Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hey Allies let's talk shall we?


Many times in this wee corner of the internet allies have indignantly told me they absolutely will not ever shut up.

This stemming from my frequent use of the phrase shut up and listen.

I've been told NO NO NO.

I've seen self appointed allies ranging from White Feminists, Anti racists, hetero allies, thin allies etc etc wax poetic about how they'll keep shouting from the rafters.

Ahem.

Let's do a thing.

I'm gonna take you way back. I'm going to assume we all went to 5th grade.

So let us pretend we are in a big ass 5th grade class together and we're starting to learn about say, cedar trees.

Now in our 5th grade class let's say that the ally who will never shut up is called Whoop, now we're all learning together and Whoop just keeps talking.

Whoop yells about the time they saw a cedar near the road, the time they planted a sapling but it may or may not have been a cedar, when the class gets to smell some cedar they declare loudly that THEY DO NOT LIKE THE SMELL AND OTHER PEOPLE ARE BEING TOO SENSITIVE OR WHATEVER IF THEY LIKE IT.

Now in that 5th grade class most likely our teacher would say things like.

"Thank you Whoop can you please be quiet now"

"Whoop, please put on your listening ears."

"Whoop if you interrupt again I will have to send you to the hall."

"Whoop if you continue I'm sending you to the principal office."

Now Whoop may be well intentioned. Whoop may be a super sweetheart and super smart. But, as Whoop keeps hollering and interrupting and talking over the teacher, Whoop is probably missing some information.

Many of us in class might think Whoop is overall pretty cool. We might invite them to our sleep overs, share our lunch with them, play with them at recess.

But at the same time we may want to shove Whoop out of their chair every now and then and tell them to shut the hell up so we can learn about the freaking trees.

Now let us put that into the context of politics.

People who refuse for various reasons to shut up and listen often are trying really hard to come from a good place. What they fail to realize is that it's not a good stance.

When you adamantly refuse to acknowledge that your opinion in an instance isn't necessarily needed and decide that your voice is so important on an issue that probably doesn't directly concern, what you're doing is participating in a system that silences marginalized people.

Let me break it down as it applies to me.

I am oppressed on various axis. Here in my little corner of the internets I talk about a lot of these things.

Now, when people come in all ass and elbows proclaiming their ally status and follow it up by telling me in nine million ways why they will never shut up and never come back, what are they doing?

How can we learn if we're constantly yammering?

In any other context we know rationally and emotionally that doing X thing is really rude and counter productive, why is it in the context of activism people seem to forget one of the most basic and simple methods of learning things.

Furthermore if you tell me that you are my ally in fighting racism, sizeism whatever and you actively silence me because maybe I said something that hit too close to home, maybe my life experience freaks you out, maybe you're guilty of some of the things I talk about and therefor you decide that you will not listen anymore, what are you?

The other problem is that when people do this, this is called a tone argument.

For me personally this is among the worst things people do.

Here is the mistake.

As an ally especially if you belong to the group of oppressors (whether you personally take part or not) telling me if I don't speak to you in a certain way you won't be an ally anymore, you are telling me you're not really an ally. You're a fair weather fan.

If as an ally you can't handle the real feelings and emotions of the people you are supposed to be riding for, you need to ask yourself what you're really doing.

Are you an ally because you think you're supposed to be?

Are you an ally as long as people are nice and non threatening and want to hold your hand and sing kumbaya?

If the answer (and yes this is hard as fuck to be honest about) yes, you are not really an ally.

Yes I'm saying if you do these tings, if you participate in a culture that oppresses me and people like me, you are not an ally you are part of the problem.

If your self appointed allyship comes with a truckload of caveats and buts, save it.

Save it or keep it to yourself because those of us really doing the hard work ain't got time for that.

If this hurt your feelings or your first response is to start hollering about how you don't do it, or what about your feelings, what about this that or the other thing stop.

If this post made you feel defensive, I hate to break it to you but you have work to do before you engage in this work with me or with anyone else.

This is work that I cannot and will not do fo you. I will not break it down further. I will not chew it up and spoon feed it to you. I say I won't because I believe in you, I think you can do it without that.

Now ready for something else homies?

So here you can read my latest non fiction publication here at Literary Ophans. Enjoy, spread around.

Homo Out.
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

No one is talking about you in particular.

First I want you to go have a looksy at this article by Marianne over at Xojane. Yes I know just read it.

Now go ahead and read a few comments.

One thing that happens whenever people talk about cultural things, societal things, systemic things is that someone always makes it about them on a personal level.

This happened here in this entry. 

I see it happen in any conversation about bodies, feminism, etc.

