Thursday, 11 November 2010

The ally ship

Despite the title, I don't feel I'm the one to ask about allyship. If that's even a word. When I got into FA, I assumed that because fat people had never begrudged the attention given to the bodily traumas thin people spoke about, they would feel the same. Given we'd been so silent for so long, I presumed people would get a sense that we were not doing it lightly or without thought.

That we'd gone through something to get to this point. I even figured that precisely because we'd listened so intently to people's attitudes about fatness, that they'd feel a sense that it was time to hear us.

I'll explain that before I proceed. In order to have certain conditions, you have to have a reasonably acceptable body. For instance, body dysmorphia requires you to have an acceptable body;
Patients with BDD believe they look ugly or deformed (thinking, for example, that they have a large and 'repulsive' nose, or severely scarred skin), when in reality they look normal.
This is how fat people are expected to feel. Not feeling this way is felt to be unbalanced.

So, I think we can stand to hear about things that have nothing to do with them and respond supportively. Though I must admit, I find it hard to take BDD that seriously. In the age of plastic surgery, it was predictable that pretty people would feel ugly and that would be seen as sobworthy. It's the prettiness that makes it so.

As a person who's part of what's deemed an "ugly class", it's hard to take seriously the pain of those not deemed such, being terrified that they might be.

Think about it.

I'm not entirely sure I expected any need for the role of allies. I expected most people would take time to accept any idea of change. I did think though that they'd be a rational minority who would realise we had reasonable things to say and would offer rational critiques of what's actually been said.

I had no idea that was so difficult and that the hostility would be so universal. Fat acceptance is such a small thing, being an ally seems rather clunky. Like it's been lifted from more serious battles. 

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