soooooo is no one going to say ANYTHING about how this woman is full of shit?
like oh, you needed a fat suit to learn that fat people aren’t treated well? OR HOW ABOUT YOU JUST LISTEN TO THE ENDLESS STORIES FROM ACTUAL FAT WOMEN WHO COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THIS IN TWO SECONDS
you needed a fat suit to show that people don’t like when people use “fake” images …. I GET IT THAT IT’S SUPPOSEDLY STILL THE SAME PERSON but i mean, this is why i keep my pics up to date, because i don’t want to put myself through this
I’d be just as displeased if some guy showed up looking 40 when he said he was 25 (has happened), so I mean, what is this experiment proving other than “people on dating sites expect you to look like your photo, regardless of what you look like/weigh”
and you couldn’t find an actually fat woman for this entirely POINTLESS “experiment”
my body is not your fucking costume
the struggles and hardships i face from a fatphobic society don’t come off at the end of the day. I can’t unzip my oppression and slide it off
l FUCKING HATE PEOPLE WHO PUT ON FAT SUITS BECAUSE THE EXPERIMENTS THEY DO ARE ALL FALSE RESULTS
Like oh, you felt bad because some guys left you while in a fat suit? But you KNOW you get to take it off later. You KNOW this isn’t something you’ve dealt with for 20+ years, and likely won’t have to ever experience once the suit is gone.
Wear that suit, EVERY DAY, even in the shower, for 20+ years, FROM CHILDHOOD, THEN fucking tell me what you’ve learned. Until then, get the fuck out of my face with this social experiment bullshit
I want to add so much more but for now I’ll just say that as an actual fat person who frequently goes on dates with men I’ve met online, I am terrified that my photos are perceived as “eh, I guess she isn’t too fat” because getting a good photo that accurately portrays my fattness in a picture appropriate for okcupid is tough. I am terrified that they will show up thinking I’m chubby and then see me, a 250+ person, and think I’m disgusting or WORSE try to fuck me anyways even though they aren’t attracted to me because “eh, I already came all this way” (which I’m pretty sure has happened on multiple occasions). Those are just two of my anxieties surrounding me online dating as a fat person and I’m of a relatively small fat. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for women of a larger fat and of a fat that is less socially acceptable.
Briefly, another reason why this is fucked up is these dudes are probably going to have even more fucked up opinions on fat girls now. Not only are fat women unattractive and insecure but they are liars. Thanks super awesome social experiment!
A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is eight years old, she’s got pink cheeks that her grandmother calls chubby. She wants a second cookie but her aunt says “you’ll get huge if you keep eating.” She wants a dress and the woman in the changing room says “she’ll probably need a large in that.” She wants to have dessert and her waiter says “After all that dinner you just had? You must be really hungry!” and her parents laugh.
A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is eleven and she is picked second-to-last in gym class. She watches a cartoon and sees that everyone who is annoying is drawn with a big wide body, all sweaty and panting. At night she dreams she is swelling like the ocean over seabeds. When she wakes up, she skips school.
A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is thirteen and her friends are stick-thin ballerinas with valleys between their hipbones. She is instead developing the wide curves of her mother. She says she is thick but her friends argue that she’s “muscular” and for some reason this hurts worse than just admitting that she jiggles when she walks and she’ll never be a dancer. Eating seconds of anything feels like she’s breaking some unspoken rule. The word “indulgent” starts to go along with “food.”
A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is fourteen and she has stopped drinking soda and juice because they bloat you. She always takes the stairs. She fidgets when she has to sit still. Whenever she goes out for ice cream, she leaves half at the bottom - but someone else always leaves more and she feels like she’s falling. She pretends to like salad more than she does. She feels eyes burrowing through her body while she eats lunch. Kate Moss tells her nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but she just feels like she is wilting.
A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is fifteen the first time her father says “you’re getting gaunt.” She rolls her eyes. She eats one meal a day but thinks she stays the same size. Every time she picks up a brownie she thinks of the people she sees on t.v. and every time she has cake, she thinks of the one million magazine articles on restricting calories. She used to have no idea a flat stomach was supposed to be beautiful until she saw advice on how to achieve it. She cuts back on everything. She controls. They tell her she’s getting too thin but she doesn’t believe it.
