to:

            “But after listening to the song, and the words (yes, even them skinny bitches part, I have no shame in grinning from ear to ear at it) I couldn’t help but wonder… Why do they have a problem with this song? It’s promoting healthy body image and acceptance for those of us more endowed in the fat cells.”

            I think there are two fundamental issues with the song: first, though it promotes a different bell curve of “acceptable” women, it’s still a bell curve. If the general mass media says women should be between a 0-8 with 4 as the average, Trainor has kind of shifted that slightly to the right and placed the new average around 8-10. That makes the new target probably about 6-14, like Jenny says in her post disclaimer. f you’re within that target, that’s great, and if the song makes you feel some kind of love for your body that you didn’t have before, that’s great too. But there are still a lot of women who feel excluded by her message, because of “tells” like Jenny mentions (all the right curves/all the right places). This effectively excludes much larger women, who feel they may have curves in the “wrong” places, or who are trying to neutrally claim the descriptor “fat” without the baggage, since Trainor has at least one lyric that can be easily interpreted”I know you think you’re fat, but you’re not, you’re beautiful!” Part of the backlash against the backlash about this song also seems to be that detractors are only concerned about “skinny shaming” and that it’s not really a thing, which I think you’re kind of alluding to. I’ll concede that there probably is the tiniest violin solo in the world for skinny women who feel shamed by this song after so long being the recipients of positive media attention, but:

            Point #2 is that the song still revels in the male gaze, and as long as the male gaze is the preferred lens of all of our cultural beauty standards, then simply shifting the beauty standards goal posts from one target weight range to another does nothing for ALL women, since those outside the hypothetical new perfect range are left out in the cold, just as other women were before. And if you’re still not personally concerned about the plight of thinner women at no longer being the standard, then re-consider what Jenny has been saying, which is that in addition to the myriad legitimate health concerns and practical issues facing size 20+ women, they’d STILL not really be part of the new beauty paradigm. So this song isn’t for them. “All About That Bass” isn’t denouncing the status quo; it’s looking to be a part of it.

            October 7, 2014
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I’ve tried. Lord, I have tried very hard, to find something nice to say. But if she insists on being a more misogynistic version of Taylor Swift, I’m not sure where to go from here.

      October 6, 2014
      |Reply
      • Ilex
        Ilex

        There was an interview with Meghan Trainor in the Boston Globe a few weeks ago where her father commented on how wonderful it is that her song “started a new cultural conversation.”

        I just groaned and rolled my eyes, because don’t we have this cultural conversation about female body acceptance about every three years or so? And it’s “new” every single time. And nothing changes for the better so far as I can tell.

        October 6, 2014
        |Reply
      • Soph
        Soph

        Her next song is called “Dear Future Husband” and it’s like a guide to how NOT to have a healthy relationship.
        “After every fight
        Just apologize
        And maybe then I’ll let you try and rock my body right
        Even if I was wrong
        You know I’m never wrong
        Why disagree?
        Why, why disagree?”

        October 6, 2014
        |Reply
  22. Lucie
    Lucie

    Like some of the other commenters I am also a long time lurker, first time poster. I started reading your blog during the 50 Shades re-caps, I came for the snark but stayed for how intelligent, funny and interesting all of your posts are.

    I also wanted to let you know that awful I find it that you’ve received so much vitriol for expressing an opinion on something so trivial (it’s a song. What’s the matter with people?), and that I hope it doesn’t put you off speaking your mind in the future. There are many, many people who care about you, people like me, whose lives have been affected in a positive way by finding you and your books. I just wanted to let you know we’re here, and are in your corner!

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
  23. Flo
    Flo

    I think the issue overall is that the media needs to quit placing un-realistic role models in the forefront and expectations on everyone. I love that you showed the photos of the 90’s super models, they look nothing like the ones that followed. “Heroin chic” is the worst thing that ever happened to the fashion industry, I often wonder how many eating disorders it triggered. Another problem was that many of the designers were literally using children to model women’s clothing. Ugh! I’m glad to now see some outlash at that, but it’s going to take a while to reverse the effects.

