In response to my piece about those clickbait “nobody could believe what happened next” videos (where the only thing that happens is that a person who isn’t stereotypically beautiful is talented) I heard a lot of something that has now become a familiar refrain for people who want to find a way to bully me into weight loss.
They say “Wouldn’t losing weight be the best revenge?” I’ve seen it on talk show episodes where people who were bullies for their appearance and have snice dedicated considerable time, energy, and money, to becoming closer to the stereotype of beauty “confront” their bullies and demand to be acknowledged for the change they made.
While people are allowed to do whatever they want, this, to me, is no kind of revenge. This is spending a ton of time, energy, and money to give the bullies exactly what they wanted, and then asking for their approval. It’s like saying “give the bullies your lunch money, that’ll show ’em!”
We don’t owe our bullies anything, least of all manipulation of our bodies. Oppression takes a lot of different forms, and oppression against people who are believed to be able to move out of an oppressed group often leads to people feeling vindicated in their suggestion that the best way to solve social stigma is for stigmatized people to change ourselves.
As a queer woman I’ve been told that if I don’t like being the victim of homophobia I should date a dude. As a fat woman I’ve been told that if I don’t like being the victim of fatphobia I should become thin. In both cases it doesn’t actually matter if it’s possible to change myself, because the cure for social stigma is ending social stigma – not for stigmatized people to try to squeeze ourselves in a mold someone else created for us.
The problem here isn’t that I’m fat, it’s that people treat me poorly because I’m fat, and I don’t care about revenge, but I do demand social change.
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