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.

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