Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
So, I’m a panelist at Norwescon, a local SF/F convention. I do this every year, and I quite like it. This year in addition to my usual “don’t be a giant toolbox to women and you might get laid” panels, and panels on Victorian Sex (last year this turned into an hour and a half long lecture on the social and economic realities of prostitution in Victorian England), and Feminism in Fandom, I’m doing a panel on Health At Every Size.
Last year we did this as a combination panel with Body Acceptance, and it just wasn’t enough time. This year we’re splitting them into two panels, so we can hopefully get to everything. Right now I’m writing down all the blogs I think people need to know about (Linda Bacon, Fat Nutritionist, Dances with Fat, Big Liberty, Living 400 Lbs, just to name a few) and bracing myself for the inevitable, “But I don’t want to give up!”
Give up on what? Starving yourself into insanity and misery? The constant disappointment and depression that no matter how hard you work or how little you eat you will never, ever be thin “enough?”
That is the most annoying comment, question, whatever. “I’m not giving up!”
Good for you? Neither am I. Nor am I asking or telling you to. What I’m telling you is that diets don’t work. Dieting is bad for you. And you’re using up so much of your brain power and energy fretting about food and the size of your ass, that you could be using to, I don’t know, cure cancer or love yourself.
Yeah, I paired those two together on purpose. Because sometimes learning to really love yourself feels about as likely as curing cancer, sometimes less likely, actually. We spend our whole lives being bombarded with images and media that tells us we (especially as women), just suck in general, but particularly if we aren’t fuckable by mainstream standards, or hell, even the standards of random dudes we happen to encounter.
I wish I was kidding about that last one. And the thing that drives me most bats about this is that people all seem to forget that beauty, sexiness, attractiveness, are all very subjective qualities. Every time I talk about this, I get some asshole who feels the need to tell me, “That’s just not attractive.”
To You, asshole. However, my husband and my girlfriend think I’m hella attractive, even now in my current “dethfat” state. Hell, there are people out there who think I’M too thin.
So, lesson the first is always: Beauty is subjective.
Lesson the Second is: Thin is a shitty goal. Healthy is a better goal. Keep your eye on your numbers and how you feel. Actually feel. And think about it. Do you hurt when you weigh more because you weigh more, or because you think you don’t deserve to feel good or be active, and so you quit exercising and eating well because what’s the point?
Lesson the Third is: Exercise doesn’t have to suck. Seriously, those nights when you go to the club and shake your moneymaker with your friends until you can barely stand, that counts. That’s exercise. Walking your dog? Exercise. Swimming? Exercise! Find an exercise you enjoy, you’re more likely to keep doing it if you do.
Lesson the Fourth is:…
Ok, I can’t actually legally tell you to load up your pockets with ball-bearings to pitch at the cars that cow-call you while you’re riding your bike, but if, say, you happen to come up with this idea independently… Just sayin’… I mean, it’s feasible that you’re just using them for ballast to, um, make your workout more effective…. yeah!
No, don’t do that. No matter how badly you want to, or how badly I want you to. It’s not cool to fuck up someone’s car for being a gigantic douchebag. Hell, it might not be their car, and then you might have to feel a tiny twinge of guilt.
Actually, Lesson the Fourth is: Don’t let the Douchebags get you down. Because this is the best, and by best I mean worst, part of exercising while fat, fuckheads are going to be fuckheads at you. It is going to happen. Because what they mean when they say, “You should exercise,” is “You should remove your unfuckable self from my sight, because I am an entitled douchenugget who really should have been better disciplined as a child.”
So you’ll be walking or riding your bike, or whatever you do for exercise and fun, and assholes will vex you.
I recommend really good noise cancelling headphones. Can’t hear them, can’t care. I also recommend not letting them see you cry if you do hear them. I find that looks of abject pity and shaking your head sadly seem to work pretty good, maybe a quiet, “Oh, that’s so sad,” if you aren’t as confrontational as I am, or have as broad a vocabulary of profanity.*
That’s a lot of what I’ll be talking about this weekend, I hope. I’m pretty easy to sidetrack. I’m just hoping I don’t have to deliver another lecture to a guy about how, regardless of how he feels about his co-workers’ bodies, it is never ok to comment on female co-workers’ bodies, not even to tell them they don’t need to diet. Ok, I’m covering body shaming in this one, too. Don’t do it. I realize thin-bashing is a larval stage to self-acceptance most fat people go through. Don’t.
*I highly recommend taking a foreign language or two just for the profanity and insult opportunities. Well, and also because language is AWESOME!