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In Which I Ramble About Privilege

Yeah. I’m still here, folks. Sorry about the inadvertent hiatus. I had a job interview last week (it went great; yay!) and I was helping my mom ring in her 45th year (Happy Birthday, Mom!), so I got a bit sidetracked.

But y’all know I’ve been keeping up with the Fatosphere.

So, I (as I’m sure many other people have) read Aunt Fattie’s column yesterday. Outside of the various insightful comments, one term kept popping up frequently: privilege.

It’s something I think a lot about, this privilege, because it’s something that, in my self-acceptance journey, I have become more conscious of. And it extends way beyond fat privilege for me, because I’m also Black.

See, what folks don’t realize is that there’s a hierarchy in the Black community when it comes to fat AND when it comes to skin color.

Now, it seems to be the general idea that the Black community is more accepting of fat folks (if you want my view on that as it pertains to dating Black men, click here.) It really isn’t true, we just tend to describe it a bit differently. You have skinny, then thick, then fat (and many different words to describe what comes between). In my experience, it’s been the “thick” that’s most coveted, but that’s strictly what I see (YMMV). Now, a thick girl may not understand the issues I face as a fat woman, but she’s not as privileged as say, the skinny woman. However, the skinny woman might say that the thick woman has it better because she has more curves (yes folks, I’ve witnessed this discussion.) and so on. All this to say, there’s issues at every size.

But now, I never really thought about the color hierarchy until I focused on the fat hierarchy. For example: my freshman year of high school, my best friend was a fat, dark-skinned girl. She was awesome, and we got along so well. I looked smaller than she, but that’s because I was taller. We both wore the same size.

One day, I overheard a group of boys talking about she and I, and one guy pipes up “Wait, who’s T.?”

Other dude: “Oh, that’s the big, fat crispy (in reference to skin tone) girl that hangs around FashionableNerd.”

First dude: “Oh, hell, that chick is ugly! So I know FN has to be fucked up in the face to hang around her.”

Other dude: “Nah, man, she’s a light-skinned chick. Long hair and stuff. She ain’t all that skinny, but she’s alright.”

Notice how my skin color trumped my fat? I didn’t think about it then, as I was too busy laying a sound barrage of foul language on the boys for speaking of my friend in such a manner (if y’all think I have a filthy mouth NOW…let me tell you, this is a kinder, gentler me compared to then, yo). But when I started reading more discussions about White privilege and fat privilege and so on, I realized that racial and size privilege runs so much deeper than folks realized. T and I were the SAME SIZE, but they saw her dark skin AND fat. Me? Just my skin color. Which amazes me, because, what–you can be fat and lighter skinned, and that’s cool, but a pox on your house if you have nerve enough to be both fat AND darker skinned? Boggles the mind, y’all.

The older and more militant I became, the more I noticed the color privilege I had. I would always get compliments on my “beautiful, light brown skin”, when I’d have an equally gorgeous cocoa-colored friend sitting right next to me being ignored. Coupled with the long hair I had then, I’d get random IGNORANT questions about “what I was mixed with” because clearly, my Blackness ain’t enough to garner beauty. I have to fit some European ideal, and so my mom or dad has to be White, right? {This isn’t a shot at White people, just the beauty ideal. End disclaimer.}

But besides the shunning I noticed, I found that some of my darker-skinned friends were ashamed of their skin color, much as some fat people are conditioned to be ashamed of their fat. For example, my friend A. and I wanted to go out one weekend and have some fun.  When I suggested the beach (I was living in Florida at the time), she said, “Girl, no! I can’t afford to get any darker than I already am!”

Me: “What the—wait, WHAT?”

A.: “Come on now. YOU can get darker, you’re already light. I can’t get any darker, men won’t want me.”

A. is this gorgeous modelesque woman with long dark hair and coffee colored skin. Her body wasn’t keeping her from the beach, her skin tone was, and I was just amazed at that. In fact, I figured I’d be having a hard time cause, whoa, fat chick in bathing suit! But like most folks with privilege, I never even thought skin color would be an issue. It shouldn’t be an issue at all, but the more we as a society lean more towards the European beauty ideal, the more prevalent the issue will become.