    I think back to a conversation on “The View” a number of years ago. There was an island somewhere (I’m thinking the South Pacific region) that had never had TV until sometime in the 1990’s. The women tended to be heavier and more voluptuous, but it wasn’t a big issue, it was accepted. It wasn’t until after TV was introduced that they started to notice women suffering from eating disorders. On the same show, Courtney Love was a guest (this was before she got really bizarre) and she talked about how she had done a photo shoot for some fashion magazine, and they wanted her to lie about how much she weighed by a considerable amount. She refused, she said she wasn’t going to be responsible for some young girl having unrealistic expectations of what she would weigh if she was the same height. When I read some of the articles now where actresses and models talk about their height and weight, I often think of that interview and wonder how truthful many of them are. And we wonder why we have thin women thinking they are “fat”?

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
  24. Ilex
    Ilex

    Jen, as a size 14 to 18 depending on how the clothing runs, your posts have really opened my eyes to the difference between “fatcepptable” and “fat.” I fall on the side of the former, and you’ve made me much more empathetic to the challenges faced by women who are truly fat, not just portly or whatever you want to call my waist-free figure.

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
  25. Ilex
    Ilex

    The uniting thread I see here is — there is a very strong social message that female bodies are no good, period. We are all too skinny, too fat, too sexy, not sexy enough, constantly measured by just where our “junk” is and always failing. And all this judging ourselves and each other keeps us safely divided and distracted and therefore non-threatening while men, as a group, get to focus on just being people and running the world.

    I just wish I knew how to make it genuinely okay to have a female body, without all this extra baggage.

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
    • Lieke
      Lieke

      Yes, I hate how we a women are expected to always be trying our hardest to be acceptable. And the biggest part of this is wrapped up in how we look. For example, I love to have short hair. I love it for a lot of reasons. I love the way it feels. I love having no hair in my neck. I love having to expend zero time and effort on it. I love not having to tuck it behind my ears all the fucking time. I love that it’s not hanging in front on my eyes irritating the shit out of me. I love that I don’t have to deal with the annoyance of lying on it in bed.

      What I don’t love about it is that with short hair I look like a guy. However, I personally think that’s a small con compared to all those pros. Other people absolutely do not think so. Whenever I have my hair short everyone is constantly telling me (unsubtly) that I look like a guy or (subtly) that they think long hair looks better on me. I know! I have a mirror. I don’t care. I try to explain why I like having short hair and I can see eyes glaze over. People (even other women) seem to not understand that a woman can choose comfort over beauty.

      Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with choosing beauty. There’s nothing wrong with high heels and make up and tight skirts, but I’m not obliged to always look my best, right? I hate being made to feel like I’m somehow failing at being a woman simply because I don’t look super feminine with my hair short.

      October 6, 2014
      |Reply
    • Sophie
      Sophie

      I need an up vote button so I can hit it a million times!

      This is exactly the problem, a woman’s body is valued above everything else about her and that body is always found wanting. A lot of men judge us by how sexually attractive we are to them, whilst placing little value on our intelligence, expertise or talents.

      October 11, 2014
      |Reply
  26. Annie
    Annie

    Some people just cannot handle it when you critisize their favourite music. There are music-related threads on the internet with literally hundreds of hate-posts. People behave irrationally when it comes to music; and they always seem to come in large groups.
    That aside, I laugh every time I hear the line “But I can shake it, shake it/like I’m supposed to do” because I have to think of your comment to it.
    Like some others above I really wish I could enjoy the song; I like the music and the bubbly 50s vibe, but I can’t get over the damn lyrics. And try explaining to 9 year olds, why you like and dislike something at the same time…
    Thank you for sharing your smart and funny thoughts; you’ve been an inspiration to me more than once!

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
  27. Cheryl
    Cheryl

    Some points:

    I hate that song – I was ‘ok’ with it until she says ‘skinny bitches’. I’m fat and don’t hate skinny women…I know it’s shocking but it’s true. I hate that stereotype.
    I wish I could lose enough weight to think I’m fat instead of being fat (ie. in my very early 20’s when I managed to squeeze myself into a size 14 but still thought I was hippo-like). I’d give just about anything to be back at that size, I’d appreciate it more now 🙂

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Yeah, I don’t hate skinny women either. Hating a skinny person won’t make me thinner. As big a hater as I am, I don’t think it’s burning any calories.

      October 6, 2014
      |Reply
  28. Diana42
    Diana42

    It’s funny how you can never win. When you’re slender (size 4 over here), it’s always “look at you, you’re skin and bones” or “my poor little waif, you need to gain some weight” (thanks, mom), or “don’t you eat?” I think that one is my favorite, that it’s assumed I have an eating disorder simply because I’m small. I eat like a pig and I’ll eat everything in your house just because you asked me that. Or I’m deemed as weak (and therefore, incapable) or fragile and people think they’re just free to pick me up and toss me around.

