Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fat Goths

Hi, I'm Mary, I am a fat Goth, and this body-policing and fatphobia in the Goth subculture has got to stop.

For all the claims of acceptance in the Goth subculture, the community isn't perfect. I've already written about Goths having prejudices. Assholes are likely to creep into any subculture, but I think the fact that Goth is usually interpreted as being very open-minded makes it all the more insulting when certain individuals go around policing and insulting other members of the subculture. Usually it's along the lines of Wai u no goffick liek i goffick? but sometimes, oh sometimes, it's much more rude. And today I'm here to talk about Fatphobia in the Goth subculture.

An older outfit shot. Still fat, still a Goth.


I sincerely doubt that I need much evidence of this. Chances are, you've seen it. Usually screencaps of 4chan posts making fun of a fat Goth (the image macro which claims that the fat Goth depicted is going to "Cut herself...another piece of cake" comes to mind), but sometimes other people sharing their opinions of any Goth who dares weigh more than X pounds or is above X size. If you want to be repulsed by our own subculture, just google or search Tumblr tags for the phrase "fat Goths" and you can see many people complaining about fat Goths. Some of the most popular complaints being:

  • We're disgusting
  • We're unhealthy
  • We're attention seeking
  • We're trying to be special
  • We're repulsive

The odd thing I've noticed is that many of the people complaining about fat girls participating in the subculture are people who aren't in the subculture but are attracted to the elusive "sexy gawf chick." And, I'm going to be honest with you, it's usually men. Towards women. And when they get into the subculture and find out that we're more than just walking, talking, kinky sex-drones with DD tits and waists you can wrap your hands around and have the finger touch, they get on the offensive. They whine about the fat Goth girls who obviously must be doing it for male attention or because we don't look good in "normal" clothes.

Let me tell you, the only reason I don't look good in "normal" clothes is because the most attractive accessories are self-confidence and a smile, and I'm not wearing either when I'm dressed in skinny jeans and a Hollister t-shirt. Those clothes don't make me happy, so I don't wear them with confidence and happiness. It has nothing to do with being fat.

Now, I'm not about to tell someone that they can't have aesthetic preferences. If you have a thing for pronounced collarbones in your sexual partners, that's fine. Really. But I am telling people that insulting others, or attempting to, based on your sexual desires is not only wrong, it's pathetic. It is reducing someone's worth to how sexy, beautiful, attractive, etc. you personally find them. And how narcissistic is that? My worth, and the worth of other fat people, is not dependent on the sexual or aesthetic preferences of shallow douchebags with narcissistic complexes.

An aside: From within the subculture, it seems to mostly come from individuals who want the subculture to stay within its roots, they want every guy to be the perfect high-cheekboned and gaunt Peter Murphy and every woman to be the willowy and sultry-but-intimidating Siouxsie Sioux. According to these people, none of the original Goths were fat, Goths can't be fat. Or something. But they also seem to be the type of people who most viciously guard the "you must listen to Goth music to be a Goth, it's nothing to do with fashion" trope, which seems more than a little hypocritical. I wasn't aware that I had fat deposits in my ears that specifically prevented me from listening to Sisters of Mercy, but what do I know?

And, yes, I do say the word fat, unless asked not to by someone who I might be describing. It isn't a dirty word. Promise. The thing is, many of the conventionally attractive aspects of women are those which are made possible by deposits of fat. Breasts are mostly fatty tissue, and so are our asses. Strategic placement of body fat, in the chest and on the hips, makes up the traditional "Barbie" hourglass. Everyone has fat on their bodies, it's absolutely necessary to our survival. It's used as insulation and energy sources, but yet if it's not in the "acceptable" areas of our bodies (or is in those areas but "excessively" or more than the body-police deem attractive), it must be disgusting. Or if you have too little, of course. And if you have just the right amount, you're probably criticized as being fake and a slut (more concepts they seem to think are insults.) So there is no winning, even if you do have the "ideal" body.

And, because I never get tired of saying this, let's dispel that one big rumor, shall we?

Being fat does not make someone unhealthy. 

