ELAYNE RIGGS: This is for all the fat girls

Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs is the creator of the popular blog Pen-Elayne on the Web. She was a founding member of Friends of Lulu, an organization dedicated to increasing the involvement of girls and women in comics, as readers and creators. She is married to inker Robin Riggs, with whom she shares two cats, and has odd love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton.

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5 Responses

  1. Valerie D'Orazi says:

    Thoughtful & well-written article. Leaving the whole Misty Lee thing out of this, because I've given my thoughts on the subject ad nauseum, I think the larger theme of "fatphobia" is an important one. It's pretty complicated. I recently saw some pictures of myself right before I left DC; they were in a disposable camera & were never developed until now. By that point, I was 180+ pounds on a 5' 9" body. Not morbidly obsese, but sorta plump. I had a double-chin. I kept thinking there was something wrong with the camera lens, that the view was disorted. I never saw myself as "plump" at that time. I was just me. Then, a couple of years ago I lost about 50+ pounds because I had to go on an extremely restricted diet for health reasons. My pants size went down every two weeks. All of the sudden, I was "thin." I got a lot of praise for my "achievement," especially from my mom. I went out and bought a whole new wardrobe & dyed my hair blond. But then I was gripped with the fear: what if I gain it back? Will everyone be disappointed in me? And that is the fear that this society can instill in women: "will I still be liked, still be loved, if I gain some or all the weight back?" The ironic thing is, the men I dated after the weight loss *wanted* to see me a little bit heavier. Is the pressure so much from men themselves? Some guys, it would seem, prefer a little "junk in the trunk." Don't discount the pressure women give other women on the weight issue — pressure from other women, and pressure from the media who often present unrealistic ideals of what women "should" be.

  2. Elayne Riggs says:

    Well, as I said, the Misty Lee thing was just my launching point, as it has been for a lot of other thoughtful essays I've read this past week that really had little to do with the esteemed Ms. Lee herself and more with what her words inspired. Thanks for the compliments; I could probably have written at least a column more about fatphobia, but I chose to just "hit the highlights" largely inspired by my annual checkups.

  3. Interrobang says:

    Thanks very much for writing this. I think I really needed to read it, today in particular. I’ve (actually) been trying to drop a bit of weight, mostly because it’s been creeping a little and I don’t like when part of my (extremely limited) wardrobe stops fitting. I’m in fairly good shape, all things considered — I’m not anyone’s idea of skinny, and I’m also disabled and borderline asthmatic — but this week so far I’ve been to the gym twice, gone interval training twice and went walking once. I’m still having irrational body-size issues because I’m so much wider and broader than many other women, that comparatively, I look obese. At 65 weight-lifting kilos on a 167 cm frame (~45 lbs at ~5’6"), that’s absurd on its face. But it gets you. Dang if it doesn’t get you.

    There are no winners in the Patriarchy Game…

  4. Lisa Fortuner says:

    Actually, Elayne, how male and female characters are viewed by the majority of heterosexual male readers and creators was the reason my article was necessary. I didn't spell it out because spelling it out was unnecessary. My purpose was not accusatory or analytical, but persuasive. I didn't write that post in order to teach anyone the basics of feminist theory, but to speak to the creators and readers who made those assumptions and try to get them to realize that there is another way of looking at these characters.And knowing this theory intellectually does not in any way stop me from being amazed at the sheer number of people who buy into the heteronormative male fantasy without noticing the other perspective.

  5. Rachel Edidin says:

    Elayne, thank you so much for writing this–I think Lee's comments are definitely symptomatic of much larger problems than a stupid generalization about feminist comic-book fans.I've gotten more involved in fat activism in the last year and a half, and it continues to boggle my mind how many people believe that a woman's credibility is inversely proportional to her BMI.