There are always people who say but, BUT IN MY LIFE....

Now here is a lesson on how to tell if a subject let's say it's about clean eating like Marianne was talking about is about you in particular or is trying to tell you what to do shall we?

Now had Marianne (I'll use myself as an example) said Shannon the way you talk about clean eating grosses me out, it would be about me personally.

At that point I would be smart to say well Marianne in my life this is a thing and it's a good thing etc etc.

If Marianne said, (as she did) the way people talk about clean eating in general and the connotations with the idea of some food being clean and others dirty is problematic, that doesn't have my name on it

This is also a problem when totally not racist people, make any discussion about racism focus or center on their thoughts, lives or experiences whether or not they are salient to the conversation.

One of the problems is that we all think we are always right. If eating clean works for us then it must be the answer to everyone's problems.

If fresh produce is readily available where you live, it must be like that everywhere right?

If it's feasible for you to take every set of stairs you see, then it MUST be feasible for everyone else right?

If it's good for you to exercise until you vomit or injure yourself, it MUST be good for everyone else.

If it's good for you to gain little or no weight while pregnant and emerge from pregnancy "better than ever" that is what we should all do right?

Y'all are smart you see what I'm doing.

This is called prescriptive attitudes. It is also being a jackhole bossypants.

There is a special kind of narcissism that gives a person such an inflated sense of moralistic righteousness.

Most humans don't tend to tolerate this on a micro level. We don't like people shoving their religions down our throats or telling us we are not allowed to wear something etc. It is a problem.

If you are one of the kind of people I"m talking about here is a tip to remember. Not every issue that is talked about is about you, your personal beliefs or choices.

You on a personal level can eat, fuck, wear, or believe in whatever you want. That is dandy, in fact it's pretty fucking awesome.

On a macro level, these things have deep implications that merit discussion. See again Marianne's point about the problem of what it means when we call something clean vs dirty. As lovely Marianne and I because it's a great phrase keep saying words mean things.

The other thing that means things?

Macro vs Micro.

Macro is big. It is society, it is culture, it is systemic things. Big. Macro. Large.

Micro is smaller. Micro is your neighborhood, your life, your ass,  your choices.

Here is where I think people lose the thread. Your micro is not the same as mine. That is not bad, it'snot divisive. It is even  not that difficult to figure out.

All you really have to do is not be an asshole. Don't assume because something is good or works for you that everyone must do that thing.

If reading this made you feel defensive, you may be one of the people I'm talking about. Calm down if you are. It's okay. You may need to work on some shit or flounce off into the sunset. Either way if you are one of these people now you know how the rest of us feel about you sometimes.

Now how do you deal with this? Remind yourself that not everyone has to live your particular life. Not everyone can speak to your particular experience especially in a personal space. Your world is not the whole world.

Say it again with me, your world is not the whole word.

That's it for now.

Homo Out.


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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Abuse for fun and bullshit. #fatshamingweek

Right now for the past what few days and/or week there has been a hastag on twitter that is #fatshamingweek.

Essentially this is yet another clever way for people who seem to care so much about fatness to be abusive and behave like assholes.

As I have written about previously, being abusive is not the way to demonstrate how much you care about anybody's health. It's about being a bully and deciding that it's super funny to try and shame fat people into not being fat anymore.

Let's have a look at what the people who have been participating in this hash tag mess and the people who thought it up are really doing shall we?

Now as I pointed out in several of the above links, psychological research has shown us time and again that emotional abuse, bullying etc is not good.

When people decide that they are going to go in on something like this they are effectively deciding that the object of their anger and shaming are:


  • Less than human.
  • Undeserving of basic respect.
  • Undesireable (because let's face it the target here is mainly women) and therefor of no value.
  • Etc
If we go on the assumption that for the lone quality of being a fat person, it is okay to set about abusing the Fat (because obviously if someone is fat they aren't human right?) fat people would not exist.

If this method of shame, abuse, bullying and debasement worked as a method to "solve" fatness, there would be no fat people. 

If Fatness is the worst health problem, how precisely would abusing fat people solve it?

If we are talking that this is for health, what if this was cancer? Could one in fact shame or bully people out of their risks of cancer?

Does it work?

If any of these people were to turn their efforts to people with a chance of say breast cancer, could they shame them into having radical cancer avoidance surgeries? If it is logical and okay to use abusive tactics to force people with a health issue to change, why don't we use it to battle every preventable health problem?

If as someone said to me on Twitter that abuse works to keep people thin, wouldn't we all be thin?

If abuse worked as a means to keeping people healthy, wouldn't we all be super healthy?

