Friday, 29 October 2010

Nothing to negotiate

Fat acceptance is not a particularly radical, in itself. Equality is no longer a radical idea, that time has passed. With the advent of numerous laws to improve the fate of the disadvantaged and numerous movements for civil rights and cultural recognition, equality is a dominant if not fully realized ideal.

What has now become more radical to assert directly and openly is the idea of acceptable inequality.

That some groups of people should deliberately act or be pressed into playing inferior in order that others can pretend to a natural and unsurpassed superiority, to serve some common good. That's radical.

If fat acceptance is positing fat people want out of their chore, in this regard and wish others to stop insisting. It is asking nothing more than equality with others.

If anyone wishes to negotiate on that, trying to negotiate on equality undermines it. This is fat hating pure and simple.

Take for instance those who say FA's, deeply unpopular. We are prepared to relieve your agony by being more friendly towards you but you have to accept fat phobia and support us in hating you. Not only is the basis illegitimate and mean spirited, the demand is really-change nothing or in this case, make things worse. If we are saying drop the fat phobia/hating and you say, tolerate it, that's worse than when we started! At least before we didn't know.

In a sense, we are asking for nothing, if you take equality as a given. There's no room in this, either it's equality or it's inequality. A tangle occurs when people wish to use fat phobia/hating, but cannot justify it with their conscience. They put it back on fat people and tell us to dance like fatty Bojangles-when there is no point for us.

We are tolerant enough of people's acquired habit of fat loathing. My issue is with pretending that the choice to fat hate yourself or others must be the only view. And that the costs of that should be ignored.

Fat hate costs.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

If she's fat, what does that make me?

Erhm, it makes you fat, also.

When locked in a sensitized view of yourself as being too large, too big, too much your mind slyly developing a countenance of trying to shrink yourself with sheer will alone (exhausting). It's understandable that you should ask this question. However, when you've made the decision to be done with this is on the list of things to let go of.

It's a hangover in part from being compared to things like large mammals I'm guessing-which are actually gorgeous and amazing to behold. Their grace shows that this quality can and does go with being fat, when we humans feel like we have almost forgotten that it's possible.

Asking this question is your brain's way of showing you some old baggage has lingered, it is not a description of your body on it's own terms it's merely an attempt to make you self conscious, to make you aware that your body should not be as it is.

Some people are more fat than others, some people are plump, slender or skinny, each and every one deserves and needs to be seen it it's own right, on the terms of its own design, not in comparison to some other body, whether to praise it or to blame it.

The smallness of others bodies does not exist to mock or reprimand larger ones and larger ones do not exist to intimidate or make smaller ones feel erased or inadequate. To see any body in these terms is to derail the integrity of every body and to compromise the delight of seeing each as a unique and unrepeatable example of, oh some body.

You don't own this view of your body, haters do, time to let them have it back.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Aunt Sally

I'm not going to comment not that I'm Mz goody four shoes. I wrote a response that was rather intemperate even for me and although it amused me, I had to press delete on that one and am glad of it. It cleared the air. Having seen the vitriol of some of the responses to this piece, I feel the poor woman, Maura Kelly, has suffered enough whether she has got the point (or not, more like it) still, enough is enough.

Jeez, it's always the wrong targets who get caught in the cross hairs isn't it? Why is it never the bastards who are butchering and killing fat people who get punked? They are inaccessible so people like MK unwittingly put their foot in it and find it getting bit off-no that is not a donut style reference. Why is it almost always women-as much I have to make an occasional exception for that big(gest) loser disjointed harpy? [Link? Hell no!]

It all makes me wonder about just how one should feel about this particular point;

To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenter's and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that's an accurate insight.

It's been touched on before and not resolved at all, what's to be done about those people who say they've had anorexia or related disorders and express rabid, often triggered/triggering fat phobia?

How do we handle this?

Ragging them out doesn't always feel right, equally, nor does letting it stand, either.

Since the advent of media driven nutritionists-not dietitian's who often have medical, or are medically qualified- whose contributions have helped to burst the fat hating dam, especially in my view sinking a more rational and gentle healthy living message, leaving the ugliness we have now. They showed by example, the angry and hatefuelled how to turn it into priggishly hypocritical moralising and faux superiority, so ugly that it has come utterly repellent to many.

I remember the end of when normal eating still held sway, they came in on the wave of weight anxiety analysing people's perfectly reasonable diets trying to panic them-I hated that as much if not more than their fat phobic BS-with their pronouncements. They were laughed out of order as the dim wits too many of them were and are.

The laughter stopped as the obesity crisis dynamic got a hold and they repeatedly placed themselves in front of fat people suggesting that they held the secret of saving others from becoming us. As their targets took the bait they repeatedly left us worse than they found us by offloading fat hate on us and leaving us to it. All this gave them a respect they would have had to earn otherwise with better standards of behaviour. Trying to turn their 'discipline' into a more academically meaningful subject is probably making too heavy a demand on their fragile nerves.

For a long time, they didn't even give a damn about our diets or rendering even their dubious 'assistance'(which although often nonsensical many fat people feel better for being included in receiving their attentions) they just used us to advance themselves and ignored us. I've not forgotten or forgiven this. They are not though the numero uno A-holes in this by a long shot, but they are high my list of those I'd like to see fall hard by the wayside, as fast as they rose off our backs.

They gave me an aversion to what someone once called aptly, failed anorexics. Now by that, I do not mean people who've had or are anorexia. I'm talking about some who seem to identify with being anorexic often labelling themselves thus. They may well have had a brush with a few problems, but I'm somewhat sceptical about their claims of having the chronic condition and having been worked over by it rigorously.

They tend to see anorexia as being about lifestyle and a kind of self realisation, often they are extremely bitter about what they see as their failure to make it work. Often they specialize in the view that fat people are provoking them by our very existence-or being "fat at them" as some FA's waggishly call it. And they often make fat people represent the personification of their sense of 'failure'in some way, which is actually the success of their bodies defences and feel a sense of licence to attack us without restraint, making us part of their state of mind. They are users (of us)to the core. Even to the extent of claiming that we must support their intolerance because it is about their eating disorder. Some of them are feminists, hence their familiar tactic of negotiating fat activists into assuming the rule of their hated lackeys and expecting us to be grateful, such is their low opinion of us.

I don't wish to suggest an artificial divide, but on the whole, those who've been genuinely trapped and brought to despair anorexia tend naturally to be more circumspect about fat phobia-and it does tend to be about that, more than any real hate-than the wannabes (sorry, but that's what they are).

They have undoubtedly advanced the fat hating agenda and their use when confronted of eating disorder as a shield is something that should not be allowed to prevent them from being held to account. Although perhaps, the vitriol they tend to provoke should also be tempered too, they tend to be rather vulnerable when cornered, as opposed to plain old haters who tend to be able to take care of themselves.
It's struck me from the off that fat acceptance cannot stop short at these extreme phobic feelings which are labelled as fear of fatness, theoretically, they don't have to be anymore than anyone else with their "fat talk". It is certainly not acceptable to me that we should be required to be supportive or silent about this.

There is some potential for FA to dismantle at least a tiny part of the energy that builds or makes up a disorder. It could make a difference to the trajectory of it and/or shorten it's duration. Recovery could be more swift and effective too, once past more potent phases.

However this might well feel more threatening than hopeful certainly among those who have not actually undergone the rigours of the condition of anorexia, because they like things as they are, their sensibilities are being acquiesced to. They may well resist any challenge of fat phobia as the easiest and most obvious expression of their feelings.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Nothing to confess

There's one requisite for a confession, doubt that you are guilty.  When there's none. When you're body is "guilty" you cannot. You have no room.

Until fat people are allowed to be people again. Our confessions, however real and heartfelt will continue to be devalued. They'll offer no catharsis, no relief, or no direction.

It is the beginning middle and end narrative of a confession. The denial, the struggle, the acceptance and the bearing witness that gives one an idea of where to go next.

Without that, it's just a damaging compulsion to repeat, repeat, repeat..............

Seeking, a result it cannot provide. Knowing there's something missing, but not knowing quite what.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


Is it essentialist to be interested in the reasons people are fat or any other weight? It feels more like curiosity and the negative way the subject has been approached whilst chastening should not make these questions verboten. Humane curiosity should not take second place to the cynicism and self interest of certain groups.

I'm not seeking to blame, the context of my interest is not defined by that kind of parameter which seem to be a direct graft of religious moral constructs. Blame and shame seems to be more about the emotional reaction of the medical/science establishments to the way fatness exposes-by its very nature-the kind of patterns they have established which do not stand up to objective and rigorous scrutiny. Or to put it more crudely the fact that fatness will not succumb to quackery, threatens to expose it. If that doesn't make sense now, it will do in time.

Being interested in cause or what starts chain reactions that lead us from a to b, is fascinating for the promise of revealing our humanness to us, bypassing some of our funny ideas about how we think we should function as opposed to how we actually do. I wouldn't like to fall into the trap that some do of behaving as if conducting studies reveals the underlying truth always, its as likely to reveal our underlying assumptions and worldviews as much as anything else.