    On the larger end of the spectrum, it’s “go on a diet” or “all of your problems are because you’re big”. I can’t cite as many harmful examples because it hasn’t happened to me personally, but I’m certain it’s equally as awful and damaging. I’ve even seen my friends who were verging on obesity actually get treated as less intelligent. It’s not fair. It’s like who you are as a person doesn’t matter no matter what you do. ._.

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
  29. Jessica
    Jessica

    I can’t help but think that a big part of the reaction you got on your last post on this topic is a general lack of empathy in our society. Rather than read your original post and understand it from your point of view, people are quick to say, “well I’ve been discriminated against in other ways, so somehow that invalidates the discrimination you are feeling.” The more appropriate reaction (which is what, I imagine, you were going for) should have been: “well, I’m happy to understand this issue from your point of view.”

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
  30. Channy
    Channy

    All About That Bass =/= Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass.. The ladies with the booty got the bass going on.

    October 6, 2014
    |Reply
  31. Nay
    Nay

    After listening to your NPR interview and reading your blog, I find it silly that you would apologize for the stance you took. You are entitled to your opinion, even if you receive flack for it. I for one completely agreed with the comments you made about the song “All About That Bass.” I would also like to comment that Nicki Minaj’s song “Anaconda” is even more offensive towards thin women considering the lyrics “Fuck skinny bitches, fuck you if you’re skinny.” I found this lyric more comical than offensive though, especially after taking into account that Nicki Minaj herself was actually quite thin before her butt implants.

    October 7, 2014
    |Reply
  32. Leelee
    Leelee

    The first time I even heard “All About The Bass” was through your original blog post. Since then it’s been popping up on the radio here (UK) an awful lot more often, and I honestly get a little bit of rage every time it comes on.

    I’m currently on the other end of the spectrum – I have varying illnesses and sometimes my weight fluctuates as a result. Barring episodes of illness I have always stayed pretty steady at a US size 6. Currently I am at a 2. I lost about 18 pounds in quite a short space of time, and it’s proved quite hard to put it back on.
    Everyone tells me to eat a sandwich, or that I looked better with more weight on. I get pointed comments if I go to the toilet soon after eating lunch, as obviously I must be throwing up or taking laxatives. Friends (not close ones) tell me that they would rather eat food and be happy than deprive themselves like I must do. After all, men prefer women with curves!

    My boss, who is wonderful, knows all about my health issues but still sometimes tells me that I should eat some cake and put some weight on. I know she doesn’t mean anything hurtful, but it does get to me. Along with all of the other issues illustrated in your post (that I completely agree with) “All About The Bass” hits me personally with the statement that if you are thin it must be because you are a bitch who hates food, life, goodness and probably puppies. And ha-ha screw you, because men will not want to shag you, you bony hag.

    I know that “skinny-shaming” is not nearly as prevalent and problematic in society as fat-shaming, but I thought I would just throw my personal experiences in to the ring.

    To sum up: lauding anything as the ideal standard of beauty is stupid and will be hurtful to someone. And you are brilliant, Jenny, for phrasing all of that in a much more eloquent manner than I ever could.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  33. Jeanne
    Jeanne

    I cannot believe that song has superfans. It is one of the dumbest, most obnoxious songs I’ve ever heard.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  34. LC
    LC

    First off, you’re awesome. I’m mostly a lurker but have posted here and there the last 2 years; basically just to say “THANK YOU” because your writing has got me through so many dark times. I never feel alone when I’m reading your blog, so thank you for that. And thank you for the laughs, you never disappoint.

    I do feel the need to chime in with this conversation, though, because I think it’s important that every body type have a voice in the discourse. I’m what my friends call “disproportionate” – 5’1, size 5 and a D-cup. If I had an ass, I’d probably be pretty close to the so-called “ideal”. I can hear everyone else hating me already, but allow me to explain.

    Ever since I grew boobs, I’ve been a social pariah. When other women see me, I don’t have to even look into their eyes to know how much they vilely loath me for being short, thin, and somehow busty. I cannot make female friends (of my age, at least) because it’s hard to start a conversation with someone who is texting their best friend about what a whore the lady next to them in line for coffee is.

    I know what you’re all probably thinking: who cares?!? Your life is perfect, you get every job you apply for, every guy wants you.