If you've ever looked at the 2012 Olypmian lineups, you'll see that there are people of all body-types there. There's even an index on the BBC to show you whose body you most closely resemble (I apparently very closely resemble Anita Marton, a Hungarian woman competing in women's shot put.) Think about it, these are Olympians. They're some of the strongest, most passionate, and most talented athletes in existence. And, yes, some of them are fat.

I find it laughable that some people find "fat" to be the biggest insult to give someone. It certainly doesn't work on me, I got over hating my body and trying to be someone I'm not a long time ago. Someone telling me "You're fat" holds about the same weight as someone telling me "You have blue eyes" or, from people further outside the subculture, "You're such a Goth."

So why get upset about it, then? Because I know I'm lucky to be as self-confident as I am. I've gotten over my own body demons, smacking them down with the twin war hammers of I Don't Give a Fuck What You Think and I Am More Than Some Anonymous Poster On The Internet's Fap Fantasy. But I know there are other people who have bigger demons than mine, or who don't have the support than I am lucky enough to have, and who don't have the self confidence yet to just brush off those insults. And that's why I'm getting angry. Because not everyone has a thick skull and a give-'em-sexy-hell attitude, and the people that are still working their way there don't need the absolutely vile amount of criticism.

This whole fatphobia thing is also evidence of something that at seems quite obvious, but nonetheless is difficult to keep in mind at all times. It's evidence that Goths are pretty regular people and very influenced by the culture trends and media of our day. It's easy to think that the relationship between Goths and media is very Us against Them, but it's really not. We're bombarded with media messages just like other people, and so our ideas and opinions are motivated by vast cultural trends, even when we profess that we find certain "alternative" aesthetic qualities attractive. So, we absorb some of the prejudices, including against body fat, that the media is currently assailing us with.

But, it's not at bad. Some independent Goth clothing brands have begun expanding their sizes and taking custom orders to allow for size differences. Jillian Venters of Gothic Charm School has had multiple posts which outline some of the best ways to accumulate a plus-sized Goth wardrobe. There are plenty of plus-sized rolemodels abound for Goths (even branching out of the Victorian, Romantigoth, and Medieval styles that are so commonly associated with larger Goths), and many of our peers are supportive. It's just the few who are being truly discriminatory and rude to fat individuals, but unfortunately the few who do tend to speak loudly, and anyone who has had self esteem issues can tell you that one bad experience can ruin months of can-do, body-positive attitude.

I know that this article seems to have been mostly tailored towards fatphobia against women, but that also seems to be the brunt of the fatphobia that I've encountered both personally and in my research. That does not excuse Fatphobia against Goth men or other genders, and if you would like to contribute to the discussion from those perspective please do feel free to contact me via the usual methods about it and I'll add it to this post or make another which includes your testimony.

I'm not big on some of the popular fat-positive slogans-- I'm not "more to love" or "chunky and funky", I'm a Goth who happens to be fat. That doesn't make me any worse, or any better, than Goths who happen to be skinny, or "average", or any other body type. As hippie as it sounds, we're all beautiful and attractive and no body is better than any other body. I'm Mary, I'm a fat Goth, and I'm as worthy of respect on my own merits as anyone else. There is no room for fatphobia, or any other prejudice, in the Goth subculture. So please, the next time you see it, point that shit out. The only way any prejudice in the subculture is going to be erased is if Goths make the effort to stamp it out.

66 comments:

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  2. I want to tell you how sincerely thankful I am for you and this post. Even within this subculture which I've usually found accepting, I still struggle with accepting my body image as well as having others accept me and for you to voice this so perfectly is amazing. Thanks so much.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, dear. I wish you the best of luck in your journey of self acceptance and self confidence. :)

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  3. Awesome post! I am on the slender side but still struggle with a lot of body hate, and I just love the shit out of any post about body acceptance in the Goth subculture :) Good on you.

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  4. As a fat sometimes-Goth, I really appreciate this. Thank you, and rock on with your fabulous fat self!

