ETA: To those who are coming her from Candye Kane’s blog:
Dr. Sheila Addison is awesome. She wrote this as a guest post, as it clearly states in the title of the piece. I am The Rotund and I posted her piece because many female performers do lie about their weight and it is a seriously troubling issue and I thought the post would garner a lot of interesting discussion, which it did. I suggest you read the many comments here, discussing it.
That said, this is not going to turn into a “pile on Dr. Sheila” party. I moderate comments really strictly to preserve an atmosphere where we can actually discuss stuff. I have no problem with someone challenging Dr. Sheila about her post. I AM amused that Candye Kane took such issue with Sheila not coming to her but then did not comment here herself. That seems like a double standard to me.
In any event, I have sent a message to Candye Kane via MySpace, published her comment when the one here got trapped in the spam filter. Hopefully, she’ll make it back over here and we can all discuss this some more.
This guest post from Dr. Sheila Addison addresses what I think is a really important issue: People need to stop lying about their weight. For real and serious, people. Get over the number and stop letting it compromise your integrity.
I am mad at Candye Kane.
I have been asked to perform in a benefit for her, because she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and gone through a Whipple procedure recently. Great cause, for sure.
I haven’t been familiar with her music, but in listening to her back catalogue to try to pick out a song, I notice she has a lot of pieces (“Big Fat Mamas are Back in Style,” “You Need a Great Big Woman”) that reference her big size. (“Everybody Needs Love” is a great
size-acceptance anthem.) Some of them are borderline BBW/chubby-chaser-esque which makes me cringe, but I bet she sells them like hell in her live shows.
But I’m mad at her. Because one of her anthems is “200 Pounds of Fun.” And I’ll be damned if she’s 200 pounds.
What bugs me about this is that I’ve seen the same kind of numbers game go on in big-girl porn – I’ve seen shoots with women who were labeled 150 or 170 pounds who were more like 250, maybe even 300 if they were an ounce. It hacks me off that even in allegedly size-positive territory (setting aside my feelings about the BBW fetishization thing, it is at
least an arena where women of size are supposed to be appreciated), there is this relentless effort to slim women’s weights down. And the kickback is that a) people have no idea what weights look like, and b) the belief that women who weigh 160 or 170 pounds are “pigs”
(warning: super-triggering article about “hogging”). The result is that the popular perception of anything above what, 130? 140 pounds? Is Fatty Fatty Two By Four.
I weigh 200 pounds at 5’1. Candye Kane does not weigh 200 pounds and come just a head shorter than 6’6 Penn Jillette. But because of ongoing public deception about big women’s weights, I’ve not only Shocked and Amazed My Friends, I’ve been accused of being deceiving when I’ve posted personal ads. If I call myself “curvy,” people seem to expect a size 10 with boobs. If I say I’m 200 pounds, they expect me to be a 48H bra with 60-inch hips. If I say I’m a size 16/18, well no one knows what that looks like because even our clothing manufacturers can’t decide. And forget about using the dread word “fat” in a personal because it only brings out the fetishists, and they don’t want me any more than I want them.
I’m tired of the lying about our weight. I’m tired of the assumption that 200 pounds is the OMG Serious Death Fat (I am still smarting from my doctor’s “well you CAN’T get to 200 pounds!!!!” comment a couple of years ago when I weighed in at 195, one of the last times I allowed my weight to be taken at a doctor’s office). We don’t know what weight looks like, we really really
don’t. And as we in the Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size world know, there is no number, be it 200 or 300 or any other number of pounds, that makes a person worthy or not, sexy or not, healthy or not, valuable or not. If you are going to debunk the idea of Size = Gross, why stop with 200 pounds?
Candye: you are an awesome women who has, apparently, made a career out of demanding respect and love for fat bodies. Why does your song say that you are 200 pounds when you’re not? I could sing that song for the benefit but no one would believe me, because I look like a wannabe next to you.
As it turns out my teaching schedule won’t allow me to take part in the benefit, but Bay Area folks may still want to check it out as there will be plenty of fat and fat-positive performers there. And Candye is a terrific singer who deserves all the help she can get.
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