The Millennial Vernacular of Fatphobia

Twenty eight years ago, I was sitting on the dusty rose carpeting of my childhood bedroom, staring at the cover of the latest issue Seventeen. This particular issue isn’t available on eBay, and only certain articles from inside have been digitized, so I can’t tell you the exact wording of the Editor’s Note, but others have a similar memory of its contents: look at this non-model on the cover, which I interpreted as look at this non-ideal body on the cover.

If this body was non-ideal, I remember thinking, then what was mine? I had just turned twelve years old, and was about to finish sixth grade. I was starting junior high in the Fall. Somehow both bodysuits and massive, baggy flannels were popular. My body, like a lot of other girls at that age, was beginning to rearrange itself. I felt so alienated from it, so unmoored from any sort of solid sense of self.

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