“Oh, But We Didn’t Mean *You*.”
I spent St. Patrick’s Day at a punk rock show, which is the only legitimate way to spend SPD unless you are working or playing in a punk rock band. And I spent it with one friend who is pretty much family and two people I like very much. But that didn’t stop me from getting truly pissed off and simply walking away when, during the course of conversation, prejudice against fat became A Thing.
But that wasn’t even the entire issue for me. I understand that people have all sorts of stupid anti-fat prejudices and while I don’t necessarily accept it, I pretty much expect it and understand that I am going to have to field it to some extent or another (See: You Look Like You Lost Weight!). Tonight was extra special, though, because when I said, (and I am totally paraphrasing myself), “Wait a second, here, what’s with all the fat hate,” what I got in return was, “We aren’t talking about you, of course. We are talking about the really fat people.”
You don’t actually get to decide when your anti-fat prejudice becomes offensive. I don’t care if you are sitting in a room full of skinny people who have never been fat in their lives. You have no idea:
- Whether the skinny people around you have always been skinny;
- Whether the skinny people around you even see themselves as skinny;
- Whether the people around you see themselves as fat, pudgy, overweight, etc.;
- Whether the people around you have some body image issue(s) that you may be exacerbating with your weight prejudices; or
- Whether the people around you have been told they are fat by family, friends, society, magazines, movies, whatever.
Additionally, you don’t get to choose what level of fat is okay or not okay. First of all, you don’t know whether the really fat people are really fat because they take breaks from eating giant pizza pies by eating chocolate cake or because there are other things going on with their genetics and health. Second of all, why are you even judging people for eating giant pizza pies and following that shit up with chocolate cake? Honestly, fuck you if you do. Pizza and cake are delicious.
Look, skinny people, I am not actually looking to be part of your skinny club. I don’t need or want you to tell me that you think I am okay even though the rest of the fat people in the world are kinda gross to you. That’s right up there with, “You aren’t like all the other Blacks/Jews/queers/Muslims/etc.—you’re cool.” Or the asshole I worked with last year who was confused that there were non-Blacks who were upset at his use of the word “nigger.” Or the woman who came up to my mother when we lived in Savannah, who was so excited that I was light-skinned enough to “pass.”
No. I’m not trying to be like you. I’m trying to be accepted as me. Not-skinny, not-white, not-mainstream me.
I guess the moral of the story is, when somebody calls you out on your prejudice, don’t try to bring them into your circle to make them feel better, somehow. Stop. Collaborate and listen. And look at what you are saying, what you really intend to say, and whether what you have to say is prejudicial or bigoted. Because what you have to say probably does not become less prejudicial or bigoted just because you don’t think your audience is in any way affected by what you are saying.
This entry was posted on March 18, 2012 by whiskeypants. It was filed under Body Image, Observations, Really? and was tagged with anti-fat bias, bigot, body image, communication, fat, friends, friendship, manners, prejudice, Rejection, relationships, self-esteem, skinny, social awkwardness.