Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Been a while,eh? Now I tackle the politics of dieting – Part I

But, wait, you say, of Dieting?

Yes, that’s what I said. Now just listen up.

Why are people so threatened by people, specifically women, who jump off the Diet Wheel?

I have theories, then again, I always have theories.

First, Men. Now, not all men care. Some men just like women, or love an individual woman enough that they don’t care what size she is, so long as she’s happy. OR they are secure enough in their preferences that the fact that there are women out there who aren’t what they are looking for and are not trying to be what they’re looking for doesn’t bother them at all. These are not the men I’m talking about.

Scads of men, however, when confronted by women who (apparently) have no interest in conforming to their idea of what a woman should be, get angry, very, vehemently angry. Just check out some comments ( http://kateharding.net/2007/10/03/oh-man/ ) on sites that have posted links to Kate Harding’s BMI project ( http://kateharding.net/bmi-illustrated/ ).

Some of them will try to disguise it with concern for the health of women. After all, fat is bad, right? However, somewhere in the middle of their message you will almost always find an approximation of this sentence: “I don’t think I’m wrong to be attracted to healthy/fit/thin women.”

Ok, no one has said you’re wrong or bad for liking healthy/fit/thin women. No one has told you not to like thin women. What we said was that we had no interest in killing ourselves in order to attract… well, you. Some men are incredibly threatened by the concept of women who are not actively striving to gain their approval. I don’t entirely get this myself, but there it is. I’m sure it isn’t conscious. Or at least I hope not.

But back to the question: Why are they so threatened by women who aren’t begging for their attention in the abstract? It’s not like fat women are marching up and announcing “I don’t like you. I don’t want you. You are not interesting enough for me to work for your attention.”

Or are we? Is our self-presentation a bold enough statement of disinterest in shallow, thin-obsessed men that it amounts to a metaphorical slap in the face? Particularly if, when we go about our lives fat and well-dressed instead of hiding under large, shapeless clothing, we aren’t taking any steps to hide from their obvious displeasure? If our clothing doesn’t announce, “I am very aware that I’m not good enough, please don’t waste your time looking?” If so, why? I mean its not like the guy who digs blondes is offended by brunettes or redheads.

Now, as a Gothy, Punky chick, I have faced kind of a similar aggression toward that facet of lookism, and therein lies the answer I feel. As long as people view fatness as purely a “choice,” like it’s a biological uniform we put on to reject people not us, then we are going to face this hostility. Because people view my size as a “choice” instead of a result of having good, solid, peasant-y genes, they treat it like they treat my all black, skull festooned wardrobe, like a choice made to exclude them specifically.

It doesn’t matter that in spite of your confident appearance you actually are dieting. Or if you’ve just decided enough is enough and you’re not wasting this huge amount of energy on this pointless, stupid enterprise. You’re done fighting with your body. You want to live in it. You are a rebel because you’re not hiding in muu-muus until you achieve an “acceptable” body.

But, in order to convince people to shed that misconception that we’re just fat because we don’t care, don’t ever walk anywhere or don’t lead lives or anything, or don’t watch what we eat, we face a collosal enemy: The Diet and Beauty Industry that tells everyone exactly that. As well as the collusion of other women in this bullshit. But that’s for the next post.

5 comments on “Been a while,eh? Now I tackle the politics of dieting – Part I

  1. veronica_rich
    October 11, 2007

    I can’t disagree with any of this. BUT, I would like to add that it’s not just men who disapprove. There are also plenty of women who’ll try to make you feel bad if you don’t conform to what they themselves have (which I find odd, because you’d think if you’re fat, THEY look really good in comparison). I can only guess at least some of them are miserable at what they’ve done to themselves and have to take it out on those of us not obviously doing it to them.
    But I think even more than other people, more than the beauty industry, we are our own enemies. You know I’m going through some of this right now as I try to figure out how to be in better shape (not a lot skinnier, just better shape) and I’ve taken up exercise again. Of all the people in my life, I can be the hardest on myself about myself … and I’m sure I shouldn’t be.
    (Oh, and as for dieting – I haven’t done it in a LONG number of years. I have taken steps here and there to improve my eating habits, but I already don’t eat more than a normal person, and I refuse to survive on skinless chicken and broccoli every day.)


    • polimicks
      October 11, 2007

      The women post is the next one, hence Part I and the line in the last paragraph about the collusion of women in this.
      I have no problem with exercise and eating well. Trust me. One of Ogre’s big complaints is that if he’d let me I’d spend two hours in the gym every night. I’m one of those freaks who likes exercise. The fact that I haven’t been able to go all summer because of these stupid surgeries is driving me batshit. Because of the meds, I’ve lost weight but I’ve also lost all my tone, and I hate it.
      This post isn’t really about diet and exercise though, it’s about why some men get really angry with women who won’t/don’t diet in order to conform to what they think women ought to look like.


      • dangerous_beans
        October 11, 2007

        There are a couple of meatheads at the gym I go to who seem to be like that. They talk to the young & skinny girls, but can’t manage a response to the fatter women that go. Which is kind of sad ’cause I’ve found that the fatter (should I say larger? Because not all of them are fat…) the woman who’s going to work out, the friendlier they are.
        Fortunately my boy is not a meathead jerk about my weight (I’m a meathead jerk about my weight though.) He encourages me to work out because “you seem happier when you do.”


      • polimicks
        October 11, 2007

        Yeah. I actually dropped a weight on some guy’s foot for being a dickhead to me at the gym once. I mean, Gosh, I’m just a fat girl, I couldn’t possibly be strong or fit.


  2. madarab
    October 11, 2007

    Damn you for not begging for my attention! 😛


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This entry was posted on October 10, 2007 by in Uncategorized.

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