I have been meaning to post about the Marie Claire thing for a while now, and how it makes me even more aware of the many different types of activism and their importance. I'm sure everyone has read about the fat-phobic article in general, and I don't want to give them more traffic so instead I'll just link to this article at Fatshionista, which gives background to those who need it.
I can't even begin to express my anger at this, but I think what I am more is incredulous that someone maintains that Kelly's opinion is anything other than a blind prejudice. Sometimes I almost can't believe that there is a general consensus that all fat people should be eliminated from public viewing - and in many ways I don't feel like we can blame one writer for this opinion - it's what we're told constantly, and ultimately what she is repeating is just what we are expected to feel about fat bodies that are not displayed with the ongoing connotations of ritual humiliation, shame, unhappiness and grotesqueness.
There's been an immense amount of commentary on the piece itself, and I don't feel that I can add to it (beyond just going RARGH WHY THE HELL IS THIS STILL GOING ON?) but what I do want to comment on is the role of activism in dispelling these myths of what being fat means as an experience to most people. I'm a believer in activism being a great many things, and I believe this because, whilst fat remains so intensely connotative and symbolic of doom, gloom, death, the obesity apocalypse and whatever we're responsible for next, every step taken by a fat person is a step made towards tearing these stereotypes apart. Activism is conscious and unconscious - to me it can just be walking down the street, it's eating in public, it's wearing a short skirt, or showing bingo wings or thighs that rub together, it's owning your body and claiming it as your own (rather than as a symbolic substance determined by others). It could be telling people your weight, it could be saying "fat" proudly, or kissing, or dancing, or cycling, exercising. It is about being in spaces that we are consistently told that we do not belong in, and owning them. It's about being exactly what we are told we are not - happy, confident, in charge of our bodies and not ashamed.
So, for every person that says that fat love is disgusting and repulsive, and that we don't deserve the pleasures and loves that anyone else who fits within the "normal" BMI categories does, I am so glad that the fat-o-sphere exists. I am so glad that for every headless fatty there is represented on the internet, there is also an empowered, angry and awesome fat person somewhere else. My fat acceptance began with the internet, it began with Fatshionista's flickr pool and led on from there, and without the constant stream of images of fat people being amazing and vibrant and so alive (and the people I have been lucky enough to meet in person, at conferences and events and clothes swaps), without the blogs and videos and photographs and media that runs against the mould, that constantly challenges what we are told to be, I really do not know where I would be right now.
Also, I think everyone should look at The Museum of Fat Love. I'm definitely fairly unromantic, and the be all and end all of fat acceptance is not just about romance fo me, but beyond the smug-coupledness, this still makes me smile from my heart.