Wednesday, 5 January 2011


We are romantic souls at heart assuming the crusade could only be derailed because of  "Touche pas à mon pote!" which translates as "Don't touch my mate". The slogan of a campaign against racism and anti-semitism aimed at the young, appealing to them to defend others.

People love to criticise the French for what seems sometimes like a default state of arrogance, but that my friends is fraternité or brother(sister)hood. As that is a third of their national motto, maybe that partly explains their uppitiness, a little bit of fellow feeling.

Fact is, the crusade could have been derailed then as now piecemeal by recognizing more of the implications on others of allowing fat people to swing.  This is why leading with the "thin privilege" angle has frustrated it appears to collude in making FA all about 'sympathy' (errrgh) for fat people, when it is crystal clear fellow feeling for fatz is grudgingly and measly.

Dealing with the implications of excluding fat people on everyone defending against that directs a critical gaze on the crisis that would stop it from going so unchecked. That seems a far more accessible and practical direction for all.

I've always seen FA as being for everyone, mainly from the view of liberating everyone from fat phobia which by the energy invested in it has been propelled it all directions. The problem is that like many in FA, I didn't realise that feeling was not shared by others due to them seeing it as affecting only us badly, not them.

When Joy's video finally loaded in my 'puter, after I'd read Lesley's piece and read the YouTube comments, I realised immediately why it offended. What she cleverly does is point out the unspoken truth that whilst people pay lip service to us reducing weight through "healthy living", what they really mean is we ought to be prepared to use the behaviours that make up eating disorders to achieve it.

Whilst of course pretending that we are pursuing a "healthy lifestyle", just like some of them. You get an element of this from some smokers (and others) too.

What the video fails to do is treat bulimic behaviour with the same reverence as those who haven't been as browbeaten with this kind of thing. These people think things must only be seen their way, tell that to those who think this is a 'cure'.

Predictably, they attack the person, rather than the fat phobia which is what has really punctured their consensus. The time for them to get upset and ask questions is when we are being told to lose weight using behaviours they consider to be a threat to health.

Isn't that appalling? No, apparently its offensive to your boo boo.

If folk have nothing to say on that, then they are at least tacitly agreeing that disordered behaviour has its uses, therefore we can talk about them in different ways, can't we? If you want everyone on board with one view, then make sure you fight for eating disorders to be off the menu, for everyone.

The obesity persona is actually an insulting caricature of compulsive/ binge eating disorder projected onto all fat people. Every time fat people are insulted about what we supposedly eat or don't eat, the overall obsession with making it all about that, is using this false association with an eating disorder, to deny our agency our subjective experience, our humanity even.

The remedy for this presumed disorder is another form of disordered eating proto-anorexia-early stage-plus a little exercise bulimia thrown in. We are urged to practise these disorders, whether we succumb to any of them depends on our internal propensities i.e. luck. But they are all presented as lifestyles, regardless.

Joy's alluding to the fact that when we are told "we haven't tried hard enough" this is what they are really getting at. It's what they really mean when they tell us "we don't get it" if that is pointed out, it is denied "We didn't tell you to go to extremes", right because if it's not said, no-one can say you mean it can they?


People are content to use fat people, to do this they are content to exclude us. Its a double whammy. You can exclude someone from the group, but be courteous and polite to them, or you can exclude them and make use of them for your own ends.

Imagine at school, you want to be part of a group, they do not agree so they tell you to buzz off. They also start picking on you, bullying you out of a sense of ownership of yourself, trying to replace it with they want you to be.

When the people on the inside go along with this kind of thing and force others to the edge, that change of position changes people, they are more likely to develop a different perspective and attitude, they are seeing from another vantage point. It depends on the extent of the exclusion and mis-use, but in comparison they are not being shaped by the mores of the clique except from the outside.

They are more likely to develop a different sensibility about certain things based on this which doesn't necessarily match the insider view. The group needs to try and factor that in to their exclusion, all groups do.

That's what "I'd rather have so and so on the inside pissing out, rather than on the outside pissing in" is referring to. It's not always about whether you want people in or out, you have to consider consequences of either.

That's pragmatic.

Once the decision is made that they are out, the corollary is they are (somewhat) out of being policed by the group too. Fairs fair, if you are not benefiting from its courtesies, why should you fall under its direction? Denying your own experience?

The consciousness of insiders is shaped by what they are being included in, others can witness this from the outside, they can be sensitive to it as far as their imagination and capacity to notice can manage-which is why I could tell the video would offend some (by no means all)-but they are not formed by it. They cannot be policed by what may not have any real internal reference point, without denying their own.

Isn't that what we are trying to get away from? Imitating falsehoods slapped on us by the entitled and being policed by that sense of entitlement?

I do not wish  to implicate Joy, the swiftness and elegance of her contriteness shows how she feels. And I respect too what I think is Lesley's view which is we can manage other people's sense of entitlement.

I'm not so sure.

It's not just that I will not, I simply cannot. I don't have the ability unless I remain in the state I'm currently in the process of exiting. I'm prepared to admit that might be a lack on my part, I don't say absence I'm saying that is too much of a stretch for me, I'm not made of rubber. Maybe its in part because there are other exclusions which have made this sensibility stronger/more varied in me than others with a different perspective.

Whatever; suffice to say I am not the same as I would have been if I'd been on the inside in certain matters and I don't feel apologetic or like pulling my head in to suit those who rarely object when it counts, when it's not about them.

I do not resent that nor am I bitter about that in itself, as long as I can operate from my truth. It's the policing that gets on my nerves. What I have a low tolerance for is people telling us how to feel as if we are a bunch of dizzy rubes and they city sophisticates who are going to school us on how to think, how they think.

They were not so morally elevated when watching us getting it from all sides as they are now.

I do not set out to be offend the reasonable nor intend to be discourteous, I came up with an example of what would be an offensive take on this, but it was really offensive, so I won't! I'm not advocating careless mockery, merely to be able to represent experience in a thoughtful and questing way.

A fat person making light of the way we are treated is not offensive to anyone but hypocrites and a lot of people including those who've had bulimia, got that point. We have things to say and express for everyone because we are as human as anyone and we represent that, we can add to things.

If you are not bothered by the way we are treated don't try to be offended by a reasonable response to that. We are allowed to express the truth of our own perspective, as much as anyone, we are not here merely to spectate.

So the next time you are watching another car crash of fat people being trashed to heck unopposed thinking it has nothing to do with you, think again, learn to consider any possible implications for you and decide whether you wish to act on that basis, you don't have to give a tinker's cuss about fat people, directly.

If you choose not to act, get ready to hear something else from the edge.


  1. Oh, excellent. I love your blog!

  2. Thanks. I saw this green thing out of the corner of my eye the other day and thought, what's that?

    You could have knocked me down with a feather when it said, follower! :-)