Would to God that it was because of the offensiveness of "Tip Drill." Or if some commenters decided they find "booty dancing" troublesome. Nah, what upsets the commenters at youtube is that these women
Are fat. FAT. And apparently having fun. And doing something as sensual as dancing. And by God, they have friends. Who the hell wants to be seen with a fat girl?
The comments are rife with "nasty," "disgusting," "gross," "wrong" and observations about vomiting and gouging out one's eyes. And then there is the ultimate: "You should be ashamed of yourselves." Because we know how shame works to immobilize and silence women. And I can tell you how it works to immobilize and silence fat women, how it makes all eyes turn upon you, how it makes your skin crawl, how it makes you wish you could just disappear.
That is exactly what these commenters are wishing on these women. Oh, a few of them are careful to disguise it in that "I'm so concerned for your health..." And, lately, my ultra-concerned brothers and sisters of color have added a new twist: they are concerned for our health because we're killing the black community.* You talk about a guilt inducer. Oh. My. God.
But come on, if we're really concerned about people's health, would we be turning up our noses and insulting them? Since we believe fat is solely the product of overeating*, if we wanted to encourage people to eat more healthfully, wouldn't we be asking our government officials why, since the mid-1990s, meat and dairy have received 3x the subsidies of grains and why "fats and oils [have] collected 20x more government handouts than fruits and vegetables"? Wouldn't we be demanding that the media curb the 70% of food advertising that is controlled by convenience and "junk" foods?* Wouldn't we ask food processors why they lie and say they're adding "value" to our food when what they're typically adding is sugar and fat?
So, nah. I don't think we're all that concerned with what people eat; what we're obsessed with is how they look and the connections we make between that appearance and food.
Over at Trash Talks Back, Elaina gave me another idea for why this video is so upsetting (please go read her whole post!):
I'm relearning that fat people are expected to be losers. People think that we are fumbly or we are lazy, or that we are afraid to do outrageous and energetic things.The women in the video defy that assumption, and apparently it's creating a sort of dissonance that is unbearable. Elaina also said something that I think is another clue into the mindset of the commenters:
People constantly wave their own fears of becoming what you are in front of your face, without a thought as to how you will feel about it. Anti-fat thought is presumed to be correct thought.Oh, and don't think fat people don't have fat phobic thoughts. My first reaction to this video was, "I can't believe they had enough nerve to..." 'Cause we're not supposed to, you know, have nerve or willingly display our bodies--I say willingly because whether we want them to or not, our fat bodies have been co-opted for the purpose of showing people what they want to avoid. My second thought was, "Ooh, I'm so glad they did."
It's a strange position fat people occupy, taking up more space than what society has decided is your right to have while simultaneously being invisible... until someone wants to point out what not to become. And apparently that concept is so sacred that youtube commenters believe that fat women should be excluded, invisible, on a site designed for anyone to share video. But fat women aren't anyone, of course. We're those pesky "others."
Elaina had a few tips I wish I could go post in the comments at youtube:
6. You have no right to presume that our fatness means anything more than we weigh a certain amount over what's been deemed by capitalist white supremacist patriarchy as the "norm."And please, do not assume that we don't dance* and that we don't laugh and that we're not sensual. Keep your issues and your projections to yourself.
7. Do not assume that we are lazy or unintelligent.
8. Do not assume that we are weak.
9. Do not assume that we are obsessive-compulsive about food.
10. Do not assume that we are desperate for your friendship and/or your sympathy.
11. Do not assume that we think that we are less attractive than you are, or that we hate our bodies, or that we strive to be like you.
And, no, the commenters at youtube didn't get these women down, because they also posted this:
*I don't doubt that some people genuinely have health concerns and I don't discount medical evidence that links obesity to some illnesses. But this is often the most convenient excuse for fat phobes.
*And of course overeating is nothing more than a lack of willpower which "proves" how weak fat people are.
*All from the intro to Steve Striffler's Chicken.
*Yes, in the company of supporive friends and family, ms. elle has been known to shake her moneymaker then drop it like it's hot.