A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is sixteen and tearing herself into shreds in order for a thigh gap big enough to hush the screams in her head. She doesn’t “indulge,” ever. She can’t go out with friends, they expect her to eat. She damns her sweet tooth directly to hell. It’s coffee for breakfast and tea for lunch and if there’s dance that evening, two cups of water and then maybe an apple. She lies all the time until she thinks the words will rot her teeth. She dreams about food when she sleeps. Her aunt begs her to eat anything, even just a small cookie. They say, “One bite won’t make you fat, will it, darling?”
A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is seventeen and too sick to go to prom because she can’t stand up for very long. She thinks she wouldn’t look good in a dress anyway. Her nails are blue and not because they are painted. Her hair is too thin to do anything with. She’s tired all the time and always distracted. She once absently mentions the caloric value of grapes to the boy she is with and he looks at her like she’s gone insane and in that moment she realizes most people don’t have numbers constantly scrolling in their heads. She swallows hard and tries to figure out where it all went wrong, why more than a granola bar for a meal makes her feel sick, why she tastes disease and courts with death. She misses sleep. She misses being able to dream. She misses being herself instead of just being empty.
A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is twenty and writes poetry and is a healthy weight and still fights down the voices every single day. She puts food in her mouth and sometimes cries about it but more and more often feels good, feels balanced. Her cheeks are pink and they are chubby and soft and no longer growing slight fur. Her hair is long and it is beautiful. She still picks herself apart in the mirror, but she’s starting to get better about it. She wears the dress she likes even if it only fits her in a large and she doesn’t feel like a failure for it. She is falling in love with the fat on her hips.
She is eating out with friends and not worrying about finding the lowest calorie item on the menu when she hears a mother tell her four year old daughter “You can’t have ice cream, we just had dinner.
You don’t want to end up as a fat little girl.”
Taylor Swift’s Racism & “Shake It Off” Video
We clearly need to start a hashtag campaign at this point to #stopracistwhitegirls. Between Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Lily Allen and more, the mainstream pop bench is absolutely stacked with racist white girls galore at the moment. But in our 2014 “post racial” America where black people are getting killed every 28 hours by vigilante justice, where Mike Brown’s killer, Darren Wilson, is on paid leave for brutally executing an unarmed black teenager as we speak, and where police brutality against black bodies in Ferguson and across the country is the norm, it’s still so fun and uber cool for white girls to make blackness a costume! You know, since it clearly doesn’t get us killed or anything.
Enter Taylor Swift stage left.
[image description: Taylor Swift in a leopard print jacket with large gold hoop earrings, and cut of jean shorts with a gold chain posturing in front of twerking dancers]
So I’ll admit that I do have a bit of a penchant for bland pop music, and so I have followed Taylor Swift in varying capacities for many years. I understand that her entire image is carefully cultivated to exude innocent, bright eyed and bushy tailed white girl who is always “shocked” when she wins an award. I understand that the reason her image sells is because of the white supremacist patriarchal notion of the “cult of true womanhood,” where moneyed white woman had their femininity defined by 4 traits: piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness. It is in this mold that Taylor Swift has built such a massive following and sold so many millions of albums. Ascribing herself to these narrow values by which white womanhood is exalted and elevated in a way that is only accessible to white female bodies and not to WOC has been Swift’s “in” in the music industry more than anything else over the years.
But in the pop industry there is a constant need for reinvention and to push the boundaries ever further with each succeeding musical effort. Even as Swift has cultivated and carefully molded her image to fit this fairly rigid white supremacist patriarchal construct of white femininity and has made millions doing so, the constant churn of capitalism has made the appeal of her wonder bread white girl image fade with time. She needs some way to “spice up” her act and draw attention to herself along with it. As bell hooks so brilliantly says in her cultural criticism & transformation:
There’s a way in which white culture is perceived as too “wonder bread” right now—not edgy enough, not dangerous enough—let’s get some of those endangered species people to be exotic for us. It’s really simply a more up-scale version of primitivism resurging. When blackness is the sign of transgression that is most desired, it allows whiteness to remain static, to remain conservative, and it’s conservative thrust to go unnoticed.
