Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jennifer Love Hewitt's ass doesn't need your crane...

Zu-zu, over at feministe, posted about Jennifer Love Hewitt's response to a magazine that complained about how "fat" she's become. From the article: "The newly engaged Hewitt was snapped in her black two-piece swimsuit last week as she enjoyed a dip in the sea — but the “Ghost Whisperer” star’s larger-than-usual bottom soon became the subject of ridicule on many celebrity blogs."

You can read all about the dust-up The F Word, and see JLH's response at Feministe.

I'm sort of impressed- it took until almost comment 40 before someone started in with the fat shaming.

Thank you, Mike at 39, for these sage words of wisdom:

In other words, when someone on the fat positive side says “fat is beautiful,” they could mean one or both of two things. 1) Fat people are beautiful, or 2) Shut the fuck up and stop telling me how to live my life to please your eyes.

I’m totally down with (2), but (1) depends on something that just isn’t true. Fat isn’t beautiful, and let’s all admit something here — we all date people of attractiveness that is comparable to our own. If you’re a 7, you commonly date 6s, 7s and 8s. If you’re a 10, you date 9s and 10s.


This is a slightly different, and more honest, tactic than traditional fat-shaming, which tends to run more "but fat is unhealthy!" Mike's point is pretty explicit- he doesn't think that fat is beautiful. While I sort of appreciate the honesty involved there, there's the problem of universalizing our opinions. It's fine if Mike doesn't find fat beautiful, because nobody is trying to force him to. If he doesn't want to date someone that weighs over a certain number, that's his business. It's not his business to start gerneralizing about other people's feelings, though.

The point of the "fat is beautiful" movement isn't to try to convince people like Mike that they're wrong, it's to try to fight the overwhelming social message that tells us that even the slightest bit of weight ruins your attractiveness. That carrying some weight drops you from a 10 to a 7 (or lower). It's about recognizing that, even if you don't find a particular person attractive, other people might, and it's not your place to tear that person down.

Of course, a few comments later we get the typical fat-scaring technique in action: I know someone that works in health care, and it happens all the time! People come in that are morbidly obese! They weigh over 400 lbs!. They had to install a crane! *GASP!*

Ugh.

The response, when told to stop, was almost amusing:

sorry to hear you writing off the people my husband treats every day on the plea that it is beneath you to think about how they might be helped, or what about our society is creating this problem, which is likely a species of the same thing creating anorexia, which we normally get the horrors about around here.


The thread was about Jennifer Love Hewitt's criticism of a tabloid journal for talking about her "fat" ass, not about morbid obesity. I know that it's difficult for some people to understand, but not every post that mentions the word "fat" needs to turn into a discussion of "OMG! FAT PEOPLE ARE IN DANGER!"

8 comments:

roses said...

It's about recognizing that, even if you don't find a particular person attractive, other people might, and it's not your place to tear that person down.

EXACTLY. God, why is that so difficult to understand? For someone to basically come on a thread and tell all fat people that anybody who would date them doesn't actually find them attractive but is only settling due to being unattractive themselves... it made me so angry I had to get up and walk around.

is beneath you to think about how they might be helped, or what about our society is creating this problem,

Lord knows what our society needs is more discussion on how HORRIBLE and UNHEALTHY and DANGEROUS obesity is. Nobody ever talks about that!

Stargazer said...

Hello there, this is an awesome blog. Like it a lot and like you a lot too :)

schrödinger's cat said...

Exactly. That style of discussion is a bit like...

"Oh, I love ice-skating..."
"BUT THE GLACIERS! During the last ice age THE GLACIERS covered the whole of EUROPE!! And everything DIEDDD!!"
"I was talking about ice-skating. On a skating rink."
"WHY DO YOU WANT TO KILL EUROPE?!"

SarahMC said...

It's especially annoying that in a thread re a thin woman like JLH people bring up how unhealthy it is to be fat. Um, how is that relevant. SHE'S NOT FAT!! People's idea of what constitutes "fat" has become completely warped.

Anonymous said...

I personally find fat people to be repulsive in every way, but if others think they are attractive, more power to them. I guess there is someone for everyone, no matter how obese, grotesque, misshapen, and bloated.

