Friday, September 19, 2008

ADDENDUM to the fat girl vinyl bag!

i posted this bag on craftster the other day, and a few people commented that they liked the bag, but didn't like the inside pocket because they consider "fat" to be a bad word. though i personally think crafting is inherently political, craftster isn't the place for it, so i wanted to address that here.

i love the word fat! i'm all about reclaiming negative words, things like queer and dyke and cunt, words that have been used as insults, as ways to hold us down, and making them ours and saying why yes, i AM fat! and i AM queer! thanks for pointing that out! i know that every person is in a different place on their own path to self acceptance, whether that be accepting their body size, accepting their sexuality, whatever, and so not everyone is comfortable with these words. but i think it's really important that we reclaim them, that we think about WHY we find them offensive, and decide that they're not going to be offensive to us anymore.

of course, it's all about context, right? so if some asshole yells at you as they drive by, then hell, yeah, that's insulting! but simply using the words as descriptors, as identities? what's insulting about that? even the most innocuous words can be offensive is they're said with a certain tone - i once had a client end a phone call with "god bless you then" in a tone that totally translated to "fuck off and die you bitch"!! she was pissed because i wouldn't let her break the law, and we had a 20 minute debate/fight/conversation/whatever about it, and trust me, when she said that at the end, she DID NOT really mean god bless you!

and fat's a great word. it's a honest, frank, DESCRIPTIVE word. most of the other words people use to describe fat people are understatements designed to make people feel better about themselves, are infantile and desexualize the person they're referring to, are completely inaccurate when applied to some fat people (not everyone is big boned, for instance), or are medical words that are used as scare tactics by the media and the big diet companies, etc. fat has no other meaning behind it but what it is, a simple description.

so yeah. that's why i used the word fat. i hope you understand, and maybe it'll help you on your own path. as i mentioned in the craftster post, i included a full set of Figure 8 zines with the bag in the auction. there are multiple zines out there that are fat positive, but i REALLY recommend Figure 8!


Rachel said...

amy, you are so fucking rad. i totally TOTALLY agree with you. please tell me you've read the book "cunt". if you haven't you really should!

p.s. i really adore that bag. you did a fantastic job!

TiLT said...

Woo Hoo! Totally, 100%, agree. I do think that most people who see fat as a bad word are either NOT fat or are but have been made to feel that they are a bad person because of it. I am fat - don't wanna be for health reasons - but I can bike for hours and walk all day - so I feel good anyway.
As a descriptor - yup. Calling someone blonde isn't bad - even though it's associated with dumb (of course it's also great fun to be blonde too, right?
Also wanted to say thanks for moving this here. I wish others, not naming names, well, yeah - gun cozy (come on - it's ironic! it's a cozy! get over it!)...had done the same.
***off to see what Figure 8 is***

spirals said...

thanks for writing this. and especially thanks for not involving craftster in what could potentially be one of those annoying threads where everyone has to bitch and moan endlessly until the whole posted project gets completely smushed and forgotten about...

love your work. and you are definitely the goddess of vinyl...
you are definitely an inspiration to crafters around the globe.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you! I'm fat and I love myself no matter how fat I am. ;)

Michelle said...

That is an amazingly enlightening viewpoint! Not just with regard to the word 'fat' - but, your overall approach to reclaiming the words that have long since been used in a negative connotation! That is brilliant!! And, so is your bag! ;)

amy dame said...

thanks so much everyone!

jigsawyouth, i have read cunt... a REALLY REALLY long time ago! i remember having a lot of issues with it (but enjoying other parts as well), but i did hear that she updated the next printing to make it a bit more inclusive of all women, and i don't think i ever read that part. i should reread it though, i kinda pulled away from really women centred feminism for a few years due to local politics (anti-sex and sex work, transphobic, etc, not my kind of feminism). i'm reading whipping girl by julia serano right now and it's really amazing.

tilt, i think you're right! so many of us have had the experience of skinny friends saying stuff like "oh, you're not fat!", when really, we are fat, and it's okay to admit it! and fat folks who think that fat is a bad word hate themselves for being fat. it doesn't sound like you need to lose weight for your health - you're in better shape that most skinny or average people! that's another way the media and society tries to prove that fat is bad, when really it's untrue. yes, some health issues are due to being fat (just like there are some health issues due to being too skinny), the vast majority of the stuff they blame on "obesity" affects all sizes of people. don't get me started on the bullshit of the "obesity epidemic"!
i have to say that i was really uncomfy with the gun cozy... and if i wasn't a mod, i probably would have been commenting on that thread as well! it was super well made, and the fabric was awesome, but i didn't think craftster was the place to be celebrating owning a handgun. i'm not anti-guns, i'm a prairie girl, i come from a hunting (for actual use, NOT for trophies) family and have shot guns myself before. if the cozy had been for a rifle, i'd have been all for it. but i don't see why anyone needs to have a handgun. they're specifically designed to be concealed and to be used against people, and i'm not cool with that.
definitely check out figure 8! it's a great zine. there are also some fabulous fat blogs out there, let me know if you want links!

spirals, i love that, i think it's one of the best compliments i've ever gotten! thank you! i hope the vinyl bag i made you is still holding up well!

jeni, good for you! i wish more people had your viewpoint, the world would be a lot happier!

michelle, thanks so much! i'm definitely not the only one with this viewpoint, but sometimes we get overshadowed by people who disagree!

whew! that was long!

Debbie said...

You are rad. I just followed you over here from Craftster and your bag is fabulous. Took me a while to get the image but love it once I found it. BTW I love the word bitch, whore is another one I like.

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