Courage: Part 2, The Fantasy of Being Thin

I am beautiful. Right now.

Theriomorph has broken my heart, because every word is true. In the estimation of myself, as influenced by the porntastic patriarchal diatribes traveling on waves from screen and speaker and mouth to ear, I’ve been too-thin, too-fat, too-everything, never right. And at the root of it all is this pernicious pervasive thought: You are the only one. You are the only one who doesn’t fit it, who isn’t right, who needs fixing.

That is the great lie.

Women are set up to fail at being beautiful, at being sexy, at being everything we are ‘supposed’ to be in order to be of value. If we fail at conforming, we supposedly fail at being human beings. And non-humans are fit for only consumption. Indeed, fi, cannibalism is alive and well.

I refuse to be fit only for consumption, although my opinion in the matter counts for little in much of the world’s estimation.

I had this thought last night: Thank god I’m fat, so I can be a feminist.

This is also a lie of sorts. I am only sort of fat. I am only sort of willing to call myself that. I am only sort of sure that weighing more than I ‘ought’ to and being classified as sort of obese is protecting me at all from the false visibility of the patriarchy-conforming. I am still have the approved facial structure, the approved height, the approved legginess, and I still practice some of the approved femininity. I do not conform to size, and I purposefully neglect makeup and gym workouts, ultra-sexy clothing, push-up bras and hobbling crippling footwear. I am still white and blue-eyed. I still appear relatively young.

It takes all my ferocity some days to carve out a space for myself, in which I am both around people and beautiful. Beautiful because I’m strong. Beautiful because I am smart. Beautiful because I care about myself. Beautiful because I am and do all these things in defiance of the dominant culture that says I must be deferent, polite, not take up too much mental emotional spiritual physical space. The culture that says because I do certain things like eat, I don’t care about how I look.

What I am struggling daily not to care about is the expectations of how I should look in order to be deemed human, and the opinions of those who require me to display fuckability and play into my own oppression.

I guarantee you, I am beautiful right now.

Once I have other women to compare myself to, the struggle will begin. Divide and conquer, the winningest strategy.


13 thoughts on “Courage: Part 2, The Fantasy of Being Thin

  1. You are definitely, absolutely, utterly not the only one.

    And yes, divide and conquer works beautifully. All it takes to beat it? Constant railing against nearly every socially accepted aspect of our experience. Here’s to stubborn stamina.

    I’m glad the post spoke to you, even if by heartbreak (made less for all of us in company, hopefully) – and to discover your blog.

  2. That was a great post, nightgigjo. This is what really got to me the most:
    “You are the only one. You are the only one who doesn’t fit it, who isn’t right, who needs fixing.”

    Every time I look in the bogdamn mirror I see the weird version of myself that the P implanted in my brain. Every time I know that I am a healthy weight now, some part of me feels like a failure, like I need to shrink away again. And I always feel the most alone during those times. Like I am the only person who is failing in some way.

    Thank you for saying what you said, and for being a clear voice of sanity that I needed today (and every day).


  3. This is what feminism is to me: women coming together and saying “I feel this way too. Now, how do we change this to something that feels good?”

    Thank you, both, for sharing here. It helps me so much to get further proof that I ‘m not alone. Every time women come together to lend each other strength, the P gets weaker.

  4. Yes, that is exactly it. The P teaches us to compare our bodies with other women and to despair or feel superior depending on those comparisons. It others women and teaches us to do the same. Thus we are isolated and vulnerable, because we have no allies only others. Divide and conquer, indeed.

    I’m glad to know about your blog, every time I find another place where I can interact with like-minded feminists I have a bit more courage to fight the cultural mandate to gain humanity by being fuckable. We’re already human, dammit.

  5. We’re already human, dammit.

    For some reason, I needed to hear that. Damn.

    This fact exposes patriarchal standards for the sham they are. We are already human. Any process by which we are supposedly going to win our humanity is, by default, unnecessary.

  6. “We are already human. Any process by which we are supposedly going to win our humanity is, by default, unnecessary.”

    This is concise and absolutely excellent blaming, I’ll remember this for when I need a statement that cuts through the P’s b.s. like a hot knife through butter.

  7. Thanks, kardis!

    It’s like letting go of control over a situation I don’t actually have any control over. I can’t let go of what I don’t have. It’s the illusion of control I have to let go of.

    It’s the P’s illusions that we’re not good pretty smart sexy enough to be human that we don’t have to buy into any more.

    I am a fierce radfem today! W00t!

  8. It feels good, lemme tell ya. It’s not so often that I feel this good in my own skin, and this confident that it most definitely is the world, not me, that’s got the problems.

  9. I also found Theriomorph’s post incredibly moving. I’m a recovered bulimic, and she spoke about the inside view in an amazing way.

    We are all struggling to be free, aren’t we? We wonder if we are hot enough to please men. We wonder if we are un-hot enough to be feminists. We pick and obsess over our bodies and it eats our souls.

    We are all beautiful. You are, I am, Theriomorph is, every one of us is a beautiful, strong woman. I am glad we’re striving together instead of letting the P divide us again.

    Yes, you are fierce. And that is beautiful too.

  10. Bird, you’re making me blush. ^^;;

    I am more grateful with every day (and today is a fine example!) of having found this community of like-minded strong women, with whom I can share these incredibly encouraging, incredibly frightening changes.

    It is goodness.

  11. That was a really lovely post.
    I feel that I have been reading a lot about women and comedy lately (Pandagon, most recently). I was thinking of that and thinking of this, and the two thoughts made me want to write a courageous I HAVE HUMOR post. : )
    I won’t be mad if you beat me to it! ; )

  12. Go for it, tanglethis! I haven’t been inundated with the women in comedy / women v. comedy stuff so much lately, so it’s unlikely I’ll get to that before you. ^^

    Please please post a link to it here, iffen you get around to it! I’m trying to keep up with everyone, but I’m not perfect about it, and I’d hate to miss anything I’ve already gotten the heads-up about!

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