But don’t think that the lighter skinned Black woman has it easier, now. IntellectualFeminist and I had a convo awhile back about skin tone and how it affected us when we were younger. She is much fairer than myself with jewel-green eyes. Where I’d get questions about what I was “mixed with”, she’d get questions asking “what ARE you”, as if she was some newly discovered creature. But then, it’s often I would see some of the fairer Blacks be discounted in some conversations surrounding racism and the Black experience, because they weren’t “Black enough” to count. I’d find myself telling her, oh, but I know EXACTLY how you feel, but seriously? I don’t, and she called me out on that, as she should have. See how messy and tangled the world of privilege is?

I think, that in the quest of understanding one another, both inter-racially and intra-racially (did I invent words here? if so, sorry, but I think y’all get my drift) we have to look at the various levels of privilege that we may have. It isn’t a perfect solution, if one would even call it a solution at all. But it is a tactic, and one folks would do well to try out sometime.


Makeup and Me

This piece was inspired by this post over at Nudemuse. Confound me for leaving it in my idea journal so long! I promise I’m gonna get better about putting my posts on the actual blog in a timely manner, really I am!

I remember a conversation I had with my lil’ bro when I was sixteen (this would make him ten). We were getting ready for dinner, my family and I, and mom and I were getting all dolled up with the make-up.

Him: *intently watching me line my eyes* “Why do y’all put all that stuff on your face?”

Me: “What stuff? My eyeshadow?”

Him: “All of that stuff. It makes you look fake. Are you hiding something?”

Me: *quietly shoves him out of the doorway and shuts door*

My Mom: “I’m gonna have to learn that boy some tact.” (No, she seriously said it like that. I cracked up and nearly poked my eye out with the mascara.)

At the time, I had no idea how to really answer the question about why I wear makeup. I just liked the stuff. I fancy myself a bit of an artist, and for me, my face was just another place to wear extravagant colors or try different color combinations. Granted, I typically did my makeup oddly in those days. I never put shadow in the creases or browbones. I only shadowed the lid and lined my eyes, and wore plenty of mascara. And I don’t know if this applies to anyone else (I mean, I could see everyone else’s lids when I stared directly into their faces), but it’s like my lids disappear when you look directly in my face, so all one really saw was my liner and lashes. Great if that’s all I wanted to show…but it wasn’t. But I digress.

As I became more adept with the shadow, I found myself pairing yellow shadow with orange and black (I looked like some type of tropical bird, y’all. Real talk.) and the question my lil bro asked arose in my head again…”Why do you wear that stuff?” Well, I could wax poetic about how I’m enhancing my natural beauty and further encouraging myself to step from the shadows into the light, but seriously, y’all?

I wear it because I like it. Nothing to hide, as 10 year old lil bro assumed. In fact, I made my first foray into makeup when I was in my tomboy phase my freshman year of high school. I used clothes to hide away. It drove my mom absolutely nuts. So, to make my mom feel better (she worked at a cosmetics company at the time) I would wear super shiny gloss, then graduated to brown glosses (she took what she could get, ’cause I wasn’t gonna wear pink). The rest was history. Essentially, I just think makeup is pretty.

Interestingly enough, I went slightly dramatic with the eyes when I went to lil godsis’ graduation. I had false lashes, pretty black liner, hair yanked up so you could see the full effect (I also had on a FIERCE spagetti-strapped dress), the whole nine. My mom peeked her head in my room as I was admiring my work, and she says: “Wow. That’s pretty. It’s the most makeup I’ve ever seen you wear.”

Me: “Wait. Is it too much?” (I love color, but I tend not to be heavy with it.)

Her: “No, it looks great. It’s just..I’ve never seen you wear that much. I didn’t know you could do that. It’s amazing.”

Me: *smile*

Heh. Well, maybe I also wear makeup for compliments on styling–at least, every once in a while. I’m a bit conceited, I guess. 🙂

So, what makeup do y’all wear? Do you have a favorite feature you like to play up? Do you go wild with lipsticks and gloss? Or are you all about the eyes, like me? Are you all natural, like IntellectualFeminist? Oh, and what are y’alls favorite lines? I just got some great beauty swag I’ll be sharing with y’all soon, but I’m always on the lookout for new lines to try.



Well. Maybe I Don’t Have Such A Filthy Mouth.

