Last week, a blogger for Tosh 2.0 put up a picture of a fat woman wearing a gold bikini trying to hail a cab in the rain. The person who posted it invited comments. And since Tosh 2.0 is "supposed" to be a comedy, I'm fairly certain the poster Blogger Mike Pomranz meant to put it up for people to make funny captions.
Except for one problem, the picture he used is copyrighted and belongs to the Adopositivity Project, a site by Substantia Jones of her photography that is meant to be show fat women positively.
Within a few hours the blog post was down. No word on Comedy Central about why. I suspect it had nothing to do the intent to not ridicule someone and everything to do with the words: "Copyright infridgement, legal action, lawyers."
"Folks sharing Adipositivity photos," Jones says, "as is regularly done all over Facebook and Tumblr, aids in the purpose of getting body positive images in front of as many eyes as possible. We dig that. But to steal someone else's copyrighted material in order to use it in purveying bigotry and hate for profit? Not cool." The woman in the photo—who, to everyone's surprise, is an actual human being—is actress/model Janie Martinez. Jones describes the image as "conveying the bliss of being completely happy with your physical self, and boldly so, even in a world filled with ridicule."
There are many sites out where photos of people are put up to be made fun off. Someone caught in an unflattering picture, or doing something stupid. I don't know if this means they should be put up for ridicule. The difference is the Adopositivity Project did not put its lovely photos up for ridicule. They were put up to be positive pictures of fat women.
This article in Everyday Health points out another site meant purely to stigmatize fat people and added racism into the mix. The twitter feed Fat girl. (I'm not going to link it, you can get it from the site) is apparently a somewhat illiterate fat black woman who tweets about what she eats (apparently everything.) The site isn't very funny (BTW I can deal with offensive comedy as long as it's funny). Oh and fat girl isn't a real person but a 10 year old-- I mean 17 year old boy. (Gonna be a while before I'm willing to call him a man or even a guy).
But Fat Girl is not a she. The real person behind this Twitter handle is a 17-year-old boy from Virginia, a 5-foot-5-inch, 123-pound high school teenager of Asian background who aspires to be a body builder. (Everyday Health has withheld his name because he is a minor.)
First off, I'm not surprised this boy is an aspiring bodybuilder. Every time I do a post against dieting I sometimes get a bunch of commenters from bodybuilders about how I'm the Anti-Christ. Although I still don't get their logic of how my anti-dieting message is somehow anti-body building.
The stigma here boggles the mind because not only does it create hostility towards fat people by portraying them as beyond the stereotype of out of control eater that if left to our own devices we will eat everything in sight (One of the tweets is “I ate Precious”) but it also creates hostility towards black women. The Fat girl isn’t just fat, she happens to be black. She happens to have all the stereotypical qualities of a fat black women, i.e., lazy, loud, and stupid.
In the end The Fat Girl may not cause that much stigma because I hope that people see it for what it is, a stupid site done by a dumb kid who doesn’t know any better. I doubt it will make any fat person look at the site say, “Hey this idiot is right.”