It is part of the patchwork of different ways of understanding ourselves.

I was once accused of claiming thinness as the default setting, I was surprised because I did not actually see it that way-more that those of us who haven't always been fat must pass through being thinner to get to fatter, however briefly. There is no default setting for weight, if your metabolism has gone to fat then even if you lose weight, it tends to reassert the underlying pattern and ditto if you are slim. If you gain weight, your metabolism tends to reassert that, which accounts for a lot of "before and after" weight loss 'success' stories.

However, I feel I could just as easily have been fat as thin, although I'm not sure exactly why I became fat at a young age. I don't necessarily see my fatness as any different in terms of calorie restriction than someone who has always been fat. The uselessness of calorie restriction has seen to that. That can only be tested by something that doesn't provoke the body's defences to violently unseat it.

There are many people fatter than me who's bodies can respond far less horribly than mine to calorific deficits, in that their bodies-and minds- do not react in the extreme manner mine does.

What it does when confronted with it is far worse than being fat in every way. It is extraordinarily efficient at seeing it off, no matter how gentle or 'sensible' or good and noble the restriction is deemed to be.It of course should not be an issue. No matter how potent a treatment is, it is fully accepted that there are always people for whom it doesn't and can't work, by those who can maintain rationality.

But then remedies are not usually seen as being a test of morality, that is because that is bunkum and exists to hide something those concerned do not wish to face, it's either us or them and they've decided that as they are in a position to make it us, that's who its going to be. Exploiting our trust in them to get away with a self indulgence far more egregious than any they whine about.

My curiosity has been awaken by this outstanding capacity to see off conscious strictures, what is it and what is it made up of? As well as the experience of others that are both unique to them and show threads of similarity sometimes unexpected ones. Not because I need to excuse myself or escape. I have an interest that has been lit by all this and the realisation that we know surprisingly little about such a vital need. Curiosity about this is something to celebrate, not to ascribe rank motives of others.

I'm not talking about nosiness!

I'm actually shocked at the way the motives of people who have nothing to do with me and don't give a damn what I think feel or have gone through is allowed to define the agenda of curiosity itself. The arrogance of it is staggering, the malicious do not own it. People who are most sure that interest is verboten often come from the same or similar backgrounds to the cynical they are angry with and it seems as if their blanket condemnation conforms to an overall agenda of shoring up that group.

There are other people and motives on planet earth that are not defined by the same borders.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Oh well!

I'm having one of those past caring moments, what we call fat hating is just like a religious cult. We are the agnostic/atheist/sceptics (the real ones), they think we are in league with the forces of eval, or would if they had a clue. That's about the size of it.

Caring about their witless utterances sometimes just feels too much like being tied down to their low 'standard'. Everything is formulated around their tiresome cult, even our responses to it often feel like they are just paying tribute to this. Is there anyone else out there who's as sick and tired of this as I am? What will it take to get past this I wonder?

Get past those who wish to 'negotiate' fat acceptance into oblivion or smoother and derail it with irrelevance.

How much encouragement FA gives by refusing to let (them) go. When you are fat and pursuing the fat hating agenda, you reflexively stretch over to the haters who are withdrawing away from the real (fat) you-which may or may not take over the whole of you- in order to substitute that with the malevolent caricature of obesity.

This is an act of faith, a suspension of known truth reminiscent of aspects of paganistic folklore. It reminds of the old zombie ideal part of the real you is symbolically erased and reanimated with a force outside you with it's own designs namely adding to its own power. It reduces your own by weakening your agency corrupting that further with its own-added to your worshipful trust in its diktats. You exist purely to serve the needs of the cult, not your own.

Its their half arsed beliefs that real live humans are supposed personify, hardly humanist. All of this is (supposedly ironically) given power by the very thing that should snuff it, science. Here it is used as a power source to promote faith through the trust and authority it has to define and describe truth.

In stretching reflexively (and because you are taking direction from outside) to keep contact you end up clinging to them, a bit like someone clinging to a SO walking out the door. I often feel they've gone and you've been dragged along clinging, let go and go back home, surely we can do better for ourselves? Why do we have to always be following them, what are our plans where would we like to go?

Rejection hurts and its understandable that we should try to win back the source but when are we allowed to stop giving a damn? I recognise the need to engage, but why is it still always on the same old terms the ones that brought us here, why do there not seem to have any others?

Or is that our plan, to get back with them and everything will be alright? It all seems a little FoBT, look at the state of them screaming at us, trying 're-negotiate' pisspoor 'privilege' (which is about our loss, not their gain), do they sound like they've got it worked out enough to aspire to? Why not get with ourselves instead, just how bad can that be? Well, I'm not with the get back plan, I'm with the screw your dust I'm going to make my own way even if it kills me plan.

I'm a bit like that.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

'Censor' thoughtlessness

I seem to be missing something here and here because although days of this and weeks of that don't tend to interest me much. I'm a bit mystified about a couple of the arguments against it, namely that giving the same courtesy you receive is censoring you.

But more to the point, the idea that the only way to censor is to stop the great god of talk, rather than the fact that what is spoken about and how, itself can censor. The way this has been used to erase the way fat people have been censored by double standards in a sea of fat hate, with thinness receiving-on the whole-a more positive attitude, is being overlooked.

I interpret the clumsily entitled 'fat talk' to refers to using fatness superstitiously as a toilet to police yourself into -you hope-remaining thin, or to punish yourself for doing something that is associated with becoming fat. Presumably calling it 'no fat hate talk' would have been a little too challenging/ uncommercial.

Fat hating has extended to more than just policing yourself in general to some kind of moral slap down to punish yourself for doing something you consider violates you moral code. It's like, "I did something I really dislike, how can I really hurt myself? I know, I'll say I'm fat."

No wonder people are full of this nonsense about how they'd rather lose an arm etc., than be fat, there is a distinct element of bluff there no doubt.

So this 'fat talk free week' as far as I can tell, is supposed to stop that and see if you can find some other policing techniques and hopefully other ways to keep yourself in line to the extent you deem necessary.

Calling that censorship may not be wholly incorrect, but it does stretch the term to the edge of its meaning and seems to go against the spirit of it. The general use of fatness as a dumping ground for society's unprocessed cultural waste matter -which is created like pollution by some of the toxic processes of societies- is hugely invasive and censoring to fat people.

Not only does it censor our thoughts and feelings, it curtails our connection to, rapport with and trust in ourselves ditto and often affects our mentality and intellect. I'm thinking things and in ways that feel unfamiliar due to the retreating fat hate that has been shaping my mind since childhood, since offloading some of this.

I feel different emotionally, that has (and still is) a challenge, but I feel like more of a person now than I did in my worst days. I didn't appreciate quite how much until the unravelling of my mental habits got to a certain point. It was like an internal mist clearing and leaving a feeling of being human, rather than as a somewhat flickering abstraction.

All this and more has been and is continuing to be an education, even the way I see myself and others. I was never really hateful or jealous of other women's looks, so changes there have been all the more of a surprise.
People seemed uglier to me before and less individual, I just didn't notice because everything was uglier and I felt the epitome ugliness myself, even though objectively I knew that wasn't true. Overlapping with flattened moods this robbed me of the colour of things. I still recall a while back suddenly noticing something blue. I was rooted to the spot, stunned at the blueness of this blue. I was enthralled, it moved me so deeply and I stood there locked in a cycle of intense feeling.

It didn't last, but was about sensual recovery and now I find I appreciate colour and art more than I could before. This is a side effect and is to some degree about my individual moods and states, but it tips a hat to just how much a central and constant sense of self loathing can draw life out of your world.

Verbalised fat hate, if you will isn't just about what is referred by as 'body policing'(?), it's about thought policing because that's all people really have to make you receptive to your second class social status. Being policed into second class expectations in everything except, responsibility, accountability, culpability and punishment, can make you resentful and disconnected from the standard of others.

Those fighting for their rights can sometimes seem ludicrously disproportionate, viewed through the prism of your seperation from the general human standard of people who's personal self esteem is less interrupted.

That might seem to some to take it way too far, but it's true and I did not realise it myself before divesting myself of fat loathing gave me a perspective on the struggles of others, they made more sense to me. I could perceive things I know I couldn't before. It's one of the reasons I've come to withdraw any sense of deference toward low self esteem, it's not that I'm not sympathetic, it's just that it can make one selfish, even if that isn't your nature.

There can be a loneliness and a permanent sense of inner isolation to being fat that there isn't for other things, unless you are actually isolated. With being fat, I didn't realise that you carry that sensibility around with you everywhere, even when amongst other fat people, it can go so deep.

I think this is part of a disappointment about the 'sphere in the sense that it remains and this makes it fall short of the expectation that togetherness will remove it. When it doesn't, predictably enough we blame each other we must be denying it to each other, withholding its removal out of spite. Fatties are to blame for everything lives in us too.