Alright. I’m exhausted this week, so I’m not gonna be able to write anything with much substance. However, I was discussing with BuddingStarlet the filthiness of my mouth, and I remembered the Cuss-O-Meter that Kate posted once. I also remembered a commenter who wondered why I used “fuck” and “ass” so often. So, the wonderful results of the Cuss-O-Meter: 34.7%. Yep. Since my HTML is being a pain in the ass today, I put the cute lil’ widget in the sidebar over there. You know, just to show off. 😀

Yeah. It isn’t nearly as much as I originally assumed. According to the site: “This is 286% more than other websites that took this test.” That doesn’t shock me. As I told the commenter: I haz a filthy mouth. And I does my best to showz you it.

Perhaps, next year, I’ll give up swearing for Lent.

Anyhow, y’all have a great weekend, and I’ll try to have something of some substance up Monday or Tuesday.


Respectful Disagreement


To the commenter whose point I deleted yesterday:

First, let me thank you for the best wishes in my journey. Also, let me thank your for being respectful in your initial comment. Here at Hyde and Seek, we appreciate all points of view, as long as they are couched properly so as to facilitate discussion. So, again, I thank you for being civil.

As for the second comment (which, as I’m sure you’re aware, will not be approved) I’m sorry you’re offended by my deleting the comment. Yes, I read your posts that you linked. No, I did not shut down after I read the first paragraph. I read the entire thing, as well as some of the archives. And please don’t go there with the “you write these posts so people can agree with you.” If you would be so kind as to read the “Some People Just Don’t Get It” thread, you’d see me engaging in meaningful discussion. I don’t mind your disagreement at all.

It’s simply that when it comes to your concerns that your raised in your initial comment, it’s been discussed before.

I understand that some people take the Fat Acceptance movement as “allowing” supposedly “unhealthy” people to further abuse their “grotesque” (your word, not mine) bodies. However, from my standpoint, that’s hardly the case.

I felt drawn to the movement because I was doing all that I was supposed to do as far as losing weight: work out, eat healthily, watch carbs, count calories, shun all things sweet and fatty: and I only lost, if you added up the amounts in my previous piece, about 31 pounds. And I felt like shit at the time, to be frank with you.

31 pounds. In all those years of dieting. That’s it. Even when I continued to restrict, nothing. I was still fat, and, eventually, I felt fabulous. And it seemed that every social norm screamed to me that I wasn’t normal because I felt wonderful and I was fat. My doctors found me healthy, blood pressure is fine, cholesterol is fine. But I’m still fat, and I still have that stigma.

I fight that stigma that fat and healthy cannot be used in the same sentence. Now, you say that certain pounds overweight is unhealthy. Over what weight? You say fat folks cannot be healthy, but I’m sure you wouldn’t assume that a thin person is automatically healthy, would you? You can be thin and unhealthy as easily as you can be fat and unhealthy, AND NO PERSON DESERVES TO BE RIDICULED, DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, MADE TO FEEL LESS THAN, OR STIGMATIZED because of it.

And for those concerned: even if you happen to be fat and unhealthy, we in the FA movement think no less of you. You are as deserving of respect as anyone else in this world, and you don’t deserve the stigma either.

Now, let’s further discuss the reason your comment was deleted: you want to draw myself and the rest of the Fatosphere into yet another discussion about how we’re killing ourselves on purpose. According to you, dear commenter, it’s OUR fault that we’re fat.

Yeah. We’ve heard that before. We’ve discussed this before. I know I have. And quite frankly, I have no patience or time to moderate that discussion again. Plain and simple.

Oh, and by the way? If one does decide to treat his or her body better, then more than likely they’d be practicing Health At Every Size.  For what it’s worth, outside the erroneous “ding-dongs and fat rolls” comment, it seems as if that’s what you’re advocating as well. Feel free to look that one up while you’re letting blogland know how off-the cuff we fat bloggers are. And practicing HAES does not equal eviction from the movement. Hell, if you decide you want to diet and profess to be an FA activist, we probably still wouldn’t evict you. We’d tell you how flawed your logic was, and urge you to rethink your position. But rest assured, we for damn sure ain’t about to applaud you for it. I’m a woman that says to each his or her own, so if you wanna diet, do what you do. But don’t think I’m going to praise you for that. Size ain’t an indicator of health, and I hold myself as an example of that.

Also, one’s mind is a part of one’s body. Both deserve equal respect and great treatment. Also, don’t propose coming over here and assuming you know how all fat people treat their bodies. I believe I heard Kelly Bliss say that “You can no more tell the healthy lifestyle of a person based on their body size than you can tell how hard someone works based on the balance in their bank account.” Again, size is no indicator of health.

