The Danger Zone: Fat and Visible at the Intersections



This week I saw Rich Kids of Instagram for the first time… Lucky me. Naturally, as I simultaneously swelled with disgust and fascination at the obnoxiously extravagant displays of wealth, the questions immediately followed. I’ll admit, some of them varied in importance. For example:  Do you need matching gold bullets for a gold plated AK-47? When your bar tab is $107,524, do you really tip your cocktail waitress $16,129? (If so I may have chosen the wrong part time job in college.)

But the questions that have really stuck with me are about who these rich kids are, and more importantly, who they aren’t. Obviously none of them are poor. But why are only a handful of them identifiable people of color? Why are all of them traditionally “attractive”? Why are none of them fat?

This post isn’t about Rich Kids of Instagram, but it got me thinking: within the epitome of privilege, there is no room for fatties. But why? There is obviously something to be said about financial access to products, procedures, and services that allow rich people to achieve a desired aesthetic. And although I am not suggesting that there are no rich people who are fat, I think that when self-imposed hyper-visibility is introduced the display of privilege must encompass the body as well. This privilege makes the public eye a safe space. There is virtually no threat of disenfranchisement, dehumanization, or shame

But what does this mean for people like me? As a fat  woman, my hyper-visibility is not always dictated by my own personal choices… and I certainly don’t own a fucking yacht. By no means have I earned my spot among the ranks of those who are safe to exist and be seen. And I’ve been all but banned from tryouts by also being black, queer identified, and polyamorous. From what I know to be true, these identities are tolerable as long as I remain on the margins; out of sight and out of mind of those who can afford to be in the limelight. Forever a boundary pusher, however, I have the audacity to love myself, demand respect, and expect to be heard. How dare I!

It is beautiful and powerful that I and other fat, black, poly, queer, or any combination of these women are able to transcend rhetoric that says in so many words “you ain’t shit”; but our willingness to be visible is still a revolutionary, but dangerous act. Audre Lorde was right when she said “we were never meant to survive” and when creating dialogue about privilege and oppression we have to keep body politics and identities in the mix. Feminists can’t ignore fatphobia, just as we can’t ignore racism, homophobia, and sexism because this ideology heavily intersects with other systems of power and domination. Invisibility should no longer be the safe route for those at the intersections or on the margins.

Now: Can anyone tell me more about cocktail waitressing?


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  1. By The Feministing Five: Sesali Bowen on December 22, 2012 at 11:52 am

    [...] one of our newest contributors from our So You Think You Can Blog contest. She wrote about being fat and visible at the intersections, what we can learn from women rappers, and bravely asked what if Shidea Lane wasn’t a woman [...]

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