Tell Me I'm Fat

Last week I finally listened to the This American Life episode "Tell Me I'm Fat." It was put together around the release of Lindy West's book "Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman," which I pre-ordered and read when it was published earlier this year. I've loved West's writing since Jezebel, and I really liked the book. I loaned it to my sister before I could go back and make notes for this post, but I checked it out from the library electronically and copied out some of what I wanted to remember/share.

I am fat, but like Roxane Gay says in the TAL episode I'm "Lane Bryant fat," meaning I can still move about in the world and there are places I can buy clothes. In Shrill West talks about that too --
"I’ve always been fat, but I was the fat person that still mostly fit. While I couldn’t fit into regular-lady clothes (more bejeweled tunics covered with skulls, cherries, and antique postage stamps, please!), and I had to be careful with butt safety (I once Godzilla’d an entire lunch setting while trying to sidle through a Parisian cafe), I was still the kind of fat person who could move through the straight-sized world without causing too many ripples. Until I couldn’t."
I'm the kind of fat person who can move through the straight-sized world without causing too many ripples. I want to be OK with my body as it is without giving that body license to break down (or something). I want to remember this, also from Shrill:
"Please don’t forget: I am my body. When my body gets smaller, it is still me. When my body gets bigger, it is still me. There is not a thin woman inside me, awaiting excavation. I am one piece."
And I want my girls to know that too. My value, their value is so much more than our bodies. Women don't have to be a certain size to be worthy of love and respect. Another of the acts in the TAL episode was about a woman who lost a significant amount of weight and got everything she ever wanted (relationship, acting jobs, etc.) once she was thin. I feel like I have everything I ever wanted, although perhaps I'm missing something???

My daughters are also an impetus for wanting to be less fat -- mainly to be able to move through the world more easily (socially as well as just literally moving more easily). And ideally to stay in this world longer. (I say that not that fat equals unhealthy, but I am a heavier weight when I'm not taking care of myself -- less exercise, more sugar, etc.)

Lots to think about and remember for discussions down the line.

No more affiliate links via Amazon, since Louisiana changed its law to require taxes be paid up front Amazon just shut down the affiliates program for anyone living in the state. So there's that...


Zandria said...

I just finished reading this book last week! So incredibly thought-provoking. I think it may actually make it onto my "Highly Recommended" list, which I rarely use.

Mari said...

Exciting! I love your book recommendations and have read a lot you have written about. Thanks for the comment.

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