Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More To Hate.

It's weird - for whatever reason this particular week I became acutely aware of just how much out-and-out hatred is leveled at fat people. Or, at the very least, how the internet has provided a platform for such hatred to be aired. Marianne from The Rotund wrote a great piece at the Daily Beast regarding Fox's "More to Love", the dating show featuring a fat bachelor and fat women vying for his reality show-generated love (see her blog for the link). In an unusual moment of complete duh, I took a peek at the comments.

WOW. That's all I can manage is a WOW. The vitriol was overwhelming, the disdain, the hate - and there's no other way to describe it, it wasn't just "reservations", it wasn't just people having some "minor issues", this was a gleeful carnival of Hate and everyone seemed to be clamoring for a spin on the Hate-O-Whirl about how I (because I have to make it about me) am a horrible, awful person who is going to steal tax dollars and is a lazy, good-for-nothing loser (except when it comes to weight, of course, and it's SO SIMPLE TO LOSE WEIGHT YOU FAT ASSHOLE) who just really fucking sucks and ruins everything.

I don't get shaken by much. This shook me because you see, when I'm out and about in the world, I don't see all that many women that look like me:

The way the media hypes it, there should be an Army of Me rampaging across the planet, landing in hospitals using up all precious resources so as to prevent thin (read: deserving) people of them, and then we're rolling across the countryside, devouring nothing but ice cream and Fritos and Fritos in ice cream layered with chocolate and high fructose corn syrup - fuck, we BATHE in high fructose corn syrup. And we entice the weakest and most vulnerable among us, THE CHILDREN, down the chubby road to despair and heart attacks at age four, and we gleefully cackle as we completely undermine all society ONE POUND AT A TIME!

Except that's not what I see, and I don't think it's what a vast majority of people see in the everyday world, but with every headless fatty that's trotted out to symbolize "the obesity epidemic", people are convinced that they come across monstrous resource-sucking beasts each and every day. Things. Things that are less than human and don't deserve humanity unless they look and behave precisely how they're supposed to. I haven't felt like a thing in a long time, but after seeing those comments...I'm still having trouble walking it off. It is a relentless assault, day after day, no matter how disconnected from the major media outlets you may be. And I've stated before that it's not a winning game for anyone, but today, I'm focusing in on me because it's the only way I can manage to dig my heels in and find myself again amidst all this thing.

Of course, Fox's fucking "More to Love" ain't helping matters much. They claim to be trying to perform a public service of sorts by having a fat-centric dating show so the world can see "They're Just Like Us Skinnies!" The way they show that? By displaying the fat women's heights and weights onscreen whenever they do an interview with a particular contestant. You know, how they do on all the dating shows, right? *pounds head into desk repeatedly*

I know I'll get over it. I always have throughout the years, and few things fuel my fire more than some good old-fashioned defiance. But damn. Just...damn.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why do I do this?

Being a fat acceptance activist or supporter is not…the…easiest thing to rock. It’s a two-fronter: you have the obvious battlefield of the mainstream media and entertainment and the weight loss industry and on and on, but you also have the internal battlefield that you’ve carried since…hell, BIRTH, it seems. Internal voices that at times seem way louder than the collective shriekers that get bent at the thought that fat people are, you know, human.

I’ve been having a bit of a time with those bastardly dastardly voices as of late, and even when I’m in one of my wiggier states, I can logic the shit out of my wigs. I’m less active than I’d like to be and I’m feeling it mentally, feeling it physically, and I have to ride the resulting grumps out and figure out some sort of activity that I like doing because I like being active and I love how it feels when I am active on a regular basis. Life has changed a bit on other fronts and I’m wrangling with that. My sister’s on a diet and she’s lost weight and WHY CAN’T I DO THAT SURE I COULD DO THAT I COULD YES I COULD PAY A DOCTOR WHOSE NAME SOUNDS LIKE “GODDAMN” MONEY FOR IT AND TAKE AN APPETITE SUPPRESSANT AND I COULD NITPICK AND OBSESS ABOUT WHAT I’M EATING FOR EVERY SINGLE MEAL *high-pitched unintelligible squeal*

Oh yeah, it’s been one of those…quarters. It’s been one of those quarters where something really, really lovely and wonderful and gorgeous and miraculous happened, but it was soon followed by the inevitable sneak-up of my brain to say, “oh hi, Jane [laughs]”. It’s annoying as hell witnessing the falling-over of people when they see someone who’s lost weight. I went to a family function recently with said dieting sister and of course, all talk went to a) how great she looks and b) what kind of failures everyone has been because they have been “bad” and need to do “something”. It’s just so…weird to stand there next to the Latest Marvel In Dieting Technology and listen to them be gushed at and know – you KNOW – the gusher is looking at you and thinking, “ugh…she’s so fat” (and not “fat” in that “it’s just a neutral descriptor!” kind of way, if you dig). And this quarter, that’s been irking me a fucking bunch. It makes me angry. It makes me very, very angry that my worth as a person is immediately negated, not just by strangers, but also by family because of my fat. I’m fucking angry that I can’t find clothes that I like. I can find clothes, sure, but I fucking don’t want to wear what I’m being told I’m supposed to like because I have a vagina. I’m fucking angry that I have to hear sloppily-researched, half-assed reports on the news just about every night about how I and people who look like me are villains and destroying pretty much anything and everything that’s good in the world. I’m fucking angry and I am tired, so so so very tired of suffering fools.

