[Content Note: Fat hatred.]
Halloween is right around the corner—and thus Halloween costume parties—and, every year, after Halloween, I see pictures circulated on social media, without their subjects' consent, of fat adults dressed up as recognizable characters who aren't fat. (Very occasionally, I see this done to fat kids, too.) These pictures are inevitably shared to mock the fat costumed person, often under the presumption that the fat person doesn't understand how they look and frequently accompanied by resentful accusations that the fat person is "ruining" the character.
Don't do this.
Let me tell you that fat people dressed as thin characters understand we look different than the thin character. It's not that we don't know how we look; it's that we don't care what you think.
And why should we, when you think that a fat woman dressed up as Trinity or a fat man dressed up as Spock "ruins" the character? That's a garbage opinion. You're telegraphing to us that your opinion shouldn't be valued.
I have seen arguments on social media in which mockers of fat costumed people justify their mockery, their assertions that the characters are "ruined" by fat people, on the basis that "Batman could never be fat" or "Wonder Woman could never be fat," literally without a trace of fucking acknowledgment that Superman and Wonder Woman could never exist at all. It's a fantasy.
What they're saying, with their also-bullshit contentions about what fat bodies can and cannot do (which are almost always wrong), is that a fat body ruins the fantasy for them. Which is really their problem. Not the fat person in the costume.
And frankly, if one can imagine a man who can lift an entire skyscraper with one hand, but couldn't lift his own ass into the air if it were fat, one really doesn't have much of an imagination.
But the problem isn't a lack of imagination so much as it is a lack of decency. All year long, fat people are expected to hide ourselves away from view—to not take up space; to speak softly; to exercise, but not in public; to cover ourselves in yards of fabric to conceal the shapes of our bodies; to carry ourselves hunched and bowed, so that we might be smaller and convey the shame we are obliged to communicate for our very existence—and it's the same on Halloween. Best that we don't show ourselves at all, and certainly not dressed as a thin character.
The message is clear: You don't deserve to be that character, because you are fat.
We aren't required to wait to live our lives, to do the things we want to do, unless and until we lose weight. We can live and do and thrive right now.
The public mockery of fat people in thin character costumes is explicitly designed to shame us back into hiding, into not living, unless and until we earn the right of participation by making ourselves thin.
I repeat: Fuck that.
And then there's this: I am a fat person who actively wants to dress up as fat characters for Halloween. And before Melissa McCarthy made it so that I could be a cop, a spy, a goddamned Ghostbuster, three whole characters, there wasn't a hell of a lot from which to choose. Not if you want to dress as a person. A fat person. Like yourself.
So, you know, if you're mad that a fat woman like me comes to your Halloween party dressed up as a fat Lara Croft, direct your ire at the rest of the fucking world, which denies us a delicious array of visible fat characters we can cosplay.
And if you really want to be mad at a fat Halloween costume, how about the costumes that treat fat people's personhood itself as a costume?
Because, honestly, if you're angry about a fat person dressing like a thin fictional character, but not angry about thin people dressing like fat people as though we're monsters, you have derailed.
[Originally posted October 27, 2015.]