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    1. Aw, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :D

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  5. Ditto to all of the above comments - I've had serious problems with my body image, and I've had to come a long way to be able to even reach for a biscuit without either hating myself or frantically trying to exercise it off afterwards. I don't know how long it will take me to fully get over that, but I want to remove the pressure to prescribe to one ideal, because it matters so little. I've actually just posted on tumblr about my feelings on beauty which clarifies it better (here - http://anhonestdrug.tumblr.com/post/42140381783/so-recently-ive-had-mixed-feelings-about-the-term). And I love you all the more for saying this.

    I'm also slightly creeped out, as I was planning on writing a blog post on similar lines about enforced modesty in relation to goth this month. :P

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    1. Thank you very much for the link! If you continue to write it, I look forward to your modesty post!

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  6. I've had experiences in other so-called open minded subcultures where the same prejudices exist as in the rest of the world. There is a fantasy that subcultures are somehow different, more special, more pure. They're not.

    You are phenomenally gorgeous. And anyone who doesn't think so can go strait to hell.

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  7. You have made me cry because this is so accurate and something I deal with a lot, and I don't have many people to support me and my view of myself is basically shit. But knowing that I'm not the only one who has or is dealing with this helps.

    And you're also extremely fabulous.

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    1. Oh dear, I'm so sorry you have to deal with so much of it. I hope you do find the support you need, and come to realize how very beautiful your body is in time. It's not easy, but it will come. :) And thank you very much.

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  8. Very well-put. A buddy of mine just started a tumblr about Victorian fashion and patterning for ladies of various shapes and sizes (she makes her own steampunk and cosplay clothes). Could track it down if anyone's interested.

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  9. Such an amazing post on an issue that needs to be addressed more. It is truly sad (and true) that even in our own little subculture, we still have that set idea of the prettiest Goth girls and boys being these stick-thin, deathly pale creatures with raven-black hair and blah blah blah. I get excited when I see a Goth, so happy and so unafraid of their bodies. There's just so much hypocrisy of Goths being the supposedly most accepting group of people, and then you see all of this fatphobia, transphobia, racism . . . the list goes on . . .

    In short, you made a lovely post, m'dear.

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    1. Thank you very much, I really appreciate it. :)

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  10. hsavinien, I would be interested in that Tumblr!

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  11. "And if you have just the right amount, you're probably criticized as being fake and a slut (more concepts they seem to think are insults.) So there is no winning, even if you do have the "ideal" body."

    This will sound bitchy and conceded(which goes along with what you said), but in my experience this is very true. Sadly, women can't win with the culture we've been raised in. All women have body issues(I hate my legs: though they're long, they're super muscular and remind me of tree trunks, especially my calves), and we need to stick together to put men in their place; Women are beautiful no matter their measurements, as physical beauty is about how you present yourself and work what you got.

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    1. I don't think you sound bitchy and conceded at all! I don't think the problem is just men's fault though, I think the web of body issues is a very complicated one that we're just now starting to understand, and women have a place in it as well. Hopefully we will be able to untangle it in time, however.

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  12. Great post!

    I especially love the "normal" clothing part.


    I had to share it within a blogging community I'm in >:3 which just happens to have Tenebris and Xanthy in it :P

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  13. The world we live in is so shallow and absurd it's downright tragic. I've always been about 7 kg overweight and I've recently lost quite a bit of weight for health (thyroid condition) reasons and people's reactions varied from "OMG it's a miracle" to "oh, you're dating material now" and it just makes me so angry because apparently my worth is -4 kg.

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  14. A great big, fat, gigantic AMEN!!!!! I am sick to death of the social conditioning that's forced on us fat people. No matter how brilliant, talented or beautiful you really are, you're automatically stupid, talentless and ugly just because you're fat. It's disgusting and absolutely horrible. Are there parts of me I would change? Of course! After having two C-sections, I've got the lower belly flap. On the other hand, I got two wonderful daughters out of those deals - the flap is worth it. Anyway, before I ramble off into oblivion with storytelling, I agree 100% with you. The fat shaming has GOT to stop. Some of us are big from the bones out and could NEVER be a size 0, even if we were skin and bones. Good luck to you and to all of us...much love!