    That’s…not true at all. What jobs I get, it’s because I have interview skills. What guys want me, it’s because they’re SHALLOW. And it doesn’t matter anyway, because I’ve been with the same man – my husband – since I was 17. But women have this perception, which is absolutely 100% amplified by the media, that if someone has a tiny waist and a big chest, than she is a shameless whore and a villain. You see it almost every single YA/NA book, even the ones that are otherwise progressive (Glitter from District 1 never said or did one mean thing to Katniss, but she was a villain all the same). So yes, women on the “other wise” face discrimination as well.

    This is all to say that no one “type” has the good life. I can’t imagine how hard it is to live with fat discrimination. I’m grateful that I don’t have to worry about weight-related health risks at this point in my life.

    So when I hear “All About That Bass” hating on “skinny bitches”, it pisses me right the hell off. “Go eat a sandwich” is just as hurtful as “go on a diet,” as a very perceptive poster mentioned above.

    These insults, this misconceptions, are all symptoms of a larger issue. Women are identified by, and manipulated with, society’s perception of their body type. And that’s not okay! No matter how thin or curvy you are!

    Rock on, Jenny. I, too, am waiting for the songs that talk about back rolls and double-chins (there is a wonderful poem, ‘Fat is Not a Fairy Tale,’ by the amazing Jane Yolen, that sums this sentiment up perfectly). But I am also waiting for all types to be accepted – by men and women alike.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Off-subject, but you might want to do a little self-reflection. Other women don’t hate you (at least not the majority of them) because you’re thin and have large breasts. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest you give off a negative vibe of some kind, and your assumption that complete strangers in coffee shops are texting their friends about you –positive or negative — is a good indication that you’re probably standing there scowling and being altogether unfriendly.

      I have been a size 3 and a size 12 and everything in between. I’m also on the shorter side and I am built like Marilyn Monroe (12-inch difference between my waist and hips with breasts that match my hips. I was a C cup when I was 9). I have never, ever in my life had trouble making wonderful female friends. I have had some of my friends for decades and other for only a few months.

      I also have never assumed anyone disliked me simply because of how I look, which seems to be the main difference between you and me. I know they notice because friends and strangers alike have commented on my shape (it’s uncommon — 8% of the world’s female population is a true hourglass), but always in a positive manner. I also get a lot of compliments on my hair (natural curls, long, red …). So people certainly notice my appearance. I also smile at people in public and offer assistance when I see someone in need of it.

      So re-read what you wrote up there and then consider how you behave around other women. And maybe also how you behave around men. That you think only one man has ever expressed interest in you for any reason besides your breasts is kind of sad. Of course the first thing someone notices is how you look because that’s all that person has to go on at first. That doesn’t make that person or his interest shallow.

      October 9, 2014
      |Reply
      • Janice
        Janice

        That goes the other way around too. Friendly fat women are often treated with respect too. The woman who was working on our crashed car was superb and friendly and attentive and detailed. She knows what she’s doing. And she’s fat. There’s a reason why she is hired.

        Most fat people who complain about are mere complainers. If theyre not complaining about how privileged the “skinny bitches” are, theyd still be complaining about other things…perhaps not having the latest gadget…

        As an immigrant to the US, i rather find Americans to be such a huge complainers with entitlement issues. Many Americans dont have clue about how real poverty looks like. I’d even go say that the poor Americans have a similar lifestyle to middle class people in developing countries.

        The problem with mainstream “body positivity” movement is that they make themselves feel better by putting down the other simply for their looks. They’re no different from the ones they are going against.

        i have fat friends and luckily they are wonderful people and they dont show any ill feeling towards me being thin nor do I show any animosity about them being bigger.

        All About the Bass is going to be a one hit wonder while Beautiful and The Greatest Love of All are CLASSICS.

        January 3, 2015
        |Reply
  35. Laina
    Laina

    ‘Kay, here’s the other thing I notice – whenever thin people talk about how being told to eat a sandwich is the same thing as a 6 billion dollar diet industry, a complete lack of representation in mainstream media, and your body type being used as insult, you ever notice it’s almost always only in spaces where people are talking about thin privilege/how it feels to be fat?

    I saw this post online somewhere once, where somebody pointed out that if you truly care about an issue, then you talk about it on your own. You don’t only ever talk over marginalized people talking about their struggles. I think the original post was about MRAs, but the point stands.

