Thursday, 9 July 2009

Self-inflicted difficulties

I commented yesterday on a post about blog fail , moi aussi says I, and would you know it, I read an entry from Bri and responded to it, and it just went on and on and on. Thanks Bri!

So I decided to post it here, now I confess, I've told the story many times, but I suffer from simile black hole syndrome, where you jest can't find the right illustrative comparison, therefore feel like you're trying to communicate through a soundproof barrier. (Ahem).

One thing that has come up for me is the difficulty a lot of people seem to have with the whole notion of Fat Acceptance.

Right of course, but their 'difficulty' is as tedious as it is tendentious.

I'll explain it this way; a while back there was a young guy on the radio talking about being a pagan. He was commenting on his frustration with Christian critics who keep calling him a satanist. He then said the killer line for me;

How can I be a satanist, when I don't believe in satan?

The FA critics are like that (particular kind of ) Christian, who sees their view as the way, the truth and the light, this conviction means they do not recognise the possibility of disagreement.

They therefore understand any disagreement, not on it's own terms, but can only assign it an existence, in terms of their worldview alone.

Those who claim FA is 'pro obesity' or promoting obesity, are doing exactly that, either you agree with the truth- them, or you are the opposite of truth, which must be that you promote fat. You only have one choice, opposition- to fatness- if you do any less than that you are promoting it. That includes failing to get bug eyed and declamatory, if you just said, I'm against fatties but I can't really be asked to do anything about it, you are a backslider and in danger of promoting and so on.......

It's a crusade.

What's so interesting about being against FA, unlike other pro and anti arguments, is the brittleness of the anti stance, it's genuinely hard to see, how it is possible to disagree with fat acceptance in rational way, I'm still waiting for this to happen, years after joining in.

I don't doubt it's possible , I'd love to hear it. I don't believe I've got it all right, and although it's hard, sometimes, it's only the opposition that can tell you something you need to think about it.

I miss cogent opposition, honourable and thoughtful, taking no prisoners, but actually giving you the respect of listening to- by that I mean hearing what you say, not agreeing with you- what you have to say. It makes me feel a bit sad at times.

We fatties are often told that the reason we are fat is because we don't admit we are fat. We must accept that we are obese or fat, in order to make the 'necessary' changes.

Regularly, critics have tried hilariously to dismiss fat acceptance as 'obesity acceptance'. I think wiser heads may have dropped that one, since it's been pointed out that obesity acceptance is what they stand for (oh pisspoor opposition you demean us so). The acceptance that fatness is a disease called obesity, is obesity acceptance. The fat acceptance movement, to some degree anyhow,is against 'obesity acceptance'. Yeah, try your sound and fury about that faux pas.

If you think that this not knowing what they're talking about is a co-incidence, you're being way too generous to them, because they don't. They are guided by the central tenet of faith, fat=obesity= bad, that's it. As this is patently incorrect, it requires the opposite of logic to sustain it.

Or irrationality, presented as logic, which is not has hard as it sounds ;alas.


  1. Sometimes I wish I could write a post that responds to every single bit of typical FA criticism at once, make it really popular and ask people to have a real argument with me. I doubt it would work. All the concern trolls in the world seem to have one thing in common: Once you provide actual evidence for your arguments (or use too much logic), they either disappear or start to insult you instead of replying to what you said.

  2. Sometimes I wish I could write a post that responds to every single bit of typical FA criticism at once, make it really popular and ask people to have a real argument with me.

    This goes to the heart of the matter.

    Responding to criticism of FA, is not responding to FA, it's responding to the absolutist view of 'obesity logic', which doesn't allow for even the possibility of honest opposition of any kind.

    IOW, it's responding to why you aren't a Satanist, when you are not an advocate, nor even a believer in the notion of the devil.

    That's one of the central reasons why FA finds itself on the backfoot so much, when the opposition has little if any rational merit.

    We defend ourselves almost wholly in their terms, when FA cannot be defined or contained in their terms.

    In a sense, we unwittingly help to prolong our agony at times, by pandering to the only way they can maintain their arguement- in their own narrow terms.

  3. It is totally like the arguement with Christians. I have been there done that too (My name is Bri and I am a recovering Christian)! And as a pagan I can totally relate to that example! I get that people might not agree with me, I just wish there wasn't so much hate and vitriol involved in their disagreement.

  4. Hey there Bri,

    I'll have to learn to do that trackback thingy!

    I know how you feel about the hate and vitriol.

    When I first got involved with FA, I expected opposition, but I also expected a minority of people to really be interested and engaged with it, even if they didn't agree.

    I misunderstood the nature of the opposition to FA.

    It seems that it feels to them that we are just attacking them and their values, rather than defending ourselves.

    Rather than broadening the discussion by adding our voices.

    It just feels to them like we are violating their boundaries.