Monday, September 21, 2009

And it goes a little something like this.

I’m currently suffering from having all sorts of fragmented thoughts in my head, none of which I can wrangle into any kind of cohesive structure (or, in layman’s terms, “make sense”). Multitudes of things of a fat-related nature have been irking me and inspiring me and irking me again. And I’ve got all sorts of personal life and work life flibbertygibbetry happening (good stuff in the personal, silly-ass in the work life) which only serves to distract me more from unleashing hell. So pardon me while I riff (and pardon me for actually using the word “riff”) a bit on a few things.

As always, lots of swearing ahead.



Stop using morality-laden words to describe food. If you want to cook my goose, burn my biscuits or frost my ass, use words like “decadent”, “sinful”, or “guilty pleasure” to describe food or the ingesting thereof. “Decadent” is not a flavor; neither is “sinful”. I know I’ve said it probably…1.5 billion times already, but food does not contain morality. It does not convey upon you any sort of moral standing. If you have a salad for dinner, it does not make you a better, smarter, more fashionable, or more interesting person than if you have a cheeseburger for dinner. Watching every single thing that you put into your mouth does not make you a good person or a bad person. What makes you a bad person is you looking at what others choose to place into their mouths and declaring them to be repugnant for ingesting what they choose to. Don’t comment on what other people are eating unless it contains the words “fuck, that looks delicious” or “I think it’s moving”. If you’re unable to handle such a concept, then you should not dine with others.

Charlotte Cooper says things that make me say “YES”. In a post from September 16th, 2009, she says the following: “I don't think obesity is the problem, I think social attitudes towards fat people go a long way in affecting people's health. I think my health as a fat person is threatened by a health service that tries to withhold treatment from me until I lose weight, or tries to coerce me into profitable but unhealthy weight loss regimens; or the stress and social repercussions of being stigmatised or discriminated against, and the internalised self-hatred this can engender. I think my health is more threatened by these things than by the wobble of my belly, and that the cost to the nation of obesity-related health problems is really about what hatred costs the nation.”

“Lose weight/get fit” does not qualify as quality advice, nor does it solve your life’s problems. I’ve mentioned previously that I am an advice column junkie, from Carolyn Hax down to Judy Bachrach at Obit-mag.com (which I believe was a tip from a CB commenter). Recently, I was reading Ask Amy, which is usually an exercise in massive eye-rolling. A woman wrote in wondering how to confront a husband who might possibly be straying. Nowhere in her letter does she mention anything about her appearance, health status, NOTHING even REMOTELY resembling anything like that. It was simply an inquiry into how to deal with a husband behaving like a jackass. Amy’s response, initially, made sense (a shocking turn of events, trust me), but then rattles off a list of things she should start doing, like going to the gym to get “fit and healthy”. What in the high fucking hell does that have to do with ANYTHING? If I ask for directions to Main Street, the response shouldn’t be “well, you’ll want to join a gym so you can get fit and healthy”. The answer to “What is the capital of Wyoming” is not “the gym so you can get fit and healthy”. If I’m attacked by a cougar, going to the gym is not going to take care of the massive bite wounds I’ll have. And I don’t think the gym would look kindly at my bleeding out upon the leg press machine. Life is complicated and baffling and infuriating, and advising friends, let alone strangers, on difficult situations is a monumental task for any of us. If your go-to advice to someone is “oh, just join a gym and lose 20 pounds and all your cares and worries will disappear”, you’re a really shitty adviser.

Please strike “You’ll find someone when you stop looking” from your personal lexicon. I don’t really have anything to follow that, I just wanted to fling it out there because holy SHIT, I am tired of seeing that as another never-fails chunk of advice. If that’s the best thing you can muster up for your single friends...well, see above.

I don’t give a fuck if you’re attracted to me or not. No, really. I’m not in the fat acceptance business to demand that you must be attracted to fat people. Everyone is free to be attracted to whoever they wish to be. Where you cross my magic line, however, is shrieking that being attracted to fat people is wrong, weird, or “settling”; where you cross my magic line is when you trot out that tired-ass trope that fat chicks are better in bed because they “try harder”; where you cross my magic line is being absolutely incapable of separating your individual preferences from the preferences of others and judging those with preferences that differ from yours. Oh, and if you’re too terrified that your friends will judge you negatively for dating someone who’s fat or if you think you can magically transform your fat partner into a thin partner through “love” – really, the only phrase that comes to mind is “fuck off”, frankly. Really, I just can’t come up with anything more erudite than that.