    October 8, 2014
    |Reply
  36. Laura
    Laura

    I agree, but I think it’s a lot to do with the confusion – Am I fat? Am I not? Strangers and the media tell you yes, you are fat. The fashion industry tells you you’re fat. What is “fat” then? Where does fat begin and what are those sizes right below that called? I’m a US 14/UK 18/European 46 in most things – which is a size that’s not that easy to get, for two reasons. One, a lot of stores simply don’t carry anything above a US 10, and that’s already labeled as “XXL”. Two, in stores with plus-size sections like H&M, my size is always sold out. So it’s pretty obvious that a lot of people wear that size, and the industry tells me it’s plus size, therefore fat. Bloggers will tell me it’s an “in-between” size, which just straight up sucks. I’ve been told I’m fat, I’ve been told I’m not.

    October 9, 2014
    |Reply
  37. Ilex
    Ilex

    I’m currently reading Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay, and in one of her essays (“Reaching for Catharsis”), she makes the exact same point:

    The body is a personal territory and every person’s weight struggles should be taken seriously, but there’s overweight and there’s overweight. If you’re the latter, it is difficult to take the former seriously, right or wrong. No one who shops at Lane Bryant or the Avenue or Catherines is going to feel sympathy for someone who is thirty pounds overweight. It’s not going to happen.

    I’m not sure how I would have taken that before seeing the discussion here, but thanks to you, Jen, I see the point much more clearly.

    October 22, 2014
    |Reply
  38. BUT WHY IS BEING FAT SO BAD IN THE FIRST PLACE??

    Women shouldn’t be afraid of “feeling fat” because there’s nothing wrong with being fat, (or short, or tall, or dark, or hairy). The idea that women must define their worth by their appearance, and that one type of physical appearance is superior to another, is a male-constructed idea meant to support a patriarchal society. WHY CAN’T WOMEN JUST REALIZE THAT?? UGH. It’s like they’re contributing to their own oppression, but they’re too oblivious to realize that. Someone needs to create a PSA about this stuff and quick! Because all of this ignorance is starting to annoy me.

    October 28, 2014
    |Reply
    • YvieJ
      YvieJ

      You are my new guru. Welcome to the tribe.

      July 19, 2015
      |Reply
    • Fiona
      Fiona

      It’s the old tactic: divide an conquer. Naomi Wolf tackled this in The Beauty Myth. It’s as relevant now as it was 25 years ago.

      October 15, 2016
      |Reply
  39. Lisa Dollar
    Lisa Dollar

    At what point is a person allowed to identify as fat? I’m not trying to be snarky, I am honestly wondering. Is it a weight, a clothing size, a BMI? Does your junk have to be in the wrong places?

    I am 5’7″ and I weigh about 230-240lbs. I identify as fat. For the last decade I expected to see my high school body every time I looked in the mirror, which is why many people feel fat, I think. But recently in pictures I look fat. And I don’t mean that I feel like I look fat, I mean I look like a fat person. I’m in between 1x and 2x sizes now. But I wear my weight very evenly distributed, I still have a close to hourglass shape. But I look nothing like those plus size models.

    A few years ago I would have been depressed every time I looked in the mirror. Then I found out about Jes Baker and Body Love and I am such a better person now. I don’t hate my body anymore. I don’t hate myself. I still have clinical depression but it’s not triggered every time I put on clothes that don’t fit.

    Anyway, I was just wondering if I qualified as fat. Identifying as fat, owning it, and working to remove the negativity associated with the word has been really great for me. But if I’m not officially fat, I’d like to know.

    January 28, 2015
    |Reply
    • Lisa Dollar
      Lisa Dollar

      I know you are crazy busy but I was actually looking for an answer. I wasn’t being snarky or rhetorical. And I know that I do not need for you to tell me that it’s ok for me to identify as fat. But, while I get your point, I an wondering what the cut-off is.

      February 23, 2015
      |Reply
      • Laina
        Laina

        http://thisisthinprivilege.org/faq#q1

        I feel crummy, that’s the best I’ve got besides telling you to do more reading in fat acceptance circles. I’m not nice when I’m sick.

        February 23, 2015
        |Reply
    • Ruby Scooby
      Ruby Scooby

      If your stomach is flat-ish and your waist is small in relation to th rest of your body, you’re not fat, but large definitely. If your waist size is very large you are a fat person.

