I Say Tomato, You Say Grotesque

Wednesday, while Iain was sprawled out on the bed "reading," I spent a few minutes glancing at headlines and came across this article in the New York Times about the discovery of a 35,000-year-old mammoth ivory carving of a full-figured female form.

I thought it was lovely and compelling and beautiful, found it interesting that possibly the oldest sculpture of a human form ever found is of a body that looks like mine, considered it rather humorous in the context of Teh ZOMG Obesity Crisis!!!11!1eleventy!! Mostly, I just thought it was cool.

Chuckling, I emailed the link to Iain under the subject line: "Look like anyone you know?"

I had no bad feelings about that. In fact, I had good feelings about it; I was smiling as I sent it. That is what I look like—big boobs, big belly. With that big body, I was spending the week swimming and walking and lounging and fucking and sleeping and eating and getting on boats and feeling sand and grass between the toes of my bare feet. I don't have any reason to hate my body, were it not for external messaging.

I saw on Memeorandum that the BBC had titled their article about the statuette: "Ancient man sculpts a grotesque vision of the female form."

Well then.

I am officially too old to care on my own behalf; at this point in my life, my only genuine response to being labeled a living grotesquerie is laughter. If ignorance is bliss, indifference is ecstasy.

I do, however, remember what it was like to be a girl with big boobs and a big belly, haunted by persistent negative and marginalizing cultural narratives, jangling their chains and whispering against her cheek that she is ugly, disgusting, less than—a girl wholly unequipped to counter those narratives even in her own thinking, because she has been stripped of any remnant of self-esteem. And it is for that girl, and all the girls and women, and men and boys, who feel the pang of grotesque that I say, with all due respect: Fuck yourselves, you fat-shaming assholes.

The BBC has since changed its title.

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