Wednesday, 28 September 2011


I was perusing this article on the Monash University paper on stigma. A comment from someone called Tim Dean a philosopher at the University of New South Wales stood out. Illustrating how out utterly of touch fatphobes with a library ticket can be when they are under the influence;

What surprises me is that obese individuals don't sometimes react to the negative attitudes in such a way that does encourage them to excercise or do something about their weight.

Fat people have of course "reacted" mightily, tough if anyone 'missed' it, we're not doing it again just for them. I doubt this academic airhead absorbed the study or article which amongst other things quoted someone being told they were "lucky" to have miscarried because they wouldn't want to be pregnant at their size.

Instead it merits comparison with wearing clothes;

Social stigma is a potent tool for guiding behaviour to conform with social norms; after all, most of us wear clothes to work not because it'd be illegal not to, but because of the very thought of the embarrasment we'd feel turning up naked.......
So is rationalism, wanna try that first? "Guiding behaviour" neither creates nor delivers desired outcome.

Know what else? People don't tend to 'fail' to wear clothes because clothes fulfil their remit. Clothes can be demonstrated to 'work'-that is fulfil their function.

Seeing a trained mind reducing itself to this must be like watching a clever alcoholic suffer blackouts. The omens for rational discourse are not good. I'm not surprised, intellectual engagement and fat phobia don't mesh. Its this dim because it has to be. The surprise is that training in critical thinking remains untroubled by any of this.

Forget compassion, what about robustness of intellectual integrity?

I mean, what can we expect from those who posit the idea that hurt is a good way to control behaviour, as if that;

a) would have no cost or pathologies of its own


b) it is a worthwhile or moral way of achieving anything?

Those thinking we are on the end of their leash fail to understand we've already complied. We believed the same things we weren't just overpowered. In the past we took it upon ourselves-for various reasons- to do what we were told was right at the time by those who we felt had the authority to do so. It didn't occur that people had anything less than our best interests at heart.

Various psychological techniques are currently being touted as a means to support the bankruptcy of calorie wasting.

In this we are being cast as dead fat suits only brought to life by the attentions of fat /concern haters.

Behaving as if because they pretend not to know we are alive assuming we'll play along, as ever. It is imagined that treating us as things is acceptable behaviour for any ends.

It calls to mind what feminists refer to as sexual "objectification", but I think it goes beyond that. We meet the literal definition given by Martha Nussbaum, I'm linking, but I'm going to copy it here;

* Instrumentality- if the thing is treated as a tool for one's own purposes

* Denial of autonomy-treated as if lacking in agency or self-determination

* Inertness-treated as if lacking in agency (and animus)

* Ownership-treated as if owned by another

* Fungibility- treated as if interchangeable

* Violability- treated as if permissible to damage or destroy

* Denial of subjectivity-treated as if there is not need to show concern for the 'object's' feelings and experiences.

If anyone has the right to discount experience its the person themselves, but even that is different from behaving as if things that happen, didn't. Our thinker continues;
My concern is by taking a defensive stance we risk normalising obesity in the minds of individuals who are obese, lending them a sense of entitlement and undermining the effect of social stigma to change behaviour. We raise a siege mentality that ends up being counter-productive. Guilt, after all, can be a good thing if it changes behaviour towards positive ends.
Concern? Basically healthy self defence spoils the effect of going unguarded in the face of a punitive onslaught. Trying to claim being in the ring with your gloves down, in the face of a beating is the way to change your behaviour as if because that is desired by others, the impact of the blows don't matter nor doest the humiliation of putting up no defence.

How can you be "concerned" that people are trying desperately to fend off blows that might be damaging their psyche?

What, this intellectual non-entity thinks "we" whoever that is has more of a say over your brain than you do?

The right to be acknowledged as you are, no matter where that is or where you want to go is going too far, that's only for the likes of him, isn't it? That's something you can be sure he takes for granted but then its pretty obvious why that shouldn't be in question for one second.

And who's "we"? If fat people are so defensive how do concern haters take for granted that his "we" is so in control of us? If we were defensive this popular illusion would not be present.

