Posted by Pattie on 3/03/2006 05:51:00 AM

Top 10 Things I'm Tired of Discussing:

Number 9 -- Whether fat women have it worse than fat men.

I do talks about feminism and fatness because I understand there are significant overlaps in theory and practice between the experience of women and the experience of fat people. Feminism has something to offer the fat movement and the intersection of fatness and gender have something to offer feminism. But that doesn’t mean that it is important to make a case about who has it worse, fat women or fat men. We should not be letting bigotry set the agenda. We should be working towards a safe and loving world for all human beings, including men of size and women of size. If we are divided, it is not of our own making and we should not support the bigotry by comparing our miseries.

We need to stop wasting time deciding which fat person is "really" being oppressed. Discussions about who has it worse in any forum leads to infighting and people feeling the need to justify who they are. They only justification that is required is from those who practice bigotry.

I’ll probably say this 150 times in this series, but the way to fight stigma is to confront those who practice bigotry, not by justifying or mitigating any characteristics of anyone who is being stigmatized.

Instead of saying "we are not lazy" -- we need to say "stop putting people in groups and declaring that some people are lazy by the way they look."

Instead of saying "we are healthy" -- we need to say "stop deciding who is healthy and who is not healthy by setting up arbitrary criteria and then declaring that some people are unhealthy by the way they look."

Instead of saying "we are beautiful" -- we need to say "stop creating such narrow standards of beauty that most people feel ugly."

Instead of saying "we are good" -- we need to say "stop deciding the morality of others on the basis of how they look."

We have nothing to justify. It is bigotry that must change and trying to prove ourselves to that bigotry is a lost cause. We are human beings. All we are asking is that other human beings understand that to decide on the basis of appearances that somone else is less than human is wrong-headed and destructive.


Anonymous said...

That was wonderful. instead of justifying ourselves, why don't we fight the narrow standards that make us feel the need to. Brava.