Monday, July 02, 2012


Daniel's comment asks me to answer the questions I posed in my last post. I feel a little frustrated because the point I was trying to make was that the questions I was asking needed to be answered by any one but me. My answer to the question of how long is it OK to discriminate or hate on fat people is: not one second. It's never OK. Sympathy is sometimes comforting but rarely useful. I'm talking about justice. Hate may be part of human nature but I think it's also learned. And it's not OK. Never. Ever.
I have some privilege because I'm white. I lose some because I'm a woman. I lose even more because I'm an older woman. Thinking about your location on the privilege map is useful to build awareness and compassion but it's not a metric for the value of a life. Understanding my own white privilege doesn't mean I should be ashamed. It just gives me a way to understand myself and others.
I am never hurt when a child asks me directly or comments about my weight because they're just talking about what's true. I am fat. No need for me to feel hurt when someone notices that fact. I am often angered and frustrated and maybe hurt by the reaction of their parents. Too often that's the moment when they learn that there is something "wrong" with my body. If the child asks me directly I say: some people are fat and I'm one of those people. Most really young children get it right away and smile.
Text is often problematic and I'm not sure whether to write about Daniel or write directly to him but I think I'm to going to shift to being specific and direct.
Really. When I wrote the tuna and celery thing I was being a bit snarky. Six months would not do it.  A year might not even do it. It would not be even close to healthy. I wrote a new post on the food blog about how and why I eat what I do, which I feel I do over and over but I don't mind.
I'm fifty-nine. I have a life time of experiencing how I am treated relative to my size. I've always been fat but I've been less fat and I know people treat me differently. And that's not OK. It does not make me feel good. It does not make me feel good because it's not a value I accept.
It might be good that I am not more well read in the fatosphere these days because this will be the second time you've told me about your diet and weight loss and in the past I suspect you would have been jumped on in comments by people trying to defend me. And I would feel bad about that. In the fatosphere diet talk is frowned upon. My feeling is that since I'm asking you to respect my choices about my body I should respect yours. I want you to feel good about yourself. I'm not interested in making you fall in line with an ideology. If anything I've ever written has helped you to silence the negative voices I am happy to hear it. You also seem to understand that what you're doing isn't sustainable and if you are fat by nature I suspect you will gain some weight when you begin to eat again. It's hard to say. I don't feel like I know you and/or your health history. You've written about being food addicted. I'm not going to try and explain you to yourself.  I don't know you well enough to even speculate on what that's all about. What ever happens I hope you hold onto the good feelings you've gained.
The question I wrote that I was afraid to ask is also one I can't answer. I don't know how many of my friends truly feel. In many ways I'm afraid to know. It does seem like you think I write well and you enjoy my perspective when it helps you to accept yourself but maybe think I should lose weight and in so doing end my own suffering. If that's true it's my biggest fear.
From time to time someone tells me how my writing about being fat has been helpful to them and I am always happy to hear it. But I'm not sure I've made the case well enough, or clearly enough to make even small push in the way most of the people I know get what I'm always trying to do.


Daniel said...

I've just read for the first time your Thin Privilege list.

It's also coming clear to me that I haven't fully understood your acceptance stand.

It's also clear, and you were right to suspect, that I wished, advocated for you to lose weight as a means of relieving what I perceived to be your suffering.

What is good for me, is not for everyone and it's kind of selfish. My intentions, I think, were good, but it was selfish of me to think you need my advice or suggestion. For that I apologize.

Still, I don't thing fat discrimination is going to end anytime soon. I'm not saying it shouldn't, but it won't no matter how justified one thinks it should. Human nature and all that.

I hope you don't regret my comments on what is your site. While clearly we differ, we also are alike in some ways. We're both fat, about the same age, share cultural references and both are writers.

If I piss you off a little, it's because I find some of your attitudes hard to grasp. And, I love a good argument. At the same time, I learn from them. I've hated myself for being fat most of my life. Accepting myself, fat, is new to me. Wise in some ways but counter-intuitive none-the-less.

I won't comment further if you'd prefer it that way. Otherwise, I look forward to reading and learning.

Tish said...

I appreciate the apology. I also appreciate the time you spend reading me and I always appreciate anyone saying they like my writing. You can always comment. I know your intentions were good.
I don't think discrimination against fat people will end any time soon. I just want to challenge it.
I think any of the work we do on our selves is hard and subtle and unseating fat hatred internally is among the hardest. At least as hard as it will be to stop the external cultural hate. Every time I've I've ever been at a NAAFA event someone has whispered to me that they really wish they could lose weight. It makes me so sad!
Somehow we have to stop the hate. Inside and out.

Daniel said...

I think she gets it.

Tish said...

Yes she does. :-)