Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fat Shaming and Racial Undertones

Apparently Wisconsin’s Republican representative Jim Sensenbrenner thinks Michelle Obama is a hypocrite for advocating a healthful diet and productive exercise plan through her “Let’s Move” campaign. A few months ago he said, “She lectures on us eating right while has a large posterior herself.” Though he later apologized for his inappropriate remarks, let’s deconstruct then.

Other blogs have attacked the fat shaming implicated in Sensenbrenner’s comments, so I’ll keep this brief. It is impossible to estimate a person’s health by looking at them. You can’t see high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease by glancing at someone. Bad health is related to poor lifestyle choices, not someone’s weight. Sensenbrenner, who isn’t a trained doctor, can’t judge First Lady Obama’s health because she has a little junk in the trunk. Besides, even if she were unhealthy, it doesn’t negate her desire to promote a healthier life for children.

Let’s be real; Michelle is not think and she certainly can’t pass for fat with those toned arms. So more than the fat shaming in Sensenbrenner’s thoughtless comment is the racial element involved. It is disturbing that a bunch of activists and feminists are focusing on the weight bias while ignoring the implications of Rep. Sensenbrenner’s statement, which is an obvious case of white privilege.

Having a big ass is a black girl stereotype that has been perpetuated for centuries. Our bodies have been compared to wild animals for their naturally large proportions and attention is constantly drawn to the size of our hips and asses. That has led to the jezebel images that sexualizes black women and forces us into the sexually deviant box. This stereotype excludes us from the cult of white womanhood and is evident in Rep. Sensenbrenner’s comment. His words automatically sexualized the first lady by calling attention to her body. Although Michelle Obama meets all standards for the white patriarchal beauty idealism, sans her complexion, all Sensenbrenner sees is her fat ass. Not even the premiere woman in our nation can escape the oppressive images and histories of our Hottentot Venus.

White men have ALWAYS looked at the bodies of black women with lust and a sense of ownership while also considering us hoes, whores, and moral deviants. Sensenbrenner’s comment polices First Lady Obama’s body while also recalling harmful images that have controlled our sexuality for ages. It is unacceptable for white feminists to disregard the underlying racial implications in his statement and the repercussions it will have on women of color who already feel inadequate because of their large thighs, asses, and hips.

This article is courtesy of blog: FatFemPinUp

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