Being fat has been "normalized" by the absence of anything to stop it and that was entirely predictable decades ago. When something doesn't work repeatedly and you ignore it, that's another way of accepting your future. Too late to play coquette on that score.

Nor does it seem to occur much to these people that their behaviour towards us might change our attitude to them. Like you know when you act a certain way to someone or thing; another human, a dog, a cat, a worm or even a virus or a bacterium, you can expect a reaction.

If we aren't respected, we may not respect.

Friday, 23 September 2011

No drama

A while back a typically passionate * [T/W for those offended by soulful takes on the sacred R-O-C-K]   Mary J Blige recorded a seriously heartfelt track called "No more drama" in which she excelled even her usual resolute delivery.

In it she described breaking free from an disturbingly abusive relationship after the drama of it exhausted her habit of clinging on for whatever she was getting or thought she was getting out of it.

"Drama" does that. The constant everyday ups and downs are a vortex drawing you deep and holding you as you adapt to that and forget before.

Until burnout loosens your grip.

Its a strange thing to come to your rescue. The imperative to GET AWAY crowds out and upturns the status quo, whether you have any idea how you are going to manage or feel up to escaping, or not.

Physical, emotional and psychological withdrawal, as far as you can manage is the only order and that's all there is too it.

We can probably all agree people do things because they are not fully aware of the consequences or the risks they are taking.

From there assumptions differ.

For instance reversing that to presume if others appear to be doing something considered risky, it is due to their lacking awareness of assumed risk.

Some of us will have to disagree.

If you extrapolate from there insisting the more associated risk is exaggerated and dramatized, the more you can affect your target's reactions, you'd probably be correct in that.

You can even direct all behaviour that way, but what you and your drama cannot do with it is dictate outcome.

That is decided by the efficacy of the actions you are eliciting.

If you are going to ignore that fact and continue to manipulate people into actions you desire, prepared for when people become too weary and tired of your antics to care.

And when that happens, as the lady sings, people will have to cut you and the ugliness you're dealing in loose.

It's called, survival.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Critical blahhhh

The point is fat people's cruel disregard of ourselves becomes 'cruelty' to others, if they rely on that cruelty to prop up their self esteem or social position. Both end up counting themselves as less than they are.

People's enthusiasm for expressing how bad the fat acceptance movement is and the people involved with it should be audited for credulity. How is it possible to be that wrong?

Whilst fat people's credibility is endlessly mentioned  by both ourselves and by those who insist mindless obedience is all we are fit for, do critical voices pause to consider the credibility of their numerous critiques?

Seriously, what is so great about what they represent?

This is a crusade who's instructions have failed to bring about their stated aim, to make fat people slimmer. It's dominant thesis doesn't understand how human biology actually works, yet it's been extended to drugs, surgery, all of which are destructive and pitifully inadequate.

Where's the humility or credibility there?

Not to mention an indiscriminate campaign of stigma that is so bad that it is actually wearing out its targets before it's disease construct of fatness 'obesity'. Yet it refuses to take responsibility for any failure-unlike fat people, whom it finds consistent fault. It deals with this by erasing our efforts claiming we have not done what there is ample proof that as a whole that we have done.

Where's the honour? The sense of self worth to be able to say "mea culpa" we thought it would work, it hasn't? Where's the dignity of that? I suppose you don't need it when you're falsely accorded it.

The criticism of our attempts to get out of the way of something that has become putrid and pointless has itself become the problem is the cause for relentless and unyielding sniping. How is this even possible?

Do I even care anymore? 

Those who are critical, who are so concerned about the feelings of those who have behaved far worse than us, are being irrational and unpleasant. Does it occur that an endless blizzard of unvarying critical noise isn't actually relaying a credible or even distinct message?

Regardless of any merits their criticisms may have, people have to be able to be able to tolerate what they have to say in order to hear it, if they cannot trust that they are being fairly appraised that is not likely to be possible.

Try judging those you are protecting by those same standards. They're too good for that, so tip toe and pussy foot is the order of the day.

Nobody in FA that I know of wishes to degrade the physical or mental health of slim people, wishes to get a campaign going to make them feel disgusted by their own selves, assassinate their characters. Or slimz ought to be left to die because they cost too much.

