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I’m Tired Y’all

August 14, 2013

So two articles have come across my desk in recent days. In one, a chef is denied his work visa from New Zealand simply for being too fat, and the article features a headless fatty eating lunch.  And the second is that a Cambridge University research team found yet another gene involved in making people fat. Don’t worry, the article (by the laws of fatness) couldn’t be too positive. It also features a headless fatty, as well as pondering on how to cure us.

Big Fat Gay Umbrella

My big, fat, gay umbrella (click the awesome photo for source).
Photo by Deb Della Piana

I was musing with my husband, as we are both bisexual, how similar to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) struggle the fat struggle is. At least I hope it is because we’re making some amazing strides in the LGBT community. Could acceptance of fatties end up with the kind of positive poll numbers that have finally turned in favor of LGBT people? Currently, 60% of Americans accept homosexuality. with the numbers going up in more secular and advanced countries, like Spain which is at 88% and Germany at 87%. There is no Pew Research Center poll on how acceptable fatness is, but we do know that almost 4 in 10 Americans think being fat is worse for you than smoking.

Along with that mentality, many believe fat people need to be eradicated. Can you guess what other group was once thought of in the same manner? That they were diseased? Unhealthy? Unnatural? Needing eradication? Well, I guess that actually describes multiple groups, but I was thinking of TEH GAYS.

Like I said, being queer myself, it’s easy for me to see an overlap in the culture of hate. When people tell me I’m just not trying hard enough, that I’m disgusting, that I’m a sinner, that I need not exist. My husband argued that even with all the science, and even if it becomes uncontroversial in scientific circles, people will still be hateful. Because hate is just what people do. It’s a deeply ingrained reflex to hate people for being different.

But me, I can’t think like that. I’m too tired to think like that. I need to believe that, just like with LGBT people, fat people will one day be seen as human, acceptable, normal, not needing to be eradicated or cured. Yes, it’s true that fundamentalists still believe all of those awful things, as fundamentalists always will, but the majority of the people will come to their senses… right?

They’ve just got to because I don’t know how much longer I can do this. Dealing with hatred day in and day out is taxing, especially for someone with bipolar and hypothyroidism (meaning I’m tired all of the time anyway). We fight and we fight and we get up the next day and fight some more.  But it’s got to end sometime. Doesn’t it?

What do you think? Is acceptance on the horizon? Or will the hate continue?

17 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2013 9:50 am

    One day the battle will be won, and we will be the victors. That is what gives me the strength to carry on. FWIW, that umbrella is all kinds of AWESOME!

  2. Twistie permalink
    August 14, 2013 10:33 am

    It’s going to take a long, long time and a lot of effort… but we will win in the end.

    And your big, fat, gay umbrella is going to make me smile all day long, too.

  3. August 14, 2013 11:24 am

    Personally, I feel like we’ll never get rid of fat hatred. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but when you look at how racism has become so public and widespread since Obama took office, it just shows that the hate never leaves, it just simmers under the surface. But we can still make great strides toward equality, even if the hate is there, just as all movements have with determination. We just have to understand what we can and cannot change.


    • Elizabeth permalink
      August 14, 2013 1:23 pm

      As you say, the racism never went away. I’m just finishing up The New Jim Crow; many people congratulated themselves because there were no longer drinking fountains labeled white and colored. Instead we now just warehouse black and brown men in huge numbers where we can’t see them, and if you think this happened accidentally, may I highly recommend Michelle Alexander’s book. Racism will never go away in this country until we face it squarely and facing our history squarely seems beyond us.

      I don’t know about fat hatred — our definition of acceptable appearance seems to grow ever narrower, no pun intended.

    • BBDee permalink
      August 18, 2013 9:51 pm

      Yeah Shannon, you’re absolutely right about that! I am absolutely horrified at all the “n***** bashing” I see in the commentaries on MSN Newsvine, etc. Against Obama, etc. esp. since the Zimmerman trial. No, hate towards us will never entirely go away, but at least eventually I think we’ll see it becoming less socially acceptable to bash us. Fewer members of the “general public” will laugh at jokes about us and hopefully that will start with more of US refusing to laugh at these jokes or keep quiet about the bashing!

  4. August 14, 2013 12:10 pm

    I’m seriously tired too. You’ve pretty much summed up how I feel, except I don’t know where I am in “needing” to believe or be hopeful. I guess I am the same, as I keep speaking out, even though doing so opens me up to having people bag on me as a fat woman, as a woman who had a gastric bypass but doesn’t choose to consider myself a “stomach amputee”, and just as a woman in general.

  5. vesta44 permalink
    August 14, 2013 12:24 pm

    This is it, in nutshell. I get tired too, and fibromylgia, hypotyroidism, and arthritis don’t make it any easier to keep fighting the fat-hate that surrounds us. But I’m just bitch enough to say “You aren’t going to get rid of me. You aren’t going to make me hide my body/myself, and you sure as hell aren’t going to make me hate myself anymore. Fuck you if you don’t like me or don’t like looking at me.” I’m nothing if not stubborn, and even when I’m tired of the fight, having someone tell me I need to die, need to lose weight, need to disappear, just makes me more determined to stick around and tell them to shove it where the sun don’t shine, I’m here to stay, and I’m going to continue living my life fat at the world. The world is just going to have to learn to deal with it.

  6. Mulberry permalink
    August 14, 2013 5:26 pm

    It’s hard to answer “when”. A better question is “what would it take?” We may not get rid of the hatred completely, but could we drive it to where it’s more of a characteristic of extreme fringes of people, rather than the population as a whole.
    First, we need to convince a big segment of the population that fatness is not their personal fault. We need to have more leaders and fighters. And as distasteful as it sounds, we may need to spill some blood. We are doing that in a sense anyway, lining up for dangerous weight-loss surgeries, and losing our lives to medical mishap and neglect, not to mention suffering a lower quality of life from the thousands of micro-aggressions we put up with in the course of time.
    My fellow fat acceptors, what do you think it would take?

