Seriously, It’s Not Fair

Angry FrustratedI talk a lot on this blog about ways that fat people can advocate for themselves, and that thin fat activists can help advocate for us.  Whether it’s dealing with the bigotry of random strangers or workplace wellness programs, or the government’s ill-conceived war on fat people, or trying to actually get competent evidence-based medical care (and not being a non-consenting participant in experimental medicine), or keeping kids from being non-consenting participants in experimental medicine, I talk a lot about the options that we have to fight this bullshit.  There is something that I want to be absolutely clear about:

This is not fair. We should not have to do any of this.  Fat activism should not be necessary.  The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should NOT be size dependent.  Fat rights activism isn’t about asking people to give our rights to us, it’s about asking people to stop keep our rights from us through an inappropriate use of power and privilege, which they never should have done in the first place.

Stereotyping, bigotry, oppression and bullying are things that should absolutely not happen. Sometimes people can get confused and think that because these things become our problem they must be our fault.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Fat people have the right to exist – no matter why we are fat, if we could be not fat, or what being fat means.  There are no other valid opinions on the matter.  Unfortunately, again through an inappropriate use of power and privilege, invalid opinions based on bigotry and oppression have managed to find their way into the culture masquerading as truth.  It’s not the first time this has happened and, sadly, it’s likely not the last.  We are not the only group this is happening to, but it is happening to us and  it sucks.  It seriously sucks. It fucking sucks.  It’s not fair, and it’s not our fault. And did I mention that it sucks?

Nobody is obligated to activism of any kind.  While I choose to be an activist – to fight the stigma, bullying, and oppression that shouldn’t exist –  I also think it’s important to remind myself frequently that it shouldn’t be necessary. It’s also completely reasonable to get really angry and really frustrated by the crap that we have to go through – whether it’s dealing with a doctor who thinks that they are a psychic who can tell everything about you from your size, or dealing with some jerk who spends their time hating people for their body size, I completely support you if you feel like taking a tennis racket and hitting a pillow a few hundred times – I may grab a racket and pillow of my own.  So no matter how you choose to deal with the BS that comes at you, remember that it’s not fair and, even if it becomes your problem, it’s not your fault.

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17 thoughts on “Seriously, It’s Not Fair

  1. I had a little giggle when thinking about psychic doctors who an “read” our health from our fat… someone can divine our future and our past by reading our stretchmarks like a street-psychic reads palms! lol!

    1. Actually, that could be a really cool means of divination. lol It would be about as accurate as palm reading anyway. Stomach stretchmarks are for personality, thighs are for the future (because you’re walking towards it), and other body parts determine various thing such as your love life, your career, and and terrible past traumas…

  2. This morning, I woke up with a headache. Gave up on sleeping and looked online for something funny…8 minutes into laughing along with a stand-up comedian, he has to start doing an anti-fat rant.

    Why? Just to make my head explode? Turned his dumb-ass off and checked emails. Aaaaah, Ragen’s blog. Thanks. –Jen

  3. I don’t have a tennis racket, but Mr. Twistie does own a cricket bat as an homage to Spinal Tap. I could totally take that mother to a pillow every now and again.

    We don’t have a lot of sporting equipment in our home, but we make what we have count.

      1. Actually, I’ve never seen The Young Ones, but I’ve enjoyed This Is Spinal Tap many, many times and know for a fact that their manager, Ian Faith keeps a cricket bat with him because: “Certainly in the topsy turvy world of heavy rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is often useful.”

        He is then shown using said good solid piece of wood to smash in the screen of a television.

        I love Ian Faith.

  4. Occasionally, I have talks with my favorite professor about activism, since it’s a major reason why I’m studying law. He didn’t understand when I told him that I wished no one had to be an activist. I explained that if I had one world-changing wish, it would be that people solve problems by sitting down and listening to each other, respecting each other, and maybe have some cookies and/or a hot beverage while doing so. It would be more pleasant, more civilized, more effective, and less stressful. Unfortunately, that’s one of the many wishes I will never get. (Also, I will never get an owl from Hogwarts, my own TARDIS, or Nathan Fillion. Disappointments abound.) Thus, activism is necessary.

  5. I have been told “It isn’t your fault, but it is your problem” a lot, mostly over disability/health/mental health issues. That usually means it’s my job to fix other people’s mistakes and suck up and compensate for their bigotry and irresponsibility, never their job to do things right or act like more or less competent adults.

    I’m thinking of people who are health care workers or doing something as part of a job, people in authority who can really do damage if they mess up, et c. Not random strangers who may well be worse off than I am and don’t owe me anything.

    1. “never their job to do things right or act like more or less competent adults.”

      I’ve dealt with enough assholes in health care, etc., that I no longer just roll with it. They push, I push back. I credit the doctors, PA’s, nurses, and techs I work with now, who seldom ever mention my weight beyond, “I need you to step on the scale.” Anyone else comes in and starts being a jerk? I have no qualms against opening my big, fat mouth and telling them to FOAD. It’s amazing what a supportive central team can do.

      I’m getting less nice as I get older, but a lot tougher.

  6. Most people’s mommies tell them life is not fair. But this discrimination is relatively new in our society. I’ve been watching a lot of historical documentaries, and if the original 1920-1950s footage is any indication, women in particular have always been curvy, round people. of course the food was different then, and much more healthful choices were available. even if we eat like our great-grandmothers, women’s bodies were made to be mostly round, rather than stick-straight. thanks for your well-written words, and for letting me share.

    1. I’ve found that too.

      Last year during the Olympics in London, our news channel showed a pic from the 1890s when the modern Olympics first got started. They were a bit bigger than athletes today, and the newscasters made a negative comment on them.

      1. Just look at antique porcelain dolls. Those were the models of their day, intended, yes, as toys, but also mannequins to display the current fashions in miniature. They nigh-universally have soft cheeks, double chins, and rounded arms.

        Hell, read a few of the books contemporary with those dolls… they’re like something out of bizarro-world. It certainly put things in perspective, the first time a tragic penny dreadful hero listed the traits of the heartbreaking beauty he pined for and it slowly dawned on me he was describing a fat woman.

        1. Are penny dreadfuls still available today? I mean the original stories. I’ve read about fiction from that age, but never seen any. I’ll check Amazon too.

          1. Quite a few of them are available as free e-books at Project Gutenberg and; that’s where I got my copies of A String of Pearls, Springheel Jack, and Varney, the Vampyre. I know at least the latter has a few special editions available as hard copies, too.

            The latter is the one I was talking about – at one point, Varney lists everything he finds irresistable about Flora, and about halfway through the description, the lightbulb came on. “Waitaminute, is he saying she’s fat… like he finds that attractive? And that’s not being played for laughs at both their expenses? What planet did I just land on?”

            That said, I’ve still seen talk of “reduction of flesh” even then. There just also seemed to be a lot more unironic examples of fat people being portrayed as… well, *people,* not the walking vices and cautionary tales we’re reduced to these days.

  7. ” Fat people have the right to exist – no matter why we are fat, if we could be not fat, or what being fat means. There are no other valid opinions on the matter. ”

    I want this on a bumper sticker. And a t-shirt. And possibly on a auction paddle, so I can just hold it up when needed.

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