Since Plus Size Wars has been on I’ve seen a few
idiots people comparing plus size girls and women to pets. The two instances that come immediately to mind are, “our pets would be taken off us if we let them get that fat”, and “it’s like with pets, we’ve forgotten what normal looks like”.
What the hell is with those comparisons?
These are real people being referred to as animals.
This goes further than just dehumanising, it’s treating us as less than human. Less deserving of right and respect.
Not only that, the fact that it is pets rather than animals in general shows that we are seen as somehow the property of others. That we do not have, or deserve, ownership of our own bodies.
It’s a way of saying that someone else’s feelings on our bodies are more important than our own experience of living in our bodies. It takes away our agency.
It doesn’t escape my notice that these terms are used more often when referring to women, and the times I’ve heard these kinds of comparisons used it has been men saying them.
I do wonder how much of it is that, in their minds, we are there mostly as an object to satisfy their gaze. When we do not satisfy their gaze due to not fitting their preferred body type then we are defective and must be fixed. Because, of course, they have more ownership of our bodies than we do.
Us saying, “actually you need to let me deal with my body in my own way”, means they have to accept that they do not have a say over us, that they have no right to dictate what happens to our bodies. They have to relinquish the control they want.
And they will fight it.
In the case of the latter example, this was a radio programme on BBC 3 Counties, where the DJ was arguing that plus size bloggers were bad role models, he claimed to be arguing this for health reasons , but let the mask slip when he talked about supermodels also being a problem because they are “far too leggy, and skinny, and you can see all their bones sticking out, I don’t think anybody really likes that look very much.” Let me translate that for you, “I don’t find them attractive, how dare they look a way I don’t find attractive”. For all the pretence about it being concern for health, the comments on this and the comparison to pets show exactly what this is really about.
I also note, that when a man was making comments to him about it not being as simple as just over eating, he accepted that. But not from the female callers. Remember, us women have no agency, the men do though.
Well we are not their property, we deserve to be treated with respect, and we will not bow down to these bullies. #WeAreTheThey and we #WillNotBeShamed.