Hey. I’m not knocking your views. You have your ideals and proof, as I have my ideals and proof. Your comment wasn’t deleted because you disagreed. Your comment was deleted because we’ve heard it all before. I know I have because I believed as you did once.I too felt that hell, if I REALLY wanted to lose weight I could. Except all I ended up losing was my mind and not much else. And when I found that I wasn’t alone, it was enough for me to decide to question the status quo, and rage against the machine, if you will. You may question Kate’s logic about the studies being off, but see, if I have lived it, you don’t get to come tell me what my experiences were. You don’t get to tell me how much I worked out, what/how much I’ve eaten, how many calories and such are in my food. I know, because I HAVE LIVED IT. MANY OF US IN THE MOVEMENT HAVE, and I’m sorry, but I feel some kinda way about you professing to know about what we deal with. And if you happen to be one of those self-righteous folks who lost weight “and you can too!”, check yourself, seriously. If ridicule and thinly veiled “concern” made folks thin, we would be. All some of us have is the WANT to be thin but not the genes to do it (yes, fat IS genetic, even though you think otherwise), and some of us have discovered THIN may not be in the cards, but HEALTH is. And I’m sorry, the two don’t go hand in hand, as much as you or anyone else might want to believe.

So, I’m sorry you’re upset I’ve deleted you. I apologize in advance for any other comments you may leave here that might be deleted. If it’s something I deem discussable, then I’ll let it fly. Otherwise, you’ll just have to continue to be angry about it. Sorry. Oh, and I most likely disgust you too, since I’m fat. I’ll make the effort to stop being fat at you. But I can’t promise it’ll be a fruitful attempt.

Oh, and by the way, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t put your name or your comments or site or anything up. I’m not sending you hits from THIS blog, no matter how respectful I am towards your side. It’s a blogtatorship round these here parts, darlin’, and my co-blogger and I run this blog with iron fists.


Self-Love…What A Beautiful Thing

Well, I’m still full throttle in getting my life together. It’s improving, slightly. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. So, in between job searches, I’ve been keeping up with the goings-on about the fatosphere. And when I saw this entry over at Big Fat Deal…OMG. It struck such a chord with me (as it did for folks over at Kate’s as well as folks on their personal blogs) because I saw ME in that 14 year old girl.

I’d just started my freshman year of high school, and I was coming off of being valedictorian of my 8th grade class (we had a graduation, I had to write a speech, the whole nine). I wasn’t comfortable in my skin, in that school, hell, in that damn STATE. Background: I was a transfer student my 8th grade year. There was a super-smart young man there whose niche was being…Super-Smart Dude. Here I come, and I take spot as Super-Smart Gal AND take his place as valedictorian. Folks were pissed at me…how DARE I come rolling in that school and upsetting the natural order of things?

And because that lil’ junior high was one hall (seriously), that stigma carried into the high school next door (also one hall). As far as insults go, they couldn’t call me stupid or slow (as quite a few kids called each other), but they had plenty as far as physical attributes go. As I’ve told y’all before, I’ve always been fat. So, naturally, they had to “call out” my bad skin, my glasses, my teeth, my belly….the whole nine. Added to my tomboy phase? Y’all, I was everything but a child of God then. So, here is what my 14 year old self needs to know:

Dear FN,

You think this is the worst time in your life. You want people to look past what you deem as physical issues and look at the person inside. Let me tell you something, darlin’. You don’t have physical issues. You have PUBERTY. Your skin is gonna clear up, and that’s gonna be the FIRST thing you’re complimented on. Your gonna look at your crooked smile and no longer care about having braces. And when you get them? You’re gonna rock that same bright smile you did when you had the gaps. Your glasses? You’re gonna get some new ones, and colored contacts, and clear contacts, and you are gonna ROCK THEM HARD. You’re gonna treat them as accessories as opposed to extra appendages. And you’re not gonna be ashamed.

And yes, you’re fat. Guess what? That’s not gonna change. And that’s OKAY. Darlin’, at 14,you are way ahead of your time for looking for more than looks, and you’re gonna have men swooning at your feet. Because YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. You wish you’d heard that more often, but girl, people LOVE you. YOU, as a person, are fucking awesome. And I’m sorry that you didn’t hear it more. But you will. From others, but most importantly, from yourself.

