It Starts with a Guess and Ends with a Revolution

It starts with a guess:  “I know that you don’t take care of your body because you are fat”

Then add an assumption: “You eat tons of junk food and don’t exercise”

Now make a judgment “You are lazy and don’t care about your body”

Confuse your experience with everyone’s experience:  “I once gained 10 pounds after I got in a fight with my boyfriend and I was able to lose it by drinking two chocolate shakes for breakfast and lunch and eating a tiny dinner.”

Draw an illogical conclusion:  “Since I lost 10 pounds on my first ever diet, you can lose 200 pounds on your 20th diet by doing what I did just for a longer period of time”

Confuse correlation and causation:  “Besides, if you don’t lose weight, you’ll get diabetes.”

Repeat something you’ve heard a lot but never taken the time to verify:  “Plus you cost the workplace billions of dollars –won’t somebody think of the tax dollars!”

Loudly misinterpret the concept of personal responsibility “You are personally responsible for looking how I want you to look and doing what I want you to do or there should be consequences!”

Make a broad sweeping generalization:  “Health at Every Size?  It’s just like a fatty to eat Twinkies all day and call it healthy.”

Try to tell other people what they need to do with their bodies: “I don’t know how much you’re eating or how much exercise you’re doing and I don’t care – you need to eat less and exercise more.”

Insist that we don’t get to tell you what to do with your body:  “It doesn’t matter that I partake in all the behaviors that I criticize in fat people, I’m at a healthy weight so as long as I’m thin I can do whatever I want.”

Ignore the facts and insult people:  “What do you mean there are unhealthy thin people and healthy fat people?  I don’t want to hear about these studies and this science – quit wasting your time justifying your fatness and do something about it.”

Become frustrated and call me names:  “Shut up, you’re just a big fat fatty fat pants.”

Repeat this conversation so often that people start to believe that it’s true.

I see this line of “logic” all the time and once you start to dig, you realize that it’s a house of cards built on a foundation of toothpicks.

First, if your argument starts with a guess then it doesn’t really matter what you say afterwards.  You absolutely cannot look at someone’s body and glean any information other than the size of their body, and what your feelings about that size of a body are.

Second, unless you are starting a campaign against Iron Man Triathletes, climbing Everest, sedentary thin people, and jaywalkers, (because none of these activities prioritize health) then you don’t get to pick on fat people.  Of course, none of it is actually your business at all.  You always have the right to remain silent, what you seem to lack is the capacity – maybe work on that.  Repeat after me:  Other people’s bodies are none of my business.

Most of this could be solved if people were self aware enough to honestly answer the question ” Do I actually know what I’m talking about or am I repeating things that I’ve never verified for myself” and “Would I want to be treated the way that I’m treating this group of people.” But most people either can’t or won’t be this introspective. So as a fat person this isn’t my issue per se, but it becomes my problem.  For me it helps to remind myself how utterly ridiculous this whole thing is and how much of it is based on someone guessing, assuming, misinterpreting, repeating without verifying, and just being an ass.

There is a revolution happening, but there are no guns or knives, and very few epic battles.  It’s a revolution of tiny acts.  In the culture we live in, every act of liking ourselves is revolutionary.  Get out of bed and don’t hate yourself – you are a revolutionary.  Go on a walk and enjoy moving your body (despite the possibility of having to deal with idiots)?  You are a revolutionary.  Enjoyed your lunch without guilt?  Viva la revolution!  Rest assured, all of these acts are adding up.  More people see what we are doing and choose to step away from the self-hate everyday, and soon all of the assuming, misinterpreting, repeating, asses in the world won’t be able to stop us.  It’s a fatty uprising, join in!

This blog is supported by its readers rather than corporate ads.  If you feel that you get value out of the blog, can afford it, and want to support my work and activism, please consider a paid subscription or a one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free.   Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

Published in: on November 30, 2011 at 5:49 am  Comments (16)  

16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great article with inspiring and positive messages. You have a lot of drive and determination. I see a lot of myself in your posts.

  2. Bravo, Ragen! I think you hit every form of snide remark one finds in comment sections.

    Except possibly the oversimplification of “calories consumed being less than calories expended results in weight loss.” This one makes me want to bang my head on the desk… but viva la revolution! I will close the window and shake my head WITH A SMILE!

    Positive thoughts! Positive attracts positive. I am healthy!

  3. Ragen, this is fab-u-luss! I took the last paragraph and posted it on my Facebook page. But am about to put the whole blog post on Northampton Sex Therapy Associates Facebook page. Of the women I work with, I can’t think of a single one who likes her body, fat or average. Thank you for the revolutionary work that you do every day that YOU get out of bed!

  4. You are such an inspiration to me. I stumbled upon your blog via Google searches for HAES and more information because I was so sick of allowing the scale to be my judge and jury. I had a moment of blinding insight a few weeks ago and realized that my mood was being affected by numbers on a cheap piece of plastic on the floor. Really?!

    It blows my mind that people flat out lie to themselves and say that they care about tax dollars and health care costs when in reality, they just don’t want to admit that it’s a matter of aesthetics. “I don’t want to look at you because you’re a square peg in the round hole of what this culture has force fed me to believe is beautiful.” Evolve, people.