However, I *DO* think that fat people are just as unhealthy as smokers, and yet it is OK to bash smokers, judge them, and make laws to stop them from smoking. You can use the "but being fat is MY problem, YOUR smoke can kill me too!" crap argument, but honestly, if you're fat, you are likely in pretty bad shape, so that won't fly. I bet that you are just as judgmental and shitty to smokers as thin people are to fatties...so what's the difference? You cannot support "fat rights" or whatever the hell this is, yet turn around and bash smokers in the next breath (and I can almost guarantee that you do). Either we work to help BOTH groups, or we leave them both the hell alone....so which one is it gonna be?

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and JLH is NOT THIN. Sorry. Maybe she is thin by American standards, but she is NOT THIN. Thin is someone like Rachel Bilson, or Kate Hudson...JLH is not fat, but she is not thin. I would consider her average.

Also, how many of you fatties talk shit about supermodels for being thin? How many of you call them "anorexic bitches", "disgusting", and "unnatural"? How often do you say "real women have CURVES" as a way to rationalize your own overweight or obese bodies? I am 5'2 and a size 3-4, and I work hard to look good and feel good. I do not sit around shoveling food in my face, and that is the reason I am thin. I eat well and I exercise, and it is infinitely preferable to being fat, sloppy, gluttonous and repulsive to look at. I guarantee that if you people made some effort to eat right and exercise, you would be happier and healthier.

and hey..."roses", you got so mad that you had to get up and walk around? Did you lose a pound? I know one pound off of 300+ isn't much, but it's a start, and if you keep it up, you might find that you would be better off because of it. I know that I would kill myself if I was fat...I cannot imagine anything worse than that. I'd rather have cancer, lose an arm, a leg...shit, ANYTHING EXCEPT being fat. And that is just the reality for most people, so don't expect that anyone is going to start acting like being obese is this viable and intelligent life choice. Basically, be fat if you want, but don't get all indignant when people mock you and judge you for being a greedy slob with no self-control.

Roy said...

However, I *DO* think that fat people are just as unhealthy as smokers, and yet it is OK to bash smokers, judge them, and make laws to stop them from smoking.

1. You may think that, but medical science disagrees.
2. You've certainly never seen me bash smokers or advocate for laws to stop them from smoking.

You can use the "but being fat is MY problem, YOUR smoke can kill me too!" crap argument, but honestly, if you're fat, you are likely in pretty bad shape, so that won't fly.

I fail to see how that works. The argument isn't that smoke can harm any particular person- it's that the smoke is harmful to everyone around the smoker, regardless of weight.

I bet that you are just as judgmental and shitty to smokers as thin people are to fatties...so what's the difference?

You'd be wrong. I don't judge people for smoking, nor do I treat them poorly for their choice of habits.

You cannot support "fat rights" or whatever the hell this is, yet turn around and bash smokers in the next breath (and I can almost guarantee that you do). Either we work to help BOTH groups, or we leave them both the hell alone....so which one is it gonna be?

If you've got some reason bo believe that I'm out there bashing smokers and telling them how disgusting they are, please share. Otherwise, you're, pardon the pun, just blowing smoke out of your ass.

Also, how many of you fatties talk shit about supermodels for being thin? How many of you call them "anorexic bitches", "disgusting", and "unnatural"?

I don't, and anyone who does is just as wrong as someone who goes around shaming fat people. Just like there's nothing wrong with being heavy, there's nothing wrong with being thin, and a person shouldn't be made to feel like a freak because of their weight.

How often do you say "real women have CURVES" as a way to rationalize your own overweight or obese bodies? I am 5'2 and a size 3-4, and I work hard to look good and feel good. I do not sit around shoveling food in my face, and that is the reason I am thin.

I've never said that. If you're happy with the way you look, power to you. I think that's great. If you work hard to look a certain way and that makes you happy, that's a good thing. That's your priority, and I think that's fine.

I know that I would kill myself if I was fat...I cannot imagine anything worse than that. I'd rather have cancer, lose an arm, a leg...shit, ANYTHING EXCEPT being fat.

That speaks volumes about the sort of person you are. I'm sorry for you, really. That's a really sad and unfortunate attitude to have.

Jack said...

If you are ,let's say,7,8" , 400 lbs wouldn't be excessive. But very few people weigh that much are not obese.