Keep singing. Keep writing. Keep being outspoken…don’t diminish your light because someone tells you it’s burning too brightly. When that man tells you that in class, tell him to get some damn sunglasses. Don’t feel like you always have to be strong. Let someone else help you. It’s not the you against the world, girl. There are folks, your true friends, that are there to help you shoulder the burden. Let them. And let the bitterness go. Everyone that used to treat you badly doesn’t translate to everyone is gonna CONTINUE to treat you badly. So don’t feel like you have to be in bitch-mode forever. Cause these troubles you’re having? Aren’t gonna last long. Believe it.

I love you,

Your 22 year old self.

And what’s even better about the 14 year old girl? She’s gotten all that love, insight, and caring NOW, when it matters so much. And it’s changed her outlook about herself and life.

The power of the Fatosphere. It’s unequaled.


Well. It’s Come To This.

I’ve had folks tell me that the best way to get fat folks to lose weight is to ban them from restaurants.

Well. Congratulations, Mississippi! You have been the first state to lose its fucking mind!

You know, I was gonna write a whole rant about this. I had it planned in my head. But seriously? The stupidity of this law…I think my brain is about 5 minutes from going all asplodey. Seriously. And um, y’all legislators do realize that quite a few fat folks come to Mississippi to, well, eat, right? As a southerner (and I lived in Mississippi for a time), I know that some of the best cuisine comes from the Delta. So, you’re willing to a) fuck up people’s livelihoods and b) fuck up the tourism industry just because y’all want to make a statement about obesity?

Yeah. That’s it. This just might be the STUPIDEST fuckin’ thing a state has done. It’s like Jim Crow all over again. Unbelievable.

So, if y’all wanna get your protest on (and you KNOW these folks are getting an eloquent angry letter from me), here’s some contact info, via JoGeek.

If there are folks there in Mississippi that are not registered, y’all please go and make that happen. Tomorrow. Because there’s no telling what else will be proposed in other states. Make swift work of this, and go forth and snuff out this scourge.*

*And when I say snuff, people? That’s a synonym for “stop”. I am NOT, under any circumstances, advocating violence of any kind. Trust me, a legal action (voting against this, protesting, writing eloquent angry letters) gets one much farther than acting like a brute.


It’s Official: I’ve Heard Everything

Via JoGeek, I have now learned that driving while fat is on the same level of driving under the influence.

Folks, I don’t make up the news. I just report it.

So, researchers in Australia have found that folks with higher BMIs pose risks on the road, because with higher BMIs come a greater risk of lethargy.

Study supervisor Dr Sara Lal says driving with sleep apnoea is effectively the same as drink driving due its similar effect on brain activity.

Wait, so all fat people have sleep apnea now? I wasn’t aware, considering, I, you know, DON’T HAVE IT.

Ms Pe Benito said the results defied some of the conventional wisdom about the differences between young and more seasoned drivers.

“For young drivers we found that the strongest predictors of crashing were body mass index (BMI) and regular alcohol consumption – as distinct from driving under the influence of alcohol,” she said.

“Obesity is a significant risk factor shared with older drivers. High BMI goes hand-in-hand with increased levels of lethargy, the rapid onset of fatigue and slower reaction times.

Good Lord. Did I get Bingo yet? Oh, boy. So, essentially, my fat makes me lethargic, fatigued, and slow to respond. And all of that plus a car equals accident, y’all. But see, it was the last part of the second article that struck me.

“However, there was no significant difference in brain activity and mood between young and older drivers and no association found between mood and driving performance,” Ms Pe Benito said.

Now see, this statement in and of itself lets me know that the study is bunk. It’s either that, or the good folks Down Under don’t have a such thing as road rage. In just about every state I have lived in, I’ve heard reports of folks driving badly while angry. And I don’t mean just speeding. I mean speeding to pull up next to to the offending car to shout obscenities, throw objects, or in the most extreme cases, to shoot into the car. In all seriousness. There have been children murdered in road rage incidents. But there’s no significant difference in brain activity and mood?

Oh, and will this study provide a new police charge: DWF (that’s driving while fat, natch)? And is it considered a double offence if the person driving is both fat AND drunk? The mind boggles, y’all.

You know, I say this every time a “study” is released to the world: I want to know where the research money is coming from! I can discover foolishness too. I can! Just give me a reason, and where to look for it, and I PROMISE you I can deliver some grade A foolishness.

But you know…I don’t think my foolishness could ever top this one. At all.

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