Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
Ok, in light of the whole Kevin Smith debacle, as well as a little tiff I got involved with on Pandagon, I would like to say something.
Fat Acceptance does NOT mean that one is against better diets (as in way of eating as a whole) for everyone, including increasing access to healthier and less processed foods.
Fat Acceptance does NOT mean that one is against exercise, or that one thinks kids getting exercise is a bad thing.
Fat Acceptance does NOT mean that I think you need to find me fuckable, or even likable. I probably don’t like you, either.
What Fat Acceptance means is that you have to treat me like a human being, with courtesy and observing the bounds of civil interaction. That’s it.
No one in Fat Acceptance land is advocating that everyone sit on their ass in front of the tv and mainline lard and cornstarch, washing it down with Jolt cola.
No one in Fat Acceptance land says kids shouldn’t go outside and play.
NO ONE. Hear that, douchefucking assheads?
What people in Fat Acceptance land are saying is that YOU don’t know why someone is fat just by looking at them. You don’t. You don’t know if they’re on meds, if they fucked up their joints running triathalons and hold a world record from before their joints went south, or if they really do mainline jelly bellies while snorting pure confectioner’s sugar, and throwing darts at pictures of that asshole Jillian Michaels. YOU DON’T KNOW THAT.
So, do me a favor and quit pretending you do. Ok, Karnack?
And while we’re at it, if airlines want to throw fat people off for impinging on other passengers’ space, and comfort, I have an additional list:
People who wear cheap perfume, and too much of it (guys, too)
Men who sprawl and take up all your leg room
People who won’t shut the fuck up about their sports team/children/religion/surgery/politics
People with headphones so loud I can hear them over my own.
People who lay their seat back without asking you if it’s ok and crush you and your laptop
Well, none of that is a risk to safety, you say snidely… fat people could get stuck… Oh, spare me. I have yet to get stuck anywhere and I have a huge fat ass.
But the perfume people are a risk to safety. I happen to be incredibly allergic to a lot of perfumes, as in it starts with sneezing and watery eyes, then moves on to severe asthma attacks. If I can’t get to my inhaler because some asshole has his seat down in front of me and the guy next to me is sprawled into my space… THEN it is a safety fucking issue and a whole lot more likely to cause issues than my fat would in the unlikely event we were to plummet to earth like a fucking stone. Got that?
So, here’s the deal. You pretend you think we’re people, and I’ll pretend that you guys who sit with your legs all splayed really “need” to.* *wink wink*
Oh, and I have another request. If my fat ass is out there working out, walking, you know all that shit you guys keep telling me I need to do, shut the fuck up. If the goal were really to get us exercising, then my sister wouldn’t have had that one asshead follow her around at the gym and tell her she didn’t belong there every time she went. I also wouldn’t have had to drop a free weight on the foot of some asshole who called me a whale (fat people, we’re so weak and clumsy, you know).
There are worse things in life than you having to see or even, heavens forfend, brush up against my fat. Like missing your mother’s dying moments as nearly happened with Kate Harding’s sister, or not being able to go to a friend or family member’s wedding, or being humiliated in front of a plane load of people.
Trust me, fat shaming doesn’t work. If it did, we’d all be skinny. But it doesn’t. And you know what? It doesn’t cost you shit to be polite.
Besides, if sitting next to fat me really is a problem, next time YOU volunteer to sit between the screaming toddler and the evangelical.
*Someone somewhere referred to “Phantom Gigantic Schlong Syndrome,” which does not happen only on planes, but also on buses, and pisses me off there, too.
This is beautiful. You put it so succinctly.
I have long wanted to have something I can point to when people have these FA FAIL moments. And now I do.
Mind if I link? A good majority of my internet friends are good people, so it shouldn’t bring the trolls, but you never know.
One of the things I like exploding people’s heads with is the fact that embracing FA made it *easier* for me to exercise. Before, exercise was always this horrible, dreary thing I “had” to do so that I’d be “thin,” and if I didn’t get “thin” I was failing, which made me not want to exercise. Once I accepted fat as okay, exercise became a lot more enjoyable, because it’s something I do to feel better and find enjoyment in movement and how my body works, rather than an obligation I dread. I can enjoy exercise on its own terms now, and that makes me more likely to do it. I would never say “people don’t have to exercise” simply because I happen to be fat–exercise is good! But I would also never assume that I have any idea what anybody’s level of exercise, fitness, or health is based solely on what they look like, or that I get to determine how much exercise they “ought” to be getting.
(I also think a lot more people, of any size, would exercise if we could get away from the cultural idea that the only “valid” exercise is an hour or more a day on hamster-wheel-like machines [and that can be expensive to gain access to and therefore unavailable to many], rather than stressing the idea of it as any activity that engages in physical movement for a length of time and can be something you really enjoy doing. That’s a somewhat separate rant, though.)
No one in Fat Acceptance land is advocating that everyone sit on their ass in front of the tv and mainline lard and cornstarch, washing it down with Jolt cola.
Actually, I hate to break it to you, but there are people out there who are saying this (and also say things like it’s okay for a 6 year old to weigh 100lbs). It’s the same thing in any movement – the loudest voices get the attention. The problem is, these loud voices do make others look bad.
(Yes, I’d get links, but right now I’m in the middle of trying not to throw things at the ableists in my LJ. One battle at a time.)
I have never seen anyone say this. What I have seen people say is that regardless of how someone got fat, they should be treated with the same courtesy as everyone else, and that as adults, they should be allowed to make their own choices, good or bad.
I have not seen anyone advocate that six year olds should weigh 100lbs, but I have seen people say that parents whose children do weigh that much should not be charged with child abuse. These are not the same things.
I left fatshionista for a reason. This was it: they were saying it was perfectly fine for a 6 year old to weigh 100lbs. They were also saying that if someone wanted to eat themselves fat as can be, it’s perfectly fine – it was verging on feeder-fetish, and very creepy.
Unfortunately, I have seen quite a few people who are affiliated with fats/The Rotund group advocate this very unhealthy position. *shrug* I distanced myself from all of them for this very particular reason.
I would venture it was because maybe THEY weighed 100 lbs when they were 6.
If a consenting adult wants to eat themself fat as can be, what’s it to you? Why do you care? Isn’t it their choice?
Well it depends on what your definition of “o.k.” is. Granted, I have not seen the specific threads you are pointing to, but I have seen similar conversation throughout F.A. websites. In my experience when posters have said that childhood fatness is “o.k.” it means that such children should be treated with respect and dignity accorded to any other human on this earth, regardless of weight. Essentially, I have seen the argument that people need to stop assigning moral worth to food and exercise habits and bodily size. In this context “o.k.” means that a child shouldn’t be treated like crap, because they are fat, and they shouldn’t be treated like crap no matter what the reasons are as to how they got to be fat.
IMHO if a child is fat, I would think this might be time for the parent to maybe get curious and interested in why this is happening, but definitely not go the condeming, moralizing route. Fatness is a complex interplay between environment and genetics.
Browbeating a child and telling them to “just stop” doing whatever it is that a parent thinks that they are doing which is supposedly “making them fat” is unhelpful at best, and mentally damaging at worst.
This. Thank you.
I couldn’t find the post you were talking about in their search engine, do you mind linking?
I should say, btw, that I don’t disagree with your overall point. Airlines need a better way to handle customers that don’t fit into a single seat (hell, I don’t because of my height – so the airlines get extra money out of me, because I will always, always upgrade to sit in the plus/business section). But at the same time, I think that the rights of other passengers have to be taken into account, too. No one should be made uncomfortable – either because they’re having to share space with a stranger, or because people are staring because of their size.
Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of any suggestions from anyone taking any position in this debate on a viable method for the airlines to adopt. (And viability is, sadly, an issue – the airlines are barely keeping planes in the air.)
The Kevin Smith debaucle was about a man(Kevin Smith) who WASN’T too big for his seat, nor was the woman in his row, yet both were hassled by airline employees, and Smith was removed from his first flight because it was full and they couldn’t sell him a second seat. The airline employees were extremely douchey in several instances of Smith’s story and unnecessarily went after people, YET there wasn’t a ‘size’ test they failed (there was a size test and they both passed), not was their pursuit consistent: Other fat people, larger than Smith, according to him, were left alone.
As far as people who ARE too big for their seat… How do we look at it?
One size does not fit all. Women and tall people have to pay more for clothes and shoes (if women want to wear clothes designed for their gender, anyway), larger people can’t ride the kiddie rides, I know full grown women who can’t go on certain amusement park rides because they’re not tall enough. Red/green colorblind people can’t play team lazertag. Granted, the latter examples are recreational and aren’t transportation that we consider more or less necessary.
The bottom line on this issue is that people were harassed and removed from their seats for being too big when they weren’t. There are no “You have to fit into an area this big to ride this plane” tests like there is for carry on luggage, if there were, I think (Possibly ironically) that this would be far more acceptable. ‘I’m too big to use that kayak’, ‘that shirt is too small for me’, ‘I’m too big to play on the rides at Chuck-E-Cheese’ FINE, we’re OK with that, so “A single seat on Southwest Airlines is too small for me” would be OK IF THERE WERE A TEST that people had to fail before being harassed by airline employees about buying a second ticket, and if that test were as consistent as the one for your luggage (You know, the box you have to put your carry on in).
I came here from Fat Lot of Good and would like to say that this is one of the best posts I have ever seen on this particular topic. You’ve managed to say everything that needed to be said without getting into any of the details that usually cause the most confusion among people who are new to FA, meaning I have no idea how anybody could possibly disagree with this. Thanks!
(Now the question is, will anybody read it?)
Thank you for reading!!!!
I just feel like so many of the arguments about FA, or about framing things like the “Obesity Crisis” always devolves into people yelling, “Why do you hate nutrition? Why do you hate exercise?” When that isn’t what any (ok, in a nod to Rocza, the majority) of us are saying, it’s fucking derailing, straw man bullshit.
Love it, and the honesty I wish everyone could hear this message. REminds me of a mag-book I have read called “Fat-so!” by Judith Wann (I believe) it is really great- I recommend it!
Thank you! I’m really flattered to be compared with Ms. Wann in any light.
As with fat adults, you have no idea why a 6 year-old is fat simply by looking at them. And if you’re not that child’s parent or legal guardian it’s none of your business anyway.
Awesome, awesome post!
Yeah, if you’ve got a six year old that big, the odds are good there’s something else going on.
Not necessarily. I weighed 100 lbs when I was in first grade. And there was nothing else going on. I was fat. I am still fat. I was a fat, healthy, normal kid. Now I’m a fat, (fairly) active normal adult.
Yay for diversity and for your awesome post.
Every time someone starts bleating on about childhood obesity and stuff, all I can think about is those idiots here in Seattle who starved their baby because she was in the upper percentiles of weight and they didn’t want a “fat” baby.
I don’t understand why airlines don’t do what theme parks do. When I went to Busch Gardens last year, they had seperate sections with larger seats to accomodate larger people on the rollercoasters. Instead of the airline having 3 seats to each row, make a couple in the back 2 seats each row for us.
Peoplke don’t need to go to theme parks to go about their lives, they do need to use the airlines, or at least they feel they do. Whenever a business figures out that people will use them because they have to, not because they enjoy the experience… well watch out, because it’s gonna be a long shitty ride to the bottom of the barrel.
No shit. I mean, at a size 22, I still fit in the seat with the armrests down and do not need a seat extender. Yet, I’m worried I’ll get harassed.
I say have a row or two of Plus-size seats that cost a little more, and if no fat people take them, let other people enjoy the luxury.
I miss the days of half empty flights. One of the times I flew back from a family trip to Michigan, I got on the half full plane and after boarding, the flight attendants said, “Ok, we’re only half full. Feel free to spread out.”
I had a whole row, I put all the pillows behind me, kicked my feet up on the other seats, and studied for a midterm in comfort.
I haven’t been on a airplane since before 9/11. Between the byzantine security measures and the fat hating, I don’t want to go on one again. I am also size 22 and will fit in the seat (I did then, so I should now, unless the seats are smaller), but who knows if the airline attendant will choose me to bully in front of everyone. Why take the chance? So if airlines don’t want fat people’s money, fine. They won’t get mine.
If you fly these days, you’ll notice there’s almost never a direct flight or a flight that’s not completely full and ticket prices are rarely dipping low anymore. According to the airlines, this is because so fewer people are flying and fuel is more expensive, thereby making the cost of doing business much higher. I don’t buy it for a minute, it just smacks of capitalist greed to me. This is what happens when there’s not much monetary regulation in an industry, as is the case with the airline business.
Companies have no oversight or watchdog to keep them from falsely inflating prices or their projected costs of doing business, but even if a company is publicly criticized for these practices, it’s still touted as “good business” because it makes more money and that’s the goal of capitalism which is the foundation of our modern society. Now please don’t misunderstand, I definitely don’t want to live in a society completely run by a government, that’s it’s own recipe for disaster. But I do wish that greed wasn’t so celebrated in our society, we all suffer for it.
Re: Capitalist Greed
True. Very true.
I agree. Why alienate a target market by being fat-phobic? I know I would pick one airline WAY sooner over another if they were fat-friendly. Even if they can’t comprehend human dignity, even if all they can think of is their wallets, then surely this is a stupid move.
This is just awesome, thank you.
This is scathing and biting…and I love it! Though if the readers were actually against Fat Acceptance, the verbal barrage would probably not sway their narrow-mindedness. Still…so witty and well-spoken!
me again (previous anonymous post)
*I found this blog through StumbleUpon and am now reading some of your other entries and articles..great stuff!
I’ve kind of noticed that being nice and polite to those folks doesn’t seem to do much good either, so what the hell, right?
true story…sad but true.
I came to this from stumbleupon.com and I just wanted to say:
You. Are. Awesome.
Also, I found this on stumbleupon.com as well.
You’re absolutely right. Someone looking different should in no way determine how they are treated by people on a day-to-day basis. It’s cruel to do this to people when, as you say, you have no idea why they are the way they are. It’s frustrating when people don’t extend the courtesy of treating others like they’re human.
However, there is absolutely no circumstance in which it is okay for a 6 year old to weigh 100 lbs. Sure, they might have severe medical issues that cause them to look like this, and as long as they’re getting proper medical treatment trying to control the issue, great. But most of the time, it’s because their parents aren’t teaching them how to eat properly, and when children that young are overweight by that much, it becomes a very, very serious health risk, that lowers their life expectancy by A LOT. Should the kid be treated like any other kid? Of course. The poor kid probably gets teased a lot, and kids (and everyone else) need love and attention, but those kinds of situations need someone to step in and prevent the parents from giving their child a heart attack by the time they’re 25.
I’m sorry to rant, but the health risks implied by that are just too great to overlook. You, however, are talking about treating everyone with kindness no matter how they look, and that should be an essential part of human interaction. Tragically enough, most people are assholes.
The thing is, in spite of the “obesity crisis” panic, 100 lb six year olds are still the exception, rather than the rule. And like as not, the kid did not get that way from being fed too much. If a six year old gets up to 100 lbs, odds are good there’s an underlying condition or reason that is not going to be helped by doctors just bleating, LOSE WEIGHT, FEED THE CHILD LESS! without looking for those underlying reasons.
Hey, maybe the kid is one of those people who has eaten themselves fat, but maybe they aren’t. And starving children without finding out what’s going on causes any number of long term health issues like say, Oh, Rickets.
But ultimately, my point of all points, as you pointed out, is that the world would be a whole lot more pleasant with a lot fewer dickbags in it.
I’m wondering how many people who are so horrified by this hypothetical 100 lb. 6-year-old actually know any 6-year-old people.
My son is 5. And, he’s a big kid. He’s in the 90th percentile for both height and weight, and he weighs about 55 lbs. And, as I mentioned, he is a BIG kid and is taller and heavier than 90% of his peers. And, he still weighs 45 lbs. less than this hypothetical six year old.
When we are talking about children so much larger than other children their age, it just seems silly to imagine that it’s because they eat too much. For one thing, I can’t imagine a situation in which a child could eat themselves to twice the weight of even their larger peers, unless a parent was literally forcefeeding them. Even then, I’m not sure it would work. For another, most kids that age I know will not eat when they aren’t hungry. Trying to get my son to eat a meal when he doesn’t feel like eating is a losing proposition every single time. He’s a kid who likes food and likes to eat and has a hearty appetite, but when he isn’t hungry, he doesn’t eat. I could hand him bags of chips and cookies all day long, and he wouldn’t simply just keep shoving the food into his mouth. Once he wasn’t hungry, he’d be done eating.
So if a child does weigh 100 lbs. at age 6, it seems pretty much 100% certain to me that there are biological/medical/hormonal/genetic issues at work, and not overeating.
Yup. Pretty much.
The reason 100 lb six year olds are comment worthy is because they ARE so rare.
Thank you for commenting.
This is awesome! I found you through stumbleupon too but I think I will add you so I can read more of your stuff later (supposed to be studying for an exam right now…heh)
But I wholeheartedly agree with this post.
I am also a fat girl. Over the past year I have gone from a size 22 to a size 16. A few months ago however I hit a weight loss plateau that would not budge. Not for 2 months. And I tried everything.
I have a condition called hypothyroid and my doctor thought he would try lowering my dose. This is what caused my long unbreakable plateau. When my fitness trainer asked me why I wasn’t losing any more weight I told him I was talking to my doctor about upping my medication back to what it used to be, my instructor had a huge fit.
He accused me of gorging at home and shoving Twinkies down my throat. (In all actuality I was eating less than 800 calories a day in a desperate attempt to break my plateau) He said hypothyroid was just a “fatty excuse” and I wasn’t losing weight because I was a disgusting fat failure. I fired him immediately. A week later my doctor upped my dose and within a few days I began losing weight again, and am still losing weight.
This just goes to show you are right. NOBODY knows why you are fat. And most people are so rude and just make you want to give up. It’s so offensive how people assume they know everything. I also hate how we are treated like sub-humans just because we are bigger than others. Some “food” for thought to all you fat haters.
That sucks so hard. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad you had the self-esteem to to tell him to fuck himself and fire his ass. Ok, I fantasize that you told him to fuck himself.
The thing is that all these armchair biochemists seem to think that they know EXACTLY how fat and weight loss work, and they just need to lecture you because, god damn it, it’s not like we haven’t heard everything they’re saying 800millionty times… GAH!!!!
I have already warned the husband that if something like what happened to Mr. Smith ever happens to me, I will not go gentle into that good night. They’re going to have to drag my ass off in handcuffs if I fit in that seat.
I can agree you might make more friends with prettier language … if more friends is what you’re after here. The fact is, if you were trying to change opinions about fat people? One post isn’t going to do it. To be honest, I’m not sure there’s anything you could say that would. As with poverty and ill health, fat is one of those things some people will never understand – nor make the effort to understand – unless they’re stuck experiencing it themselves.
God forbid any of their thyroid glands stop producing hormones or depression set in for any length of time, or even that latent DNA problems kick in later in life. (Oh, but wait – I’m sure they would never become “fat.” Most likely, they’d simply be “a little overweight” or “big-boned” or “cleared by my doctor for a higher BMI index.” Riiiiiiiiight.)
As for your list of other things that should get people thrown off airplanes – ill-behaved children DEFINITELY belong on there. Having children is a life choice; they don’t just creep up on you, nor are they given to you by your parents or other ancestors. I believe anyone who complains about being discriminated against for having screaming children should calmly be told they and their money are welcome back on board just as soon as they lose the child (I’m sure a bariatric band could take care of that problem, too).
Hoopla and Circus tricks.
Let me just say-
I agree with everything you have written here. Every word of it.
I guess the problem I have (and it most definitely does not lie with you, my dear) is the mere assumption that my body is someone else’s to judge in the first place.
To every person that’s given such awful, boorish comments in defense to why they feel it’s alright to stand on their skinny-ass soap box and condemn people for their appearance- lemme ask ya, why is MY body YOUR concern? What right do you have, as an individual, to decide what is and what is not correct for me? Did it ever occur that quite possibly, I don’t exist for you to make comments about?
I am not over weight, but I am a human being- and I think it’s absolutely disgusting that people can promote almost an idea ‘ownership’ over someone else’s body. Social slavery? Seems like it.
Anyways- Great post! Sorry for the rant.
Re: Hoopla and Circus tricks.
No problem. And thank you.
I’ve never quite understood why people seem to think that I should care what they think about my body.
I’ve got links in some of my earlier posts to the Dress A Day blog, and a quote by the woman who writes it, “Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a place marked female.”
To all the trolls yelling ‘OMG foul language!’
What I find amusing is that if you find someone’s rant debasing fat people and it happens to be loaded with F-bombs, no one seems to complain. It’s always, “Right on! Damn fatties wasting my tax dollars!” (Yeah…show me some proof of this, would you? How the fuck can I waste your tax dollars when I pay my rent, bills, and health insurance coverage out of my pocket, not yours or the government’s?)
But then the same people who agree with those viewpoints always bitch about bloggers and commenters within the FA community using the same language. For instance, look up any article Kate Harding has on Salon– always some morally superior asswipe who complains about her swearing. Christ, it’s not like she lets them fly at the same frequency as the Angry Video Game Nerd. George Carlin said so himself, there is no other more descriptive word in the English language as “fuck”. Sometimes you just need to throw it in there to make a point.
I think that’s further infantilising fat people, like what, we’re six years old again and being told not to use those very, very bad words that only grown-ups are supposed to say?
So I’m going to say it loud and proud: GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK!
In the words of the late Valerie Solanas, “sometimes you have to scream in order to be heard.”
It’s because you troll assclowns don’t want us to be heard; because even when proponents of FA use articulate swear-free language, we still have to hear the same crap in return no matter what: “you’re just lazy and looking for justification”, “OMG fatty put down the donut”, “fat people aren’t worth a damn”, “you’re deluding yourself to think that you’re healthy”, and so forth.
Great rant: I agree with all the points you made here. I also totally agree with the commenter who said that FA helped her embrace exercise; I feel the exact same way. A lot of people feel like crap because they don’t get enough exercise; not just us fatties.
Re: To all the trolls yelling 'OMG foul language!'
Yeeah, I love the just deluding yourself folks. Guess i delded myself into excellent cholesterol, blood sugar and blod pressure, too.
Re: To all the trolls yelling ‘OMG foul language!’
Excuse me, “deluded myself”
Stupid Netbook keyboard.
I don’t have to treat anyone like anything. If I hate you because you’re fat, then get over it, it shouldn’t bother or disturb you as long as I’m not throwing barbells through your window.
Re: Well really
I didn’t say you couldn’t hate me. I just said you had to treat me like a human being.
Reading comprehension, give it a shot.
Re: Well really
FIFTH sentence in: “Fat Acceptance does NOT mean that I think you need to find me fuckable, or even likable. I probably don’t like you, either.”
Some good, some bad there.
The correlation between high weight and bad test scores, though, that couldn’t possibly have any other possible reasons, like poor kids are more likely to be fat and also less likely to have parental support for education, other kids pick on fat kids and make it more difficult to learn or make kids not want to go to school… I can think of a whole lot of other reasons, not just weight, for that correlation
I was more thinking of the headline. The correlation with test scores could be explained by nothing more than poor self-esteem.
correlation does not equal causation. statistics 101.
Exactly, which is why all the bleating about fat=unhealthy is bullshit. So far there is no proof of cause between fat and high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, just correlation. They are also finding that most of those things also correlate more strongly with yoyo dieting than weight.
An appeal from a borderline thin (borderline fat) girl
I understand that big people have to put up with a lot of unfair bullshit. I wouldn’t begrudge you your anger about it. Go ahead, swear.
However, you must know that you are limiting yourself to preaching to the choir–people who either share your feelings or who already accept the legitimacy of your feelings. And if what you want to do is vent and/or touch a chord with your team, this post is great.
It does seem that you are reaching a broader audience, though–I came here through stumbleupon–and you should know that you might not be making the most of the opportunity. There will always be those thoughtless people who hide behind the anonymity of the internet to spew hate; you don’t owe them anything. (They are, as you say, assheads.) BUT there are also a lot of people who are still working out their feelings about FA or who haven’t heard of it before. If you alienate them, you lose allies. (They are not ALL assheads.)
It’s like feminism: I think women–especially certain women–are justified in expressing anger toward men. Getting pissed off is probably a necessary first step. But I think it serves the feminist cause better to frame misogyny as a gender problem that affects ALL people negatively, with some bearing more of the brunt than others. The feminist vision won’t be truly realized until there is a constructive place for all kinds of women, as well as for men, in it. (I could make a similar case about racial, religious, or ethnic rights movements.)
FA addresses a “social body” problem that affects fat people most strongly, but that does affect everyone negatively. (It is even harmful to the perpetrators of hate.) FA will have more success if you can make people understand that the socially coercive attitude about people’s bodies is not just YOUR problem, but that it is everyone’s. (You demonstrate a broader awareness of this when you invoke the quote, “Being pretty is not the price we should pay for occupying the space marked ‘female.'”) Everyone feels subject to generally unrealistic standards, feels anxiety about them, and is punished for the degree to which they deviate from them. You can gain allies by appealing to that common ground. (The haters are mostly just trying to distance themselves from you so that they don’t have to face the fact that they are subject to the same pressure.)
