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Recently I was reading a zine for review and came across some obvious anti-fat statements. (I hesitate to use the word "hate," but perhaps "phobia" would not be too strong.) The statements were directed at the writer herself and were not blanket anti-fat statements about other people, but I'm of the mindset that if people think being fat is disgusting for themselves, they probably don't think my fat looks charming on me. I know that the author was writing about her own issues and not particularly about me, but it was quite startling and disheartening because the weight in question was almost exactly what I weigh.

I wasn't sure what to do. I considered giving a "fat phobia" warning in my review, which I ultimately didn't due to word count constraints. I did write the zinester a letter, about two months after I read the zine, after my got my temper under control. I just mailed the letter yesterday, so I don't know how (or if) the writer will reply.

I wonder what other folks do when they are innocently reading a zine and POW! I expect the mass media to say and imply shitting things about my body, but I'd like to pretend people who do zines are better than that. And of course, I understand that we all have the right to say whatever we want in our zines, but what happens when that whatever we say is hurtful to other people?

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Replies to This Discussion

That's a hard one. Some people are so filled with self-loathing --- I think it's important to remember it is about their own self-esteem issues, not about you, or the way you look or feel. There will always be people who are so critical about themselves, and internalize all the negative influences in culture at large... and sometimes even turn their own self-loathing outward... the best thing I can suggest, is continuing to offer alternative positive messages, for other girls and women out there, in your own work, as a way to counteract these less positive messages...
I agree with you Paula. I think it's really important to also recognize what may be symptoms of the writer's mental illness or own self esteem issues. I personally don't think that it would be right to invalidate what she may feel. I do think that it is right that if you do want to contact the person to do it in a positive manner.

In Introvert #5 i speak of how i sometimes feel i am "fat in all the wrong places". speaking of my own personal body dismorphic behaviors of focusing on my belly fat and breasts. I would be really hurt if someone took that as me stating that i am fat-phobic. I am simply writing my own personal struggle with learning to accept my body size. I am NOT fat-phobic. I am simply learning to be comfortable in my own skin.

Paula Wirth said:
That's a hard one. Some people are so filled with self-loathing --- I think it's important to remember it is about their own self-esteem issues, not about you, or the way you look or feel. There will always be people who are so critical about themselves, and internalize all the negative influences in culture at large... and sometimes even turn their own self-loathing outward... the best thing I can suggest, is continuing to offer alternative positive messages, for other girls and women out there, in your own work, as a way to counteract these less positive messages...

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