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Why you gotta be so rude, internet?

November 13, 2009

As I have mentioned before, I quite enjoy The Rotund, and recently this article was featured in response to the question “do fat people know they are fat?” I mean, if fat people know they are fat, why do they wear such unflattering clothes? I’m not going to repeat the entire article here, because you can just go read it yourself, but once again, I find myself facepalming like a motherfucker over the comments.

I feel like the issue of fat acceptance is just really sloppy right now. Part of this has to do with the fact that fat people don’t really see themselves as an identity group, which I beleive they are. We are. It’s very acceptable to make fun of fat people. They are the America of physical descriptions. People are afraid of being fat and appalled by the fat. Fat acceptance is, as far as I know, a pretty new concept, which makes it all the more frustrating to deal with. Unlike feminism, a well-established social phenomenon, FA doesn’t have a very large following (puuuuuuuun) and isn’t known by many people. Generally people agree that the way women were treated in the 40s and 50s is not acceptable today, giving us a hint of progress (although I’ll be the first to admit that some days feels more like two steps back than any movement forward), while it is still very socially acceptable to mock, shame, and abuse fat people just because they are fat.

Because few are willing to accept fat people as a relevant identity group, there is not a shared understanding of things that are just not appropriate to be said. For instance, it is not appropriate to tell women to shut up and go make me a sammich (I’m looking at you, PhillyD, even though I love you). And this string of comments in response to a very personal and well written article about how one woman is constantly made aware of her weight and has been forever falls into the catagory of not appropriate. Not all of them, but a good portion, like

Celebrate your fat all you want, good luck to the individual I say, but don’t expect the rest of society to celebrate it any more than they do smoking or binge drinking.

and

The thing that has always bugged me about fat people is how much most of them complain about being fat, yet do nothing about it.

Here we have being fat compared to destructive habits and fat people being labeled, once again, as lazy slobs who need to do something about their weight. And I beat my head against a wall because maybe it will lower by IQ enough to be able to accept these arguments. This is what I mean. There are premises here that need to be addressed and fought.
Sex is gender. Wrong. A premise that needed to be fought.
Fat is lazy. Fat is a disease. Fat is a problem. Fat is avoidable. Wrong. Premises that need to be fought.

Sadly (?) a lot of the comments have been deleted. I say sadly for several reasons, one of which is because it is these normative views and inappropriate comments that tell me what arguments I need to dismantle.

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3 comments

  1. We are very sick as a society. A really good example is one you brought up a while ago: Wanted, and the differences between the movie and the comic book. Obviously, there are going to be changes when any work is made into a movie, but there were a few in particular that made you (and I) especially wrathful.

    For instance, in the comic book, the guy’s boss is a black woman. In the movie, she’s fat. Why? Because it’s not socially acceptable to despise someone for the color of their skin, but it’s perfectly okay to hate them for being fat. Having the main character hate his black boss would have been racism, but having him hate his fat boss is supposed to be acceptable. Funny, even.

    And then there is the problem of the ex-girlfriend. In book, she’s described as a “fat goth girl” (and as a sidenote, though she is drawn with fuller hips than the other female characters, I don’t percieve her as fat. Even comic books aren’t perfect.). In the movie, however, she’s a fairly vapid blonde girl. Skinny, tan, etc. Because god forbid the main character fuck a fat chick. Blow up buildings, sure. Burn stuff down, kill people, so on and so forth. ANYTHING but show sympathy or — dare I say it? — affection for a girl who doesn’t wear size zero jeans and an a-cup.

    Society pushes very specific imagery and associations at us. If you’re fat, you MUST eat too much, so it’s your own fault. If you’re fat, you MUST be lazy, so it’s your own fault. If you’re fat, you MUST be a slob, so it’s no wonder no one likes you. If you’re fat you MUST not want to change, so don’t complain.

    What?

    The “fat kids” in high school often ate less than everyone else, because they were ashamed. They were ostracized and bullied by their peers, so it’s no wonder they stayed away from highly social activities like sports and gym workouts.

    Okay, sure. I know a lot of people who don’t care if they’re sweaty and wear the same shirt all week. Some of them are what the media would describe as “fat.” Most of them aren’t. Because if you’re already being criticized for your body, you generally don’t want to give anyone more ammunition than is absolutely possible.

    And then of course there is the whole idea that fat people can’t be bothered to change the way they look. Because they’re too lazy. Which makes it their fault for being fat.

    Wait, what? The biggest problem with that sort of idea is the assumption that if you’re fat, you SHOULD change. A friend of mine from Hanover once said, “I know I’m not supposed to think I’m attractive, but I do.” We see versions of the Cinderella story all the time on television: ‘This girl is fat, she is not attractive, no one likes her!’ Then, WHOOSH, fairy godmother, strict diet, surgery, etc, and: ‘Oh, look! She’s skinny! She must be beautiful!’ Fat people shouldn’t feel like they have to change the way they look to be attractive.

    And now, for the health portion of this increasingly jumbled rant.

    There’s a lot of shit about how if you’re fat, you’re going to die of a heart attack. And, okay, there are health problems that come with being morbidly obese. But everyone tends to ignore the health risks of being skinny.

    For instance, pressure to be thin often gives rise to eating disorders, which are really hard on the body in a multitude of ways. Yet it is more socially acceptable to starve yourself than it is to eat a meal. It’s ‘okay’ for people to use cocaine or amphetamines to “keep the pounds off.”

    Now, obviously, women have so many more roles these days than bearing children, but I think it’s important to note that extremely thin women are infertile. Their bodies go into starvation mode as a defense mechanism, and as a result they do not ovulate. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal until you realize that there’s a reason for the menstrual cycle. It releases important hormones essential for bone health. If your body isn’t having a period, you are losing calcium. Your bones are becoming more and more brittle and unable to provide an adequate framework for your body. This is called osteoporosis, and is generally associated with elderly, post-menopausal women. It’s not something you want to happen to you when you’re young and active.

    OF COURSE, it’s wrong to assume that every skinny person has some sort of problem. But on the other hand, it’s just as wrong to assume that about a fat person.

    Internets, you make me angry.


  2. Great post!

    : )


  3. Wow loved reading this post. I submitted your feed to my google reader!



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