Sunday, May 26, 2013

A repost and preamble to the repost: Body talk

So this body business has been on my mind a lot lately. I read about body politics. I write about body politics. I'm right in the thick of writing a fat paper, in fact. But living life in a much smaller body than my former (for now) fat chick's body (and proud fat chick, yo!) feels like it complicates the body politics that I used to be so comfortable with. I identify with fat politics and always will. I love fat studies, and am thrilled to see it growing exponentially from when I was doing my M.A., and was occasionally asked: 'And how is this feminist research?'.  But when I throw around words like "fat" in the company of other fat women (which I used to do no prob), I sometimes now get the 'what the fuck do you know about it' look. And this is a reasonable look to shoot a girl like me, who no longer shops for clothes in specialty stores. I'm rockin' life with thin privilege, and sometimes it messes with my fat brain.

My body has changed a whole, whole lot in the past few years. It's gotten a lot smaller. For reasons of goodness (a teensy bit) and badness (a whole lot of it).  And there you go. As much as I tried to ignore the weight-loss high-fiving for the post-divorce 60 pound sudden loss, it filtered in. How could it not? It came from everywhere, and was (and still is) constant. I tried to stubbornly maintain my fat-chick feist and push the positive reinforcement for this new body of mine away. I still do. But I am acutely aware that with the 'positive' reinforcement comes its opposite, the proverbial backhander. The message that for the first 35 years of my life, I was unattractive, deviant (not in a good way), abject, unhealthy and - insert a whole host of other badness here-. And the sixty pound weight loss became an eighty pound weight loss, and for a little while there was more than that (until I got my shit back together, you know, after a wee trip to the emergency room). My point being, I suppose, that we need to be so, so much more careful about how we talk to people about body issues, and weight specifically. As queers, as feminists, and even, as I am discovering while writing my current paper, as fat scholars - we need to be checking our own shit.  (And you don't even want to get me started on the health professions. DO NOT GET ME STARTED!)

I will continue to study and research in the world of queer, body and fat studies - because that's where my heart is. Does it matter that my body is no longer what we might  term 'fat' (as arbitrary as that term is used?) I'm not overly sure. But I do know that I now work within an unfamiliar territory of checking my body privilege along with my race, ability and educational privilege (among others). New terrain. But terrain I still very, very much love.

Anyhow - here's the repost ...

a queer family grows in redneckville: Body talk

xo T

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