I’m fucking angry that fat people’s medical concerns are insty-treated with “lose weight”, as if there’s absolutely no other explanation for a malady. I’m fucking angry that people are actually questioning whether the nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, can do the job because she’s fat. I’m fucking angry that little kids are learning earlier and earlier to hate themselves because they don’t look like what they see on TV, in movies, or like other kids. I’m fucking angry that there are parents who are teaching their children that nothing matters more than thinness. I’m fucking angry that billions of dollars are made off the self-hate industry and that people with influence and a voice that others pay attention to buy right into it again and again and again (HI, OPRAH). I’m fucking angry that people cloak their prejudice in “I’m only concerned about your health”. And most of all, I’m fucking angry that there are women and men in the world who walk through their lives believing they’re not worth a sack and a half of shit simply because they’re fat, who wait and wait and torture themselves over and over and over again believing they’re only permitted fun and wonder and love when they’re thin.

I’m not the best blogger in the Fatosphere, not by a long shot. I suck at deeply analyzing studies and articles and reports because I get too (fucking) angry. My ability to coolly parse goes right out the window due to my inclination to go from zero to !!!!!!!!!!! in 2.3 seconds. I’m not the most strident blogger, either. I don’t have tales of getting into online brawls, spewing out facts and figures to counteract the “YOU’RE GONNA DIE BY 30 FATTY (just as an aside, I’m 37 and we’re all going to die sometime)/UGLY FATTY (well, depends on who you ask, I reckon)/NO FAT CHICKS (you got me there, sport)” vitriol. I refuse to return to the mindset I required in order to diet and I will not encourage others in their efforts to diet or have weight-loss surgery, but I’m not the person who will shriek, “NOOOOOO!” at them because ultimately, as I ask you to respect my right to treat my body as I wish and not make judgment or comment upon it, I will do the same for you. But goddammit and tarnation, I will repeat over and over again that there is nothing gained by anyone in accepting that self-hatred and self-loathing is appropriate, welcome, or a rite of passage that we should all endure. It does not make you a better person, a more “real” person, a more right person to live each day telling yourself how awful you are. The people who would gladly tell you yes, you’d be prettier/more handsome/better/more moral/”good” if you were only 10, 20, 50, 100 pounds less are not people who hold your best interests at heart. They are, plainly put, in my way of talking...jerkoffs. Those would love you conditionally – they are jerkoffs.

So why do I do this? Because I remember so, so very well how I used to feel about myself. How I cried over how ugly I thought I was, how worthless I believed myself to be, how I couldn’t possibly be loved as fat as I was/am, how many years I blew refusing to really live because I didn’t think I was allowed to. If I can get just a few people to get off that train and see – really see – that they have and deserve a place in this fucked up, goofy-ass world just as much as the “beautiful people” do, then I’ll have done something good. Maybe not earth-spinning-off-axis huge, but I can be content with tilting things a bit.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

The State of Independence.

It's the Fourth o' July here in the United States, marking the day we said "hey yo, we don't think so" to the British and threw down stakes on our own joint. Of course, because I'm having people over for dinner and had planned on grilling...the weather has taken a big dump on the Midwest. THANKS, WEATHER.

But I'm not here to talk about my grilling plans (or how they've been pooped on) - I'm here, instead, to declare independence and hope you might join me at whatever comfort level you're currently residing.

My self-worth is not determined by the size of my ass, the span of my belly, the jiggleliciousness of my upper arms, my stretch marks, or how this might determine how attractive or unattractive I am to others.

The food I eat doesn't change my morality. The chocolate Frosty shake I had yesterday didn't make me bad. The mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing I had before it didn't make me good. The pork tenderloin I'm cooking tonight won't make me bad. The fruit salad I'll be having along side it won't make me good. I'm a decent person because I'm not a raging douchehole. (Okay, some might disagree, BUT WHATEV.)

My weight also doesn't affect my morality. The size of my thighs is not an arbiter on the Good/Bad Scale. I will not be a better, finer, smarter, more charming, or more delightful person if I'm thin. I am a fine smarty charmer, period.

My weight doesn't determine how worthy of love I am or how much love I'm capable of flinging out there.

I will not hide myself. I will not sit in a corner and behave like I'm "supposed to" because I'm fat. I will be true to myself in all respects and accept and embrace the consequences of being me. I will be loud, I will be honest, and I will gleefully work to upend every single bullshitty message that is being sent to women, to men, to everyone about what makes them worthwhile.

I will be defiant to the very end, and goddamn, I will have a great time.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

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