Okay, so my “newsfeed,” such as it is and ever-creepily geared towards the likes of me, had this little piece as the top story for me to read:
And this one as well:
It’s everywhere, the term and concept of “fat shaming.” Understandably, it was originally a reactionary to media savagery towards the overweight. Of course the media controls what sort of body shape is deemed as “beautiful.” Therefore, the masses soak it up, ever the lemmings, and seemingly cannot make their own decisions, their own subjective choices at all. That’s starting to change. However, I cannot emphasize the words “starting to” enough though. We still have quite a ways to go. For every situation like the ones indicated in the links above, ones that go viral, while there is now quite often a good wave of support, there is still always a snide reaction from those who refuse to resist conforming to cultural brainwashing.
What’s sad to me is that this sort of belief in what’s “beautiful” and what’s “ugly” about women’s body weight begins at such an early age…
I blame my parents and their parents and then perhaps their parents, who showed us girls that good ladies were always polite, but strangely enough, it was perfectly fine, perfectly Euro-culturally and generationally acceptable, to snicker and berate women (not men so much) who weren’t slender. My father’s side was the worst about this. It didn’t help that every other person in his family seemed slightly built and destined to all be dancers (and cursed). My father didn’t go in that direction, and he was stockier than his kin. That said, however, he treated his physique like gold, lifting weights and conditioning whenever he could. His upper arms were massive blocks of muscle. He also continued on with the family belief in Good Looks by entering med school in order to specialize in reconstructive surgery.
The irony of the matter is that while slender bone structure was so desirable by his family, they didn’t care much for their actual health. There were always lots of cigarettes — remnants of archaic social acceptablity — and plenty of alcohol available, always.
Both my mother and father were often “concerned” about how their girls’ bodies appeared. Fat was such a bad, bad word.
I never realized this fully until my marriage. After I turned 23, my depression spiked, my husband was rarely around, and my social anxieties kept me inside, alone, for chunks of time. (Later, we’d be in a country where I didn’t understand anything and had to force myself to live, actually LIVE, every day.) I remained inactive and slept a lot. During that time, I was also learning the true nature of the man I’d so hurriedly married to get out from under my parent’s criticisms. As it turned out he was much worse, and with every comment, with every degrading, humiliating, wretched insult I received about the pounds that suddenly were just…there…I got worse.
My mother expressed her worry moreso about my appearance, the excess weight…the Fat I’d accumulated…than she did about my situation with my husband. She’d even started treating my sister the same way, even going so far as to offer to buy her a new car if she lost weight. Neither of us were ever morbidly obese. Again though, it was the very superficial, cultural attitude that Fat is Ugly.
I was told by the nearest base GP that my physical illnesses were physiological symptoms of my weight gain, which, as he informed me in not so many terms, was caused by my depression.
Well of course, happiness truly is key to good health.
Hard to be happy though when every day…Every. Single. Day… I was reminded by my husband how Ugly I’d become. How undesireable. How hideous. For instance, once, I’d returned to Japan from an uncomfortable trip back to the states to see my folks, and I went straight to my sofa to sleep due to jet lag and just sheer exhaustion. My plane, a military hop, had had a 12 hour layover at a base in Alaska, and we weren’t permitted to go anywhere. Anyway, my husband so considerately chose to shake me awake, not moments after I’d started drifting, and hiss in my face, “I should’ve left you at the fucking airport…The sight of you just…embarrassed me…” What followed was a night of sheer hell. Again and again…cruelty on top of cruelty. And there was never any place to escape.
I’m not married to that man anymore. However, my weight has never remained steady. I still suffer from bouts of depression, causing me to go sluggish and jiggly, but I am aware of my situation more than ever. I work out now because it makes me feel good, but even still, my body shape won’t ever be ideal according to absurd social “norms,” and that’s okay for me.
Anyway, I digress as ever. The point of this entry was my own bit of contention with the term “fat-shaming”…shaming of any sort, really. Why not call it what it actually IS?
The correct term is “bullying.”
It’s demoralizing. It’s degrading. It’s disempowering.
It can be vulgar. It’s sometimes even quite nasty.
Yes, it’s “bullying.”
And tell me…how does bullying do ANYTHING to solve the “problem,” if there is one. In other words, if “Fat” is the problem, how on earth does “shaming” (again, “bullying”) CHANGE the issue of “fat” exactly? In truth, it doesn’t. One can’t “shame” — I’m sorry –“bully”– someone into losing weight because the excess is so offensive to the other’s oh-so-sensitive eye. In fact, what will happen will be the REVERSE, the opposite of the intended.
Let’s just be honest and call “shaming” what it really is…and disclose what it really reveals about the nature of the “shamers” in question.
They’re just goddamn bullies, really.