Here on DancesWithFat we have some posts that are annual traditions, one of them is this post about The Underpants Rule. As always, I’ve added and changed some things to help clarify questions that I received about the UR over the last year.
I have found there are rules that, if I follow them, usually steer me in the right direction. There’s the Golden Rule (treat others as you would like to be treated) though I prefer the Platinum Rule (treat others as they would like to be treated). But my most favorite life rule is The Underpants Rule and not just because I named it, and not just because its widespread implementation would end about 90% of the jackassery and fuckwittery that happens on the internet, and maybe 50% that happens offline.
The Underpants Rule is simple: when it comes to personal choices, everyone is the boss of their own underpants so you get to choose for you and other people get to choose from them and it’s not your job to tell other people what to do and it’s not their job to tell you what to do. To illustrate, if someone is considering saying something that starts with
- People should
- Everyone ought to
- What people need to do
- We should all
- Nobody should
- You shouldn’t
- blah blah things that have to do with underpants that aren’t yours blah blah
then there is a 99.9% chance that they are about to break The Underpants Rule. There are exceptions to the rule (detailed here) including and especially with regard to Civil Rights/oppression because they are not to be voted on or conferred, they just are, therefore everybody needs to respect everybody else’s civil rights, and it’s not ok to hide behind “personal choices” as a justification for oppression.
Of course telling you that you should follow the Underpants Rule is, in fact, breaking the Underpants Rule which is pesky, so let me instead make a case for the Underpants Rule and then you can make your own choice.
For example – I chose a Health at Every Size practice because I am a fan of research, logic and math. I think that the research clearly shows that a HAES practice give me a much better shot at health with way less downside risk than a weight loss- based health practice, knowing that health is not an obligation, a barometer of worthiness, completely in my control, or guaranteed.
There are people who think the exact opposite of that. I know that because they come here and tell me so as if I should care, and then they say that I should do what they do. This blog is my little corner of the internet. It exists only because I created it and I am thrilled to pieces that people enjoy reading it, that people get inspired by it, that it gives people information to make choices etc. I try very hard to make sure that I always follow the Underpants Rule and never tell anyone else how they have to live and yet people come here and try to tell me how to live. That’s annoying.
For this reason, I would never go onto someone’s weight loss blog and tell them all about Health at Every Size and quote research as to why I think it’s a better choice. Those are not my underpants.
I do not enjoy (or believe) when people tell me that I need to become smaller to be attractive. Therefore I would never say that thin women need to become larger to be attractive. Besides the fact that I don’t believe it, those are not my underpants. (Not to mention that the path to high self-esteem is probably not paved with hypocrisy so doing to someone else exactly what I don’t want done to me seems ill-advised.)
The war on obesity is an underpants rule breakdown on a massive scale. A group of government, public and private interests (with various profit and political motivations) has chosen a group of people who are identifiable by sight and is now trying to tell us everything from how we have to prioritize health, to the path we have to take to become healthy, to how our bodies have to look. Who died and made them Underpants Overlord? Nobody. (I’m still waiting for my official fat person pony.)
My metaphorical underpants and my actual underpants have something in common: if I want somebody else in them, that person will be among the very first to know. I have definitely not invited the executives at HBO, Kaiser Permanente, the government, or the diet industry into my underpants.
Now, I’m not telling you what to do (cause, you know, Underpants Rule) but I’m suggesting that if you don’t like it when people attempt to be the boss of your underpants, then maybe take a pass on trying to be the boss of someone else’s. I’m fairly certain that “Do unto others exactly what you don’t want them to do to you” is the lead rule, or the brick rule, or the shit rule, or something – at any rate a LOT of steps down from platinum and gold.
Remember, you are forever the boss of your underpants, your underpants are, in fact, your own – occupy your underpants (with a nod to reader Duckie for that phrase)! I’m going off to see if there is a Guinness World Record for number of times the word underpants is used in a blog.
Underpants. Underpants. Underpants.
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