Wouldn't there be no cancer if we could abuse people into not having it?

This is ridiculous.

Frankly while I find messes like this irritating it also serves to show me very clearly who I need to not speak to.

If people think it's seriously okay to abuse other people because they find them unattractive because let's face it, if they were in fact really concerned with health it would involve more than LOL YER FAT, those are people who are not really worth my time or thought.

Abusers are going to abuse.

What I do concern myself with is putting that on blast.

If you spend an afternoon tickling your own funny bone by being an abuser, you clearly have far more problems than most fat people.

If you are really concerned about the state of other folks health, try asking if they re okay. Try concerning yourself with the lack accessible quality health care. Concern yourself with the travesty that is the inequality when it comes to health care.

If you want to "do something" try looking around your own community and finding out if people can get preventative care.

If your idea of solving any heath issue is simply abusing or harassing people on the internet I pity you.

So at the end here's the facts.

The people wanking themselves into some kind of self satisfaction that they've "done something" about the fatties are shit. I will state unequivocally that I do not believe they are worth the bytes they are taking up on the internet. A waste of carbon, water and space.

#fatshamingweek is nothing but a circle jerk for assholes. That's all. Those who are participating are doing nothing but intellectually masturbating themselves into self righteous egogasms. Their abuse means nothing and only serves to show the rest of us how abusive they are.

That's all.

Homo Out.




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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A Thing Happened.

So I'm just getting over a cold and over the weekend I spent some time reading links and whatnot about fatness and body image etc as shared by people I know on facebook.

Here's what happened.

I read an article that a lot of other fat folks I know through this here lil blog posted.

It was frankly real goddamn close to this entry here.  Also strikingly similar to other posts I've made.

THen I realized that the person who wrote it does read here or at least has told me so. The people who shared the link and some other similar ones and were cosigning and agreeing etc. The sharers were calling the fatties to arms to share the message everywhere.

Ahem.

These are people who have told me time and again how much they love my work but as I mentioned recently I'm Not a Nice White Lady so my work doesn't get as much respect.

That's what it comes down to.

Y'all, I had a really hard time. I cried.

I am not much of a crying person but I did.

The problem isn't me being unfamous. That's fine I don't give a shit.

The problem is that every single time I see these articles especially the ones where I suspect people got paid, and they say things that are so so so SO close to things I've already written and I know the authors I feel disrespected.

I feel the weight of being a marginalized voice.

I feel the pain of knowing how much work I have put into this space, how much hurt and upset and blood and sweat and MYSELF I have put into my work here, and I think of you little group of ride or die folks who have supported me and told me I've helped you etc and it just fucking hurts.

It hurts so much more when it's very clear that part of the reason I don't get the same treatment is because I'm not a Nice White Lady.

It hurts so much more when it is coming from people/areas where I would think SOMEBODY involved would be decent enough to say, we should mention Shannon or run this by her etc because she just fucking wrote about this.

I don't want to give up on writing here necessarily but I am becoming more and more mindful of seeing myself if not outright plagiarized than a close cousin.

I know that this is part of writing on the internets I know that. It is still fucked up.

I'm not saying I need everyone in the world to come to my aid or defense or whatever. I don't need to be internet famous. I don't know.

I guess I just don't want to bleed and be the inspiration to Nice White Ladies who don't give enough of a fuck about not being part of the silencing of WOC to at least give props where props are due.

I don't want my best friend to be hurting when she sees these things happen. I don't want to have to talk both of us down from righteous rage.

I don't want to bust people out on the internet.

I don't know.

I want people not to be such fucking douchebags.

I know that probably won't happen.

I am resolving not to cry over this again. I'm not giving my pain to the issue. I will keep doing what the fuck I do because it is that important to me.

You my homies and haters are that important to me.

Because I know you ride or die readers have been through it with me and I feel your loves and appreciations.

Also let me be real right now.

This is the raw real truth.

White women I see you. Don't think because I don't confront you or link to it or comment that I don't fucking now when someone has stolen from me. I know. I see. I remember.

I see you. I know what you're doing and I hope it feels terrible.

Now my darlings that's all. I'm still pretty wiped out from the cold but I wanted to tell you what's going on.

I'm working on figuring out what to do with my feeings. How I want to proceed. And how to care for myself enough that I don't get to the place I was in on Sunday.

Now I turn it over to you. I have a question for yall.

I am thinking about writing a new Self Care guide. One specifically for marginalized people who identify in any way (or want to) as Femes.

Thoughts? Questions? Anything Femme related that you'd be extra into seeing?

Homo Out.
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