A non-fat acceptance related pick to click: Cinematic Titanic live. My wizened cold heart just about burst with joy at the Lakeshore Theater in Chicago September 12th when I saw Cinematic Titanic live. CT is made up of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” originals Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, J. Elvis Weinstein, Frank Conniff, and Mary Jo Pehl. I was very much a Joel girl (and a Trace Beaulieu girl as well - hellooooooooo sailor) and to see them live in stereo made me all kinds of warm and nougaty inside. If you were a MSTie and Cinematic Titanic is coming to your town, go go go.

10 comments:

Holly said...

Oh my god...preach on sister, preach ON.

erin said...

"where you cross my magic line is being absolutely incapable of separating your individual preferences from the preferences of others and judging those with preferences that differ from yours. Oh, and if you’re too terrified that your friends will judge you negatively for dating someone who’s fat or if you think you can magically transform your fat partner into a thin partner through “love” – really, the only phrase that comes to mind is “fuck off”, frankly. Really, I just can’t come up with anything more erudite than that. "

it reminds me of the saying fat chicks are like scooters...they are fun as long as your friends dont know you are riding one. I have quietly sat by when people said that but it ALWAYS bothered me.

Frankincensy said...

"Stop using morality-laden words to describe food. If you want to cook my goose, burn my biscuits or frost my ass, use words like “decadent”, “sinful”, or “guilty pleasure” to describe food or the ingesting thereof. [...] Don’t comment on what other people are eating unless it contains the words “fuck, that looks delicious” or “I think it’s moving”. If you’re unable to handle such a concept, then you should not dine with others."

Breaking my habit of lurking around the Fatosphere feed to say how much I adore and agree with this (that is to say, one hundred per cent).

Laura said...

"Please strike “You’ll find someone when you stop looking” from your personal lexicon." Oh god YES.

I hate that advice with a passion. I'm an IT professional who's worked and socialised with men for 10 years, but if I hadn't gone out and sought men to date I would have been single the whole time. Being active, not passive, is the only thing that's worked for me. If you want something - so and make it happen!

spuffyduds said...

Oh, this was totally brilliant and thinky, and of course I have to respond to the one shallow bit: TRACE BEAULIEU HELLS YES.

ROYALTY said...

couldnt have said it better myself...


Royalty
http://just-shut-it.blogspot.com/

omchelsea said...

Hells YEAH!

Sing Clementine said...

Word. I just had a remarkable experience with a personal trainer type at the gym that I managed to wrangle discounted visits from (the NHS and evil socialist healthcare strikes again!) Anyway, part of the discount deal was that I had to have an assessment with this Gym bloke. I went in all raring to give him HAES up the ying yang, and he turned out to be incredibly receptive - even pointing out that the BMI was garbage. I think my on-to-it Gym bloke would agree that "join a gym and lose 20 pounds" is shitty advice, even as a reason to go to the gym (he indicated that he is very anti rapid and extreme weight loss). But, as you put it, it's becoming increasingly ubiquitous. The body gets policed all the time, to the point where it's part and parcel of any guidance. I swear I came across a career advice book that suggested the job seeker join a gym or take up jogging, with the idea that of course employers want to see you fit into the 'normal' ticky box.

P.S. Advice column pimping - if you like etiquette-focussed columns, check out Gothic Miss Manners. http://www.gothic-charm-school.com/

Sydera said...

In agreement with Laura--

I was single for 3 years after a bad relationship (abusive). I didn't trust men. I didn't want to date. So I didn't. And guess what? Didn't meet anybody. I cherish those 3 years of alone-time--they were restorative for me, and I got to focus on friendships with women, my work, and myself. I wouldn't have wanted to live like that forever--but it wouldn't have been so bad either if it had been my choice.

Once I decided to open up my heart again, I did meet someone nice (6 years after that, my husband) after about a year of going on a date or two with a string of bozos. Looking is actually very productive when it comes to finding love. It was less about what I did than my openness to new things.

Potterchik said...

I have an idea that in our increasingly secular society, the previous obligation to seek spiritual perfection has been replaced by an obligation to seek physical perfection; hence the morality-laden language regarding food. That's why people are HORRIFIED when one responds to chick-fat-talk by saying, "I'm all done with dieting."