Fat unicorns on t-shirts (again)

No, not the rhino chasing a false sense of beauty on treadmill (how perfect was that?). Woot's one-day shirt today is a fat unicorn eating a rainbow designed by Robbie Lee. I doubt it was meant positively (this is woot, after all), but I actually think the design ends up being fairly cute in spite of itself.

Sadly, the shirt is already sold out at woot, but I guess they do a second chance sale that will start tomorrow for $15 with free shipping. Sizes go up to 3X (men's) so at least some fatties can pick this up if the are interested. Tomorrow at midnight (so tonight, I think) it should be available here.


Fatties in Philly! Big Moves presents "Big Top"

Photo by David J. Anderson

I had the great pleasure of attending the Boston premiere this weekend of Big Moves' spring revue, "Big Top" and was absolutely wowed. Its certainly Big Moves' most ambitious revue show ever and it did not disappoint.

As the title suggests, the show is circus themed, but defies expectations on that count. No clowns and no sideshows. Rather, it draws upon a 1920's aesthetic, hearkening back to when circuses were an exploration of the exotic. It seems a fitting backdrop for presenting a show for fat dancers, something as exotic today as the animal menageries and foreign cultures would have been in the 1920's. Big Moves went all-out with this theme with elaborate costumes and set direction creative a vibrant entertainment.

Unlike past Big Moves' revue shows, there is actually a story here, though it is told entirely through pantomime segments that are wonderful portrayed by the cast. Some of the pieces were clearly very challenging to choreograph but the result was a very rewarding artistic expression. The characters introduced in the pantomime segments given the show a base that lends the dance elements more power as pieces of a larger whole. Though there are some leads (a pair of young lovers; seasoned chorus girls) all of the dancers lend some personality to their characters creating a very fully realized show. In addition to a full compliment of jazz dance numbers performed by the circus' chorus girls, Big Top also boasts aerial dance sequences using fabric trapeze of sorts, a choreographed animal exhibition, and several appearances by Big Moves' stable of belly dancers.

Building off the exotic adventure of the 1920's circus, each belly dance routine had a different cultural basis. The first was an elaborate fan dance of sorts where the dance is portrayed as an Egyptian goddess with a cape of giant gold wings. Later, we see a French theme as the dancer melds the traditions of belly dancing and mime in a surprisingly cohesive manner. This all culminates in a Bollywood style mash-up where the belly dancers share the stage with hip-hop dancers in one of the highlights of the production.

The show is kid-friendly and less overtly political than Big Moves' scripted shows like Lard which will be featured at this year's Montreal Fringe Festival. Big Top is a great way to introduce people to the idea of fat dance and I can't recommend it enough. Its finished its Boston run, but will be putting on two shows in Philadelphia this coming Saturday, April 26. There is a 2pm matinée and an 8pm evening show at the Rotunda in Philly. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Kids 12 and under can get $5 tickets. I cannot recommend this enough and if you can get to Philadelphia for one (or both!) of the shows, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out that my wonderful girlfriend Cristin is one of the chorus girls. She and all of the dancers have been working very hard putting this show together and its really a great success. My thanks to all of them and their director Marina Wolf Ahmed for a great production. I hope you'll have a chance to see it, too.


We all agree that fat people are bad

They do this all the time. When the issue of fat is to be debated in the media, they game the system by having the debate take part among people who all agree that fat is bad. Fat acceptance is left to be championed by someone who simply isn't outrageously bigoted about promoting weight loss. Whee.

This isn't something to feel happy about. This is how we get shut out of the discussion of OUR issues. Me!Me! Roth is succeeding at doing what so many right wingers have tried to do to political discussion, and we're happy about this? Bull. Like a lot of conservative idealogues, she has staked out an extremist position, not so much to advance it, but to pull the overall discussion in her direction. She is setting the rules for what is acceptable. As such, she gets balanced out with people who still believes her essential argument that fat is bad. Instead of being part of HER side, now they are the other side. Who does this benefit? Me!Me!, not us. Because now she is balanced not with someone who believes in fat acceptance or who challenges fat oppression. Rather, she is balanced by someone who simply wants to redefine weight loss "success".

