Fat and Not Afraid

Respect and love are for EVERY body.

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On Being Average Size

October 18, 2012

This blog has always been my home on what it's like to be an average-sized Canadian woman; that is, a fat Canadian woman. I've also blogged about being Pagan, a mom, an activist and recently about being bisexual, but mostly, it's about navigating that strange grey area between being 'acceptably fat' (see: curvy) and OMGDEATHFAT. Most women are a size 14-16, which is, according to the media and dieticians and fat watching scientists, OMGFAT. But when we look at these women, and average sized men, not as a set of BMI numbers, but as real people, the cognitive dissonance between what IS and what they THINK becomes quickly apparent.

Kate Harding did some really excellent work on this issue a few years ago, and while I've had links up to it in my Links of Importance Section, I don't think the project gets enough love. As it's fairly central to my own writing, I want to highlight it today, with a huge thank you to Kate for all their work, and to all the people who submitted photos or commentary for this project.

The Illustrated BMI Project (sadly the slideshow is no longer available, but the flickr is) shows off people living in various BMI catagories. I don't have permission to repost any of the photos here for my own blog, so I highly recommend that you head over there and check it out. This set of photos is probably the single best illustration of how badly distorted BMI-as-body has become. The really disturbing thing is that BMI was never supposed to be an indicator of health, but has become a short-handed way for doctors and others to pop people into catagorical boxes based on those numbers, then come to conclusions about those people-If your BMI is over a certain number you obviously are unhealthy, and obviously you overeat all the wrong kinds of food and never excersize. If you try to say otherwise, you are obviously lying, especially if you try to say that any health problems you have are unrelated to your fatness. (First, Do No Harm, linked in my sidebar, is a blog with lots of stories in this genre. Trigger warning for doctoral abuse, fat shaming, diet talk, weight loss, and hospital visits.)

As a small fat person I get "but YOU'RE not fat!" comments, and have a lot of thin privilege. However, I've still had to face not finding my size in regular stores, uncomfortably small seats, and shaming comments from various people about my size. Part of my privilege is not having these things to the degree many prcieved-as-fat folk do. I operate in a strange inbetween space where *I* identify as fat, and some people see me as fat, but at the same time, not. Because of this, I chose to start this blog. I hope some people have found it helpful, and if not helpful, at least entertaining.



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