Friday, October 12, 2012

But I just want to help you.

One of the things I hear from thin people, fitness experts, random people, and self proclaimed allies all the time is BUT I JUST WANT TO HELP YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.

In the case of many "experts" by help they mean sell me something. Everything from personal training, diet super secrets, magic pills, etc etc. Half the time these are weird pyramid schemes or straight up scams.

These "selfless" (oh hay famous tv trainers I'm lookin at you) people insist that they have the key to my health. They never know me. They never are privy to my actual personal medical history. The minute I tell them that I am a poor person they are done with me entirely. Or they tell me I must hate myself too much to make the sacrifices to buy their programs/pills/dvds/services.

Here is where we put the lie to the idea that most of these experts give an actual damn about anyone. If they were indeed only concerned with my health and well being and presumed using up of ALL THE INSURANCE, wouldn't they say okay well I'm going to save your life (since they always presume I am on deaths doorstep) so these things are free.

It's not about my health, it is about my money.

When it comes to thin people, random people from the internet and so called allies it isn't money they are concerned with. It is being right.

In their supposedly supportive and loving pursuits, they fail to do the one major thing anyone who cares about something or someone should do, listen.

Read responses to things I've written, read the comments on any article concerning body image and there is always a BUT.

"I'm all for loving yourself but..."

"I guess it's okay but..."

We've all seen it.

Here is the actual truth of the matter.

If you are someone who is so determined to be correct in what you believe to be concerned way that you cannot put aside your own issues and prejudices to listen to what someone is saying and demonstrate some level of reading comprehension, you are not really an ally and you need to do some work.

If your first response to me saying, look. I do not want your advice, I don't want you getting in my business and I'm not talking about my health to you, is to tell me BUT I ONLY WANT TO HELP YOU WHY WON'T YOU LET ME HELP YOU, YOU ARE GONNA DIE FATASS...

You have work to do.

You need to learn how to shut your mouth and understand that your desire to be the one true knower of what is and isn't right for everyone around you serves no one but you.

You too fatties.

Yes you.

We know that while each of us has probably had at least one or two of the ubiquitous fat experiences, we also know that each of us live our fat lives in different ways.

We know that some of us have no correlated health problems with our fatness.

Some of us do.

Some of us are really into our health, some of us aren't.

Some of us have eating disorders, some of us don't.

What some of us tend to forget is that none of us owes it to anyone to be a Good Fatty.

We don't owe it to people to run around shouting about all the healthy food we eat, the exercise we do, HAES or anything.

Our bodies; fat, thin, able bodied, disabled, trans*, cis, etc etc are not morality plays.

That is a game we all need to stop playing.

People, especially people who are flying under a banner or believe that they just want to help need to stop running to the rescue of everyone and slow down.

Think about what you're doing.

Think about how you're thinking.

Think about how your real feelings about bodies and fatness may be coloring your behavior.

For instance.

You cannot tell me how into and loving and accepting you are of all bodies if the only bodies you approve of or that you don't offer "help" to are thin bodies.

You cannot tell me how loving and accepting you are of all bodies if your first instinct to hearing a fat person say no, I don't want your help is to turn to bullying or trolling.

If you belittle, condescend to, just keep talking about how OMG FATASS UR GUNNA DIE or OMG EAT ONLY THIS WAY, or if you "disagree" with the idea that my personal health isn't your business regardless of your intent is, you are being a bully.

What's worse is that if someone tells me they are an ally I have certain expectations.

I expect at least a modicum, an inkling of understanding of basic issues like bodily autonomy, the actuality of what makes health care expensive in America. I expect not to have heavily biased old and outdated science quoted at me.

If you do those things (I SEE YOU, yes YOU DO IT) stop.

Or at least don't say you're an ally because you're lying.

You don't care about my personal health.

If you did, you would understand that my health is not your business. You would understand that demanding I give you my vital stats or somehow defend what you believe to be true of my health.

Here's the actual cold truth.

You person, whomever you are will never be privy to the reality of the actual personal health of anybody. It doesn't matter what you believe to be true about any certain body whether it is you believe that all thin people have eating disorders or that all fat people are about to drop dead.

You just will never know.

You person, you also need to understand that it is not okay and is grossly offensive to demand that I or anyone else give you private personal information if they don't want to. It doesn't matter how much you say you care, what statistics or studies you've read. None of those things make up the reality of another persons actual personal health.

You person, you need to understand that even if I am (as I do often) talking about things that are impacted by my health or if I talk about my health you don't have the right to "correct" me about anything. The fact is unless you are stealing my private information and have my medical files open in front of you, you don't know anything beyond what I say.

If I want to talk about my health I will say so.

Otherwise shut your mouth.

Or if you are determined to "help" don't start talking all about how many fat people die and whoa is the fatty who doesn't ascribe to the way you eat or exercise. If you want to help, listen.

If you want to really help, why don't you blog about things like the importance of equal access to quality medical care?

Why don't you talk about how bullying from medical people could impact how many fat people get preventative care?

Why don't you talk about the awful mistruths and lies told about health and health care?

Why don't you talk about the profiteering of the medicalization of bodies?

Why don't you talk about the inequalities in treatment if you are not in a normative body?

It's hard right?

You are damn skippy it's fucking hard.

Understand that helping people as I have said before does not mean you get to do any of the following, rather you can do them but don't expect to be met with open arms and ally cookies:

  • Proselytize
  • Bully
  • Condescend
  • Demand
  • Take center stage
  • etc
If you are doing those things, don't expect shit.

If you are doing those things, and yes get real about it. Be honest about your intentions. Or get put on proverbial blast or ignored.

Now that's all I have to say about that.

In other news.

I have new flash fiction published at Used Furniture Review, you can find that here. 

Lastly do you live in Portland? Are you over 21 and enjoy literary events?

If so come see me read at Unchaste Readers at the Jack London Bar. Get info here on facebook. 

Go forth, frolic my homies. I'll be back next week with some pictures, an outfit and stuff.

Homo out.


1 comment:

JoannaDW said...

Thank you 100% for this post. I see this sort of thing all the time, even from so-called fat activists desperate to prove to mainstream culture that they follow all the rules. And instead of questioning the rules, they talk about how more people, mostly poor people, people of color, etc. can more easily follow them.

No. No no no no. Fuck the rules.

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