The surprise of this is in its power, but it shouldn't, its the effect of the: "Being fat is 100% your fault fatty, full stop" line. Clearly this is why the mind seeks to share blame in anything as a default setting, this overweening sense of aloneness is a disempowering state. Even if blame was apt-it isn't- we are often to "blame" in at least some way but virtually never 100%. When you add how powerless this sense of isolation can make you feel, plus being got at from all sides with defences down. You can understand why some feel 'marginalized' by us breaking our silence.

They were assured we were weak pathetic and stupid, yet we have endured, that dissonance will sting as much as your brain fastened on to that expectation.

That profound sense of isolation that doesn't go away either as long as the imprint of blame and shame has any hold, which is itself the reverberation of endless repetition.

So to present having your bluff called about whether you want to keep 'hating your bod'-when you no longer have the shield of fatness to be at once remove from this-as having your precious thoughts curtailed is a tad rich. It's not like you don't have options, if you desperately want to keep shaming.

Why not try hating your own actual body? If you are fat, fat hate, if you are plump, plump hate, if you are thin, thin hate. Ergo, if you are thin "I hate myself I'm so thin". If an inbetweenie "The other day I thought my body was just so mediocre and it made me want to scream gaahhh!" And if fat you can point at your fat thighs and say "I hate my fat thighs" you'll be at least 50% real.

So no-one need suffer for want of being deprived of the self expression of body/self hate. This way you can directly enter your own firing line-where fat people have been-and therefore be at least morally accountable for what you say and think.

Erasing people's humanity creates far more profound and multifarious censorships than returning courtesies you expect. I've no desire to censor people's fat hating, that is a matter for them and their own conscience, however, they must be held fully accountable for what they are saying, if they wish to carry on after being told what it means to others.

And if they are doing to others what they would hate having done to them (and vice versa) they will feel bad and guilty because that's what you feel when you fall short of the standards you set for yourself as well as (others) and keep doing it knowing its not good. Those who question or defy the basis of your (ab)use of their bodies, cannot own that for you, its yours.

I don't need to treat fat hate (ab)users as if they are afflicted children, having been treated that way myself I cannot easily afflict that on anyone else.

Just give what you receive and stop making such a big fat deal of it.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Body love

I feel sympathetic to some of the reticence and aversion to body love projects. I know it sounds like I'm having a dose of being contrary for its own sake, but how I feel when I hear this is like someone who has eaten something until they are so sick of it that they feel queasy whenever they look at it.

We have an emotional underpinning of positive feeling for our bodies which perfectly reasonably be called "love". I suppose this is a case of feeling the imprecision of language. That base is there and remains there, no matter how people brag about their body loathing or their complex and interesting ambivalence toward it.

If that feeling was not there, its unimaginable that it could ever really come close to going, they would be pretty messed up physically and mentally, in fact, I'm not sure how they'd be able to move or think. It is the start of all those things and is about the functioning of our pleasure systems centered in the nervous system. That's probably why a little body loathing takes such a toll on the mind-whether that is obvious or not-it shows up this overall background of positive feeling we have for ourselves. And yes, it probably is a little for the reasons I've stated, it just feels like a lot.

The impact of negativity is due to that contrast, not because your often surface loathing is the whole story, which is what we tend to think.

Yet again what is most conscious and obvious to us we blithely assume to be the be all of how we feel and the command centre of everything, when often it is just a little part of an overall process, and sometimes hardly the most important.

Rather like we think our eating is all conscious control because we happen to be aware of part of it. At times we are achingly dim.

There is an absence of hate-I was going to say we tend to learn this, but that's not the whole story. When we feel bad- either because we are made to about ourselves, or we endure physical pain, not just assault, but pain from injury, illness etc., our minds have a tendency to link this to us being bad people.

Sometimes its a way of surving mentally especially, if inexplicably bad and terrible things are happening to us that we cannot explain, it is the gap between that and our sense of innocence and why me? In contrast with what is happening to us which threatens to tear our minds apart. Such is the level of that risk that our minds may feel its the lesser of two evils for us to feel like we are bad people, so that the badness can be tolerated and survived.

Although its clearly supposed to be a temporary conceit until we can sort through the events and our reactions, it often gets a powerful grip of our psyche and can cause more pain that the actual events.

I wonder if that link between hurt and badness is the root of why morality and moralising can become so primitively deranged with such ease.

We may try to save ourselves using the dualistic mind/body construct, channelling and storing unprocessessed bad feeling/ self hate more to one or the other. Keeping it penned in until we can deal with it, trying to keep it from taking the whole of us down in the meantime.

My feeling is that you don't have to love your body, although it may be just what you need to achieve balance. Sometimes you have to veer in a complete other direction altogether until that momentum shifts you from where you don't want to be to where you do.

As long as you don't or cease hating your body, you can check how you feel then, hopefully that underlying base will come through, which is what I'm looking for. You don't have to go all out to love your body if it doesn't feel right.

Equally, you don't have to hate your body either even if it does.

Don't be made to care

There's a stock admonishment that used to go around back in the day. When a recalcitrant kiddiewink was making an insouciant stand against adult authority culminating with a pouty;

"I don't care"

Said adult was to don their best adult drag, pull themselves up to their full height with chest puffed out and pull off this coup de théâtre:

"Don't care was made to care"
There's an echo of this when I think of the moaning of people who just want/need to discuss obesity in a calm and reasoned atmosphere and their 'despairing' suspicion that 'oversensitivity' from fattiez may not allow them to freely do so.

I'll pause whilst you ROTFLOL.

Its funny (expression not fact)those who are happy to go on about how the greed of fatties, the too much eating too much indolence, too much self indulgence of fatties is the problem. Those whose plan is to hurt fat people into action and hurt them with that action. Do not build such considerations into their scheming.

Too much causes pain, too much letting yourself go corrupts, makes things bad, above all, means you must commensurately starve and so on we are told. Yet surprise surprise, like most pompous and mindless hypocrisy, it doesn't listen or learn from itself at all.

Because that actually goes for the supreme indulgence of hating on fatties. The purpose of which is to injure, upset and shake up. It's an extreme solution, which could only begin to justify itself if it pays off, it hasn't.

The pure extremism of this solution should promote a watchful and honest attitude, above all a full consideration of consequence. Knowing that this solution has a limited time frame to pay off, before nervous burnout sets in. Because we are talking about real human people, and that means they will burnout right?

You can see this didn't occur to the boneheads one iota. Instead drooling incohate rage and loathing has been indulged until it has gone beyond the clownish and comical passing into the sinister and unnerving.

And beyond.

Yet many people somehow resent the onset of burnout and behave as if fat people are denying them their fun social duty. Now the doody has hit the fan much whining has ensued about we must be able to talk about food and eating without it being a world of pain.
People should have cared more about that before and worked this desire into the hate strategy.

I suppose this must be how excess can end up undermining what you so desire. Ahh, another lesson learned

Monday, 18 October 2010

The power of STOP!

I didn’t realise how much the counselling industry had penetrated the mindset of a strata of society 'til I visited with the internet. Not that it is necessarily a good or bad thing, but as with any valued cultural theme, the enthusiasm invested can spill into making a fetish of its dominant themes.

The one I’m thinking of is, talking must occur at all times-to affect an almost quasi spiritual cathartic resolution. I don’t mind this, I know how to talk myself and was once described disparagingly (he felt) as over-analytical! Heh-ayee, that’s one of the best admonishments I've ever had!

So theoretically (I thought) I’d be on board with things must always be talked through. But to my surprise, when it comes to the kind of circular negativity that is all self perpetuating momentum and no logic like say, fat hating yourself. I’ve learned that sometimes there is just one word needed.


I’m not saying that’s all of it, but sometimes telling your brain to HALT! The momentum of these pointless and circular thoughts is the best thing you can do. It's all you need to cling to when you're tired of thinking, talking, worrying at and wrestling with all sorts of rubbish that just happens to have gotten a hold of your brain. Things that have been circling around your head for years and probably will forever more unless you tell them to just:


And don’t feel it has to be once either. Keep repeating as many times as you want, for as long as it feels like something you need like; relief, peace, or to feel like you are doing something when you don’t have the energy to think or do anything much.

You don’t have to worry at all or think about it, just move on when you feel to. And return to it whenever you want. And guess what? It has an effect. Well, I’ve found so. It doesn’t necessarily stop all or any of them, dead, not at once. But it can and does weaken them enough to give other options a chance.

Don’t worry too much, allow the effects. Then think about what they are.

So talk things through, talk the hind legs off a donkey if you like, but sometimes you just need one four letter word.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Expanding the repertoire

I was given a nudge to think of an aspect of the conjunction between fatness and disabilities when I read this;

People who are unhealthy. Many people are unhealthy and also fat, many people are fat and disabled, and the framing of health at every size excludes them.

(My emphasis).

