Queer and Queerer Ep. 12 – That’s So Fat! Body Image & Metrosexuality

Peterson and Zack are here to talk about that big bad issue that no one likes to be reminded of: body image. Body image issues affect all of us, but there are definitely some interesting and unique issues that arise in the LGB and T communities. In this week’s episode, we both talk about our own struggles with body image, we discuss different research that has come out about queer body issues, and we offer our own ideas about how we got where we are and where we’re going. We also invite listeners to share their own stories and struggles so we can build solidarity in our community.

Listen to Queer and Queerer Episode 12

Listen to this week’s episode:

// Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Vote for Zack (Ford) today to get him to Netroots Nation next month!

» David Mixner: On Being Fat

» Study shows gay men are thinner and lesbians are more obese.

» NYT: Gay? Whatever, Dude

» The End Of Heterosexuality (as We’ve Known It)

» Gay men better at recognizing faces: study

» TransForm New Hampshire

Weiner Mobile as seen by Zack

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This post has 2 Comments

  1. Jane on June 25, 2010 at 3:48 pm Reply

    So, here I am; a female queer perspective on the body image. I will start by stating that I am a large bodied woman. I work at being healthy; my cholesterol is normal, my blood pressure is controlled and I keep my blood sugar levels normal by eating properly. I am overweight.

    Zack mentions some study that shows lesbian women tend to be more obese (can I just say that I HATE that word – it is used as a weapon and doesn’t feel very medical to me) than heterosexual women. I wonder about the demographics of that. All one need do is read the personal ads and see that more and more the lesbian community is asking for h/w/p partners. In younger members you see the primping and obsession with body that all women face. Those of us who are older may be more overweight than our heterosexual counterparts. The question is why.

    I think that for some there is a distinct transgressing from the look that society insists women achieve. Sort of an F-you. For others, it’s our genetic makeup and we’ve just not really fought nature.

    I cannot remember a time when I did not struggle with my body and the images of it. From the time I was five, I was the fat cousin. When I was 13 my father told me that if I didn’t lose weight before I was an adult I would never be able to wear the pants that I so longed to wear – my stomach would prevent me from doing that and I would be forced to wear a dress forever. (I was not allowed to wear pants to school until I was in 10th grade because only dykes wore pants.) Someone was always indicating in some way that I was large – whether by blowing out their cheeks, waddling while holding their arms out, stomping around while walking, there are many ways for it to be done.

    There is also the ever popular theory in psychotherapeutic circles that my weight is my armor. That I keep people at a distance by staying overweight. This strikes me as being more about the other person than about me. I do not believe that I keep people at a distance – I look to enrich my life with new and wonderful people. I hope that my heart and mind are what shows most, and if you’re only interested in my body then I’m not interested in you.

    I think ultimately that body image and how we respond is uniquely individualistic. I find it hard to comprehend that it can be divided into heterosexual and queer categories. For many, and I’m certainly one of the many, body image holds much power, but only when I’m allowing others to dictate how I should feel about myself – another life-long struggle. Do I wish that I weighed less? Yes, but not for the reasons that one might think. I want to weigh less in order to possibly put a chronic disease into remission. Psychologically, my body is where I live – it is the place I have always called home. I want to be comfortable in my home.

    • p2son on June 26, 2010 at 10:45 am Reply

      Jane, knowing you personally, I can say you DO NOT keep people at a distance. And for that I am personally very pleased.

      Thank you for sharing so much of your story here (do I see a blog post in your future on this topic?) You raise an interesting and important question: In regards to lesbians and body type/weight, are we seeing a generational divide? And with that question, I also wonder about the butches. In my generational and earlier ones, we have seen a rich history of butch lesbian women. In the newer generations do we have as many butch women? Is it fashionable for lesbians to be fem? Is this in part due to the success and exposure of shows like the L Word. Some lesbians are fem and it is authentic to them. But with all of the marriage equality strategies designed to may gays and lesbians look “normal” while keeping genderqueer, butch lesbian, fem gay and transgender people hidden backstage, have we fallen more deeply into a gendernormative trap designed to straighten us out in order to receive rewards and privileges from the heterosexual majority?

      And how did I get on gender again? Hmmm. I guess bodies and body types are gendered in many ways. Big is considered strong and manly. Small is considered frail and womanly with the unspoken admonition ringing in our ears, “Men and Women please return to your correct bodies.” What tyranny.

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