I’ve been getting a few emails from people and companies that have profoundly misunderstood what I’m about and what I stand for. Sometimes this means that they haven’t read my stuff closely enough, but I suspect that I haven’t signposted my core views as much as I should have.
In order to avoid having the same three conversations over and over again, I present to you the Corpulent Declaration.
1. Yes, I am fat
I should not be required to defend the way I classify my body, and yet…
I am fat. According to my measurements, I am plus sized. I weigh 95kg/210 pounds (give or take a few). According to my height and weight, I am obese. When people talk about the obesity epidemic, they are talking about people like me. I have had people tell me that they are worried about my health because of my size. I’ve seen the frenzied whispers when I wear something ‘too tight’. I’ve heard people snickering over the size of my arse. In my view, I have fulfilled the selection criteria.
I recognise that I am not very fat. I’m conscious that I have a measure of thin privilege. But that doesn’t negate the fact that, yes, I actually am fat. As Kate Harding said in a really awesome article on Salon:
It’s … OK to point out that I’m not that fat, so I’ve never personally been the victim of the worst fat hatred our culture has to offer — that’s the plain truth. But telling me I’m not fat is a goddamned lie.
2. My fashion doesn’t flatter
This is aimed at the clothing companies - and PR companies representing clothing companies - that email me promoting their “tips to look slim and sexy instead of fat and frumpy” or “Sizzling Swimsuits to Flatter Any Figure” (those are direct quotes).
I’m down with people wearing whatever they want. Some fatties want slimming clothing and that is their prerogative. But I wear miniskirts, spandex, bodycon, horizontal stripes, bright colours, shapeless sacks and leggings as pants. Fat girl fashion rules mean nothing to me.
3. Good health is a fine goal, but it’s not what drives me
The argument that fat and health are not mutually exclusive is a worthwhile and valuable one to make (and one I make fairly often). Having a fat body is not a health problem in and of itself except in the most extreme of cases, and fatness is no barrier to healthy behaviours. Health at every size (HAES) is a fantastic alternative to weight loss and absolutely deserves to be promoted.
However, I am not a HAES advocate and Corpulent is not a HAES blog. It is not my job, nor my purpose, to encourage fat people to lead the healthiest lives they can. I don’t advocate for fatties who meet a certain set of criteria. I just advocate for fatties.
I know that some people are fat by choice. I am well aware that some fat people don’t exercise, don’t eat well, have health issues or have mobility problems. I’m not ignorant; I just don’t care. No matter our situation, we are all worthy of respect and dignity from ourselves and from others. That’s the point of it all.