In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

Loving Large

Josh Max has a piece today in Salon about his attraction to larger women (and his 10-year marriage to one) that looks at some of the social forces shaping attraction and the peer pressure that tells men that there’s something wrong with being attracted to fat women. It’s a pretty good piece, albeit a bit self-congratulatory throughout and with a regrettable bit at the end about nagging “concern” for his wife’s health that seems to be attributable to shame and what his family thinks of his wife’s weight more than concern for her health. (And, seriously? Engaged for three years to an average-sized woman prior to seeking out fat women? What was the story there?)

And then there are the letters.

It’s predictable. There are those who insist that this guy has a fetish, and those who start blathering about how she’s going to get diabetes, and of course the ones who are just disgusted at the idea that fat women are allowed out in public, let alone allowed to have love lives and find companions who love them as they are. Check this out from “No Name Given” (who’s quite the Chatty Cathy in this discussion and others about weight):

These are the facts…

Men obtain (cusomarily and usually) the most attractive woman that they can afford (what their income and net worth will attract). Women get the best (income and net worth) man that their looks will allow them to. This is true, most of the time. Sure, there are exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions. This is not sexist, it is true. Factually speaking obesity is choice in most instances and obese people are entitled to NO special consideration due to their girth. If they travel on an airplane they should be required to purchase 2 tickets rather than spill over into the seat of their neighbor. Fat is unhealthy and does lead to health problems. And, NO, most men DO NOT prefer fat women anymore that women prefer fat men.

Ah, yes, the market theory of attraction. And here’s Mr. No Name Given on the subject of fetishes:

Finding fat people overwhelming attractive has a term “chubby chaser”. Curvy and BBW are codewords for obese. Most fat people are fat by choice and make conscious decisions in regards to their lifestyles to be and stay fat. They lack discipline and restraint. There are few things more disgusting than someone who is corpulently obese but they have they have their hair perfect and a wonderful pedicure and manicure, as if that will make a difference and make them more attractive. Most people can change their predicament and get in better shape through modifying their eating habits and engaging in moderate exercise. They chose not to. The article writer is a sick person who is a fetishist. Sorry, fat is not attractive nor desirable.

Just lipstick on a pig there, right, No Name?

The problem is, though, the fetishists are out there, and it can be really fucking tiring dealing with them. I’ve got the added bonus of being really, really busty, so I get the tit fetishists along with the chubby chasers.

Dating when you’re fat is just fraught with little self-esteem landmines. I do much of my dating through online sites, and it was only recently that I ventured into specialized sites for (and, gah, I hate this term) BBWs. Prior to that, I’d been on sites like Nerve (before it changed its format and pricing structure and fell into suckitude) that feature all kinds of people. I went to the BBW sites mostly because I’d been getting so many hits from people who apparently had not read my ad and noticed that I checked “ample” or whatever to describe my body type. Granted, I didn’t have any full-body shots in my ad and my face is not a good indicator of the size of my ass, but you hope that someone who bothers to write a relatively thoughtful message to you referencing stuff that was actually in your ad bothered to read that part. It hurts to go through all that and see the shock and disgust in someone’s eyes when you show up for the meeting.

I figured I’d avoid that problem with the BBW-specific sites, but that just provided a home for the chubby chasers, and it just got exhausting going on dates with guys who swear that it’s a preference, la la, and have them make little comments or smack my ass in a proprietary way and realize that it’s more than a preference.

That’s not to say that every guy was like that, or even the majority, but obviously I didn’t hit it off with those guys, either. But the big question always looms when things just don’t get started with a perfectly normal guy who I just didn’t feel chemistry with: do I feel like sorting through the fetishists to find the next normal guy? And for a while now, the answer has been, hell no.

An Added Bonus To Avoiding Cancer: Get Skinny!

The basic story is this: Stomach cancer runs in the Bradfield family. Upon learning that they possessed the defective gene that would likely lead to cancer and eventually kill them, eleven cousins decide to undergo surgery to completely remove their stomachs. Stomach removal means that now they have to digest all their food in their small intestine, and so they can only eat small meals, and they have to eat fairly often. Interesting enough, right?

