Brisbane Aqua Porko
After seeing them speak at the Fat Studies conference in Sydney in September, Definatalie came up with the idea of starting up a Brisbane-based chapter of Aqua Porko.
What is Aqua Porko?
At its basic level, it is fat synchronised swimming. At a deeper level, it’s a form of protest.
Against the idea that fat people shouldn’t be seen in swimsuits (at least in public). Against the idea that exercise isn’t supposed to be enjoyable. Against the idea that because one is fat, one can’t do things one wants to do.
Synchronised swimming always looks so graceful and elegant, that I feel it is important for a group of fat women and people who identify as fat women to start a group up and to buck that stereotype that because one is fat, one can’t have any grace or elegance. I think the very fact of a fat synchronised swimming group is a subversion of that. And a way to make people question – what is grace? What is elegance? Who gets to decide this?
Our first meeting was small, but I hope it grows in size. We first went over what we hoped to achieve in joining such a group, health and safety issues and basic moves. I’m going to need a heap more practice on these, because, I, very cockily, assumed I’d get it right away. I did not. Even the very basic “egg beater” move practically stumped me. It’s a lot harder than it looks and by the time our hour was over, my thighs and butt muscles were killing me! But in a good way. I felt awesome about what we managed to achieve in the time we practiced.
I’m so glad to have joined this team. I swim in summer anyway, but lap swimming can sometimes get a little boring. I love the idea of starting this up; I love the idea of playing with stereotypes and femininity. I love the idea of fatties converging in a pool, in their togs, having fun.
I mentioned this to my sister the other day and she was a bit shocked. “Why would you call yourselves something so horrible? You’re not fat! That’s mean!”
I know she doesn’t ‘get’ fat acceptance and for her, being ‘fat’ and being called ‘fat’ is probably considered the worst possible thing she could be. But I’ll admit her shock deflated my excitement a bit. But, in a way, it was good. It was a bit of a reality check as to how people not within my circle might perceive the group. I hope that it will challenge some pre-conceived notions people outside of the circle might hold. I hope to challenge some of my own pre-conceived notions. Visibility is an important first step, but there are many more to climb.
Image Credit: 1.