Tag Archives: fatphobia

#ThisGirlCan have forreals feminist adverts

31 Jan

When Daisy first showed me this ad at my school feminist society, I almost cried. I think this might be the first truly feminist advert Ive ever seen.

In case you don’t know, #ThisGirlCan is an advert by Sport England on TV as well as a poster campaign to encourage girls to do more sport. I adore it so much because it actually promotes sport for girls in a healthy way. There is no mention of weight loss, in fact there was even some diversity in size (although no one who was “too” big. Let’s not get carried away, this is the fatphobic patriarchy after all), women of different colours and ages were shown having fun exercising as a hobby instead of the usual, suffering in the pursuit of the elusive (because it doesn’t exist) perfect body shape, promoting the Pain is Beauty narrative which justifies so much social and emotional violence against women (a.k.a. diet culture) in the name of “health”. The ad shows exercise as something positive in itself, not because it makes a company money, makes you more attractive or thinner, but because it might be enjoyable and make you happy. Full stop.

“Woah” I hear you say “something encouraging women to do sport by not fat-shaming them, profiting off their insecurities, pushing unhealthy diets PLUS showing a reasonably diverse range of women? This must be a hoax”. Now normally I would agree with you, it seems after some thorough googling that this is not a drill however #ThisGirlCan is by no means perfect. Some of the camera angles were *ahem* interesting (read: weirdly sexualising) and there wasn’t brilliant representation of of women with disabilities or older women either but all in all, I’ve definitely seen worse.

As far as I can tell, what sets this #ThisGirlCan apart from the usual “eat my product or no one will love you because you will be fat and ugly” or “give me all your money to join this gym and you too will be able to miraculously run a 10k with perfect hair, no sweat and be 7 sizes thinner” kind of ads usually associated with selling women a healthy lifestyle is precisely the fact that it is not trying to sell women a healthy lifestyle. If we look at some of adverts that have been trumpeted as a revelation and totally feminist for example Dove, Special K or CoverGirl no matter what the adverts say, no matter what stereotype they subvert and no matter what kind of diversity of female images they show, they all have one thing in common; their purpose.

Their purpose is to sell, snatch your money, do anything to get you to buy their product and everything else is just marketing strategy. Empowering women is not their aim and they do not give a damn about women, it’s not what they get paid for because, have no doubt, its all about making a profit. If these feminist ads like #GirlsCan (CoverGirl), Potty-Mouth Princess’ (FKH8) #LikeAGirl (Always) didn’t make companies money then they would give up and try a new strategy. A good example of this is Dove, in the West Dove says “Love the Skin You’re In” but all over Asia they sell dangerous skin bleaching products taking advantage of endemic shadeism that they encourage.

#ThisGirlCan is not from a company seeking to make money though, Sport England is a charity and at complete odds to previously talked about ads, the main purpose of #ThisGirlCan is female empowerment and women taking on a genuinely healthy lifestyle. This is the reason Sport England has been able to create one of the first sincerely feminist ads I have ever seen.

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Double Chins Are Fierce

5 Feb

I have already talked about body acceptance a lot on my blog but now I want to talk about microaggressions against fat people which I have never done before.

As a fat girl it has taken years of hard work and energy to love myself and accept my body, my double chin is no exception. I got my double chin a while after I had been working on my body positivity and at first I found it really embarrassing. I tried to hide it in photos and videos by taking photos from a weird angle or if I was talking to people or even whilst I was playing my viola or bassoon (which gave me really bad back ache), it made me so ashamed. This was happening while I was feeling better about my arms or legs being too wide or the stretch marks on my tummy, so at first I didn’t really notice what a bad effect my double chin shame was having on me because, after all there has never been a point in my life I can remember where I have not been embarrassed of or hated a part of my body so it was not new or surprising. It was not helped by the fact that before, when I had been fat but not had a double chin, people where always saying that I had to stop gaining weight or I would get a double chin in this horrified voice that made it sound like the worst thing ever.

After I started to notice that this hatred of my chin and subsequent hiding of it was taking up like 100% more time than it should have (ie 0% of my time) I started to work of chin-love as well as the rest of my body. A big part of this was taking AMAZING selfies with double chin proudly on display and really appreciating how fab I look (not gonna lie), another was finding pictures of other beautiful girls with double chins. I found this one on Tumblr by Rachele. It is my absolute favourite chin positive picture and inspired me so much!

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So now I was starting to like my chin or at least no obsess over it so much, I started thinking about why I specifically hated my chin so much? What was it about my chin and not lets say my cheeks? Well lets look at how double chins are presented, not just in the media but in everyday interactions between people.

What came to mind immediately for me was a common selfie pose where people give themselves/exaggerate double chins by pushing their chins into their necks and make a funny face. Its meant to be funny but to me it sends the message “look at me with my double chin, ew don’t I look weird”. To me it sends the message that double chins are disgusting or weird and we laugh when people do this pose with fake double chins because why would anyone want a double chin in real life? It tells me that a part of my body that I love should be ridiculed and it is undesirable.

I am guilty of doing this in the past and I’m sure many people reading this are also but let us once again look to the root of the problem and be unsurprised when it is the media. The same story as always which to be honest I am tired of repeating. There are no double chins in mainstream media that are not criticised or laughed at. I am too sick of this to elaborate but I’m sure you know it already.

I am going to keep on loving my double chin and celebrating beautiful double chins everywhere but its hard when they are constantly laughed at by my closest friends.

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