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    1. Thank you, and good luck to you as well! I hope our message of acceptance becomes more widely spread in the future. :)

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  15. I love you for this! It makes me sick that some people have this idea that in order to be beautiful and confident you have to be a certain size. I'm a larger girl myself, and it has taken me up until this past year to overcome the body issues I had (and still occasionally have) and develop an "I don't give a tiny rats behind what you think" attitude. I'm so happy and thankful that you made this post.

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    1. Aw, thank you so much! I'm glad you liked the post.

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  16. I guess that it's those cliché photos of sexbomb fetiche models with heavy laced waists that has created this idea about thin goths. I had never heard about that when I was young in the end of the eighties. I remembered once I visited an elder couple and the female was overweight, but I thought she was such an awesome person and I envied her a little for living such a cool life as she did (intellectual, artistical goths). I think you are beautiful how you look and you look so pretty in that dress. I struggle myself with overweight, I'm not pleased about how I look right now but that is because I haven't taken care of myself lately.
    Don't let negative people and negative comments bring you down. Hugs

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    1. I think it's a mixture of a lot of factors that make up the "ideal" skinny frame of Goths, alternative models included, but I'm glad there are role models out there for all body types. :) Thank you very much!

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  17. This is why I love reading your blog, but rarely comment: your posts mostly leave nothing out!
    So good to read that you really love yourself, as you deserve, you are pretty! ^^

    What annoys me: style snobs and hyper-grooming. Gawd, I have half an hour to get ready, throwing on a pile of black clothes, combing my hair and some makeup is all I can do.

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    1. Thanks so much, on all accounts! I think style snobbery is another issue, but can be annoying all on its own. Maybe another post is in order...

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  18. Thank you! I post in my fb with your permission

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  19. I'm always happy to read your blog. It offers clever insight and creative narratives that we all face (not just goths).
    I used to be gothy when I was younger, but battling depression, serious illness and the sexualized stigma attached to it left me jaded and feeling like I didn't even like myself. Something that was a source of comfort and freedom became a trap of other people's unsavory beliefs. I miss feeling safe and secure in my spikes, leather, deep colors, and dramatic makeup... but I don't miss men expecting me to be their fantasy or other goths ridiculing me because I like to dance.
    Your blog helps me to feel more at home with myself. Thank you.

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  20. This post is amazing ^^ Even though I'm on the slender side myself I really think people should learn to accept people who are on the heavier side as beautiful too ^^

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  22. Though I'm not technically Goth (though I love the style and music, and people enjoying telling me I am Goth) I love this. I also love that it can technically be applied to any subculture. Very well said, I applaud you! /applaud

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  23. It makes me sick that this is still going on. I went "goth" in 1994. I'm 31. Back then it wasn't a matter of how skinny of a goth you were, as we were were all "freaks". You'd think things would have changed. Unfortunately, I know some designers/ artists in the industry who still hold true to the thin, willowy goth stereotype. All "fat goths" are fair game for these "elites". What's sad is that they continue to rake in money from those that they ridicule. Listen, you look amazingly cute! You seriously do not need to give two shits about what anyone says about you. Be healthy, be happy, find love, find peace. Let me know if I can help you in any way!

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  24. I love love love this post so much.

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  25. Ah yes, I have recently felt all of these problems. I wish I could feel comfortable in my skin as a person let alone a goth but it kind of sucks when you are a chubby goth in an area where it is impossible to buy plus-size goth clothing.

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  26. you consider yourself fat? ummm you're not maybe a bit thick but certainly not fat

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  27. Im not goth at all...but i love this post...iv been fat my whole life and have been put down for it by a number of ppl...U my dear are an inspiration to fat ppl everywhere..and u made me feel better about myself today. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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  28. I know this is months old.. But THANK YOU. :)

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  29. Nice post. I'm into subculture material and goth women. I don't care about size, I care only about what's inside.

