Growing up with the nickname Gordita really fucks with your self of sense-worth
Fatphobia is described as the fear and dislike of fat people and the stigmatization of individuals with bigger bodies. As with any system designed to exclude, shame, or oppress people on the basis of shared characteristics or identities.
FOR ME, GROWING UP, I WAS TAUGHT TO HATE MY BODY.
I WAS NEVER THIN ENOUGH, WHITE ENOUGH OR PRETTY ENOUGH.
Even now, after a year of working at an eating disorder facility, I see how deeply rooted fatphobia is in our diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. Even when examining my own self-worth I place value on myself based on the size of my pants, the rolls on my back. Even after being recovered for decades... In a Q & A interview with Sabrina Strings author of ’ “Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia,” in May 2019, Sabrina and Heather Ashbach, UC Irvine Reporter explored the following:
Q: For as long as most people can remember, thin has been in. This automatically puts fat at odds with the societal standard. What’s the fallout?
A: I appreciate this framing: that thin has been in for many years. Indeed, it has been the predominant fashion for women throughout all of our lifetimes. That statement is an important reminder that the preference for svelte physiques is, first and foremost, aesthetic. In my research, I found that thinness has been a mainstream archetype in the U.S. since at least the early 19th century. That precedes the medical establishment’s concerns about excess weight by nearly 100 years. It shows that slimness — while today associated with medical concerns — was not primarily, historically, about health.
Q: Your book focuses on the historical origins of fat phobia. Give us a CliffsNotes version of how society arrived at the contemporary ideal of slenderness.
A: As I note above, fat phobia is not based on health concerns. What I found in my research is that in the West, it’s actually rooted in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and Protestantism. In the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonists and race scientists suggested that black people were sensuous and thus prone to sexual and oral excesses. Protestantism encouraged temperance in all pleasures, including those of the palate. By the early 19th century, particularly in the U.S., fatness was deemed evidence of immorality and racial inferiority.
Q: What does race have to do with this?
A: Race was integral to the issue. At the onset of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, skin color was often used to determine racial belonging. But by the 18th century, skin color (after years of interracial sex in the colonies) proved a poor sorting mechanism. What we had by the 19th century was a new racial discourse that suggested black people were also inherently voracious. Combine this with the displacement of poor Europeans in the 19th century (i.e., Irish, Southern Italians and Russian Jews), and white Americans were being advised to fear black people, as well as these “degraded” or supposedly “part-black” Europeans, who were also purportedly identifiable by their weight and skin color.
Q: Your book frames fat phobia in the context of women’s bodies. What implications does this research have for men? And on the flip side, what’s the significance for thin people?
A: These are important questions, and I get them frequently: What about fat people who aren’t black? What about men? My response is that fat phobia affects everyone. Even if black women have historically formed the center of concern, the goal of race scientists, Protestant reformers and, later, doctors was to convince all Americans that being fat was a woeful state of affairs that all should shun. In this way, regardless of racial or gender identity in America today, we are all encouraged to avoid becoming fat. The stakes are evident: Thinness is privileged, and fatness is stigmatized.
Q: What about the claim that obesity causes chronic diseases and higher risk of death, particularly for black women?
A: By now, there have been many journalists, social scientists and even physicians who have questioned the science behind such statements. In general, the claim is that an elevated body mass index will lead to adverse health outcomes and even death. But research by Katherine Flegal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by A. Janet Tomiyama of UCLA and by a host of other scholars shows that these assertions are overblown. The bottom line is this: BMI is a poor measure of health outcomes. Rather than trying to make people conform to a (flawed) weight standard, we can do much more to improve health outcomes in our communities by addressing systemic issues such as food security, neighborhood food availability and access to potable water.
Fat-phobia & Fertility
FUN FACT: I am one of those lovely women who is struggling to get pregnant... Regardless of the cause, may it be me or him, being the vessel of life brings so much pressure, shame, and guilt. Pressure - to be a good mother, a solid vessel of life, to do the right thing, take the right steps and to have the perfect pregnancy
Shame- for not being thin enough, not being fertile enough, pretty enough, or more driven to completely change my life while establishing my career and finishing my Masters. Shame for struggling, with my mental health, my body image dissatisfaction, and my body…
Guilt- for the abortion I had in 2017. Guilt for the way I’ve treated my body reacted to the steroid treatment from a cancer scare which leads me to be “fat”. Guilt about the costs of perusing reproductive assistance.
(To be honest, as I write this I’m fighting back the tears from simply admitting or being in the headspace again where I hate myself and the body I occupy).
Eating Disorder Recovery In Uncertain Times Online Panel Recording with Nalgona Positivity Pride
To stay true to the purpose of this forum I wanted to share this amazing opportunity to learn from this amazingly talented Panel of folks. Below are a few takeaways: In this panel they cover:
COVID-19 has forced many to quarantine causing a drastic shift in people's day to day activities. One of the things we covered in this panel, is how to navigate eating disorder recovery when our routines have been disrupted.
With restaurants and grocery stores changing some folks have to prepare their own meals. We cover coping skills for grocery shopping and cooking during national unrest.
Many of us have found comfort in food during these times but diet culture teaches us that emotional eating is bad. We talk about reframing the ways we look at emotional eating and compulsive eating and approaching it with gentleness and compassion.
Some individuals have had to go back home and live with families and this can bring up a lot. We cover ways to navigate difficult family dynamics. Its $25 to join :https://nalgona-positive-school.teachable.com/p/eating-disorder-recovery-in-uncertain-times-online-panel