This is the frame;
I liked the idea of a movement specifically reinforcing the idea that being fat doesn’t make you unhealthy,

I was reminded that all fat people are expected to method act that we are ill and possibly disabled to help achieve the ubiquity of the obesity prognosis. This has created a reaction and desire to assert the true variety of fat peoples health, in this case average or normal health as it is that rather than, illness or disability that is being erased from the discourse. Usually its the other way round.

We have been set up this way in order to try and justify the special diet prescribed for us, one that rather than the elimination of troublesome nutrient groups or types of proteins, seeks to minimize food, full stop.

The nature of calorie restriction and the fact that it creates and often introduces numerous disturbances, pathologies and imbalances of its own, combined with the false premise, has created a desire to return to normal eating, movement and above all relationship to self, especially by those fat people untroubled by more than general health concerns.

This moves directly away from connecting with PWD in a way, although I'm not by any means saying that they all need special diets either because I know they don't. But it is salutary to consider this potential directional tension.

In a sense the closest an average fat person with average health is going to get to feeling like a PWD or someone who needs a special diet, is being 'obese'-as expected- and weight loss dieting respectively. And that is in part what they are moving against, because of what it does to someone to act the part of being ill or having a disability.

Its important to note also that the HAES was created in some part by those who either had or were moving toward infirmity and/or disability at least in part due to mental and physical obstacles placed in the path of fat people having a positive relationship with their bodies, especially as well as their minds.

I've said before that intuitive eating or I'd prefer, normal eating is not suitable for anyone who needs a special diet for any reason, because the needs that prompt that diet requires more use of conscious direction, which is closer to weight loss dieting than normal eating.

The thing that makes this more sustainable is the absence of calorie restriction, although that can often be a side effect, something that has been well noted by those who peddle them to aid weight loss.

Indeed, in normal eating the conscious mind plays an important role. Intuitive eating (which some think of as normal eating) however most people tend to assume it means eating with as minimal conscious input as possible, by bypassing it whenever possible. I actually think there is a place for this, notably when recovering from a long term weight loss diet/dietary restricted mindset, temporarily until recovery can begin.

The problem is not the conscious mind itself, but the overinvolvement of it to (especially) restrict calories which is the central failure of the WLD strategy.

So the issue is to scale back that over involvement to a more balanced ratio and divest it of negativity and anxiety about eating. The latter is something that's available to all no matter their dietary needs and there may well be some further applications to PWD/special dietary needs, but I feel like it has to come them as they are the ones likely to be most aware of their own needs and what does and doesn't apply.

I don't think its enough to say exclusion, merely because something doesn't and maybe cannot meet your needs but does meet the needs of others because they have differing ones.

All this leaves plenty of room for mutual upliftment, however when it comes to divesting oneself of pretending to be something that one isn't, how does that affect those who are in that situation in reality? Care must be taken to emphasise the problem is the falsehood, not the state itself.

Is there anything that can be learned? I don't feel qualified to answer that. There is no central body of FA, I think people have to contribute what they know to it because I don't think its a good idea to leave it to the ignorant.

The question is about support and working together to do whatever it takes-that we can do- to get that knowledge worked out, fully realised and included.

*Altered for clarity, apologies

Saturday, 16 October 2010

FA is not important

One cannot dismiss this statement. When you compare it to things that are more important than fat acceptance, yeah, fat acceptance is less important. Thing is, I really don't give a damn either way, I don't feel embarrassed, or sheepish or the slightest bit apologetic about this at all. I can say its important enough to receive attention, but I don't care to assert it because even if it barely was, if I felt like getting involved in it, I would.

I don't need to hype it, its not like the challenge of being black and 'running out of reality', because there seems to be this nothingness where the full realisation of you should be, not being sure whether that is looking outward too much, seeing yourself through the eyes of those who cannot see you fully or overlooking what you actually are because that seems like self analysis.

It isn't like the shock of being a woman discovering that the way we have sex is designed rigidly and that female sexual dysfunction is often when your body becomes unable to act the part anymore. Leaving you devastated because mentally you had no idea (and probably still don't).

Being fat just isn't like that. So what? The fact that rational thoughtful people are saying we are being treated unfairly makes it important enough. And to be honest, I feel I may have underestimated it myself in the past, due the trouble it has caused from others. That is something I didn't predict. IOW, it is the endless drama people are creating around it that gives one pause for thought.

If its so trivial stop putting endless hurdles in its path, stop resisting it so extremely and lets deal quickly and move on to something you consider more worthy of  attention.

Friday, 15 October 2010


Here's a sticky one. I've been thinking a bit about boundaries lately. What can be the extent of tolerance of WLD?

By the time I got involved in FA, I felt a bit like I'd come out of a close intense friendship/relationship where I'd been doing all the chasing and running around. I'd listened, heard and tried to please the other one and when it became unsustainable for me, I was forced to stop and rest.

Only then did I have to confront the way things really stood between us. It’s not that I was completely unaware it's just when you are modelling behaviour in yourself, moving towards an aim you tend to keep your eyes on the prize and certain things fade to the background. The indifference of the other party becomes, they are right to be unimpressed with you on this score(weight). You'll win them round by assuring them that you are trying hard and mean well. You win the war with your body and shown it who’s boss!!

Problem is in having a chance to really take stock, although I didn’t fully realise it at the time made the relationship effectively go phfft!

Until then I'd just presumed that we were somehow in this struggle together, the other side as the mentor of behaviour/tough love exponent. Enlightenment was a bit like waking up from a really realistic dream of forgetting to put on any clothes below the waste and realising the cold wind on your bottom felt so realistic, because it is actually not a dream.

Its funny how the sense that the other party is in the right obscures such imbalance and there is rage abuse and contempt coming at you. Using every angle to stop you slow you down, get in the way.

Contrasted with your own eager willingness and openness and can do spirit, it’s all a bit of a shock. Perversely it was less overwhelming before because you justified the ill treatment and were in agreement, or at least, you submitted to it.

So fleeing that and at some point seeking and finding a community of similar experience and maybe conclusions, imagine the mystification when you are told that the answer is to engage with very people you are fleeing in the same terms as before, especially when they have made their feelings implacably clear. They want you to stop and go back.

My initial response was what, haven't we just done that? Wasn't that what helped bring us here?

It's not that I didn't want contact, I expected some resistance but I also expected a minority of rational commentators who would be enthused and energised by what we had to say and exploring its implications.

I didn't expect agreement, I expected people to engage analyse and question what we actually had to say, I had no idea there would be so much straw. This is about fat after all it's not that big a deal is it! Or is it?

The theme of doing what we already done to get here has continued all through FA, although interspersed with brava attempts at coming to terms with the deeply unpalatable distance that was always there between us, but was only revealed by our unwillingness/inability to submit anymore.

I sometimes think some people in FA want it to fail almost as much as some of those against it sneakingly want it to succeed. I'm thinking of those those types who don't want to deal with yet another example of authority to be so wrong so cynical in fact. And those who are not fat who's body responds to dieting who think if fat people accept fatness they'll be like royalty, respectively.

The resentment aimed at FA is a bit disconcerting -I'm not talking about "Who the hell do you think you are, don't you not know that you are fat?" that's predictable. Its the certain types of people are not allowed to know anything I do not although the other way around is OK. In other words, know your place, because you are not one of us. That's a familiar one in other context, when you're expected to sabotage yourself to play act superiority, the game is up.

A lot of us in FA are struggling with this kind of thing, because it has crept into our psyches too. The strings that bound us to others-strengthened in part by our very acquiescence-are continually yanked by all concerned to bring us back to heel. Sometimes one is wrong footed by the switch from the resolute outer directed focus, to see if we were doing it right, to the restoration of our inner agency and sense of direction.

In some ways I pity dieters, weight loss dieting has been so utterly validated with such ubiquity that it is understandable that they should see it as totally righteous and without question by any reasonable person.

It has taken me a while to perceive the abject shock so many of them feel at being almost forced to even contemplate any difference of possibility. Psychologically it maybe almost as hard to recover from the internalized fat hating process, anything but the rightness of either view to each concerned, causes feelings of confusion in each.

The rotund calls something brilliantly;
Dieting seems so performative, as though the person doing it needs an audience to bolster them through it.

Its totally about performance! Starting from the performance of an inaccurate and partial stereotype of 'an obese'. Acting a stereotype of a thin person (that hardly represents a lot of them) pretend it is the very definition of them. The latter causes thinness to come into effect.

This would not be as strange as it seems if proto anorexia was a viable proposition. It is its lack of effectiveness-it flatters to deceive- that makes us see absurdity, rather than a creative method of self metamorphosis. We are taught that its all about rational decision making. Yet those who hold themselves highly in this respect insist we pretend-don't say diets don't work, people will be discouraged-they know what it is, yet claim it has something to do with science.

Is this the source of the conviction that we just need to believe comes from? Usually though we don't have to start by playing an underwritten caricature of ourselves.

