May 11, 2006

Does the Big Fat Blog Belong Here?

We received an email the other day from a reader upset that we had Big Fat Blog listed in our blogroll. It wasn't that she didn't like BFB. She liked it quite a bit, she said. She herself was "moderately fat." She had a disability, too, she wrote.

But being fat isn't a disability, she said, and she thought having it listed on our site would give folks the wrong impression.

In other words, it would make folks think being fat was a disability. When it wasn't, she said.

This is certainly not the first time we've heard from people who insist on this kind of "distancing." Many -- maybe even most -- culturally Deaf people -- bristle at being joined with "the disabled." Being Deaf is a cultural thing, not a disability, they say.

But... but...

Fat people face as much if not more stigma and oppression from society's attitudes than do many people with the "typical" disabilities that create wheelchair users and service-dog users and white cane users. Society certainly perceives fat people as disabled, and it goes further by blaming them for their situation.

It seemed to us at Ragged Edge that the commonality of oppression was reason enough -- plus it's a darn good blog! We know some people want to use the Americans with Disabilities Act to fight discrimination based on size issues -- such as the Southwest Airlines policy requiring fat people to purchase two seats.

But it's a contentious issue and it remains contentious -- because, it seems, many fat people, rather than wanting to band together to face a common oppressor, think that disability is even more stigmatizing -- too awful to be associated with. That calling fat a disability somehow denigrates proud fat people. Making"disabled" thus the ultimate negative, the ultimate "thing to not be."

It would be interesting to get folks' opinions on all this.

Posted on May 11, 2006