It’s widely assumed that thin women have ‘thin privilege’… the clothes, the doctors, the entire health system, insurance, people in general… I get it. After reading Glosswitch’s latest piece on thinness, I recognize that I’m ‘that body type’ mentioned at the start. And it’s reminded me to say something about being ‘that’ body type.
You see I agree with Glosswitch, I realise my body type is ‘celebrated’. But I also realise it’s not celebrated because it’s superior, nor because it functions better. In fact it’s not actually anything to do with me. The only reason there’s any celebration is because my body fits the porn-look of the moment. Thin. Yay.
I realise I might be judged differently than bigger women, I have seen it my whole life. But it happens only in the context that my body type is linked to commoditisation. The thin body-type has been broadcast in so many prornos and so many billboards that it elicits a consumerist response. And that doesn’t mean thin women are desired or respected, it means we are a potential commodity.
Given the history of slavery and oppression that surrounds the sex industry, there is something very fucked up about ‘sexy’ and ‘desirable’ being defined by it. That context of sexual servitude is still being applied to judge women’s value today. It’s also especially fucked up that silicone was first widely used in the breasts of women forced into the sex trade, but I digress.
We need to be clear about what being ‘thin’, ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ really means. To a young girl in Asia it could mean being trafficked. But I can speak only for myself in knowing that being thin or ‘hot’ is a message that you have conformed. It means you have been marked as a target, as a toy, as a marketing tool, but not as a person. ‘Sexy’ sounds like your value might increase and maybe it does in some ways for some people, but its more likely that women will see you as a ‘mean girl’ and men see you as ‘grade A meat’.
Sexy is not empowering, women will never find empowerment by aligning to the look of sexual servitude. Sexy is nothing more than fitting the terms of subordination. Sexy is about obedience. Sexy is patriarchy patched up in foundation.
Sexy is supposed to divide and conquer.
I’m tired of hearing about what’s sexy, I’m tired of hearing about beach bodies. I’m tired of this shit tearing women apart when really, we need eachother. And no, Dove, we don’t need to be told we are ‘all beautiful’ we dont need ‘sexy feminist burlesque’ we need to throw the whole notion of sexy out the window. If you think that ‘sexifying’ bigger women will solve the problem, take a look at Brazil’s rates of cosmetic surgery – to plump up arses – and then get back to me. Research shows that regardless of how attractive (ie conforming) we look – women are just as dissatisfied over their bodies. No shit, we can’t win!
We should feel great about our bodies and about sexuality too, but feeling great doesn’t come by conforming to sexual commodification. We know this, empirically we know this. Yet somehow we are still fighting the same fight.
Over a century ago women were fighting for the vote, they may never have guessed that today we are fighting for our right to have different shaped boobs. How much farther backward can we go?
As Naomi Wolf said ‘you don’t win by struggling your way to the top of a hierarchy. You win by refusing to be trapped within one at all’.