But apparently we can’t have a standard, interesting health article without fat-shaming and beauty-myth-reinstating:

The upside is that Sindt dropped from a size 12 to a 2, since the surgery.

Well, yeah, because living without a stomach is like this:

Initially, she could only eat 800 calories a day and was on a strict bland diet. She gradually added vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce, but still avoids white bread, which she finds tough to digest.

But at least she’s skinny!

What’s going on when we think that it’s a positive thing when someone, because of a medical condition, literally starves themselves down to a size 2?

Thanks to KnifeGhost for the article.


You should be, because I was in Santorini this weekend, and it was unbelievable. So beautiful. Of course, now I’m broke and will be staying in my little village for the rest of the month, but it was worth it. For example:


More below the fold, and even more here.

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More Fat (Politics)

This is a follow-up to my post on fat jokes in the liberal blogosphere, in which I shamelessly ripped off the far more eloquent Chris Clarke. But I only addressed part of Chris’s post; the rest I will discuss here. In the beginning of the post, Chris slammed those in the liberal blogosphere who will attack a conservative opponent’s weight or other physical characteristics as a cheap shot rather than the rather more satisfying target of their politics or shit-stupid ideas. Such focus is counterproductive, Chris argued, not only because it provides them with a legitimate complaint against the tolerance of liberals, but also because it alienates those of us who are also struggling with our weight. Our allies would never dream of making cracks about, say, Jewishness or blackness, but fatness? Fair game.

But here’s where Chris’s post switched gears, and because of that, I wanted to address it in a separate post:

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Fat Jokes

Chris Clarke, eloquent fella that he is, puts into words several things I’ve been thinking about the kinds of insults that liberals will unthinkingly throw at conservatives:

A reader, after considering my post on civility, sent a note asking whether the notion of justifiable incivility might not pose the threat of blowback, of giving some in the left camp perceived license to offend the usual victims of ridicule in this society. The reader pointed out the recent rise of the cliché “clutching [his/er] pearls,” used to signify either feigned or exaggerated outrage, usually targeted at a male in an attempt to mock. There is, after all, nothing men consider a greater insult than being called a woman. Witness the continuing use of the word “pussy” as a synonym for “coward.” Gay men and lesbians come in for their unfair share of abuse by metaphor, and transgender people fare worse: Google on “Ann Coulter” and “Adam’s apple” for examples of that latter one. I’ve written before about using slurs against the mentally disabled. And the racist invective unleashed by a few scattered blog commenters against people like Michelle Malkin — when there are so many other hammers she hands people to hit her with — continues to astound me, if only because she plays it to her advantage every time and the anti-Asian racist commenters still never learn that they’re helping her.

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The Unattainable

In the comments to Jill’s post on tanning beds, Marian posted the following comment (excerpt):

What is it with tanning anyway? It is a beauty-standard and competitiveness thing with many women. I remember in high school after spring break, the ultimate insult was to be told, “You’re not tan!” I was never as tan as my classmates after a Florida trip (combination of fair skin and strict Mom making me wear SPF 30 instead of the popular tanning oil), and certain snobby types would always let me know it. Girls would sit out in the sun for hours a day, all summer, just to be told, “Oh, you’re tan” and to feel beautiful. I used to cry at bad weather in the summer and on breaks, just because I couldn’t tan, and people might notice.

Where did this trend come from? I’d be interested to research it.

My understanding is that this dates back to the 1920s, when women’s clothing became much skimpier, and a tan was a sign that not only were you brave enough to bare all, you were also wealthy enough to have the time to get tan (and the ability to travel to places where tanning was possible year-round). Prior to that, women of the fashionable classes were expected to stay indoors and shield themselves from the sun so that they did not resemble those from the lower classes who toiled in the field.

Like any beauty standard, the tan in the US (at least among white people; the stratification of skin color and status in the black community is a whole ‘nother ball of wax that I don’t feel qualified to comment on) is associated with the upper classes and a surfeit of leisure time. Therefore, it is unattainable for many, especially in the winter. Same thing with thinness and fitness — prized because they take a lot of work and set one apart from the lumpen masses.

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