This serves to marginalize fat people and fat liberation. It serves to further entrench and reinforce fat hatred. I'm sick of people arguing amongst themselves about how best to stigmatize fat people. I'm sick of agreeing that fat people are bad being the price of admission to discussing fat issues. This is not good enough. Not by a long shot. This is further letting the likes of Me!Me! Roth set the limits of fat acceptability and there is nothing to celebrate about that.

"We don't hate you enough"

The idiotic article from New University has been dealt with. Ironically enough, there is nothing especially new about it. Its the standard foolish attack from a fat bigot crazed by fantasies of an all-powerful "fat mob" or "flob" (the "l" stands for... well it stands for rhyming with slob, don't ask this kid to make sense). I briefly thought fat oppression might be unique for the way its oppressors imagine that WE are the ones with all the power. It took me about two seconds to realize that's not at all unheard of, but still its somewhat unique the way several dozen unfunded and geographically disparate activists are imagined to be akin to Big Tobacco or Big Feminism or whatever Big Evil supports the existing ideology of the person making this stuff up. All this perverted reality leads to this stunning statement by the author summing up his position.

"The truth is that if you are fat, you must be told that you are fat so that you will do something to change it."

He says this like its a revelation. Like this is some divine truth he's benevolently passing onto the unwashed masses. Like no one thought of this before.

Which really illustrates the fundamental problem fat acceptance faces when it tries to engage fat bigotry and reason with it. Fat bigotry really does think the answer is that we just need to try being mean to fatties. They really don't get that this is been standard opperating procedure for decades. Our fatness is so simple to them, that they can't see the truth. I'm not sure how we get them too, but we need to recognize the depths of unreality that we're dealing with here. Many fat bigots genuinely think that fat people have it easy, and that this is why there are so many fat people. That it really is as simple as just telling us to stop being fat, even though we've been told that on a daily basis for years upon years.

They are convinced that the problem is not that their hatred isn't producing anything. Is that they aren't hating us enough. We can't bargain with that. We can't reason with it. Because it will keep coming back to us and suggesting, "well, what if we hate you some more" and think that's a compromise. We need to change the rules here, because we're dealing with critics who won't even let the rules of reality hold them back.


Obesely Obese Obesity

So, evidently Wired Magazine has decided to define "fatosphere" thusly:

Fatosphere n. A blogosphere of the obese, by the obese, for the obese. Often designated "no-diet zones," fatosphere blogs seek to counter medical claims that obesity is a health epidemic.

Never minding the limiting of the definition to just fat bloggings criticism of the "obesity" epidemic, I'm stunned that when defining the FATosphere, they refuse to call us fat. Nope, must use the socially approved slur of "obese" and use it as much as humanly possible. I'm stunned they didn't invent new forms of the word like an adverb "obesely".

Look, among the things fat blogs should be trying to accomplish is to get ignorant people to STOP calling use "obese". Its a loaded word. I've gone over this, before.

"Obese" medicalizes our bodies. It reduces us to being seen as diseased. Far more than "fat", it used to define us. And not even by our bodies, but by the state of failure and disease those are bodies are supposed to represent. Its like insisting on calling a gay person "homosexual", using the Latin to dehumanize people. Its not a nice way of calling us fat. Its an offensive way of calling us fat. And its worse than "homosexual" because the Latin origin of "obesity" is an accusation of gluttony. The word roughly means "on account of eating". Using the word makes a judgment against us. It reinforces cultural stereotypes and one thing fat blogs should darn well do is reject it and demand others do the same.

If you call me obese, you are not being respectful of me. I'll grant that a lot of people don't know any better, but that's not a free pass. Its a word of scorn and derision and it is disrespectful to call me or any other fat person "obese" or to talk about a state of "obesity". If you didn't know that before, fine. You do know, and I hope you'll act accordingly. I'm not "obese". I'm not "overweight". I'm fat.