The motor of fat hatred was ignited by mass participation in weight loss dieting and the culture of restrictive eating for health. The former requires fat hating to support it and ballast its shape and it requires extensive support from the "audience", to facilitate its dysfunction, the opposite of what I think of as health-to facilitate (our) function.

The main issue is the insistence that we all take part and remain indefinitely in the experiment.

It becomes a demand for fat people to downgrade and despise themselves by play acting fatness as a terrible curse; to the extent that not doing so is seen as disingenuous denial.

We must tolerate hateful views of ourselves and be 'supportive' of the endeavour of dieting itself, even if it has come to be something that repels. If we do not we are seen as hurting dieters and if we do we are implicated in at least indirectly of perpetuating fat hating culture.

An answer would be to allow weight loss dieting to become wholly voluntary and for dieters to invent positive support for their activities, to no longer assume support as a rule for everyone. Is that possible on the large scale of participation demanded by the authorities?

I would never rule out the possibility that dieting could be in some way a positive thing, but the fact that most people are so angry at the possibility of being denied the negativity that currently supports it, suggests they don't even begin to believe it themselves.

Many repeatedly state that without coercion no one would bother-I don’t actually agree with that but numbers would fall, making it even more of an isolating experience than it is now, which is another reason for the need for company, dieting is like being sent to food Coventry and its anti social nature is one of the many reasons why it either fails or cannot be sustained.

No matter which way you look at it, it's going to get a bit messy; people's noses are going to be put out of joint by the seemingly sudden withdrawal of support, which might be seen by some as vindictive. Ditto those who use fat hating to enforce their daily beauty regimen.

However I will say that everyone has had plenty of time to pay attention to us and try to listen to what we have to say. So far the has been a lot of resistance and reluctance to understand what we are saying. That should have been factored in as part of the calculation made when folks decide to mis-interpret and shout us down. Should have made sure that being challenged and called on your hating wouldn't bother you at all.

To listen and hear what we have to say is to be forewarned. I don’t go out of my way to be mean to dieters, but I do not feel any responsibility for any feelings of upset when they encounter a differing point of view.

It’s not my duty to pander to anyone whose own actions and decisions mean they are clueless as to what some of us are saying. If there had been reciprocity in the first place this could have been more of a mutual thing and discomfort could have been encountered in a different setting. As it is, it has come to this, I’m sorry about that but I cannot force anyone to listen to consider. I would not actually want to; no body forced me to listen.

It has not been for the want of trying on our part and I certainly appreciate those who’ve dug deep and done their best.

Whatever the faults of people in FA we are only human and can only do so much. I would hope that many of us have learned the lesson of stretching and stretching endlessly and unquestioningly outward to the extent of neglecting what is inside.

Self support is vital in the end.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Self-important five minute fatties

Been fat for a comparatively short amount of time, five minutes, then think they know it all and can tell you and everyone else about it. Usually confirming what they want to hear.

Yesterday I stumbled upon a weight loss story that illustrated for me some of the untold stories that can come to the fore when you remove the obesity mask, eventually.

A woman was speaking about how she ate 4000 calories a day, halved the amount and lost nearly half her weight. She said, fat people really don't know how much they eat because we lose track of it eating a bit here and a bit there and voila, too much.

Once she 'kept track', she was able to take action and diet-slowly reducing from 4000 to 2000 over a couple of years (I kid you not) plus some exercising.

Pedantry aside, virtually no-one with any experience of weight loss dieting would describe such an amount as a diet, it's actually laughable.

And that's what struck me the idea that you can eat and become fat because you lose track of mouthfuls of food.What happened to being hungry and then eating? How can you just keep eating apropos of nothing? Putting aside the fact that your body measures your calories according to your energy needs. The assumption that follows from this premise that fat people are fat because they eat beyond the recommended daily amount, which although not that much, is enough to bear-in the absence of any underlying problems or pressingly greater need.

What I've finally realised is so alien to me is the idea of eating as a hobby that does not relate to hunger of any kind. Because hunger is what signals your body is prepared for you to eat. If that isn't there, how can the readiness be? Its a bit like having sex when you are not turned on. Dry. On the whole, it would be pretty intolerable and difficult. But even if it wasn't intolerable to eat, why wouldn't your body balance that with less desire to eat later on?

Its as if these people never consider the possibility that what they say may equally not be so. I have a few snapshots in my head of what it was like not to be concerned/aware of my eating and weight, from about the age of 5 or 6.

In the next year, I either became aware, or aware of a shift in my hunger and appetite and the way it felt too strong. It could have been relative to before though, when I don't particularly remember strong feelings of hunger. If things were said to me I don't remember them, but I do remember someone close being fat and there being comments directed at them and from them that it wasn't a good idea to be fat.

I was very strong in my desire not to become fat and the only reason I didn't restrict is I didn't want to stunt my growth! How did I know these things? Well kids are cleverer than we think. It felt like an inner initiative because at the time, I wasn't fat, it was only subsequently that comments were directed at me, before you could really say I was fat although I was not exactly thin either.

Realising that I actually barely can remember not thinking about how not to eat, what not to/what to eat how to be active and above all weight, makes me feel a bit perplexed by those who assume because they've never thought about it, others haven't either.

I'm not condemning them but due to the volume of weight loss diet participation there are enough of these people knocking about making a lot of noise about how they can tell the full story about fatness due to their particularly irrelevant experiences.

I'd have to put her in the category of basically slim person experiencing a metabolic blip or shift. The former happens when said slim starts to put on weight all of a sudden, often its quite a jump. They continue over time until they get worn down by internal and external fatphobia, plus usually there's an element of pain or fear involved. They get to a certain age, where they feel mortality loom realistically and/or they have a family history, basically some of them cack their panties.

Now, I'm not trying to mock but they do in a way that is real enough to them and not the kind of fear you can simulate. I know I've tried, oh you can become a fearful tremulous fatty alright, but your brain and nervous system knows the real story. That disparity giving you another avenue of self contempt.

Physical and mental tension heightens until a conjunction of one or more factors hits a sufficient tipping point to facilitate their 'restriction'.

The point is, it is sometimes because they start off slim, ergo they expected to eat more or loss what they felt like and continue indefinitely, then their metabolism adjusts itself. Its not necessarily that their metabolism is on a fat setting, it's more its no longer on the thin/slim one of before.

So when they reach this point and if they can manage to lose weight, they tell you their reduced calorie intake and it is often similar or the same as your own. And of course they tend to be vociferous in claiming this as general, probably because they are a little embarrassed about the fact that they can eat relatively well and be slim, just not as well as they did before taking a bit of exercise.

It's not so much that I'm judging them, its their attitude of not listening to any other experience even though there's is not the main experience. Many seem to experience a shift that isn't that receptive to reduction, or they find that intolerable to sustain.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Creating an HAES model

Here we go again with another HAES critique, this coming from FWD.

If I was looking to the sources of disquiet people have with HAES, I'd start with healthism-the belief that you can control your health via what you eat and/or don't eat plus your level of activity. As weight is seen as an indicator of health, this has translated into, healthy eating can achieve slimness as that is deemed healthy. This was picked up by the weight loss dieting industry and joined to their premise that you can (and should) control your weight through what you eat and through your level of activity.

The latter wished to align itself with healthiness as it was in danger of being fatally wounded due to its actual effects. Its useless inefficacy combined its commercial imperative helped it to spread the idea of the 'morality' of calorie restriction.

All this means healthism has become mixed up with weight control rather than being something to practice for its own sake. This has developed in it the same untrammelled elitism of the calorie restriction model. It is beyond ableism, it doesn't recognise the potential needs of people with disabilities at all.

But then why would it? It recognizes the existence of fat people only to use us as folk devils. If you are fat you are repeatedly told you cannot possibly be eating healthily or exercising. Your fatness disqualifies you.

This finds a happy resonance with the obesity crusade itself which is not interested in the fattest people and hardly recognises their existence either. When they break into someones house to free them from their bed, do you see any obesity professionals there supervising giving the paramedics etc., instructions such as cover up their genitals this time, remember they are human, that sort of thing?

You must be kidding.

The only use the crusading forces have for them is as the fatties in the woodpile style threat to the middle class middleweights (which is the crusades real cultural impulse, heartbeat and target) as their fate if they do not heed the cult of shifting a focus of their moral universe from sex to food.

HAES was an initiative by the most marginalized fat people and those interested in helping them to assist with their physical mobility and mental health needs precisely because the obesity script didn't give a flying fig about them and would be happy if they sank swiftly to their end. Hey, at least it will 'prove' fatness is bad and that's to the greater good, right?

The dissemination of healthism, the way it has come to dominate everyone's thought landscape around health means it has gone mostly unquestioned, pushed as it is by the kind that dominate the administration of society.

Fat people as much as anyone else have been taught a healthist assumptions and (on the whole) less marginalized fatties, who've been included as being in sin fat, have invested HAES with that healthism as the feeling has been to counter the fat =ill health message more than the needs of fat people.