      December 14, 2016
      |Reply
  40. Susie
    Susie

    In our desire to not bash women who are fat: it still cannot be ignored that obesity is dangerously unhealthy. How about, in all of this, we concentrate on striving for healthy bodies? As someone who was overweight for quite a few years, but is no longer, trust me; obesity is playing with your health as dangerously as anorexia does. A healthy weight IS important, in the same way not smoking is important.

    April 12, 2015
    |Reply
    • YvieJ
      YvieJ

      While I respect your experience and the perspective you have gained from your journey, what you have posted is generally called “concern trolling” on the internet. Your experience is valid, but it is not everyone’s. My experience is likewise valid, but it is not everyone’s. I have avoided describing my body as part of this conversation, because I think it only adds to the culture of separate camps instead of women of all kinds advocating for women of all kinds. However, I offer this (remembering that my experience is my own, not everyone’s): I am 5’7″. I weigh 260#. No one ever thinks I weigh as much as I do because of how my body is shaped, but I still get jeered at on the track about once a week. (To be clear, I am jeered at because I am a woman alone in a public space which men think is subject to their ownership and approval. The fact that I am fat only determines what they yell, not whether they yell.) Anyway, I am morbidly obese. I’ve lost 40#, so I’ve been morbidly obese-er. My cholesterol is normal, and better than my doctor’s -whose waist is roughly the size of my thigh. My arteries are healthier and more responsive than 96% of the American public, based on whatever data my dr. was using. I am not in danger of diabetes. My potassium is a little high and my vitamin D is a little low, an that is all that is out of line. My joints are just fine- I’m the most flexible person in my yoga class. In college, at 280#, I was the most powerful/highest jumper in my ballet class. Also let me clarify- I’ve always been active and obese simultaneously, so the argument that I’m healthy and will soon not be fat does not stand. The 40# came off when we corrected a thyroid problem. I was a fat vegan for 5 years at 240#. I am morbidly obese, and according to my doctor and blue cross/blue shield, I am the picture of health. An obese picture of health. We exist.

      Now that was on a personal note. In a more general observation, the conversations around everyone’s concern for the health of fat people are quite common. Everyone feels entitled to share their opinion about fat people’s health. Those same conversations concerning alcoholism, anemia, smoking, ingrown toenails, arthritis, gout, or any other actual medically relevant concerns, whether affected or not by changes in lifestyle, do not occur with anything near the same frequency because we consider that intrusive. But not fat. That’s okay to express our “concern” over, an that’s because it has little to do with actual health and much more to do with what you can see. None of these other medical factors are immediately and intrinsically visible to a casual observer, and magically, there’s far less concern. I’ve personally never asked a stranger in a t shirt with a pink ribbon how her cancer treatments are going, or asked a college football player what he’s doing to address his STD, because that would be rude and intrusive, and based on vapid stereotypes when I have no knowledge of the actual state of that person’s health.
      Sorry for rambling, but I think there is a lot of misinformation, presupposition, and misleading myth around the term “healthy weight” which varies from person to person, and which contributes to the unhealthy attitudes and discrimination we see, because it lets many people who are just being judgmental feel better about their behavior. This is akin to people condescendingly saying they will pray for you. There are those who are genuine, as I’m sure there are genuinely concerned individuals regarding obesity, but most of the time, it’s just to assuage personal conscience.

      July 19, 2015
      |Reply
  41. Lexi
    Lexi

    Why are people so judgemental about being fat or not being fat?I peronal dont like Meghan Trainer but she is a beautiful woman.I just don’t like her songs cause my sister made them sound awful. Everyone has their own way of being beautiful.For they way you sing, to the way you treat others.Think about if all those skinny people tgink they’re fat them tell them they are beautiful. If a person who says she’s ugly tell them all the ways that they are amazing and why you love them.A close friend of mine once said.
    “Wether you skinny, curvy, or think your fat in my eyes your the most beautiful person I have ever seen.Don’t think negitive think positive, because your personality is as well . Your beautiful even if you don’t know it.”

    July 12, 2015
    |Reply
  42. Ruby Scooby
    Ruby Scooby

    This is the only place where people seem to get it. I have a bit of a belly. I’m not toned and definitely not thin. But neither do I have the glorified alternative. I am flat chested, I don’t even wear a proper bra, just a little tank-type-thing. My waist isn’t tiny and I don’t have a big round bum. I am the body type that it seems the media (nor anyone else) will ever appreciate

    December 14, 2016
    |Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *