Name Calling and Debate.
I have been making a concerted effort to remove appearance-related insults from my vocabulary. Because honestly, if I’m pissed off at someone, it has NOTHING to do with what they LOOK like, and everything to do with what they ARE like.*
And let’s face it, appearance-related insults are, apart from being stupid, invariably unoriginal and have nothing to do with whatever argument you’re having. Appearance-related insults have one purpose, and that is to be hurtful, usually because you’re losing the fight and you know it.
This is something my Dad taught me about racism when I was kid: It’s stupid to hate people for something they can’t help. “There are way better reasons to hate people than what they look like.” My Dad’s kind of cynical, and finds that human beings in general have very little to recommend them as a species, which is where I get it. But the reason I bring this up is, I had always, ALWAYS known this in relation to skin color,** but never really thought to apply to it to other things, like fat or blonde, or whatever other appearance things people rip on you for.
After I had my “Well, duh,” moment, I started trying to remove appearance-related insults from my vocabulary. Yes, Rush Limbaugh is a fucking idiot, but does his fat have anything to do with that? No. He’d be a douche-canoe if he were thin. He is a small-minded, hateful, hypocritical, rotten person, fat or not. Does the fact that Donald Trump wears a rug have anything do with why he’s icky? No, it may be a symptom of the underlying ickiness, but really, the badness of his rug has nothing to do with the fact that he’s a weaselly, unethical shit and terrible businessman blowing through the inheritance he got from his father like it’s somebody else’s cocaine.
So, this is my challenge to you all: Remove appearance-based insults from your repertoire. Don’t leap for “fat, ugly, spotty,” or whatever your regional insults are. They’re unnecessary and really just demonstrate a lack of intelligence and creativity.
ETA: Basically, if all you can do is call me fat and tell me I don’t turn you on, you’ve already lost the fight, and we all know it.
*I do reserve the right to be snotty to hypocritical fat people who pick on other fat people for being fat, but even that’s more to do with their hypocrisy, and nothing to do with the fact that they’re fat, so I guess not.
**Not saying any of these things are the same thing as racism.
This entry originally posted at http://polimicks.dreamwidth.org/
I agree. I am very bad about commenting on very thin people – when I do not know why they are thin anymore than people know why I am fat.
On the other hand, I do believe in letting those hypocritical fat people know that just because someone is fatter than they are, it doesn’t mean they are not also fat. But I don’t mean it to dis them for being fat, but rather to point out that we are all members of the same club.
Yeah. I think all people, frequently women, who come to fat acceptance have an “anti-skinny bitch” larval phase, because in this society we’re taught to view damn near everything in relation to it’s diametric opposite. So if you’re learning that you are good and fat, then skinny must be bad… It takes time to evolve your thoughts past that to, “Everyone catches body shaming crap, and needs my support.”
You’re probably very right about the “anti-skinny bitch” phase,
But a big part of it for me was that it was the skinny girls who were my tormentors. Of course, it isn’t fair to be bigoted to ALL skinny girls, but my knee-jerk reaction is to dislike them first, then let them redeem themselves. Not support them against outside forces.
I admit to having that knee-jerk reaction, and trust me, if they do anything to justify or reinforce that reaction, it tends to be all over… Mine is a vengeful God… But I try to give them a chance to prove me wrong, or at least let their own actions damn them.
Although, I still like adding “and your mother dresses you funny!” to the end of insults.
Well, I suppose I could forgive the occasional idiosyncracy. And that one’s just so silly.
I’ve been known to say it to my dog. When it’s -30°C and there’s a foot of snow outside, she gets forced into a coat.
ooooh, puppy inna coat!!!!
I am very much against animals-in-clothing. But what can I say? She gets cold. She also gets booties. She walks like she has a stick up her ass.
Pics or it didn’t happen.
I wanna see the puppy inna coat and booties
On a more serious note, I’ve been working on cutting “pathetic” out of my vocabulary. Ableist language is everywhere. I’ve spent years using it without thinking.
I’ve pretty much replaced “that’s pathetic” with “that’s… *significant pause*… unfortunate”. It’s so over-the-top-formal that it comes across as funny.
Also, “that’s crazy”: I’ve been replacing it with “that’s odd” or “that’s unexpected” or “well, that’s just weird”.
I haven’t used “fat” as an insult in years. Once I reached the epiphany that I’m fat, and that my fatness has nothing to do with my ambition or happiness or health, then why the hell am I using it as an insult? In other words, if fatness isn’t bad, then calling someone fat isn’t bad. Which defeats the purpose of the insult.
Yeah, it’s been kind of difficult to cull some unfortunate words from my vocabulary.
Ok, I have to ask. Partially, because of the commenter below, and partially because I’ve been mulling it over all weekend.
I did not think pathetic was specifically ableist. Is there something I’m missing? Which is all too likely.
*laugh* Damn, okay, you’re right. I was actually thinking of the word “lame”, not “pathetic”.
That’s what I get for writing a comment when I haven’t slept in a while.
Ok. Yeah, and I totally get that. I’ve had a HELL of a time getting “lame” out of my vocabulary.
Hello. I’m interested in the above commenter who no longer uses the word ‘pathetic’. I’m a bit confused about this as it seems like a non-discriminatory word to me, and would be interested in the reasoning behind it so I can understand!
Yeah, I’m a little confused about that, too. And probably should have asked, perhaps I should do that now.
Thanks for explaining that! I just couldn’t work it out and it was irritating me like anything!