This has been somewhat of a wasted opportunity as there are many people who've become alienated from their physical instincts and impulses, disturbed, guilt ridden and confused about eating by ideologies of calorie and dietary restriction. Many would love to find some positive resolution for themselves but don't know how if they can conceive or fathom another way. They like us are struggling to find a way that suits actual needs.

If HAES had continued to be dominated by its original drive with fat peoples (therefore peoples) needs at its heart it could be helping to make a better contribution to the well being of everyone, showing what FA has to give everyone.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Oh dear!Thin privilege?

Fascinating little tumblr exploration of a thin privilege list. Here's the original list.

It is some of the things fat people experience that thin people do not, to point out the disadvantages of being fat, but also the advantages of being thin.

My view on thin privilege is that its not the way I'd choose to lead with the consequences of the elevation of thinness and downgrading of fatness. It feels like it hides too much and fails to make other people accountable for some their bad behaviour. This will make it difficult for self acceptance to advance. People do not give a rats arse on the whole about fat hurt and are not likely to any time soon.

That doesn't exactly upset me in itself, I don't feel like the main purpose of speaking about one's experiences is sympathy garnering. If anyone is sympathetic, repair the disconnect. It's more about saying what has been held in for so long, sharing and letting others know they are not alone, and above all. Recovering from one's negative experiences. I suppose I see it as a kind of self help.

There is also the fact that this may well be more the experience of those at the higher end of being fat. That doesn't mean that it should be dismissed in any way, however I do not feel comfortable in leaving an impression that it feels like its about me when to a noticeable degree, it is not.

In some ways maybe it's that I feel more culpable in my own downfall than those who's targeting was more intensely oppressive than mine. I'm not saying that to achieve a faux sense of control where I have little or none, but that I do feel responsible and I'm ok with that.

I don't like it, but I'm don't favour the idea that one must be pure to have been treated unfairly and taken advantage of. We have been and I have no desire to stint on that nor do I wish to withdraw from self examination, not to beat myself up but to see what can be learned.

That is not making a point of comparison per se, it's more that in reversing this my challenge maybe a bit more internal than others. As long and variety of experience is out there, people can make use of it in ways that applies to and serves them.

The challenge to this is from someone who is very slender / in the underweight category who feels like a lot of what was on the list applies to them and feels that this makes it some kind of kick in the teeth.

Now although I've no problem with questioning who the list applies to, I'm not impressed at all by the taking it as a personal affront. I wish people would try to grasp that just because people make use of the conceit of obesity as their personal play toy doesn't mean that actual fat humans are also their personal play things. I cannot stand the way some thinner people assume that they've got no hand in all this. That somehow all they have to do is assert their (assumed) sense of entitlement which seems to major on finding ways to become victims of fat acceptance or fat people.

In this case it doesn't wholly feel like that. I can see the underlying sense of recognition is real and has legitimacy, it's the outrage I'm not so sure about. Because hey, if you pick up a list from a fat human being and find you can identify with much of it, why not make it about exploring that?

The unexpectedness of the connection the way you felt about someone at last saying how you felt and so on. Why treat it as an act to negate you?. That reaction comes up time and again and that doesn't make it innately a worthy sentiment.

There is a desire to re-point this as fat v thin, with fat people dealing the same as is being dealt them, that way everything is kept shallow with deeper examinations.

Fat acceptance is not about fat v thin, it is precisely the resistance of people to the restoration of our equality that has forced us to take matters into our own hands. Not a desire for separation. Our desire to connect is pretty obvious, after all, everyone assumes that is our primary aim.

These shenanigans are too far from the truth, not because fat people are sweeter kinder or nicer, its just that is the wrong dynamic of opposing forces equalized in stalemate. The reality is more lopsided. That doesn't mean the favoured side always comes out unscathed. However their own reactions show clearly they feel they are doing well enough out of things as they are as too many of them resist change too damn often.

What's also funny is seeing that fatness is where people tend to express feelings they feel unable to share elsewhere. I've made no secret of my lack of enthusiasm for privilege lists etc., I've yet to read one that doesn't get on my nerves in many ways, as much as it may illuminate.

The reason for this is yet again the toots boring disconnect with fat people means there is little to get in the way of one's reaction. Often, we are told things that are nothing to do with us and everything to do with what people cannot say elsewhere. That can be quite instructive.
Call that a potential fat privilege.

Oh and re that, I actually attempted to do a list myself, as an exercise in thought as much as anything. I'm afraid I didn't manage to finish it, I may try again. In the meantime here's something in the same ball park.

I'd love to hear a fat privilege compilation from those who feel unduly oppressed by aspects of fat people or fat acceptance.


I seem to have hit a slight gap in posting. Over the years I've not been a regular poster, but more lately I've hit a seam of pressing 'publish' as opposed to 'draft'. So although this is not out of character from a reading end, it is from this one, it's a little different from the usual gaps.

I'm going through another breath of mental transition. I definitely need to push myself on overall (in my life) and that is what is causing this particular gap. It feels strange because it's unexpected, its kind of welcome though, because I've been feeling good more recently. But good isn't always enough is it? I'll have to wait and see where it will lead and how I'll feel during the exhale phase of this little step-this is like the pause you do in deep breathing after you've taken a deep breath in.

Hopefully it will take me upwards, but it doesn't matter if it doesn't, I'll just try something else, because; it's got to be done.

I'm not sure how long this phase will last, in the meantime I'll try and finish some stuff that has been hanging around, if I can and maybe some newer ones too.

I know I will get better because that's just the way its got to be, I'll keep on until I get to my better.

I hope you are getting (or maintaining) your better too!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Fabric Wars

The NiqaBitch look succinctly undercuts the emotiveness surrounding the French attempt to ban the Niqab and seems to allude to a lesser heard and more understated reaction to the veil.

Rather than necessarily being a juxtaposition its as much two halves of a different suit worn together. Similar themes play out around it as in the way women dress in other cultures, including the West only certain things may seem more obvious as an outsider looking in, because we ignore them in our own dress codes. Religion adds another layer to that, it does not create it.

It's right that Muslim women especially should be outraged at the ill conceived French ban on the Niqab or face veil covering the whole face and hair, leaving a slit for the eyes, it smacks of displaced fear expressing the politics of gesture on an easy target.

I didn't quite realise the different styles of Muslim dress were called the words I'd heard but couldn't link together.

Among the more well known terms are the burqa the (closed) cloak like garment covering the whole of the body. The chador which is an open cloak that goes over the clothes. And hijab or dress code-referring to the wearing of any of these or modest dress in general for example.

The idea of the government telling people what to wear is as tiresome and invasive as telling us what to eat. Women in the West and outside who question the hijab often fail to see it in the same light as the questioning of the kind of clothes we wear. Forgetting it can be fraught territory for us all, for similar reasons.

We are rightly wary of questioning the motives of certain forms of attire so that courtesy must be extended to all, or none.

I sometimes think we could do with learning to examine what we wear outside the redundant moralising both traditional and feminist. It seems odd when especially feminists go about hanging out of their clothes saying "it makes me feel pretty or comfortable", fine, care to examine why?

Not really and I don't blame them because in the place of curiosity is fear of judgement and a sense of threat. I'm guessing French Muslim women who wish to have the option of becoming hijabi are feeling that intensely right now. And it reminds that controlling what people wear is about trying to control how they feel inside and wish to express on the outside. Affecting the latter is an attempt to shape the former.

Whatever people feel are the flaws in the Les NiqaBitch's approach, they've certainly made their point with an admirable economy cooling the heat surrounding the subject as they sashay cheekily past.

* If you want to hear their own words you can follow the link and click on 'NiqaBitch' on the upper right hand side, for a translation of their own thoughts which on this which is worth a glance.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

About beauty

Recently, spiltmilk put up a fat acceptance link page about favourite posts on the subject of fat acceptance.

My mind went to a post that I've linked to on more than one occasion and have meant to post about before "Beauty" written by Sweet Machine at Shapely Prose.

I felt like I was passing as a pretty woman most of the time, and the presence of someone who was Certifiably Pretty revealed my true nature. Standing next to M, who is kind and generous and funny and sweet but also very very pretty, made me feel like my mask had been torn off.

Now it’s like looking with new eyes — but of course it’s really my new brain. I don’t compare myself with her; I love myself with her, because she is my friend. When I see those 2006 pictures now, I feel like I look prettier in her company; her beauty includes me now, because I look at both of us with a more generous gaze. We’re not pitted against each other in a zero-sum contest of finite beauty; we are friends in a world that is, at times, heart-rendingly beautiful.

Not only is it a beautiful tribute in it's own right from one female friend to another beautiful female friend without any of the usual snagginess for either, something still too rare. It sums up how fat is a feminist issue and why fat acceptance and feminism should fit together, not least because FA although slight is a humanist impulse. The needing to connect with the way humans actually work as opposesd to how we think we are supposed to is what I thought humanism was about and something that should come above the dictates of religion secularity or atheism.