    Take care,

    Rob

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  30. Hello my name is Kendra.. I came a crossed your page because I was worried about me being too fat for being goth... I used to weight 180 lbs and I gotten made fun of for being fat... So after four years of depression and losing my job.. I gained weight.. So now I weight about 235lbs... And I want to be able to dress like some of those beautiful gothic women out there.. Cause dressing like that would make me happy.. I wish I had the "balls" like some of the heaveier set women out there... But I just don't have the confidence to do so... So for me being fat.. I just dress in my favorite band tshirts and black pants.. There are days when I do go shopping and I look at an outfit and I want to buy it so bad.. But the comments go through my head about being too fat for being goth..

    But your page really made me happy to read and happy to know that I am not the only one! Thank you! I'm hoping I can work up some confidence now!

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  31. I did not read all of it but I will say this. Gothic back in my day were not out to impress or be noticed. In fact we are tried to stay behind the scenes, hanging with our own and not be noticed. They were about passion but more distinctly about acceptance. Being goth was a pleasure. It was about accepting others and accepting our demise, (death).
    The subculture has dampened and become week. We aren't supposed to judge on appearance, race, religion or sexual pref., because we ourselves are judged and branded by society. Many thanks for your post.

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  32. To the body image issue. I am overweight and OK with it today. Weight is something I can change 😊if I choose to. You might notime be able to in some cases but you can change your attitude about it. Wear an evil grim with that fat and black makes you look thinner anyway. Put on a corset suitable for your body type. It flatters you and hides stuff. You are goth so you shouldn't mind hiding lol. You are beautiful.

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  33. To the body image issue. I am overweight and OK with it today. Weight is something I can change 😊if I choose to. You might notime be able to in some cases but you can change your attitude about it. Wear an evil grim with that fat and black makes you look thinner anyway. Put on a corset suitable for your body type. It flatters you and hides stuff. You are goth so you shouldn't mind hiding lol. You are beautiful.

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  34. I did not read all of it but I will say this. Gothic back in my day were not out to impress or be noticed. In fact we are tried to stay behind the scenes, hanging with our own and not be noticed. They were about passion but more distinctly about acceptance. Being goth was a pleasure. It was about accepting others and accepting our demise, (death).
    The subculture has dampened and become week. We aren't supposed to judge on appearance, race, religion or sexual pref., because we ourselves are judged and branded by society. Many thanks for your post.

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  35. http://m.wikihow.com/Know-if-You-Are-a-True-Goth

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  36. http://m.wikihow.com/Know-if-You-Are-a-True-Goth

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  37. http://www.equip.org/article/the-world-according-to-goth/

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  38. Thanks for the awesome article, I needed that. Because of a back problem, I had to lose weigth. Although I lost almost 20kg, I got almost everything back, due to a nervous problem (you know, when you get nervous you produce a certain hormone that does not help with losing weight, according to my doctor. And I'm constantly in a state of nerves). And I don't eat a lot (I eat very little actually, and that doesn't help as well), neither I eat a lot of sugar.

    I don't have a lot of support in my house because my family is always like "you must lose weight blah blah". For example on the occasion of my prom. I had a custom-made dress made specifically for me (it was summer, and I couldn't find anything I liked) and I felt very pretty in that. When my mother saw me she said it didn't looked good on me, that it should be longer, that made my belly prominent, etc. I felt horrible.

    That's the main reason I feel bad about my body...the clothes. I live in Portugal, a country that still do not have that many alternative stores. And the ones it has don't have a lot of choice when it comes to sizes. If you want a bigger size, bad luck for you. I'm very fond of victorian goth clothes and can't find any because of that. In fact, the only brand I have luck is with Restyle (there's a store who sells this brand) and only with some t-shirts.

    Indeed even in the clothes' industry there's a bit of a fatphobia. It's sad :/

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  39. Thank you. This article helped me a lot as someone with very little support on wanting to be a goth because black clothes make me happy. Most of my life my parents did not allow me to wear anything but color. It was very depressing and now that I'm older, I am usually too ashamed of my size to wear what makes me happy.

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