In the last year or so, there has been a (re)emergence of the term “thicc.” On social media, it has been almost impossible to scroll through your timeline without someone being referred to as “thicc,” “thick,” or some other variation of the word. As celebrities like Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and others began to gain weight, headlines began to circulate where writers were celebrating the celebrities’ “thickness” and not their fatness. It is for this reason that I have grown a strong disdain for the term “thicc/k” and am adamant about being clear in the fact that using the term “thicc/k” as a compliment while still actively denying fat people our humanity, our right to love, and proper medical care, housing, and jobs is anti-fat.
Mainstream—whereby I mean hegemonic—powers have created a dichotomy between “thicc/k” and “fat.” Anti-fat domination determines who gets to be the former and who is always understood as the latter. This is how desirability/beauty politics show up in our language. The reality is that these two terms are the same; thicc/k is fat, fat is thicc/k. How one defines and understands beauty is what informs their language around other people’s weight and appearance. Said again, how someone’s fatness sits on their body determines whether they are read as “thicc/k” or “fat,” and I posit that this plays a major role in anti-fat discrimination/oppression.
thicc/k is fat, fat is thicc/k
When discussing anti-fatness, people oftentimes reduce this form of oppression to discriminatory, brutal language—most notably referred to as “fat shaming.” Language does, in fact, play a role in anti-fat oppression. It is why, for the most part, fat people prefer terms like “thicc/k,” “big,” “big-boned” because “fat” has always been weaponized against us. Many fat people have anecdotal tales about the times we’ve experienced anti-fatness in the workplace, in school, in the medical field. However, anti-fatness does not begin and end with anecdote. In fact, anti-fatness’s reach extends far beyond the language that reinforces its existence. It is systemic. According to North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO), in 1999, a 14-year-old girl by the name of Gina Score died due to anti-fat biases and prejudices. It is said that Gina, who had been part of a camp run and operated by military veterans, had been tasked with a 2.7-mile run. She fell on the ground, gasping for air. After four hours of her instructors laughing, drinking soda, and accusing Gina of faking, a doctor came and called for an ambulance immediately. Gina’s organs had failed. She had died. Just a few years prior, Canadian doctor and columnist, Kenneth Walker, wrote in a popular and well-cited newspaper column that “For their own good and for the good of the country, fat people should be locked up in prison camps.”
In a study performed by Steven L. Gortmaker and other scientists, it was proven that fat men were eleven percent (11%) less likely to marry and fat women were twenty percent (20%) less likely to marry. In 49 out of the 50 US states, it is legal to fire someone for no other reason than their fatness. In other words, unless a fat person is fired for being fat in Michigan—the only state with a law which protects people who are overweight—they can be fired and nothing can be done about it. Fat people—women and queer folks, specifically—are so often not given the space to discuss their histories with sexual abuse away from desire. We are met with “why would anyone want to rape you?” People read our bodies, be it consciously or not, as undesirable and, thus, do not understand what would compel someone to violate us sexually—even though rape is generally about engaging sex as an avenue through which one can maintain power over a person/place/thing. Herein is why we do not hear fat people’s #MeToo stories.
When Black Panther was released earlier this year, many people celebrated the casting of a “thicc/k” Winston Duke, who played leader of the Jabari Tribe, M’Baku. Folks wrote on the barriers someone of his stature would break in a film of Black Panther’s magnitude; many lusted after Duke on social media, noting his height and “massive thighs” as something they looked forward to seeing in the film. At one point, Winston Duke even went on record to thank Black women for helping him “heal” from the scars associated with his size. While I recognize that a Black man who towers at 6’4” with 250 pounds resting on his body likely does have a lot to heal from, I am more thoughtful of the many people whose weight does not rest so easily on their bodies. I am forced to think about the darkskin Black man who also towers at over 6’, but weighs 600 pounds, and how that leads to him being antagonized, and not celebrated, on social media. I am forced to think about Black women like Roxane Gay, who stands at 6’3” with over 400 pounds on her body. I am mindful of my own nonbinary body; a body that is 6’ and well over 250 pounds.