  7. August 14, 2013 5:31 pm

    I am all about equality, I am even about helping others, I have no problem with people wanting to be accepted just the way they are. I used to be heavy, I worked really hard, changed my lifestyle, and lost the weight. I was tired of not being able to play with my children. I am happier now, my kids loved me no matter what, but now I am able to play with them, play football, soccer, baseball and go fishing. Why is it that whenever someone like me says that I was unhealthy when i was fat is ridiculed by people like you just as much as other people ridicule you. I have been called a bad father for setting the wrong example for my children, an idiot for succumbing to the hate, etc. Isn’t that a bit of hypocrisy? People on this thread are arguing that everyone hates them, I counter that those people complaining about being hated, hate those around them as well. Hate needs to be eliminated on all sides.

    • August 14, 2013 9:49 pm

      What you do personally, whether you decide to pursue weight loss or not, is your business and nobody should be holding that against you. What people do take exception with is when people who have lost weight come preaching like we 1) have never heard of calories in, calories out, 2) haven’t already done it ourselves, and 3) need them to teach us. So long as you aren’t preaching at us, I could care less what you do with your body. There are plenty of forums for that out there, both for people who want that information and those who want to share it; this isn’t one of them.

      And just so you know, I’m morbidly obese, 41 BMI, and I play with my children constantly. When I’m home, I’m playing with my kids. We ride bikes, go swimming, play on playgrounds, and wrestle. Size can be an impediment for some fat people, but not all. You do what you have to do to take care of your health and do what you want to do. Nobody should be ridiculing you for your personal choices, unless you’re being a pushy ass about it. But the same goes for HAES.


    • August 15, 2013 11:14 am

      There is a small enclave within the fat acceptance/pride movement that does denigrate anyone who doesn’t do what they do and look like they look. They are a minority. They are not us. I think I speak for probably everybody here when I say that size acceptance is about accepting all bodies. And yes, the behaviour you describe is hypocritical. Acceptance is about acceptance. Otherwise, it’s not acceptance.

      And Health At Every Size is about addressing your health, whatever your size. If you want to improve health, do healthy things. You may lose weight, you may not. I am really happy for you that your life is more fulfilled now and that you are able to live it as you want to. Really. But as Atchka pointed out, neither health, nor happiness, nor fitness and mobility are measured by a number on a scale. HAES is all about doing what works for you, about respecting your body. And those of other people. It’s also about respecting the choices of other people. Believing that what works for you will either (a) work for other people, or (b) should be what they choose also, does not fly well in size acceptance spaces like this one.

  8. Marilyn permalink
    August 15, 2013 7:19 am

    Health is multifaceted. I’m leaving a man that likes me thin. I became thin through stress and change of habits. I found out two days ago that I have ulcers so that could have been part of the reason that I lost weight. Anyway, I’m leaving him for multiple reasons. Mostly because I can’t see myself in a long term relationship with him so I see no reason to delay our parting.

    I might gain weight after my move. Moving itself is stressful and has always caused me to loss weight in the past as much as five pounds in three days while eating more than normal. I’m ready for a change. A place where I won’t be judge for many things: one of them my weight. I wish my weight (or anyone else’s) was a neutral subject, but it isn’t.

  9. Dizzyd permalink
    August 15, 2013 7:24 pm

    I admit I’d be lying if I were to say I’d never thought of losing weight, especially when it seems to affect my life to some degree. I even dreamed about it one time. I agree it would be hypocritical to say “accept all sizes” and yet denigrate others for not looking like us. It’s all too easy to fall into that mindset. And I agree with Michael you should be free to take care of yourself no matter what you need to do. My only point of contention is that I worry that if people believe that they need to lose weight – for health or to better their lives or become who they have always wanted to be – that’s one more person jumping on the “lose weight to become acceptable or better” bandwagon and one less person accepting themselves as they are and living their life free from the pressures of society. I mean, I could be wrong.

  10. August 16, 2013 1:43 am

    I’m of two minds on this. I think it is possible to make good progress: look at LGBT rights, look at the progress made on civil rights for people of color, look at the fact that we quit locking people up who had Hansen’s Disease (leprosy), look at the progress made on women’s rights.

    But getting the rights does NOT mean that the haters will quit hating. I’m a fat lesbian Jewish woman with a Southern accent. In any crowd, there are going to be people who have serious hatred for something about me. The specifics of the hatred will go in and out of fashion, but I’ve come to accept that it will be there. And to that, I say:

    The hell with them!

    I can’t stop them hating me, but I can work for the civil rights of people like myself and people who are hated for other reasons. I can make sure that even if the haters hate, if they misbehave they’ll be held accountable.

    I’ve seen a lot of progress in my life on LGBT rights, women’s rights, disabled rights and the rights of African Americans. I could stand to see a lot more, but I won’t deny what has been achieved. The haters still hate, but they have to operate within the law.

    We’ve got a long way to go with the rights of fat people, transgender people, people with mental illnesses, some others I am forgetting right now (forgive me, or better yet, reply and educate me.)

    The haters are going to hate. What we do not have to accept is that they will be free to act out their hate, which is why we have to work at this stuff. And yes, it is tiring. At least it pays off in the long run.

    • August 16, 2013 1:46 am

      oh yes… Muslims, Latinos, old people, children, gypsies, people with hidden disabilities…. the list goes on. We have to stick up for one another. And I’m sure I’m still forgetting someone…

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