Don’t Get Sad, Get Mad

When you see something upsetting, disappointing, or unjust, do you get sad or mad? I tend to get mad. And that’s good, because sadness can make us feel hopeless and helpless. It makes us less likely to act to make change. But when we’re mad, we feel that fire in our belly, and we take up a pen or pick up the phone. We need to do something with that fire, like emailing an organization that only sells straight-sized clothing, or calling out fatphobia when you see it, or sharing fat-positive articles or media, or signing a petition.

AMC / Dietland

Let me tell you what I’m mad about today. AMC has cancelled Dietland. Did you get a chance to watch this remarkable show? I’ve never seen anything like it. Plum, as played by the revelatory and astonishing Joy Nash, hates her body, and is preparing to have weight loss surgery so she can finally become the thin person she’s always known lived inside her. Now, I know what you’re thinking: That isn’t fat-positive at all! But wait. Through a series of events, Plum comes to realize the insidious hold that diet and beauty culture have on her, and she begins to rebel. She begins to transform.

Y’all, I’m not exaggerating when I say this show made me cry every week. I’ve never before seen so many of my own experiences and feelings play out on a screen. She monitored every bite of food that went into her mouth. She questioned why men paid attention to her. She was humiliated and rejected and mocked and bullied. She felt shame and guilt. Seeing those things on screen was important and hard and real. But even better was seeing Plum’s journey to self-acceptance and love. She stopped hiding her body in big black clothes, and embraced color and pattens. Her eyes and smile brightened. She ate what she craved. She became more herself. I’ve been through all that. I wonder how much easier my own journey would have been if I’d seen Plum go through it first.

AMC / Dietland

And on top of that, they had an actual fat woman play this role. Not a “Hollywood fat” actress, like Renee Zellweger after she’s put on a few pounds, or Amy Schumer, but someone who looks like me. And they truely showed her body. Naked! I gasped when I saw it, and then I sobbed. There was a body like mine, on TV, not being mocked or shamed or ridiculed.

This is why I say, on repeat, that representation matters. I needed Plum. I still need her. Fat women need her.

Instead, Hollywood takes Plum away, and gives us more Patty. Patty is the main character of Insatiable, a Netflix show about a fat teenager (played by a thin actress in a fat suit) who gets her jaw wired shut, gets thin, and proceeds to get revenge on everyone who treated her badly when she was big. I haven’t watched the show, and I won’t. There’s not a thin person inside me struggling to get out, a better life doesn’t only start when you’ve finally gotten skinny, and I don’t need to see that narrative played out on the screen again. It’s hurtful and harmful and unnecessary.

AMC / Dietland

I’m mad that Hollywood thinks we want Patty. I’m mad that Hollywood thinks we don’t need Plum. If you feel the same, take action. Sign this petition. Make noise. Let AMC and Netflix and Hollywood know you’re mad. Use your fire, like Plum.

Did you watch Dietland? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

The Shape of Things

A Guest Post from Tanya Schofield I need to say these things, because they are important. I inhabit a larger body, and I am okay with that. I am unconcerned with my relationship to gravity, because the shape of me is in no way related to the worth of me. …

Vocabulary Lesson: All

It’s a tiny word, but huge in meaning: all. It means everybody. Everyone. All of us. Have you heard of the denim company 7 For All Mankind? They’d been on my periphery for awhile, but today I checked them out properly. They came to my attention because one of my …

My Body Valentine

Dear Body, I’m sorry that I’ve spent so much time wishing you were different. I’m sorry I blamed you for not being small enough. I’m sorry I tried to force you into a shape you couldn’t be. I’m sorry for every time I cried at your reflection. I’m sorry I …

Fashion at Your Door

Have you guys ever tried one of those plus-size subscription clothing services? A few years ago, I tried Gwynnie Bee. It was okay. I definitely loved getting clothes delivered right to my door, but I ended up sending almost every piece back. They were either too big, too small, not …

When Doctor Doesn’t Know Best

A lot of people go through life thinking that their doctor knows best. After all, doctors go to medical school for many years. They learn a lot of stuff that we know nothing about. But that doesn’t mean that doctors are free from bias. They can be misinformed. They can …

Activewear Done Right

Back in September, I was out in Minneapolis to see my favorite band. My hotel was right down the road from the Mall of America, so of course I had to check it out. And even though 67% of American women wear size 16 and above, most stores in that massive …

Now You’ve Got My Attention

What does it take to get your attention? It’s a busy time of year, and we’re all stretched thin. If you’re like me, your inbox is overflowing with emails from companies fighting for your hard-earned dollars. I delete almost all of them, but there’s two ways they grab my attention. …

You Don’t Know Me

Let’s talk about what it means to know someone. When you look at someone in the grocery store, across a room, online, do you think that you know them? Let me give you an example. I’m on all the dating apps. I have face pictures and body pictures. I have …

Eating Overseas

Hej! (That’s Danish for “hi!”) I went to Denmark earlier this month, and I have to tell you what eating was like over there. First, because the food was SO good. But also, because eating overseas was so different than eating here in the States. We were super lucky to …