    You have a devoted reader in me. I look forward to reading your posts every day!

  5. Brilliant!

  6. Last night I was watching CNN and the anchor (Jack something) asked viewers to tweet in why he thought the U.S life expectancy rate was so low compared to other countries (the U.S. is 28th apparently).

    Take one wild guess what (i’m not kidding) 9 out of 10 of the viewers said. That’s right. Fatty Fat McFattersons are killing us all. One guy even said (very snobbishly I might add) “While I am sitting eating a hot dog for dinner, my thinner Japanese counterparts are eating nutrient rich sushi for dinner.

    Okay first…
    1)Time zone failure. It is very unlikely that a Japanese person would be eating dinner at the same time as somebody in New York, since you know they’re about half a day (give a few hours?) ahead.
    2) Yes, i’m sure no one in Japan has ever eaten a hot dog before. Never. Ever.
    3) The United States (where I am) isn’t even in the top ten for most obese countries (because someone has nothing better to do than keep track of that). In fact, I can step out my door and see about ten skinny people in five minutes. They are not unicorns.
    4) How long until we start saying, “Well that person smoked and now they have lung cancer…no treatment for them! They’re a drain on our health care system.” Um…not long because it’s already happening.

    I’m scared for this world.

    • Yeah, the whole “You did something that contributed to your health problems in some way!” opens up a nasty can of worms. Because everyone does stuff that could potentially lead to negative health consequences. People cross the street even though there’s a risk of being run over. People cook with knives. People live in tall buildings in earthquake zones. People drive cars and work in meat-packing plants and eat bagged spinach raw even thought that can possibly lead to e.coli. People go mountain-climbing for fun!

      Now obviously, not everyone is going to be declared A Burden Unworthy Of Help for everything, but it’s really easy to selectively target people as Unworthy based on social status. So a conventionally attractive person who breaks a leg rock-climbing isn’t blamed for doing a risky leisure activity, but a fat person with sleep apnea or diabetes is both assumed to have entirely caused the problems with bad behavior (despite evidence that the causes are more complicated than that) and to have made themselves Unworthy by doing so

  7. “Get out of bed and don’t hate yourself – you are a revolutionary. Go on a walk and enjoy moving your body (despite the possibility of having to deal with idiots)? You are a revolutionary.”

    Thank you Ragen, for giving me something to focus on when the the world seems to be utterly deluded, hostile, and asleep at the wheel.

  8. LOVE it! Thank you for your insight!
    “In the culture we live in, every act of liking ourselves is revolutionary. Get out of bed and don’t hate yourself – you are a revolutionary. Go on a walk and enjoy moving your body (despite the possibility of having to deal with idiots)? You are a revolutionary. Enjoyed your lunch without guilt? Viva la revolution!”
    Gonna vacuum, then go on a walk by the ocean!

  9. Whee! I’m a revolutionary! (revolves a bit for fun and to annoy haters)

    How scary is it that getting out of bed in the morning not hating yourself is a revolutionary act? For my part, I find that little short of terrifying. And it makes me want to do little things to make people feel better about themselves.

    Also, I revolutionarily just ordered a bright orange swing coat to wear this winter. It’s gloriously, loudly, fabulously orange! And it swings! I’ll be the fat lady in the bright orange swing coat, and I’m going to be AWESOME!

    • Twistie, you win forever for this. Ever looked on Etsy for clothes? They have some amazing vintage custom made dresses that are to die for. Your orange swing coat may have inspired me to buy that hot red strapless dress to the masquerade I’m going to on New Year’s Eve…rock it, lady! :)

      • And your comment inspires me to not dread my husband’s work Christmas pot luck and make myself a cute outfit to wear to it and rock it!

  10. Fantastic blog. Now I just have to remember that these are all illogical next time I run headlong into one!

    Also, I’ve never been a revolutionary before! I’m looking forward to it. :D

  11. The problem is that most of the asshats who would say all this stuff would walk away before you even get half of it out. How do you get the truth across without sounding like a defensive, angry fat person?

  12. Hi Ragen,

    I read your blog and feel so energized to take on the fat-hating and shaming with friends and family and then this happens every so often, leaving me with little left to say except WTF?: http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2011/11/29/ohio_officials_remove_200_pound_eight_year_old_from_mother.html

    This made me really livid.

    Love,
    A loyal reader

  13. Wow. I’ve just started reading your blog, but I found myself riveted as I chain-read articles. Thank you so, so much for this. I know it’s the logical extension of your resilience, body positivity, and sparkling personality, but I just want to thank you for my sake, because this has been a very eye-opening experience.

    My mother used to say all the time, “All you need to do is eat less and exercise more” as if a few bad decisions or moments of weakness were the reason I was overweight. She just couldn’t understand that even when I exercised every day, and ate much better than she, I looked how I looked and lived in a fat body. I also don’t think she understood how hurtful it was to me to assume that I just wasn’t doing the right things, that I was fat and it was my fault and I needed to be fixed.

    So, thank you very much, for being the heavyweight rolemodel I never had as a kid, for telling the world that health does not equal weight and that fat people are just as beautiful, just as deserving of praise, and just as human as everyone else.

    Yours truly,
    Madeleine


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