So, I saw some of those Girl Love Handles that got Dan Savage all bent out of shape a couple weeks back. Or, at least, an example of the kind of "extreme" I'm sure Savage and other haters would use to illustrate a point when they are really talking about damn near any young woman in low-rise pants. This girl was not so much wearing low rise shorts as she was wearing shorts that were noticably too small and had to be worn under her belly. No doubt inspiring a new spiteful initialing like GPB (Girl pot belly). But along with the belly were a pair of unmistakable love handles. The girl was hardly fat. A size 12 at most, but the outfit certainly emphasized what fat was there to the extreme.
A couple of thoughts. First off, is that seriously what Savage and his ilk are so damned concerned about? Honestly, how would this site so negatively effect your life just to have seen it? It was so amazingly not worth caring about.
The other thought is that this girl's outfit is the kind of thing FA's get overly worked up about. And no, not in the simple "ooooh, fat girl belly showing!" way. I think its too easy to read too much into seeing one woman who is allowing her fat to be seen. I know I've done it. You can see why. Tight shorts or not, this woman was reasonably well dressed. It may not have been "high society", but it also wasn't anything explicitly "slutty" nor unkept. Its also clear that she must have known the ramifications of the outfit and the display of her flesh when she put it on. You see some women who are constantly tugging down on short shirts, but this wasn't a close call. There was no way those shorts could have been worn anywhere but below her belly. Surely this must be a sign of a greater acceptance of fat. Surely this must foretell of a future where fat women feel the same freedom to choose their clothing as thin women. Surely this conspicious display of fat is a good sign of something.
Except, it really probably isn't. I want to think seeing a woman dressed like this means we are making some kind of progress (dubious, though it may be, I'm firmly in the camp that thinks fat women should feel free to wear whatever they damn well please and not be concerned with the kinds of negativism expressed by Dan Savage should any fat flesh be allowed into daylight) But, the fact is, it doesn't really mean anything. This isn't some great political statement. Its probably not even a great personal statement of self-acceptance. She probably just wants to dress like her thin friends and that desire is overriding any shame over her fat.
And just like I, as an FA, can read too much into such a sight, so do the critics of fat people. They, oddly enough, jump to the same conclusions I find myself wanting to adopt, although with a very different spin. To them, this is proof of the fall of civilization and all that. Proof of a permissive attitude towards fat they are so certain must exist if there are so many of us fat people around. While the FA may see this woman with unwarrented optimism, the fat basher sees this as justifying their own absurd fears. Kind of a weird situation, really.
The sad fact is, I don't think we're making progress. I saw the same sort of thing 10 years ago and had the same optimistic hope that this was proof of a growing acceptance of fat bodies. But in the 10 years, I just haven't seen anything but an increasing backlash against fat people.