So exactly how can FA be posited as the opposite of this? It's just trying to drag us down to a level we've not chosen, because others' our betters have, that is their problem. That is not a true definition of uppity.
being critical can be fine and noble, but a) it has to connect with what it is critiquing, or it becomes an exercise in pre decided antipathy, with whatever their idea of a person's views are, projected onto that person.

Being critical can be fine and noble, but a) it has to connect with what it is critiquing, or it becomes an exercise in pre decided antipathy, with whatever their idea of a person's views are, projected onto that person.

It's all so much blaah.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Mr Twerp

I've already written about Stephen Fry, someone I just about had some respect for until he ended that by exposing himself for the arse he is underneath his genial countenance. He was probably one of the first people I went off because his rabid fat phobia was so stupid that it appalled me so.

This is a man who lost virtually a whole side of his family in the Holocaust, yet used the usual "no fat people in the concentration camps" to bray away even a pip of rational discussion about fatness.

I've little but contempt for people who try that "Jewish people have been morally cleansed by the final solution" BS, but I just felt at the time that is him, this is what he is really like underneath and that is what I didn't like.

And that was way before 2009, so you'd think he'd have worked his previous "insight"into that mail article using his massive brainpower to explain why it failed to be the scything shield cutting any prospect of adiposity to ribbons.

He has taken in many with his posturing of the genius professor, fair's fair, he's not unaware of himself;

'I am cursed with big feet and blessed with a big memory,' he shrugs. 'I wouldn't call myself an intellectual, but I do like to collect learning.'

"Collecting", not necessarily possessing.

I subsequently learned that he was "bipolar/manic depressive", does that make any difference? Funnily enough it doesn't because being bipolar isn't spelt A-R-S-E hole. His hateful fat phobia is yes a vehicle for his self loathing but he is mistaken if he is passing that off as created by his condition when it is mainly coming from him as a person and how he views his condition.

I'll say little more on that except to say its a bit like people who hate themselves because they are fat-that is not seen as perfection and they feel they are/should be, rather than those who hate themselves because they are fat; for other reasons.

He can turn on the oleaginous charm at will (sounds kind of bipolar, cause or effect?). This is effective a lot of people adore him you could do worse as long as you avoid hearing him vent on easy targets.

Such is the extent of conformity when it comes to fat hating, we all have our own rules as to mitigation, one thing I cannot stand is fat fools in the media who go about trash talking fatness or fat people and/or making us a target for pity.

Leaving ordinary folk to reap fuller consequences of fat people's lowering social status, these people think of nothing, not the rights they didn't fight for may be under threat because they cannot get a grip of their selves.

Despite wiping their tears with banknotes.

I take no pleasure whatsoever in the fact that he like many others is regaining visibly, its more that when you empty a sewer into where you live because you think you're gone for good, without regard to the consequences of those still there.

You will meet that mess when/if you get back.

SF, wouldn't do this with his mental health disorder, nor drug use, nor anything else but fatness. He can speak about it as honestly as he can without having to demean the status itself. So take a tip FF's in the M (fat fools in the media).

Other people should not have to be increasingly menaced by the state busybodies whilst those with a little influence cannot get over themselves enought to and think before they speak.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

How mean is fat acceptance?

The appeal for FA denizens to tread lightly on those who've kicked the crap out of fatz has forced me to consider this question, is it cruel to people who are used to having a soft landing place for their feet swinging limbs to withdraw that and let them fall on their own momentum?

That may seem like an idiotic question when you say it like that, but there is no doubt that in general we fatz seem to be awful reticent about calling our tormentors to account, for their own freely chosen behaviour.

This wasn't altogether unpredictable, after all, I myself have as much reluctance as anyone else but I try to overlook it somewhat because I feel it is old habits dying hard, namely being outer directed, focusing on other people's feelings with disregard for my own.

Then being asked to account for what I was supposed to be the product of what I was not paying attention to and also repressing. You can say its forcing myself to get back in touch with my own feelings, rather than distracting myself with others, I trust them to take care of themselves in the meantime.

