“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

Download Shannon's story, "Beautiful Boy, Brandon Lee," in its full length, excerpted from her book, Smash, Crash & Burn.

Kate Winslet Takes on Fat Shamers & a Groundbreaking Book asks, “What’s Wrong With Fat?”

I love Kate Winslet. I want to invite her over for dinner.

This desire was compounded when she started a fire using only lip balm and a tampon on Running Wild with Bear Grylls last week and yesterday when she took a stance against online bullies by posting a photo of herself without hair & make-up accompanied by this message:

“I know I am chubby, I have big feet, and have bad hair days. When I grew up and even now sometimes, I hardly hear any positive reinforcement about body image from any female. I mostly hear negatives. But I know most of the negatives come from the people who are busy rejoicing other people’s insults by liking demeaning posts on Facebook, when in reality they don’t even like themselves.

“Today, I want to put up a zero makeup photo. I know I have wrinkles on my skin, but today I want you to see beyond that. I want to embrace the real me and I want you to embrace who you are, the way you are, and love yourself just the way you are.

“Share the message everywhere and let it reach the haters and let them know that you don’t give a damn about the negatives and you choose not to be a victim to those bullies who make fun of others based on appearances, race, gender, etc. And also share if you love yourself the way you are and don’t want to change anything about it. People should appreciate you, the real you.”

What's Wrong With Fat?

At one time or another each of these women was disparaged for being “fat.” Not even taking into account the considerable talents each of these women has that have nothing to do with their appearance, all I see when I look at their bodies is beauty.

I will cook you lamb chops Kate and pour my finest vintage Pinot Noir. We can be chubby together. Because according to Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at UCLA, Abigail C. Saguy’s groundbreaking book, What’s Wrong With Fat?, chubbiness is not a sin worthy of bullying and weight-based discrimination, but is actually considered desirable by many people in many cultures. 

Saguy, who spent ten years researching and writing her book, also challenges the perception that fat is a public health crisis.

Health At Every Size (HAES) advocates back this up by citing epidemiological studies showing that “rates of mortality only increase in the very highest (and lowest) extremes of BMI, so that people who are ‘overweight’ or ‘moderately obese’ are not at heightened risk of mortality.”

Saguy writes further along the lines of divorcing “Fat” from a disease frame and treating it as a civil rights issue:

Rejecting the obesity problem frame entirely would imply different conclusions about what should be done and why. For instance, fat acceptance groups assert that the central question is not about medicine or public health but about civil rights. They reclaim the word “fat” as a neutral or positive descriptor, as the civil rights movement reclaimed “black” and the gay rights movement reclaimed “queer.”

Further on she writes:

The argument that obesity is unhealthy is deployed to various ends. It is used to invalidate the claim that fatness should be accepted, treated as a basis for rights claims, or valued as a form of human diversity.

Unfortunately a short blog post can’t do justice to the depth of Saguy’s work so you’ll have to buy the book for yourself (this is not a sponsored post). It makes the reader question how we’ve been programmed to think about fat, both directly and subliminally, by the media, medical and pharmaceutical industries.

What's Wrong With Fat?

These women have also been called “fat,” which can only lead me to conclude that the word “fat” equals “stunning beauty!”

As a 50-year-old woman I still struggle to accept the fat that’s accumulated in my midriff. I’m working to love that fat as being a soft, comfortable place for my man to land during certain conjugal endeavors. Conversely, I easily accept and even celebrate the fat in my face for providing a luscious, youthful visage.

And I can embrace the fact that “fat nekked woman” is one of the top search keyword for my site as charming and funny, not insulting.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to lay down our swords and live in a place and time when Fat isn’t the enemy?

If you enjoyed this article you might want to have a gander at the rest of my Love Your Body Now articles and don’t forget to opt-in to my bi-weekly newsletter!

Also and always, if you like it please share it. Shares of any kind just makes my day. xo S



2 comments

Write a comment
  1. the gold digger
    the gold digger 12 September, 2015, 06:48

    1. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile, where I worked with a group of indigenous women who wanted to know why Americans are obsessed with being thin. “When you are thin, it looks like you are sick!” they said.

    2. Kate Winslet is on my husband’s list and I am cool with that.

    3. I am facing the same fat around the middle. I weigh what I weigh in high school, but it is not in the same place it was in high school. I want the fat to move from my belly to my boobs and to the bottom of my feet so I do not have to get rid of all my super high heels.

    4. There is nothing wrong with being fat. My beef is that all the plus-sized models are still drop dead gorgeous. I guess if I were choosing models, I would also choose the beautiful ones, thin and fat, but the reality of models is not their weight but the fact that they have a level of beauty that most of us will never meet and could not meet even with plastic surgery. We could all, in theory, get thin (you know – if we go through chemo, although I am convinced that if I had chemo, I would have the kind that makes me put on 100 lbs, as every medication that warns the user could either gain weight or lose weight makes me gain), but most of us cannot become supermodel beautiful.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 12 September, 2015, 19:33

      Hey gold digger — Where is a place that belly fat is considered sexy? We need to find that place. Speaking for myself I am always going to want to fix things about my body. I don’t think that will ever go away. But when I become aware I’m disapproving of my body in any give piece of wardrobe or unexpected glimpse of myself in an aggressive storefront window I literally force myself to think of 10 things I’m grateful to my body for right then and there.

      Today I was grateful that I could smell the scent of my daughter’s sweet freckled baby face when I kissed her after her soccer match. That my fingers could type. That my eyes could see my latest binge-watching episode of “Parks & Recreation” (I LOVE ANN POEHLER!) That I could taste my crisp Kendall Jackson chardonnay after a sweltering day, that I could lay my head on my husband’s chest, that I can beat my friend Kelly in arm wrestling, that I’m becoming a fearsome ping pong player, that I can still wear high heels, that my hair is so thick they could make a great shelter with it on “Naked & Afraid” and that this is the vessel that is taking my soul on this journey through life. Sigh. I force myself to be grateful for this body, and fake it till I make it. Also, gold digger – if you were in the Peace Corp I suspect that you are stunning! xo S

      Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*