Monday, May 12, 2008

Fat Musings.

Even though my feed doesn't appear to work with the Fatosphere feed anymore I still read it regularly and have been having some you guessed it musings.

First on the whole no diet talk issue. Granted everybodys blog is their own sandbox and you can make whatever rules you want. But this persistent idea that one must keep diet talk, weight loss talk etc out of fat acceptance entirely still chafes me.

As I understand it, the assumption is that you cannot love you body and still want to change it. I don't subscribe to that particular view point. I was going to link some things but I don't feel like it. Anyway, my thought is that I do believe that you can love and accept yourself entirely and want to change a few things.

The main problem I have with this dogmatic do not speak of this mentality is that it ignores a lot of what the people who are coming to FA, and what people who might be interested, and let's be honest a good segment of the population of FA. I know this is not a popular or "radical" (I'll get to that in a bit) idea however I do think it's not helping the cause.

Let's say you are very fat and you've come to a place where you dig your body, you feel good about yourself, you have shed the the majority of the bullshit heaped on you by peers and probably family. You are doing pretty fucking good. Maybe you're getting a little older, maybe your diet changes whatever you gain some weight. Let's say 20 pounds.

Okay you got your character? Good.

So now imagine you are this fat self loving person who has chronic osteoarthritis or you have a bad back, maybe an ankle you broke when you were 12 that hasn't been right since. Let's also pretend that you aren't quite brand new to FA circles but you're not really all in there. You don't really have anyone to talk to about this aside from maybe your doctor whom you're not ready to discuss this with yet.

You think maybe you can talk to your new FA homies about the fact that this last 20 pounds has just got you hurting.

So you start reading around the Fatosphere and all the big name (and let's not pretend there's not a hierarchy here people) and they all tell you, you can't talk about it there, or with them.

How do you feel?

Maybe it doesn't sour you on FA but maybe it makes you more hesitant to participate because all the prevailing dogma says you cannot want to lose weight at any time for any reason and no it's not to be discussed.

I don't know about the fat people you know, but a lot of the fat people I know are coming from lives where they have been thrown to the wolves as it were, and I would venture to guess that some of these souls are squirming in their seats because they want to comment and say, no wait but I would be too many are afraid.

What's there to be afraid of you ask?

You could get flamed, you could get ostracized, you could get that ever so wonderful "Let me educate you and cleanse you of your wicked ways" type condescension.

I don't think this is helpful. I think cutting off discussion because it doesn't suit your particular political flavor is just, not helpful.

Next thing I worry about is the constant rehashing without any sort of consensus or even understanding of a few issues. Namely, who's fat? What's "good" for fatties to do or not do. Sometimes it feels like FA gets bogged down in questions that really come down to things that a political movement cannot change.

Things like autonomy and the bogeyman of choice. FA like so many other body oriented movements I have been familiar with shit starts to happen. Someone decides that what someone else said was bad, there's butthurt, there's the person who may publicly or privately say something that doesn't toe the party line and all hell breaks loose.

It's not exclusive to FA nor is it a new thing but it is something I think about.

Moving onto that interview I linked the other day with author/blogger PastaQueen became such a fucking trainwreck.

I don't even want to link it because way too many people took off their sanity hats and put on their frothing at the mouth and being dicks hats.

Next topic: Being Inclusive.

The free dictionary says that inclusive means literally-

1. including everything: capital inclusive of profit
2. including the limits specified: Monday to Friday inclusive
3. comprehensive

Any movement including FA tends to sometimes run around in circles trying to figure out the whole inclusive thing. Who gets to play? Who gets shown the door?

Often my issue with any movement is that unless you look like someone who should be there often you're shunted into the dubious position of advocate. In and of itself that's not bad but, I think it'd behoove any movement to say oh HAY you agree with us? Come kick it.

Not, well you're not (insert adjective here) but you can say you support us kthnks bai.

Call me a dirty hippy but I think the road to salvation is paved with inclusive cobblestones rather than cobblestones for us and gravel for you.

I believe this because no matter what your movement is, you have to share the world with a shitload of people who are way different than you. They are white, they are thin, they are from other countries they are from entirely different worlds than yours. No matter how "safe" your individual space might be, they are still out there and at some point unless you have some super secret to life, you are going to have to interact with them.

So instead of coming at the world like you're my enemy and fuck you, why not say hey check this out. This is what I am into right now, and I know this isn't your world but (insert interesting social discourse then hippy laden hugging here).

To quote Mo Pie's entry on BFD "10 Ways to be a Body Positive Advocate"

Understand that a lot of people are hateful morons, and they don’t reflect on you, and they shouldn’t affect you.

You should go read that whole entry.

But that bit is especially relevant here. And I will add that maybe the person who is the moron, on sight you might think YEAH we have this in common so this will rock. That is not so. Support and understanding can come from unexpected corners and frankly I think it's dumb to not see it or look for it because you haven't yet worked out your own prejudices.

At some point any movement needs to recognize that dividing on the basis of things that are in the big picture not that big a deal.

We're all going to have to pull up our big girl panties and put our hard hats on because the world is a crazy rough place and we can use all the armor we can get.

And if none of this made any fucking sense it's because I'm really tired and have a toothache.

Homo Out.



Anonymous said...

i used to read the fatosphere feed often but stopped a couple of weeks ago. i love the whole body positive FA movement but frankly i was tired of the whole "your ignorance, let me show you it" theme when it came to wanting to lose x amount of pounds for whatever reason. i unsubscribed from it because i was tired of feeling like a bad person for wanting to lose any amount of weight at all whatsoever.

it kinda sucks though. the FA movement was so instrumental in helping me realise what a kick ass person i am inside and out and helped me open my eyes to a whole lot of things. but it seems like there is no middle ground, and i'm tired of being bashed, even though its indirectly.

so yeah, even though im all for size acceptance and all i'm taking a break from the fatosphere and other blogs so i can do whats needed for me and still belive i am fabulous every step of the way.

oh, and i don't comment much but i am a huge time lurker. found you via the fatosphere and added your blog to my feed cos it's made of win :-)


Jo said...

I like this.

I have to say, I read your blog though I don't comment. And while sometimes I agree with you and sometimes I don't, I love the way you express it all. You are so refreshing and down to earth and no-bullshit. :)

Lindsay said...

I could SO kiss you right about now. You completely and totally nailed each and every single point. Hell yes, my friend. Thank you, thank you, fucking THANK YOU.

Absolutely brill.

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