Reading this Wednesdays articles, the thing that grabbed my attention my most was the few places in Le’a Kent’s article where she described how the publication of FaT GiRL empowered women who experienced weight discrimination to take control of their abjection through counterabjection where the forces that would normally degrade and humiliate them now become the object of belittlement. As I first read over the “Fat Girl Revenge Cocktail” and later on the birthing of the Barbie baby, I laughed hysterically. These theatrics highlight the absurdity of our current weight politics through something totally unexpected and fresh. I can only imagine witnessing one such or similar act and being left stunned by the result. And I think that’s the effect.
After giving pause to think about it, I’m on fence now. While I see these and other acts of counterabjection as a liberating way for an oppressed group of people to reclaim their humanity in many ways, I fear counterabjection is a zero-sum game, or at least accepts the idea that in order to remove oneself from from the attention of abjection, another object or person must draw its ire. Counterabjection reinforces the notion of power within human relations by transferring the power an individual or group of individuals from one place to the next, rather than recognizing that we should attempt to minimize the effects of power when dealing with other people. Everyone deserves mutual respect, but I’m not one who thinks we can’t call out each other for reproducing oppressive systems. In fact, that accountability needs to occurs although it can be very (who am I kidding, excruciatingly) hard to do because it’s easier to let that one comment pass by than an in-depth conversation about its perniciousness without appearing to high road or grandstand someone.
I could go one for a while, but in summation, I think counterabjection in FaT GiRL’s publication can be a powerful way to understand how an oppressed group of people, specifically women with fat bodies, can overcome their own sense of hopelessness and “Other-ification,” but at a cost. I think it was bell hooks who said something along the lines that women shouldn’t try to becomes equal to men, simply for the fact that not all men are equal. We must rearrange the dynamics of our everyday relationships among one another to reject the participation in a power paradigm. It’s no easy task, but I think an accurate diagnosis can help us understand what type of care we need.