And so, with this in mind, Swift like so many white girls and boys before her, turns to blackness to find that “exotic” flavor to give her bland image the kick it needs.
What strikes me about the “Shake It Off” video is just how true to form it is with all of the other racist music videos we’ve seen from white women in the past year alone. “Hard Out Here,” “We Can’t Stop,” “23” and more, white girls have been on a roll with their racism and racialized misogyny and Taylor Swift couldn’t wait to join the party.
[image description: Taylor Swift in a red hooded jacket, holding a boom box and wearing a fitted cap in front of black and Latino break dancers]
In one scene from the video we have Taylor Swift dressed as a b-boy with a fitted cap and all, in a brazen and blatant act of cultural appropriation. We all know that the b-boy tradition comes from black and Latin@ youth who get demonized and criminalized daily and who are not able to breakdance without facing harassment from the police. But Swift, drenched in her white privilege and concomitant myopia has no sense of how insulting it is to slip this on as a fun “costume” for a few seconds in her video, as she can always retreat back into her whiteness unassailed while the black and Latin@ breakdancers in her video cannot.
The most disgusting part of the video, though, came, as usual with the twerking scene. White girls just seem to love to throw in a twerking scene into their videos these days.
[image description: Taylor Swift in a leopard print jacket and gold earrings and chains crawling in between the legs of several twerking dancers and staring up at the butt of a twerking black woman]
This is different from the “Anaconda” video, where black women have agency and control of their sexuality and bodies. Instead, just like her racist white counterparts (namely Miley Cyrus and Lilly Allen), Taylor Swift makes twerking and black female bodies a spectacle before the white gaze. Particularly as she walks between the legs of her twerking dancers and pauses at the black woman in the group and gapes astoundingly at her ass, the white gaze is centralized. In this scene black femininity is clearly exotified and demonized in an animalistic contrast to her conservative white femininity that can gape “shocked” at what she’s witnessing (which black women have literally been doing for centuries). This is white feminism at work, which perpetually ignores crucial intersections of race and gender, and to add insult to injury the scene ends with Swift giggling and looking bashfully at the ground, reifying her innocence and white privilege in the spirit of the cult of true womanhood. These are constructs which black women and other WOC do not have access to due to their race, and which Swift gleefully reinforces with this imagery.
This entire scene is a blatant example of primitivism and misogynoir (racialized antiblack misogyny) in the spirit of the spectacle that people made out of the body of Saartjie Baartman.
[image description: Caricature cartoon image of Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman, the “Hottentot Venus.” She is scantily clad with a spear, very large buttocks and her large breasts exposed as well with a white Cherubim alighting on her buttocks]
In case you are not aware, Baartman was a Khoikhoi South African woman, who was brought to Europe in 1810 where she was subsequently paraded around as a freak show with the “exotic” features of her black female body—her butt, breasts and elongated labia— as the main event. Racist caricatures of her body were made, including the famous cartoon above. After her death, her skeleton, preserved genitals and brain were placed on display in Paris’ Musée de l’Homme until 1974. Her remains were not returned to South Africa until 2002 when she was finally reburied near her home town over 200 years after her birth.
In this video, Swift, like her racist white pop counterparts, taps into the racist traditions that we see in the dehumanization of Baartman. This is absolutely unacceptable. Black female bodies are not foreign, exotic, alien lands for your debasement in a cheap pop video for mass consumption. Black women have agency and deserve humanity and respect. Nobody cares if the dancer was “okay” with being in the scene or not, what we care about is the imagery being produced which enshrines white femininity as the standard and strips black women of agency rather than giving homage and due respect to them (as we see in Rihanna’s “Pour It Up” video, Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video and more which centralize the black female gaze).
