Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ancestors, Discrimination and Beauty

Both of my grandmothers were employed here by the Clothing industry when they came to the USA (both around 1913).  They were both strong, somewhat plump women who served as organizers of workers in their work places and, in the case of my mother's mother, chair of committees and women's auxiliary branches of organizations. Ironically I don't think they would have approved of Fat Acceptance, since their environment was saturated with anti-fat beliefs and sentiments. Their generation was determined not to raise fat children because being fat, for them, was considered anti-American (read: foreign and not White Anglo Saxon Protestant).

Somehow the same sentiment still lingers in a lot of the more fashionable areas of big cities, the cities which still receive the most immigrants. And yet the work done by NAAFA and other strong, determined, brilliant women of size has managed to push back against fat shaming just enough so that you will find more fat women beautifully attired and proud of their beauty.

I am proud to say that there are poems in both Fat Poets Speak (1): Voices of the Fat Poets' Society and Fat Poets Speak (2): Living and Loving Fatly about fat women who are now proud of their beauty.

We, the current generation of fat American women, are rising up against fat discrimination and stigmatizing faced by previous generations, our ancestors. But we have our ancestors -in my case, my grandmothers- to thank for their determination to fight back against conditions in their workplaces, thus sowing -and sewing- the seed for their granddaughters to rise up against a different kind of discrimination.

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