With our bodies in mind, I am unable to give as much thought to bodies like Winston Duke’s; the rest of the world will already do that. I am all-too-aware of the fact that this room which Winston Duke is given to discuss his insecurities with his size happens at the expense of fat people without his money, fame, or frame. It is this reality—a reality that dehumanizes and otherizes poor, darkskin, fat people—that would play a role in the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. For darkskin Black people with fat bodies that are undesirable, we live knowing that we are at a higher risk of experiencing violence at the hands of the state.To assign language like “thicc/k” to what can otherwise be understood as fat is to manipulate the pleasure-economy under capitalism—by which I mean the actualizing of new structures in which we find pleasure. Click To Tweet
There is a particular currency in thickness that is not found in fatness. To assign language like “thicc/k” to what can otherwise be understood as fat is to manipulate the pleasure-economy under capitalism—by which I mean the actualizing of new structures in which we find pleasure. This is, as it stands, a way to specifically remove any ability to locate desire in a body that is outright fat and place it solely in bodies with weight that is “proportionate.” For those of us who will never be seen as anything other than fat, we are being told through this use of “thicc/k” that our cages, as Roxane Gay calls the body, are not desirable; that only a particular type of fatness is capable of being beautiful/desired/whole. Not just desirable in the sense of beauty, love, and sex, but desirable as it affects and pertains to our health, our education, our livelihoods.
So, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and others assigned “thicc/k” as a label get to have others celebrate their weight gain—albeit, not void of misogynoir—while women and femmes like Roxane Gay, Jamal Lewis, and Ashleigh Shackelford continue to fight for bodies like theirs to be seen as valid. Winston Duke gets access to money and healing while boys and men like Mike Brown and Eric Garner meet death. This dichotomy is anti-fat. This is anti-fat violence, and it is this that makes the use of “thicc/k” anti-fat.
I am aware that, even after reading this, many people will not stop using the word “thicc/k.” Nevertheless, it is my hope that through this it is made clear that whatever desire someone locates in a body they deem “thicc/k,” what they find attractive really is fatness. We need to be honest about that to destigmatize fatness and fat people’s bodies. This is truly the difference between life and death.
To continue dissecting anti-fatness, both on a personal and structural basis, I suggest following these beautiful fat people with beautiful fat politics on Twitter:
The Circle on Netflix Had A Racism Problem
Bey Ain’t Slick
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of Rafael Roden.
For far too long we’ve been giving her passes and today I say enough is enough. People are literally afraid to write about this shit because of the inevitable blowback from people who worship Beyoncé like white Brits worship their actual Queen monarch. So here goes…
Beyoncé is not above criticism. That’s the first thing. I understand the stance many Black people take when another Black person casts an unflattering light on your favorite Artist or celebrity, but not all of it is hating. A lot of it is warranted. And every charge I make in this article is coming from a major fan and someone who used to wanna collaborate with the woman. Understand that I have bias, but that’s not making me not wanna hold Beyoncé accountable for her trash ass actions as of late and the precedent it sets for aspiring “bosses”. And just know she ain’t the only member of the upper echelon guilty of this shit. I’mma take shots at a few other entertainment giants, just you wait.
What set this think piece I didn’t wanna find myself writing into motion was the information stirring around that Mrs. “of course sometimes shit go down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator” is only paying her dancers and other various performance staff $250 a day without benefits when they are performing at the highest level in the world. I’m even flattering her in my critique so please uncock your pistols. I have caught up on all the tea and these claims are supported by many of the lead performers and solidarity exists within that community. It’s hard to substantiate every last bit of wrong in this whole ordeal, but that’s the crux of the situation. Take me at my word cause there are receipts for days.
Moving back retroactively to the Shawn Carter Foundation Gala (which is where that tacky ass clutch in the picture is from) we find our favorite vocal angel arm & arm with her sell out husband Jay Z (NFL partnership, nuff said) who gave out Rolex and bottles of champagne as invitations to a room full of people worth billions of dollars who only raised $6 million. That’s just stingy. But that’s been written about enough. I just think it’s crazy who get’s in these rooms in the name of seeming to authenticly coming from nothing. Like Fabolous. You know the dude that head butt his then girlfriend and knocked her teeth out? Not Beyoncé’s fault, hell no, but why are abusers around a self proclaimed Feminist? Why are you letting your man invite him? Why did Rihanna try and normalize him at her last few events (which I find quite disgusting considering her history)? The answer is money and optics. The message comes off as “rich black men who are seen as legendary can make the mistake of domestic violence and still deserve A Seat At The Table” (see also Nas who beat Kelis). I just can’t square these conflicts of interest. I need somebody to make it make sense. Because remember, birds of a feather flock together. Beyonce blink twice if you need help. I’m fucking serious. He cheated, who knows if there’s a domestic violence story in there. I don’t put shit past no man at this point. It’s also part of the reason why I stopped identifying as such.