But, if we didn’t know before, we’ve learned in the past year that Swift and all of these other white pop stars are simply shameless. They don’t care. We critique and point out their racism and racialized misogyny and they throw out obtuse comments about how they actually “really love black people” and “have black friends,” you name it, rather than accepting the problematic nature of their work and just apologizing. This is white supremacist thinking in action, as the only emotional universe which matters is that of the white individual in question and not that of the black people who object to the debasement of our bodies and commodification of aspects of our cultures in videos like this. And we see the impact of all of this in the thinking of their fans who myopically follow their stars and don’t realize that they can be fan while still being critical of the actions of their favorite pop stars. It is unacceptable that Swift can shamelessly appropriate from b-boy black and Latin@ culture, parade herself around as a faux-black woman and then exotify and degrade black female bodies for mass consumption in her videos. And it’s so important that we call videos like this out, and demand accountability from artists who put out degrading videos like Taylor Swift just did with “Shake It Off.” #stopracistwhitegirls2k14
This is the story of a racist myth that began with a light-hearted letter to the New England Journal of Medicine in 1968 and subsequently exploded in North American culture — in direct opposition to every shred of scientific evidence — becoming so prevalent that credulous eaters buy into it to the point of experiencing its effects on a purely psychosomatic basis.
It’s often been called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” and its premise is that MSG in Chinese food results in unpleasant allergic reactions. Interestingly enough, higher quantities of MSG in non-Chinese foods are not reported to have the same effects. MSG is a naturally occurring amino acid, and some of the highest levels of MSG a North American consumer is likely to ingest come in vine-ripened tomatoes, aged cheese, and dry-aged steak — yet there is no reported medical phenomenon known as “Italian Food Syndrome” or “American Steakhouse Syndrome”.
Monosodium glutamate was first isolated from the seaweed kombu, commonly used in the Japanese broth dashi, by biochemist Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University in 1908. He named its taste umami because it differed from the five conventional flavours of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy. Ikeda patented his discovery and MSG became commercially available in 1909. It was found to enhance flavours with one third of the amount of sodium as traditional salt, i.e. sodium chloride. In this sense, monosodium glutamate is probably healthier than sodium chloride because it achieves flavour with reduced sodium levels.
MSG was immediately popular in Asia and became common in the North American food industry after World War II, used in baby food, canned soup, vegetable juice, frozen food, as well as seasoning mix brands such as Accent. Yet somehow in the 1960s, this popular food additive became associated with Chinese food and deemed a health hazard. Why? Because Chinese people, culture, and food have been targeted by widespread and effective racist hate campaigns in North America since the 19th century, buttressed by wild claims that the Chinese are “unclean”, carry diseases, are sexually-deviant opium addicts, inscrutable and sneaky, a Yellow Peril.
The 1968 letter to the New England Journal of Medicine which solidified the myth of MSG was actually written by a Chinese immigrant named Robert Ho Man Kwok, who described “numbness at the back of the neck, gradually radiating to both arms and the back, general weakness and palpitation” after eating in American Chinese restaurants. The letter opened the floodgates to a barage of letters and related articles complaining of headaches, dizziness, paralysis of the throat, tingling in the temples, tightness of the jaw, irregular heartbeat, depression, hyperactivity, and all manner of digestive ailments.
Given this preponderance of anecdotal evidence, numerous scientific studies have been performed since then attempting to identify this “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome”. The funny thing is that no study has ever been able to do so. When people don’t know that they’re consuming MSG, they don’t suffer adverse reactions. All national and international food safety bodies have concluded that MSG is perfectly safe. People in Japan eat MSG every single day and the Japanese have the longest life expectancy in the world.
Fear of MSG is a racist remnant of the Chinese Exclusion era which exists only in North America and has been thoroughly debunked by science. Yet racist socialization is so powerful that people actually experience physical effects such as headaches, depression, and indigestion based solely on their indoctrinated fear of Chinese people and Chinese food. Think it over next time you eat parmesan cheese or a vine-ripened tomato.
When I was preparing to travel abroad to an impoverished nation, I was told by SO many white people to watch out, keep an eye on my valuables, don’t trust anyone, etc. I was fine. Nothing terrible happened. Everything I brought with me came home intact.
This year I went to a big music festival two hours from where I live, as peace-loving hippie-ish as can be, full of the whitest of the whities, and my DSLR camera was stolen within an hour.