I'm surprised humanists haven't had some kind of group impulse about this obesity canard and engage with how they fundamentally believe in human beings which I thought was the heart of their beliefs. It seems to me you cannot be a fat hater and a humanist as that would mean that believe in creatures you feel are bovine and corrupt. Insulting yourself at once remove.

More than the piece itself is the way it's the phenomena it describes aspects of which some of us have discovered through fat/self acceptance. Seeing yourself as you are rather than through the eyes of others or your own (internalized) negative feelings and perceptions.

Its disconcerting to look at pictures of yourself and suddenly see you. Ones of yourself as a child seem especially poignant.

Maybe for the first time, you can actually look at pictures of yourself and see what you looked like even though you have looked many times and seen something different, something awful, painful wretched, maybe you gave up looking because you couldn't stand what you looked like.Only you didn't, look like that, you looked like you are seeing now. This is when you begin to realise the feelings and emotions you were looking through and getting lost in.

The surprise is not only the absence of those feelings, but the realisation that they or any feelings can so affect a seemingly automatic process as sight. That self opprobrium can shade in the picture that is you. It can really affect the way you see others too life is better because there is less ugliness in it, that which you unknowingly brought to it. Judging yourself harshly inside affects the way you see others as well as yourself in relation to others.

I sympathize with those who are not beautiful and how much of a toll the nastiness of people can take on you however, we can see that their reactions to you starts within themselves and how they apply the rules to that. This is very true of men too although the rules are different, the effects can be just as devastating, at times more so.

A lot of people have a sense of how mindset alters sight, when it is scattered around as a truism that "fat people are ugly" there's a tendency to claim looks are objectively assessed. That notion is held very dear making it tricky to counter some people do meet conventional standards of attractiveness.

Beauty has a basis of truth.

What Sweet Machine's piece explains is how self acceptance and especially the lack of it, is integral to how we feel about beauty and how we look. I've never quite got the resentment of things like taking advantage of beauty versus brains, as if somehow the latter is any less unfair than the former. Or the anger many seem to have as a general principle against the good looking, they are not sucking up the looks from anyone else. They are not being good looking against you. Hey, that reminds me of other people getting the furies because; you are being fat at them!

I think this is part of the wariness about the conceptualizing the idealisation of thinness as 'thin privilege' it seems to have a similar shape to the anger about beauty that neither illuminates what happens when thinness is idealised, nor what happens when fatness is socially stigmatized. What I like about "Beauty" is it tells us what's in a self/fat acceptance consciousness for those who are not fat (she herself isn't) as well as those who are.

The concept of privilege applied here, obscures the loss sustained by us all and prioritizes what one has been thwarted from attaining-thinness-over fatness. I feel this is too often a tendency of fat people, to escape fatness and look at something anything else. Fatness can seem 'boring', familiarity breeds contempt, except we aren't as familiar with it as we think, just like those pictures of ourselves. We are familiar with the mainstream view of it. It is that and the way it can box us in that is really dull, underneath that things come back to life. Perhaps that's part of the reticence, like when you remove a tight binding and wait for the sting as the blood starts to restore full flow. I think we should learn to stop hiding from what's underneath, especially if we are demanding an end to being down graded and sidelined out of our own lives.

Part of the point of FA must be to bring our voices and what we've learned about being human to the table, along with everyone else who thinks that they need to keep talking at us, telling us PBF's-poor benighted fatties- what life's all about.

That's the distance their poor old minds have to travel from if you are fat you do not understand "eat less, do more" to common conversation. I wish they could hear themselves the way we are forced to(I suppose as with sight so to with hearing).

I consider myself lucky in that I'm not big on jealousy of beauty-my looks although not impressive have not been deemed particularly offensive- and I've never got why being beautiful would aid my body's enjoyment of things. There have been times when I too have felt intimidated and exposed by my own feeling towards beauty.

I'm one of those who would always choose brains over beauty, although after that, you can tap me with the beauty stick if you must.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Making healthy choices

Found this video from America's surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin fascinating.
It's very short so I tried to transcribe it verbatim;

Hello I'm Dr. Regina Benjamin United States surgeon general Two thirds of all adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese. As a result our nation has high rates of diabetes and other chronic illnesses. The good news is we can be healthy and fit at any size or any weight. As America's family doctor I want to change the national conversation from a negative one about obesity and illness to a positive conversation about being healthy and being fit. So let's start with making healthy choices. Eat nutritious foods exercise regularly and have fun doing it.

For such a short speech, it feels as if its in two parts that don't match. The first one being the disclaimer. The next is the hopeful bit she felt more at home with it, she got positively conspiratorial when she said "fun". Almost as if she was recommending some kind of subversion and was definitely more at home with that.

The clear disconnect comes after the set up of the US obesity/overweight stats; 2/3 of adults, 1 in 3 children, then the payoff "As a result our nation has high rates of diabetes and other chronic illnesses." That doesn't go with the following HAES message as it locates weight the issue rather firmly as that of weight not habits (lifestyle).

Her heart appears more in the latter than the former so it will be interesting to see if the other camp will be sidelined in time. It's a welcome change that someone so high up in the US government recommends fat people treating themselves as valuable now as is, rather than being in waiting room waiting for the slim train that has been cancelled to come in.

The selfish lack of consideration of fat people's reality has been indulged for way too long and only got going due to the meanness of those who are more interested in neat associations of fat v thin, which simply won't be without invasive social engineering.

That's a weird thing about the whole conflation of weight and healthy habits, ever since the slimming industry bolted health on to ballast their shaky empire of mythical attainable thinness its created a bit of a puzzle.

It boils down to what are the true effects of healthy eating. If it is supposed to be healthy and so is slimness this diet should make everyone slim, right? That logic is why the slimming industry thought they had died and gone to heaven.

Certainly plenty of people are fat on recommended type diets and thin on demonized ones. I say type because there is no one perfect diet, nutritionists tend to look at people's actual diets and pick them to pieces. They don't tend to draft in the real world examples of the type of diet they feel should be eaten.

First off it would be too prescriptive, like Weight Watchers before their "points" scheme which is why they invented it (I wonder if they'd still be in business without it).

This lack of a perfect healthy diet in action does suggests a certain lack of conviction in the premise as much as it points up the impracticality of a diet consciously structured by favoured nutrients. Which doesn't reflect how humans tend to eat, as a rule.

A lot of fat healthists have concluded that as healthy eating creates/preserves health and they eat healthily and remain fat, they must be fat and healthy. It's the conclusion of healthism itself that makes them feel this way. Healthy eating leads people to feel that they are healthy and a demonized diet to feel they are unhealthy.

I would love to get to the bottom of just how healthy, healthy eating and lifestyle really is, and just how much it is just an extension of an already good and protected existence where the demands on your body and mind do not lend themselves toward the demonized foods and you can tolerate the unpleasant feelings generated by exercise, because they are not joining a whole lifetime of stored ones.

Or whether eating fresh produce and gritting your teeth through exercise can mitigate the effects of your position in society. A lot of people are counting on this.

Maybe this change of direction at the top will help to pin down the full truth. That would be as much fun as Dr. Benjamin can be; on her days off.

Monday, 4 October 2010


After the big dogs have marked out their prey, others are drawn to make use of the this. Fatness functions like that, people find it a convenient place to offload baggage they gathered elsewhere and feel unable to deal with there. A willing can do attitude has marked fat people out as quarry and advantage has been taken to rewrite us according to the torrid fantasies of those who have taken charge.

There are a whole lot of arguments that appear to have been decided, but are clearly unresolved, I thinking about the part we play in our own states of being. The tussle between where our agency and control begins and ends uses fatness to act as an example of what we want to believe, but may seek to avoid in our actual lives.

The argument about fatness being under our direct and conscious control ironically has greater merit among things where it has become less acceptable to make them mainly due to the sanction of authority. These states, being of a more psychosomatic hue lend themselves more readily an appearance of resolution via the kinds of quack 'cures' that are profitable for those who have the influence to bestow validity.

The nub of the argument centres on the realisation that in our totally righteous desperation to rid ourselves of the stigma that prevents the healing process from starting or completing its course, we have in part thrown away part of our agency that we also needed to heal. We have been taught to fuse responsibility and fault with feelings of sin. Being to blame=we are bad, it is not a neutral expression of fact.

For instance we say “it’s not your ‘fault’ that you have x nervous disorder, don’t blame yourself” that’s wholly right, however in this process we’ve overlooked the fact that it is possible, or should be so, to say yes I am playing a part in this, without any burden of shame at all. In other words, fault doesn’t have to equal any shame at all.

If you break a leg, it can be your 'fault' without that meaning you 'deserve' it, its purely a comment on circumstance. After tying ourselves in this knot, distancing ourselves from the part we play in our states of being in order to distance ourselves from the prospect of debilitating shame -partly a legacy of our moral traditions- we then go on to insist these neuroses are illnesses without cure.

