Queering Fat Embodiment
This book is academic as shit. This isn’t a book that you can recommend to your mom when she makes those snide remarks about what you’re eating or who you’re dating (not that that’s ever happened to anyone I know…). This isn’t a book that I’m going to casually read while waiting for the bus (though that may work for you). This isn’t even a book I’ll read in one fell swoop. I’ll read a chapter here and there, and let the thoughts simmer. There are loads of references to other texts I haven’t read, so I’ll make more lists and hopefully eventually make my way out of this literary rabbit hole.
Admittedly I read this academic shit because I (selfishly) find it validating in many ways. This text is a product of many people thinking critically and deeply to better understand themselves and the world around them. The three editors of this work have all been involved in the fat activist community for years. Cat Pausé has been the voice behind Friend of Marilyn since 2011 (I’ve even been a guest a few times!). Jackie Wykes is a fat femme babe who’s been involved with Aquaporko and Va Va Boombah. Samantha Murray is the brilliant author of The Fat Female Body, the most rigorous academic text about fat embodiment I’ve found. These are people who care about fat people, not just researchers who are fascinated by this weird phenomenon of “teh fat” (or worse, who look at us with pity— if only we could help them!).
This book addresses fatness and queerness in real, substantive ways. Rather than falling into a weird fat/queer niche never to be thought of again, I think this text addresses the underlying aspects of our culture(s) that are illuminating to our larger cultural patterns. As with any anthology, I always want more (I am a gluttonous fat bitch, after all). I know we (the collective of internet fatties) have written tomes on the topic of fat fashion, and there’s still more to be written. One chapter is not enough— I’d like to see a whole book on just that! I also find that there are so many pieces that could (and should) have been included. I recently read Sex and Disability, and I find myself asking how disability fits into just about everything, a question that’s largely unasked in this text. There’s only so much space in one volume; these are important openings that I hope will be addressed soon.
If nothing else, take a moment to appreciate the (blurred but maybe naked?) fat body on the cover of a for-serious academic text. That’s fucking marvelous.
For more information, check out the book launch here and find the book here. The book is expensive (fucking academic presses are ridiculous), but you should definitely urge public and academic libraries to purchase a copy of this book.
Vivian Kim (김지양) launches 66100, a new plus-size fashion magazine, in Korea. More info here.
I deserve to exist.
My body is valid.
I think it to myself or say it quietly under my breath like a prayer.
I say it sharply coupled with a “fuck you” at strangers snickering at me on the bus or on the Internet.
On really difficult days when I think my body is a worthless sack of shit (there are those days; there are rough days in any relationship), I force myself to admit that I’m worthy.
I stand in front of the mirror and look at my body and say it aloud until I believe it.