Read the entire piece at RafaelRoden.com
Welcome to Uncle Tom’s Haus of Koonery
So in light of the great news of President Trump getting impeached. I was sent an article from a few twitter mutuals of an interview done by Mikelle Street interviewing everyone’s favorite problematic porn star Max Konner. I knew at that moment I would not receive any peace this week. The article at hand denoted that Konner was beginning his own talent agency for people of color. I did a double-take, but I been on this earth long enough to know a stunt when I see one. In the article, Konnor mentioned the need for porn actors of color needing proper tutelage and education before entering the pornography industry. Which I do agree with, but we also know that seeing the phrasing “people of color” does not mean black people and why would Konner exclusively help his own people? He wouldn’t, but that’s been made very clear that he has no intention of helping the Black LGBTQIA+ community after his behavior during the PR nightmare which and is still NoirMale.com.
I have to be honest that I found the interview to be amazing and at minimal a cross-examination of Konner’s work history, work ethics, and very sorted and messy racially insensitive history. Konner acknowledges that there will be criteria for all those that apply to join the slaveshi-, sorry the Haus of Konner.
He says in the article:
“Right now we have three exclusives: Derek Cline, Jabari Clutch, and Asher Lee. I have a bunch of other submissions but I’m taking my time to go through everything because it is a boutique talent management company. I am not just accepting everybody that applies. I’m trying to pick models who I feel like have what it takes to make it.”
Now, what this statement could subversively say so many things. Firstly, Jabari is the only black presenting model. Derek is racially ambiguous and Asher is Asian. Even in the first stride of selection, there is only one Black person in the mix (pun intended). Secondly, “boutique talent management company” is reading as “no fats, no fem” because knowing the shortness of sight that Konner has he may only present body boys and cis actors that are racially palatable.
Mr. Street follows up with the question:
“The release says that you all are prioritizing “models of color.” Are you referencing all models of color, specifically Black models, or will it be all models with an emphasis on models of color?”
Konner responds with:
“As of right now we are looking at all models of color. I’m trying to decide if I want to have one or two models that don’t necessarily fit that because in doing this I don’t want to become the problem that I’m trying to fight. There are so many avenues and so many arenas where we as models of color are shut down or shut out because of the color of our skin, and I don’t want this to be a thing where we say: OK it’s all models of color and anyone who is not that, get out. So I’m still toying around that, but right now we are exclusively models of color.”
My thoughts are that this is basically saying that “I’m gonna have some good ole boys in the club because I don’t want massa upset with me none.” I’m just saying. Rather than doing the right and altruistic thing and doing an all-black agency. Konner is going to appease the comfort of his white fan base in spite of the fact his black fan base was there for him when he was the porn actor Isaiah Foxx. Which if anything he owes that little boy the world because Konner is fully aware and present on the issues that BLACK porn actors face and what Isaiah a black bottom porn actor felt.
The thing that is further disturbing in the article is when Konnor says this:
“I do plan to send models from Haus of Konnor over to Noir Male but one of my big things is: if I send a model to a studio there’s agreement between me and that studio that nothing that has to do with that model’s race or nothing pertaining to the “BBC experience” is what that model is participating in. I’ve been on jobs where I’ve had no clue what I’ve been working on and then the movies come out and it’s like ‘Oh god!’”
This sounds very historically familiar. So during the slave trade, the Caribbean Islands was used as a large space for sex farms for slaves and “buck breaking”.
Noted on RacistReport.org:
“These male slaves were purchase based entirely on the prerequisite of them possessing a large penis. Black men were routinely raped by their gay slave owners. The process was known as “breaking the buck.”
It involves a strapping Negro slave, who was defiant, was beaten with a whip till bloody in front of his entire slave congregation. The slave owner would cut down a tree and, with the help of the overseer, would then pummel the deviant “buck” into submission. Once the slave was worn down, the master had the other Negro slaves force him over the tree stump where his britches would be removed and he laid fully exposed buttocks, he would remove his own clothing and proceeded to savagely sodomize the buck in front his wife, family, friends, and children.”
Konnor is basically handing these gentlemen over to a problematic porn company ran by the also very racially problematic DJ Chi Chi LaRue. After the debacle with PrEP/U=U advocate, #TakedownTina activist, and now amateur porn actor Jacen Zhu. He stepped away from the company for their purposeful mishandling of race in the studio. We can not trust that Konner will have good intentions.
So let’s be clear. Is there a race issue in gay porn? Absolutely.
Should there be a space cultivated for porn actors of color to get jobs and to be treated fairly? Yes ma’am.
Should there be a space cultivated for black porn actors of color to get jobs and to be treated fairly? Yes sir!
Should Konner be the one doing it? No, not at this juncture and especially around his limited education on race.
Konnor has clearly acknowledged that there is a problem, which is good for him I guess. I just understand that there needs to be more work done to supplant footing for black LGBTQIA+ porn actors of all genders and body types and this attempt is half-cocked, lazy, and wildly remedial. He participating in the same foolish stunting that Noir Male did as well at their inception.
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