I've also noticed a lot of the hurt people feel at fat people's emergence from non sentient outer directed. There's an element of we thought that was settled and we were happy with that. As you know when you put anything down that can become a makeshift storage or table, it exerts a gravitational pull bringing all flotsam and jetsam of the universe.

Okay, people put stuff on it.

People put a lot more stuff on our erased, obedient, genuflecting selves than I ever thought possible. Or maybe its that the things they put on them, got things put on them and enabled all sorts of things out of reach things to be tantalizingly touched with the finger tips.

By trying to regain the humanness of that part of ourselves, there's a sense that we are cruelly disregarding all this and we are in our way just as reluctant as others I sense. We don't want to be where we are, but its the change our minds that will have to come about that we ambivalent about.

If you want to look at it this way and it is fair to a fault fat acceptance is cruel or certainly feels it, both ways. From looking outward to restoring inside, from thinking about how you look to hostile others, to how you actually feel as an original autonomous being.

You know as in existing with the flow of your experience inside and out, rather than watching yourself, looking to catch yourself out before you do any fat creation whilst you're not looking.

Relative to before it can feel incredibly self absorbed, I certainly do feel I have become that way myself and sometimes overly analytical and precious.

Isn't it grand? In the past I would have worried, I'm a fat person being precious, oh the shame. Now I just think lighten up or get over it, I treat myself according to the way I'm being, not how much I'm making up for or not being fat.

Sometimes, it's almost fun.

The 'cruelty' of fat acceptance, is really the cruelty to ourselves of going along not with cals in/out ideology, anyone can make a mistake, no it was by accepting the hostility that increasingly went with it, for that reason.

For not policing boundaries by saying "okay you can say I'm in the wrong but that doesn't give you the right to act up like this, back off" etc., Its the lenience of "anything goes" as we are fat and wrong that was really cruel to ourselves.

And if you view this belated push back as a cruelty to those who've for instance gotten used to us making them feel better because we seemed a bit more beaten down, then let that be a lesson to us all.

If we carelessly allow cruelty to ourselves that builds future "meanness" towards anyone nice enough to take advantage.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Scant emotion

There's a really good post over at Feministe, not least due to the excellent commenter's who have written about their experiences with eloquence. It refers to the chef Karl Wilder's account of trying to live on a low food budget (food stamps allocation). It feels more real than these accounts often do. By relaying the kind of emotional toll it can take,I found myself relating to it in ways I usually don't with these experiments.

Managing on the lowest income requires a high level of skill in many areas, the opposite of what's insinuated by the some of the more self flattering classes. This tension of incompatible opposites is the genesis of (a) double consciousness.

When a particular groups real life or functioning existence is at odds with what society insists are its universal values.

More often low income is equated with; low skill, none too bright/ ill educated, sullied if not somewhat degenerate, the cries of  "all you/they have to do is x" are defensive.

I've no objection to teaching children some home economics alas vulnerable to being thrown aside for that which is deemed "more important".

Its a general rule that the greater the level of skill required for anything the more people will fall short of that standard.

The emotional component of managing low finance tends to get sidelined. My cooking can be erratic from out of sight to unspeakable, more so when I was very low on self belief in general. If I'd had more confidence and faith in myself, I would have done a lot better.

What brought me down even more than the lack of money was the feeling of being trapped with a tightening noose around my neck;
I am opening all my cupboards and checking every item in the freezer. I am hungry and want everything I don’t have.

I felt hounded by this feeling way too much, it could become acute in the blink of an eye. Don't get me wrong, I'm profoundly grateful to live in a society where people fought for that most basic of provision.

I can't explain some of it, often these feelings got on my nerves. I get people who've always been in low paid employment who think, for goodness sakes, that's how they express the pressures. Sometimes I made a game of it; being crafty, planning things out, noticing every little way I could make things go as far as possible, getting into some kind of rhythm. 

Other times I found myself out of synch and falling short, not always sure why.

I'm neither justifying or not, just saying that's how I felt about it. Give children as much training as possible in as many areas of food and its preparation, growing it to if possible. Variety and flexibility really can make all the difference and is some defence against the blandishments of the marketing budgets selling overly processed fare.

But also, tell them the truth about being poor, they often have to be better whilst being painted as worse.