I am going to write an essay describing my experiences with fat oppression and the ways in which feminism and punk have affected my work. It will be clear, concise and well thought-out, and will be laid out in the basic thesis paper, college essay format. I will deal with these issues in a mature and intellectual manner. I will cash in on as many fifty-cent words as possible.I love the tone that Lamm uses. I love that she refuses to follow the rules, and brazenly admits it, no, joyously celebrates it. She is not afraid or hesitant or apologetic to speak from her experiences and of her experiences. “I was born with one leg. I guess it’s a big deal, but it’s never worked into my body image in the same way that being fat has. And what does it mean to be a white woman as opposed to a woman of color? A middle-class fat girl as opposed to a poor fat girl? What does it mean to be fat, physically disabled and bisexual? (Or fat, disabled and sexual at all?)” (456). At the same time that she examines these differences, in class and sexuality and disability, she seeks connection. She knows that many women struggle with the image of their bodies because she hears it all around her.
I lied. (455)
“I am living out this system of oppression through my memories, and even when I’m not thinking about them they are there, affecting everything I do” (457). Lamm puts into words what so many women simply ignore. This culture that we listen to and internalize creates monsters that live inside us, monsters that we feed and cultivate because we never stop to think about why we shouldn’t.
“All my life the media and everyone around me have told me that fat is ugly. Which of course is just a cultural standard that has many, many medical lies to fall back upon” (457). No matter how self-confident you are, the chorus of voices in our culture are always whispering, sometimes shouting, telling us how we are imperfect, whether we are too large for the standard or too small, as one classmate brought up the other side of the coin. Women are shamed for being fat, but women are also shamed for being skinny.
And I will admit, I felt a kernel of emotion, ugly emotion, at the bringing up of skinny shaming. I’ve never been skinny, though I’ve never been particularly fat either. I can’t even write about this without feeling awkward with my words. What is my body type? What was it at my largest, a year after college? What is it now as I find myself gaining weight along with strength and greater running speed (there I go, qualifying myself, as if I need an excuse, a sort balance)? Why is it I felt resentful to that woman for bringing up skinny shaming? Did I feel she was hijacking the conversation? Was I ranking that oppression as not as bad, because at least she could fit in cute clothes even if people did badger her about eating?
I did not feel comfortable. And that is a good thing. Revolution doesn’t happen when people are comfortable.
This is the revolution. I don’t understand the revolution. I can’t lay it all out in black and white and tell you what is revolutionary and what is not. The punk scene is a revolution, but not in and of itself. Feminism is a revolution; it is solidarity as well as critique and confrontation. This is the fat grrrl revolution. It’s mine, but it doesn’t belong to me. Fuckin’ yeah. (461)