Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fat Hate, of course - part 2

There was so much I was trying to think through in that last post, there are a couple of things more I want to say...

There is another aspect of people/entities I like saying fat-hating comments that depresses me. Beyond the personal impact, the betrayal, the questioning of what that person really thinks of me, our relationship, etc... is the feeling of the whole world feeling this way. The reminder that this thinking IS like air in our culture. It is the expected thing to do, almost a reflex, to conflate fat with unhealth, to believe - to "know" - that fat is caused by overeating and under-exercising and totally within each person's power to change if only he/she would "try" enough, have enough "willpower." It makes me sad that even people who know me and have talked about HAES with me persist in buying in to these accepted precepts of our society.

On another note, and this part was hard for me to articulate so please bear with me (and/or chime in with a comment if you think you get it and can help me form my thoughts, or if you have questions). I'm sure if I mentioned that a given comment hurt me/bothered me, or otherwise called them on it a la "why do you think that's funny/obvious/causal?" they'd say something like:
  • In the category of "But it's funny, don't be so serious"
    • "I didn't mean anything by it" 
    • "Can't you take a joke?"
  • In the category of "You're not like those other fatties"
    • "You're not _that_ fat" - amusing since I'm clearly deathfatz 
    • "I know you aren't [insert  stereotype]! I was talking about other people - because of course, fat is a social construct that means fat but also gluttonous, lazy, poor hygiene, etc.
  • In the category of "The dreaded "health" argument"
    • "What does making fat-hating comments have to do with whether I like you? Of course I like and respect you, but everyone knows fat=death, it's not personal - it's a fact." 
    • "Of course I love you, but you should lose weight for your health." 
In all these cases, I'm cast as the oversensitive one for even bringing it up. Or as the one who needs a "reality check" because - hello! - fat is bad, as everyone knows. Or as the Fat Poz Nazi who always makes a big deal out of everything instead of "taking a joke." Always up there on her soapbox, shoving her weird idea that her being fat is OK down everyone's throats.

I'm finding this part hard to express. Am I making sense?


  1. You're making perfect sense to me! Friends who have even gone to FA events with me will still (not always in front of me or in an obvious way) restrict their intake or overdo the work outs and make derogatory comments about their own body. I'm always taken back by this. Or when someone who is a size 4 looks me (300+lbs) in the eye and says, "I need to lose ___ lbs! I will have the non-fat latte!" I get that they see themselves differently than they see me, but wow! I smile, I laugh, but I rarely let anyone say things like that to me anymore. It implies that their size isn't good enough and therefore mine must be the ultimate body apocalypse! Yet I can only help them so much. You can only be so patient and love until you can't any more. I have found this difficult but a necessary part of my own FA journey. I just can't keep toxic relationships anymore, and I won't.

  2. I think you're making sense. I also think it's just really difficult to change peoples' way of thinking. Hell, I'm into FA now and I still have immediate thoughts like that, especially in the joke vein. And it's always harder with people you want to keep in your life. I've never had anyone come back at me with comments like that - but then, I don't tend to be vocal about it especially outside the internet. A lot of the time for me, it's easiest to let it go, ignore it, make a note not to talk about Fat Acceptance with that friend and leave it behind.