Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Lecture Loft is open!

If there’s anything I like doing, it’s entrancing people into, at the very least, getting some science dropped on them regarding Fat Acceptance and its existence as an alternative to the current societal demand for physical perfection from its denizens. And when I say “science”, I don’t mean the studies and that sort of thing because analyzing and parsing the scientifical stuff is not in my skillset. I’m more of a “this is how I feel/this is how I react/this is how I roll” writer. I like the “A-Ha” moment, I dig on seeing that happen. It doesn’t happen often enough for my taste, of course, but I do what I can when I can. I also think that some “a-ha” moments need to come from within and nothing anyone says or does can make that “a-ha” happen until the person’s ready to rock it.

But for the moment, I’m going to riff (oh god, I used “riff” in a non-ironic context. Sigh) a bit at those who might be struggling a tad with getting their minds wrapped around Fat Acceptance and how it might apply in their lives.

It’s not fat acceptance if all you’re doing is being really, really angry at thin people.

FA’s got layers, and one of the first things I figured out was to hate the game, not the players, if you will. Do I have an internal wince and perhaps an eyeroll or 15 when diet – aka “Being ‘Good’” talk breaks out? Oh heavens yes. But I *get* the conversation, I get why it’s happening, and 95 percent of the time (the same percentage of diets that fail OH SHIZZ) I don’t take it personally. I don’t grumble and snarl at thin people that I encounter because they’re not the enemy. Teethgrindingly oppressive beauty standards pile onto everyone, not just the fat. There are segments of that everyone that don’t feel it as keenly as others, but it wrecks everyone’s jazz up, ultimately.

Of course you’re going to encounter thin people that are insufferable assholes whose validation in life is predicated on the notion that they are morally superior to those whom they believe “don’t take care of themselves”. But you’re going to encounter insufferable assholes that are a myriad of sizes. I’ve experienced thin insufferable assholes, fat insufferable assholes, short, tall, they run the gamut. It’s wiser to let someone earn their “Insufferable Asshole” certificate than to simply tag a group of people as being said assholes before they prove their worth, as it were.

If you want to be “successful” at FA, if you want to “pass” FA…in my way of thinking, the first thing you need to do is quit with the fucking crabbing about the thin people and oh the thin people and ach the thin people and their thin ways and their egos and bragging or whatever other villainous adjectives you want to lay at their feet. Stop with the “she looks like a social x-ray /lollipop/bobblehead” or “he’s a musclebound lunkhead idiot doucheweasel” crap. Because that’s not a) helpful or b) really the jist of Fat Acceptance because it’s got absolutely nothing to do with YOU and YOUR acceptance of YOURSELF. You can’t spread the good word if 98 percent of your words are about how ugly and wretched and evil thin people are.

I’m a high roader, I admit. After internet flame wars in my distant youth where I said some fucking horrific things, I have found it far easier for my own personal karmic level to resist the urge to spew forth rage and bile and whatnot. I know it’s hard to high road when it seems like the universe in general is bound and determined to low road our collective ass, but ultimately, I don’t think it serves a greater purpose to saddle up and go apeshit on those who froth at the fat and the evil we apparently do. And when I say “apeshit”, I’m talking about lowering the level of discourse versus responding in a mannered and level-headed fashion. You know, putting into practice the whole “walk away for a few minutes, perhaps run around in a circle, collect one’s thoughts, and dial it back, spiffy” thing. Taking a moment to dial back and collect doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be angry. Shit, I am fueled on caffeine, defiance, and anger. But the moment I lose control of that finely tuned anger and rage, I’m of no use to me or anyone. Yes, yes, it’s all very Jedi, dammit.

So let’s redirect and have a moment of think – what are you accomplishing with the “thin people are jerks and they’re the reason why I’m so miserable” campaign? I think it’s safe to say, not much. Fat Acceptance’s central message isn’t “Let Us Destroy the Thin For It Is They Who Have Caused Me Such Angst and What Have You”*. If that’s what you think Fat Acceptance has given you the green light to do, it’s time for you to start reading up.


Jerome said...

This is an interesting post but I think you've set up a bit of a straw-FA advocate. The blogs on the feed are generally very good about acceptance of ALL bodies.

Emma said...

Great blog. I really think you should write a book, Jane.

Jane said...

Jerome - this isn't directed at any blog on the feed. This post sprung from some comments I've seen as of late elsewhere on non-feed articles that haven't been so much about getting FA out there as misplaced anger directed at thin people.