Roxane Gay的新书《饥饿：关于（我）身体的自传》，写她在一个 “不合规矩”的身体里行走世间的体验。在最重的时候， Roxane Gay的体重有577磅（大约262公斤）。她节过食、去过减肥训练营、考虑过做胃缩小手术。 《饥饿》 半是回忆录半是社会评论。Gay行文勇敢、赤裸、诚实——这不是人们喜闻乐见的“瘦身成功”励志故事，《饥饿》审视社会对“肥胖”的假设、审视对“不合规矩”女性身体的想象。
Roxane Gay出生在富裕的海地移民家庭。在她12岁时，被当时自以为喜欢的男同学和他的朋友轮奸。在这之后，Roxane Gay开始暴食：“我开始吃、吃、吃，我把自己的身体建成堡垒。”
Our bodies are constantly on display.
There are so many words for “unruly” female bodies: overweight, fat, pig, unhealthy, obese, morbidly obese, cow…Some of the terms are cloaked behind a thin veil of seemingly clinical detachment, others openly derisive and cruel. The message, nonetheless, is the same: “unruly” female bodies need discipline, deserve sanction, and invite ridicule.
In her gripping new book Hunger, Roxane Gay, an internationally renowned writer and feminist, discusses her experience of moving through the world in an “unruly” body. At her heaviest, Gay weighed 577 pounds (262 kilograms). She went to weight loss camps and on diets. She explored the possibility of gastric bypass surgery. Yet Hunger is not a weight loss story with the familiar triumphant tone and narrative arc. It is not a story of “before” and “after”. Partially memoir and partially social commentary, unflinchingly honest yet intimate, Hunger challenges our assumptions about “living while fat”, and ultimately, our assumptions about the rules governing female bodies.
Gay, daughter of well-off Haitian immigrants, was gang raped when she was twelve. Afterwards, she began overeating: “I ate and ate and ate to build my body into a fortress”. Too ashamed to tell her parents about what happened, and too scared of no longer being a “good” daughter, food became a source of solace for Gay. She thought she would find strength and security in size, and that she would no longer be vulnerable if her body was made unappealing to men. Of course, with her newfound body came another layer of reality:
“When you’re overweight, your body becomes a matter of public record in many respects…People are quick to offer statistics and information about the dangers of obesity, as if you are not only fat but incredibly stupid, unaware, and delusional about your body and a world that is vigorously inhospitable to that body ... You are your body, nothing more, and your body should damn well become less.”
Women are too often reduced to their bodies and body parts, with arbitrary standards governing the appropriate look, use, and upkeep. There are beach bodies and bikini bodies. There are legs and breasts of enticing length and size. There are idealized waists and thighs thinner than A4 papers and iPhones. Too often, being thin and attractive is conflated with a sense of moral virtue, just as being fat becomes synonymous with being lazy and stupid. “If you cannot govern your body how can you take control of your life”, echoes the popular discourse, as if asking “how dare you request the world to accommodate you, when being fat is your own choice and own fault?”
The idea of “control your body or it’s your fault” seeps into other realms of women’s life. Just as in Hunger, Gay’s lived experience of being overweight is inextricably linked with the trauma of being sexually assaulted, women are responsible for not only keeping the female body disciplined, but also keeping the body respectable and “safe”. There are numerous “stay safe” tips offered exclusively to women about the proper ways to dress, to talk, to act, to engage with the opposite sex. In this sense, “damaged” bodies are “unruly” bodies as well. They are careless, immodest, and “asking for it”.
As Gay wrote, women are too often taught that “[w]e should not take up space. We should be seen and not heard, and if we are seen, we should be pleasing to men, acceptable to society.” What makes Hunger particularly powerful is its unapologetic demand to take up space, to be heard, to be accommodated, and to be treated human, with care, tenderness, and empathy.