Meaning that to go any further towards the source of the trouble would not be possible. This must be a large part of why we've embraced the drug route to solve things like anxiety and neurosis. It models what we want, restoring ourselves cleanly without messy judgement.

In a way, it could be seen that the de-stigmatization process hasn’t gone far enough, it should be extended to cover responsibility, perhaps even more when it comes to things such as neuroses and mood disorders because that which is overburdened is also what carries the shame and also what needs to heal itself-the nervous system.

Having stopped short in this way, we are stuck with this uneasy medium of recognizing our culpability stigmatizes us without doing anything about that. Except fleeing like a trapped animal having to gnaw off its foot to get away from a worse fate. What reactions to fatness has shown me is that many people have an underlying sense that by letting go of the stigma, we are also letting go of some part of the agency we need to deal with our worries.

That missing part of our capacity to act is engaged with by projecting it onto fat people and not so much to work through it, as to repeatedly invoke in a circular and repetitive manner because of the fear of troublesome blame. Nothing is resolved; and fat people-with the same fear of being blamed as everyone else- end up being stigmatized through having this culpability projected on to us, without the usual "it's not your fault", to hide behind.

It's not so much the stigma of being fat, it's that fatness gives permission to stigmatize fully without the self defence of "it's not your fault" to hide behind.

We come to represent a simplistic model of how people want to resolve these matters, without the messy complexity of explanations. We hear constantly that “no-one takes any responsibility anymore” then that quickly zero’s into only fat people we've come to represent the taking of responsibility that everyone thinks we all should but no-one really feels able to, including us.

One of the irksome things about this is that fatness it lends itself least to this kind of responsibility (or lack of it) as cause. But we are in this position not because of its suitability but more because of our willingness to co-operate and engage with the projected view.

Although people keep trying to cast it as such fatness is not in itself a neurosis, it’s more a sign of the body/mind seeing off the threat or possibility of it, than the imbalance itself. More a defence against than one in itself.

If it was a neurosis fat people who are supposed to have lower incomes on average than thin, would be turning up disproportionately in places where poorer people in nervous distress tend to be found, in prison, on the streets, even in some kinds of mental institutions, the latter considering that weight gain, sometimes rather pronounced can be a feature mental health treatment and recovery.

Rather than trying to evade ‘responsibility’ or self blame, we have been perfectly ready to believe that we were at fault, even when that caused pain and anguish, where others might have been a bit more circumspect tending a bit more toward self preservation. It is that willingness that has been ruthlessly taken advantage of.

This truth deeply offends and angers everyone, we are all singing from the same hymn sheet that if people would just take more responsibility-i.e. blame on themselves- they would be better people cure their ‘self-inflicted’ states and problems and the world would be a better place.

By totally shattering this narrative we have caused unspeakable offense, so much that people wish to deny and erase our actual realities so they can superimpose what they desperately want to be true instead. That we have been, unreasoned, rebellious, belligerent, bullying and fought tooth and nail to keep doing everything we were told not to.

Worst still, we have proven that not only does readiness to take blame, own up and shout mea culpa often not heal your woes, it marks you out for the utmost contempt, being taken advantage of too. By the very people who claim it is the decisive factor in self improvement. Far more that it can actually make you look stupid as if you have no defences and little self respect, if you did you’d set boundaries and say so far and no farther. It can and does help you to collude in you being ridden roughshod over.

The real ‘healthy’ behaviour is instant and consistent denial whilst considering any accusation carefully, an insistence on rigorous self defined boundaries, constant and consistent self advocacy, a default MYOB mentality and above all, demands for better and more sympathetic treatment.

Kind of the opposite of what we all seem to want to pretend we believe. The fact of accusing fat people of the latter behaviour is unpleasant, but then, the people who are accusing us are the ones who have tended not to follow our lead quite so much, more especially in recent times. Our behaviour is in a sense out of time all this seems to be so much nostalgia for when people knew their place and were ever so humble.

As many have known who fought the power precisely to free themselves from this kind of lie, that if you are good righteous and behave yourself and do as you are told, you will inherit the earth.

Unless they are talking about dirt.

Saturday, 2 October 2010


When I first heard of Jackass let's say I was profoundly challenged. I found it unfathomable, upsetting, scary and nerve janglingly unbearable to watch.

I know I must be entering a period of calm because recently catching them in full flow Jackass 2 I found myself poleaxed with laughter. I even came to be impressed by the way they started off their stunts with a look of intrepid yet earnest endeavour set on their faces. Rather than abject terror or requiring one's mater.

I wasn't fully reformed because I felt the creep of anxiety catch up with me after a while but up till then, laughter muscles work out. )))) Shiver (((( I hope I don't have cause to use that term again anytime soon.

During the recent spate of explosive feminist v fatness blog warring (yawn) I noticed a comment to the effect of "whatever you (FA) do, please don't say dieting is stupid". I'm afraid if there is one thing dieting is, it definitely is that. Hiding it from yourself and others leads in part to the sensitized state that makes the reality of dieting harder to face. There's no need to feel shy you are not alone, there are many flailing around in the stupid with you.

Whether it’s those claiming dieting has a positive effect that can be studied and refined to make it work better; stop laughing in the corner. Those who claim the jury’s still out on its ‘efficacy’ those who’ve done it-guilty. All validated by rank and because of that not any intrinsic merit we are forced to take it seriously.

And yes, I was aware of how stupid calorie restriction was whilst I was doing it but I was thinking that using healthy eating, instead of a slimming plan was not in the same ball park.

Whoops a daisy!!!

No one is owed pretence about the truth of dieting, it is too much like hard work and too distorting of the truth in ways that is doing too much harm to others obscuring consequence from them.

When we ignore or overlook what we are doing to ourselves especially in the negative, the mind can tend to project that knowledge onto to something or someone else-usually someone felt to be critical- in an attempt to get us to confront it. These feelings are mostly dieters own reactions to what they are doing to themselves, this is upsetting because they are not being acknowledged, not because others are taunting or ridiculing them.

That sense of being carelessly treated, mishandled somehow is a product of their own thoughts and actions, trying to model a sensitivity in others which you are denying yourself is a bit pointless if you intend to continue the same way. You're asking them to both support what's hurting you and tip toe around the effects of that. It’s a pattern similar to people with low self esteem, when you attack yourself from the inside, the mind can heighten a sense of injustice around you, it's as if by trying to get you to reject injustice from outside you will apply that within also.

It is your right to diet but insisting others collude in this is asking them to join this attack on yourself and that is worse than the choice you've made because you are directly accountable for the consequences of it in a way they are not.

Its also coming at the expense of all those who may really need to understand why they are in the state they are in, in order to begin their own healing process. The conceit of dieting is by its very nature way too high maintenance, it's unreasoning and unreasonable and asks too much from those unwilling to suspend disbelief to the extent demanded.

I used to ask why (oh why) would the Jackass guys want to send themselves repeatedly into self contrived chaos and pain? I tried to put it down to some kind of male bonding/testing rituals; I was definitely a little offended at what seemed to be the celebration of pain.

Now I can see the jackass in me sailing into every tranche of nutrition inspired mayhem with a similar look of earnest pilgrimage to my will inspired destiny plastered on my face, no doubt.

It reminds me of watching a documentary about this famous rock band and their prodigious drug taking. One of them 'died' after an epic bender and was lucky enough to be resurrected in hospital. On leaving he went straight to his dealer. I was appalled but it dawned on me how reminiscent this was to the ruthless dedication to keep on dieting, no matter what it does or is doing to you that is found in so many.

The funny thing about all these attempts to link being fat to drug addiction is it's actually dieting and its attendant 'withdrawal' phase, accompanied or not by FA that fits the addiction model far more closely. Probably the reasons people get addicted to drugs are similar to the reasons why people diet on regardless (and cannot shake anorexia, strange as it may seem, it's about a sense of control).

The 'no diet talk' rule reminds me of people saying that they had to leave behind everything that reminded them of taking drugs to get 'clean'. The issues with triggering, talk of trying one more time, or slipping back to dieting, ditto. It's the promise of being able to change your circumstances that is so seductive and hard to resist. Look at Oprah, she has never looked more absurd than in her endless diet campaigns, and I include her I am god phase (is that over yet?) Doing something promises relief from anxiety. Especially as we are taught we can if we put our minds to it, we have free will. We certainly do, but that doesn't mean we have free will only in the forms and ways we assume.

If what looks like the exercise of free will, command and control style, leads to chaos and anarchy rather than mastery then as counter intuitive as it may seem we need to expand our range and sense of what control actually is. It's not what appears on the surface that makes it control, it is what is delivers.

People, namely women, could look upon their diet efforts-if they insist- with a similar sense of the ridiculous as the Jackass crew. Maybe recognising and being at ease with the patent absurdity of it all would reduce the damage. We are not just defined by what we do, there's also the matter of the attitude we bring to it.