Very long uncommon rant ahead with no cuts, because I don't want to cut this. There shouldn't be any triggers here, but if there are, let me know and I will edit the entry and do a cut.
I'm going to quote from a friend's blog about that "Wrong Century" comic that has been popping up all over Facebook. You know, the one where an overweight woman walking through an art gallery is glared at and mocked, and when she stops in front of a painting depicting fat women from another time, she smiles, because Way Back When In Those Centuries, full-figured plump women were desired and stunning and seen as commonly beautiful women and the observer is happy to know that her figure is gorgeous to someone? And many people are calling it "celebratory" and "fat-positive" and whatnot?
It is not celebratory nor positive. And this quote says why:
"This painting is The Rape of The Daughters of Leucippus, by Peter Paul Rubens. While I suppose one could argue that "rape" also means to abduct by forceful means, in the legend the daughters are then married to their abductors, so I'm going to just say that it's safe to assume these women are going to be raped in both senses of the word. It's not a longshot here, there's a huge naked man ripping their clothes off.
So, what is that cartoon above telling us? That this fat girl is looking wistfully at the painting, wishing she were desirable enough to be raped? I really fucking hope that was not the intention of the male artist who drew this comic. I think more likely it's a visible sign that rape culture is alive and well in the West. The fact is, there are literally dozens of other Rubens paintings with women of size in them that contain, in the words of my friend Greg, "99% less rape." So why did the artist choose this particular picture? Who knows, but it's a real bad choice.
Finally, I'm sick to death of the notion that not-fat people on the internet are just concerned for the health and well-being of us fatties. First of all, "Burn more calories than you consume! It's math! It's not hard!" is not new information to most fat people. We understand how losing weight works, and we understand that food choices we make might be bad, and it doesn't matter, because people who get on message boards and comments sections and Facebook and say shit like, "It's not a matter of looks, it's about health!" are lying out their chocolate starfishes. It's not about health. Fat vs. fit vs. skinny is never about health, it's about, "You have a body type that makes me uncomfortable for some reason. If I admit to that, then I'm admitting to a form of prejudice, and rather than own it and confront it, I want to seem like Mother Theresa to fat people, nurturing them to health with my own loving kindness." Shove your loving kindness, because we don't want it here. The same goes for any fat girl who concern trolls pictures of celebs saying, "Angelina Jolie should eat a sandwich!" Guess what? Angelina Jolie has all the money in the world. She can afford all the sandwiches. Ham, turkey and swiss on rye, peanut butter and jelly, bitch can buy them ALL. If she wants a sandwich, she'll have a damned sandwich, and when she's licking her fingers clean she'll still be thin and rich and successful and you'll still be hating yourself, no matter what size you are."
Oh, BTW, here's the blog; I had to ask to make sure I could share, since she is rather private.http://jenniferarmintrout.blogspot.com/2012/07/angry-rant-about-how-we-treat-each.html
As the blog said, there were dozens, maybe hundreds, of paintings from that era depicting fat women as beautiful where said women were not being attacked or brutalized or afraid. Paintings that show heavyset women as the epitome of beauty and style. But why this one? Why a painting that has such an obviously violent look? Is it really a comment on rape culture? And if so, why is the observing girl smiling wistfully as though she would want to be seized and carried away by scowling naked men? Is that what she's really thinking? Is that what the comic's artist was thinking? Whatever the actual message is, as positive as it may seem, it's really a shroud thrown over something darker. To me, this comic says, "You are beautiful no matter who you are, but eventually someone is going to come and assault you." That may be twisted thinking, but my gods, that is the only way I can think right now. Somebody argue with me. Come on, someone tell me I'm wrong. Someone tell me that the cartoonist honestly had no idea what the painting was really about when he chose it from probably thousands of Google Image searches, even if the painting actually had its title right there in the description. Someone tell me that the cartoonist didn't realize what he was doing. Because I cannot see anything happy about gazing wistfully, longingly, happily, at a painting depicting personal or sexual assault.
I also want to add this: Some time ago, on someone else's Facebook post, I accidentally found myself arguing with a brick wall of a person as he continued to insist that the only problem overweight people had was "because they couldn't put down their forks." No matter what scientific and medical evidence was presented to the contrary, Brick Wall continued to insist that since every single person is totally responsible for every single aspect of their own lives and health, every single person with a weight problem is personally the one and only cause of the weight problem, and that any external cause, like medication, disease, illness, environment, etc, only happened to a tiny percentage and was very rare and not even worth mentioning, so in his mind the only problem was self control and the person's own fault, and he practically puffed himself claiming that he had perfect self control and never ate too much and that all anyone had to do was stop eating so much. I don't remember what happened after that, because I had a seizure induced by rage and stress; I just remember wanting to never engage in any discussions with Brick Wall again, because that kind of mentality is impossible to alter.
The point there is that there are thousands of Brick Wall people out there who will literally refuse to listen to anyone but themselves and the echo chambers they live in, so it is best to keep your head held high and remember that what they say really doesn't matter in the long run. Your health is between you and the doctors assigned to you, not a bunch of people who pretend to be concerned for you to cover up for their own insecurities and prejudice. I had a friend who said, "I can't help it, I feel repulsed and disgusted by obese people. Maybe that's why I need to make myself so thin." Which is an issue that seems to be rather common lately. No matter what, people are never happy with themselves. Not even the Brick Wall people, which is the only reason I feel actual sympathy for them. I, personally, I am trying really really hard to be happy with myself, and I keep telling myself that is perfectly fine to not feel happy, as long as I don't stay too long in that feeling.
One more thing: I used to be very, very, very skinny in my teens. I became anorexic in my twenties, and didn't even break one hundred pounds until I was almost 27. I'm now 33. In those six years, I've gained what my doctors and friends all call a healthy twenty-something pounds. And yet there are days when I feel so ashamed of my body that I want to hide it. But that's low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. As long as I remember that, as a half Sicilian-Greek and half Romanian-Hungarian-Russian, I was naturally built to have literally curvy hips, ass, and bust, I am fine. (And I do mean literally - I have hyperlordosis, which makes my ass stick out. Finding pants that actually fit without a waist gap is a hilarious adventure.)
Also, now I'm going to present several Rubens paintings that do not actively show kidnapping or rape, where the women are just as shapely, maybe more so, and where the paintings are much lovelier on a psychological scale.http://www.allartclassic.com/img/Peter_Paul_Rubens_RUP016.jpg
(Venus At A Mirror)http://www.citizenarcane.com/files/2005/April/19/rubens_three_graces.jpg
(The Three Graces)http://www.themasterpiececards.com/Portals/40667/images/rubens%20venus%20and%20adonis-resized-600.jpg
(Venus And Adonis)http://0.tqn.com/d/arthistory/1/0/M/9/1/13-Peter-Paul-Rubens-Frans-Snyders-Union-of-Earth-and-Water-1618-21.jpg
(Union Of Earth And Water)http://www.artclon.com/OtherFile/Peter_Paul_Rubens_1626_1628_XX_Angelica_and_the_Hermit.jpg
(Angelica And The Hermit)http://www.homosapiensunadorned.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/rubens_leda_mit_schwan.jpg
(Leda and the Swan)
I mean, I could go on, but I just went on Google Image and searched for Rubens paintings of women, and bam, there it was. Really, I think the cartoon would have been absolutely fantastic and gorgeous and heartwarming with Venus At A Mirror or The Three Graces or Union Of Earth and Water. You want beauty in any form? There you go. But you know what is not beautiful? Seeing a painting of large naked men grabbing frightened naked women and hauling them off, and deciding that it was a good idea to use as a model for what beauty in all forms is like. Seriously.