Visualizing the 1%: Fat hate and Occupy Wall Street
For the last six weeks or so, the Occupy Wall Street (#OWS) marches, rallies, protests and processes have been fascinating me. I’ve been following the news and Twitter feeds very closely as I can’t actually be downtown camping out every night, and have been lending my voice and ideas as much as I can through our Facebook page. (Yes, there’s an Occupy Nanaimo. It’s great.) It’s been wonderful to watch people wake up and take action against the economic hegemony; that is, the way things have been. It’s no surprise to us, the 99%, how unequal things are, how unfair, how difficult and sometimes, how hopeless. I think the surprising thing was how long it took for the 99% to wake up and get out on the streets and raise some hell.
There’s been some good art around OWS too; really striking images, both hand-made and photoshopped, witty and snarky signage, poignant and pointed speeches. I’m a little concerned, though, that an old friend is rearing its ugly head the more political traction OWS gets: fat hatred. I know that the kyriarchy can’t be, and wont be, changed overnight, but I was hoping that the progressives who’re a part of the movement would try to steer clear of it. Sadly, I keep seeing images of the 1% as a fat, white man in a top hat and monocle, reminiscent of the Monopoly guy.
The truth of the matter is that the rich corporations would be better represented as a tanned (from a booth or a bottle), blonde-haired, blue-eyed, able-bodied, and very fit man talking on a cell phone with a laptop bag slung over one shoulder as he steps into a Ferrari. The idea of the rich being represented by fat folks should be replaced by the reality of the rich being our healthiest citizens, and why not? They can afford to eat the best food, live in the best neighborhoods, visit the best gym, and see the best doctors. And those are just some of the reasons the 99% are on the streets right now.
Google image search for “rich man” and you’ll see what I mean about the fat Monopoly guy. For fun, I also searched “rich woman” and instead of a bunch of cartoon ladies, I recieved lots of photos of conventionally beautiful, mostly white, thin women. Hmm, me thinks I smell the kyriarchy again, and it smells like bullshit. So, if you’re watching the Occupy movement, or have people on your Twitter or Facebook who are, next time you see Mr. Monopoly out there, I hope you speak up about how wrong the image is, and point them in the direction of skinny nerds like Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs.