Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Power Plus Woman - Not to be taken lightly?

Semi-good article here, but I think they may be wrong when they say she represents all fat people. They are ignoring all the other groups working on discrimination against fat people. Way to do your research, Fox News.
She is the voice of America's plus-sized population, a movement quickly gaining momentum in America today. POWER PLUS WOMAN, Lisa Marie Garbo, plus-sized role model and advocate speaks out on behalf of a suppressed subculture of men and women who have been without a voice, but who intend to be heard. The message is out universally about size acceptance, anti-size discrimination and equal rights for plus-sized people.

Excuse me, but no one asked me if she was speaking for me. This makes it sound like size acceptance is a monolithic movement where everyone agrees on what needs to be done and how to do it, which isn't true at all, from everything I've seen in the fatosphere so far. Is Lisa Marie Garbo involved in anything besides her Club Bounce and opening more of them in more cities? This article doesn't say, and that's what I'm more interested in knowing.
I also take exception with the following:
Power Plus Woman, Lisa Marie is dedicated to spreading the word that size-discrimination in our society leaves a lasting, negative effect on everyone. Just as the gay population was at one time discriminated against, overweight people continue to be disregarded and victimized daily. Garbo says, "With all the changes within our political and social culture, the timing for size-acceptance could not be more perfect than right now."

The gay population was at one time discriminated against? What world are they living in that they don't see the discrimination that is still continuing against the GLBTQ community? And comparing discrimination against one group with discrimination against another group doesn't account for the discrimination faced by people who belong to 2 or more discriminated-against groups (too many intersections to mention here, but y'all know what I mean, I hope).
And with all the changes in our political and social culture - give me a break. Those changes aren't going to help fat people, they're going to try and get rid of us. National healthcare (if they manage to ram that through) will end up being rationed and who is going to come out on the short end of that stick? The fat, the elderly, anyone who is seen as having a "lifestyle" that "causes" their condition. Insurance companies penalizing people who have those "lifestyles" mentioned above, or who can't meet the diagnostic standards for "health", which standards keep getting lowered all the time (the lower the standards, the more people can be diagnosed as "ill" or "diseased" and the more pills to be prescribed).
So she thinks these clubs of hers, where fat people can go to dance and socialize without the bullshit thrown at them in other venues are going to help? Yes, it's nice to have a place like that, but that is not going to change access in any public area where access is not available for fat people. Airlines aren't going to install better seating that fits a wider array of bodies, restaurants aren't going to install bigger booths, and employers aren't going to tell you they didn't hire you because you're fat, they're either not going to tell you anything at all or give some other excuse for not hiring you (which is exactly what most of them are doing right now when it comes to other groups of people who are discriminated against).
Do I think her clubs are a good idea? Yes, because it is nice to have a place to go where you don't have to worry about people making nasty comments/jokes about your size or refusing to let you in because of your size. It's nice to be able to socialize with people with whom you have things in common, but size isn't the only thing I want have in common with those with whom I socialize.
I agree that passing laws against size discrimination is something that needs to be done, but just because those laws end up on the books doesn't mean it's going to change much in society, at least not for a long time. How long have the laws about discrimination against those who have disabilities been on the books? Gains have been made, but people who have disabilities still face discrimination every day, overt and covert.
Federal and state laws declare that all persons within the United States are free from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and yet with the exception of Michigan, there is not a law that pertains to size discrimination. It is Garbo's objective to see that all overweight people be shown the exact same rights as their size-acceptable counterparts.

And those laws aren't doing much to stop discrimination against POC, women, anyone who isn't "Christian", etc. Laws help, but they don't change peoples' minds, they don't end bigotry, they just drive it underground.


  1. Hmmm I also kinda don't like this: "Her only choice was to make it her life's mission that all fat people are and should be created equal."

    How about just ALL PEOPLE? Going with your idea that the concept of a "fat movement" isn't by any means a monolithic movement there are many intersecting ranks of discrimination that need to be addressed first or along with size discrimination. Anyone believing this world is free of everything aside from size prejudice is living in a fantasy world in their head!

  2. I totally agree, it should be all people are created equal. By inference, "all fat people are and should be created equal" leaves out all the other groups of people who aren't considered equal, which to me smacks of further discrimination against already discriminated-against people. Not something I of which I want to be a part.

  3. I agree with Vesta44. I think the idea of fat acceptance gets a bad rap when it is explained as equality for fat people, as opposed for people of all sizes. It becomes akward when I, a thin person, attempt to practice "fat" acceptance. I know it's splitting hairs, but saying "fat people are equal to thin people" is not quite the same as "people of all sizes are equal."
    While I applaud this person's activism, I worry that labeling herself as a "plus size activist" will potentially turn off thin allies.

    Truth be told, I was once a troll, then a lurker, now a blossoming size acceptance advocate (albeit I'm still working through some of my issues) and it was originally the idea of "fat" acceptance that turned me off at first.
    "Size," rather than "fat" acceptance is such a wonderful way to get your foot in the door and begin to change minds.

  4. jamiesnydertv - I'm coming around to the size acceptance view myself, mainly because I'm seeing that it doesn't matter what size a woman is, she's never going to be good enough, never going to meet that unattainable "ideal". And saying that one size has it worse than another size doesn't help anyone gain an understanding of where we're at and where we need to go in order for all people to be considered equal under the law. Hell, we haven't done that with race or sexual orientation or gender or any other -ism yet. I wish there was some way to get all the groups together that suffer from those -isms and work on advancing equality for everyone, seeing as how a lot of people are affected by at least one of those -isms, and a lot of us are affected by two or more (and how hard is it to divide your activism among all the -isms that affect you?).

  5. Personally, I identify as a body acceptance activist (there's more to self-acceptance than just one's size) and a fat rights advocate. I don't like the term "fat acceptance" for semantics reasons, namely because it implies that people must "accept" fat people. My goal is not to get people to accept fat people, my goal is to make it illegal or unacceptable for them to discriminate against fat people.

    I do see why those who do identify as a fat acceptance activist prefer that term over the more general size acceptance. A woman who weighs 125 pounds may have self-esteem issues, but chances are good that she won't be fired from her job for her weight; denied housing because of her weight; rejected by her insurance company on the basis of her BMI; face discrimination at the doctor's office simply because of her weight; and a host of other legal, social and economic issues that fat people uniquely struggle against.

  6. Just a thought, since this is a newswire: I'm guessing they just took her press release and ran with it, with minimal editing. It sure reads like that.

    Re: the notion that BBW clubs are platforms of empowerment for fatties...


    I think that most BBW club owners, consciously or not, are just about as interested as the big plus-size clothes shops are in the empowerment and politicization of their clientele, which is to say NOT AT ALL.

    If people started getting really empowered, they might stop coming as often to meat markets to get external validation and a good drunken hook-up.

    Oh, god, don't get me started.

  7. Marina - I think you're right, and you can rant here all you want. I'm always interested in other opinions, whether they agree with me or not (but I have a feeling we'd agree in this, at least).

  8. Hi Rachel

    I always have felt that if Fat Acceptance is going to ever be meaningful it has to have a size acceptance component as part of it. So I am always thinking a little of both Size Acceptance and Fat Acceptance when dealing with issues.



Comment moderation is enabled. If you're a troll and trying to slander someone or just being generally an asshat, your comment probably won't see the light of day. If you want to have a reasonable, civil discussion, welcome, and feel free to comment.
To the troll at IP: , adsl-70-242-65-196.dsl.stlsmo.swbell.net, your comments will not be published, nor will they be read. They will be automatically deleted. Get a life, sad sack.