So you know where I am coming from: I feel as though I have a personal interest in FA, even though I am not unusually big by American standards. I am an hourglass size 10/12, and most people seem to think I have a pleasant face and appealing style. So I do not know what it is like to be explicitly and regularly shamed for my appearance, and I am so sorry that you have had this experience. Yet, I have encountered men (and frat boys) who thought it was their right to critique my body; I have been embarrassed in clothing boutiques that only carry up to a size 8 (the norm in my college town); I feel anxious when I go to the gym… Basically, I, like most people, know what it is like to deviate from the “ideal.” And, more specifically, I know how it feels to know that I have a social interest in being thinner. Yet I have felt rather excluded from the FA community, which I think has the potential to be more than JUST a support group for an exclusive end of the size spectrum. If it can avoid “othering” receptive people (yes, like me), perhaps FA could really be a force for social, and not only self-, acceptance?
Re: An appeal from a borderline thin (borderline fat) girl
First, I would like to say welcome.
I’ve already received a scolding from my girlfriend for using Fat Acceptance instead of Size Acceptance, and she’s right.
But I would like to bring your attention to the fact that this rant is response to two very specific incidents:
1. The Kevin Smith Debacle
2. An argument I was having on Pandagon where I was explicitly told no matter what I said, I was advocating that people drink pure High Fructose Corn Syrup, eat lard (ok, I’m totally paraphrasing).
As I was responding to those incidents, which I mention in the first line, this post was not meant to really be FA 101 or to win hearts and minds. This was me blowing off a bunch of frustration at situations I couldn’t do anything else about.
The problem with the folks telling me to mind my tone, or to not swear, is that the tone argument is a common derailing tactic used to silence people (primarily women and minorities). It’s also completely false, anyone who is going to quit listening to me because I said “fuck” is just pleased to have found a handy excuse to blow me off, instead of having to do the hard work of trying to refute points that really they can’t.
Also, you’ll note I don’t knock skinny people in this rant, nor in any of my rants of the last couple of years (if you look far enough back, you probably will catch me doing some of that, but as you said, it’s a stage of anger). “Douchefucking assheads” does not refer to skinny or thin people. It refers to people who are douchefucking assheads regardless of size, who give me shit for going to the gym, who think it’s funny to snicker at me stretching at the gym, who think fat people should wall themselves away from everything, who secretly want to fuck me but would never be seen in public with me… I’ve been fat shamed by fat and thin alike. Fat girls are sometimes the worst. No, I take that back: Fat GUYS are the worst for fat shaming women.
I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here regarding the tone argument, because the rest of what you’ve written here seems very heartfelt, much more so than the other people calling me out for swearing. I’ve been blogging here in one form or another for a decade (not under this name, this name’s only a couple of years old), and I’ve developed a pretty highly tuned bullshit detector for those using logical fallacies and other derailing tactics, so if I respond with some hostility to someone using a derailing tactic, it’s generally because I’ve recognized it as such and recognize that I can be as calm, reasoned and rational as it is possible for me to be, and bury them in citations, and they’ll still tell me I’m mean, wrong, stupid, oh, and fat… Sigh.
Shorter: I think you’re being genuine, I appreciate your concern. But I do know what I’m doing, and I honestly never intended for this rant to reach the audience it did, I was blowing off steam and nothing else.
Re: An appeal from a borderline thin (borderline fat) girl
I know that a lot of people use dissenters’ anger against them. I have been accused of being a man-hater for my feminism (patently ridiculous; I am boy-crazy if anything) and of being a Luddite/hater of America for my criticisms of unfettered capitalism (I love sparkly things, including the Fourth of July). Frequently, people have read anger INTO what I’ve written (quite calmly, I thought) so that they could dismiss it… I understand where you’re coming from tonally, and I hoped that came across. And I’m sure your bullshitometer is spot-on. I suppose I just wanted to give you the opportunity to clarify for people who were reading the comments in bewilderment that you weren’t hostile to everyone, only to people who need to be called out. 🙂 And I can generally be counted upon to call for inclusiveness… something of a tic at this point. Congratulations on getting a bit of exposure through stumbleupon. A blogger’s dream.
Re: An appeal from a borderline thin (borderline fat) girl
Dream and nightmare, sometimes. 🙂
Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.