Sep. 2nd, 2010 06:32 am
[personal profile] dream_labyrinth
I stepped on a number of toes, apparently.
Got defriended.

You know what? I might not like the fact, but I can live with it. I will not come grovelling because I lost a friend. I did that for far too long in my life, changing my opinion or trying to not say anything that could offend anybody in case then they wouldn't talk to me anymore.

Date: 2010-09-02 07:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foudebassan.livejournal.com
If you're referring to your last post, I refrained from commenting precisely because it's your LJ and you're entitled to your opinion not matter how much I disagree with it.

(But, as a fat person, I can only say that having total strangers comment on your size is humiliating, and when the comment comes from someone closer it's heart-breaking. But you know what? I'm successful at work, I exercise a lot less than you but still a lot more than anyone else I know, I am perfectly healthy, and the nicest person in the whole northern hemisphere finds me beautiful. So not only do I not care for the opinion my neighbour, personal trainer, mum, you and that stranger on the street the other day love to express all the time, I'm fat AND happy. And I am often tempted to chalk those kinds of comments to envy because not everyone is fat, but not everyone is happy either. Sorry if it was my turn to be offensive there)

Date: 2010-09-02 11:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dream-labyrinth.livejournal.com
I know how it feels to have people close to you tell you you're ugly and fat. It's what my family did for most of my teenage years.
I'm not going to go back and post some of the pictures sent to me to make clear what I am talking about, for the exact same reason I didn't go and post a link to any site that has the pictures online. I didn't see the need to spread those pictures, because frankly I found them in no way funny.
However, I'm dead sure that none of the fat people shown there was in any way healthy. I never wanted to imply that everybody should wear a size six and that people over that should either not leave their houses or only when dressed in a paper bag. However, when you are a size twenty, I believe you should wear a size twenty, and not insist on squeezing into something smaller.
So my problem is less the weight matter than the way the bulk is displayed.

I realise that doesn't make me less offensive to many people, and I will just have to live with however many more people decide they no longer want to have anything to do with me.

Date: 2010-09-02 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foudebassan.livejournal.com
My question is. How is your opinion (fat people should a) try to get healthier and b) dress modestly, or else they'll deserve being made fun of) different from saying things like "girls shouldn't dress in a provocative manner, or else they'll deserve it when boys make insulting remarks and / or rape them". If you can't refrain from criticising someone whose body you find revolting, how do you expect a man to refrain from being insulting / dangerous to someone whose body he finds sexually arousing? (or - if you expect people to cover up because they disgust you, how would you reply to a fundamentalist islamist who tells you to cover your hair because seeing it evokes all kinds of equally strong emotional responses in him)

Sorry if I'm just adding to the conflict here - I read your last post and I'm sorry you feel that way, please feel free to delete my comments if they only add to it. But you've touched a very sensitive point for me here and I believe part of the fun in LJ is the interaction.

Date: 2010-09-03 03:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dream-labyrinth.livejournal.com
Actually, as your comments give me a chance to try to explain, I'm happy that you do comment as you do.

The difference as I see it that remarks made in a different setting do not hurt the person the same as rape. I do think that a woman who dresses provocatively shouldn't be surprised to get catcalls when passing the nearest construction site, but that still is a long way away from the physical and psychological damage of rape.
Equally, while I do hold the opinion that everybody (regardless of size, by the way) should not expose all that much of their body in public, because I personally consider it unattractive, I know and understand and accept that other people have a different opinion. And my hope would be to see a change in that, not in somebody else forcing them to cover up no matter their opinion.

So the difference as I see it is that while I reserve the right to voice my disagreement with their choices, I wouldn't actually act to prevent them from making those choices.

Date: 2010-09-02 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wolflady26.livejournal.com
I don't want to attack you, make you feel bad, or to debate or anything, but just to give you a different perspective. What I thought was offensive about your post wasn't what that you thought the people you were looking at were ugly, but rather that your post said or implied there was one tolerable reason why someone might be fat - illness - and that was it. That everyone who doesn't have illness as an excuse should thrive to be thin. That thin is the ideal, and everyone who doesn't obtain that ideal, or at least do their best to achieve it, is 'less than.'

After deciding not to say anything at all, I read this opinion piece from someone who was quite overweight and lost a lot of weight: It Has Its Downsides, Too.

One thing that struck me about the article I linked is the point that, unlike the majority of traits that might cause you to form an opinion about someone, being overweight is something that you usually can't hide, and which people see instantly. If you are a cruel person, it usually takes a little while for other people to uncover that, and you can at least attempt to play nice. If you have an incredibly irritating laugh, you can try not to hear anything funny. And if you are stupid, you can learn to say nothing and nod wisely and get by sometimes. But people who will judge people for being fat will judge you the instant they lay eyes on you. That's why I think it strikes so deep a nerve in so many people.

I know you put a high value on body image, and I find you rather cruel to yourself when you vary from your ideal image. But not everyone does, and it's not always because they're ill. Those people who don't want to be skinnier, or who don't care enough to put in the effort to be skinnier, or who have other priorities that prevent them from putting in the work to be skinnier, aren't necessarily worse people than those who do. And I think that no one should feel that have to feel that they have to give you, or anyone, a reason you'll accept for their own choices about their bodies.

Please don't feel that you have to respond or anything (if I expected to never read anything I found offensive, I certainly wouldn't be on the internet!). There just seems to be a lot of anger in the comments you've received, and I thought maybe I could add something to think about in a non-confrontational way. If it's not helpful, feel free to ignore.

Date: 2010-09-03 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dream-labyrinth.livejournal.com
Thank you. Actually, I think your comment very helpful.

I did put the sentence about illness as possible reason for obesity in because I did expect many people to remind me of that, so I wanted to point out that I was already aware of it and didn't mean to imply all fat people were so by choice.

On the other hand, I believe there is a lot of room between "thin" and "obese". I didn't mean to imply that everybody should strive to be a size whatever, and anybody who didn't manage that should not go out in public. I also didn't mean to imply that people who don't follow the media's standards of beauty or body size are failures in any way. Having been, as an overweight teenager, the target of jokes and open snide comments of skinny, blonde, tall girls, I certainly don't believe thin people are better.

I don't expect to hear reasons of any kind about other people's choices. What stuns me in the reactions I've been receiving is that while nobody blinks when I or somebody else rants about stupid people, and nobody comes out with a huge list of reasons why the person might have acted stupidly, in this case they did, and implied that I was ignoring all the many reasons why people were overweight against their wishes.

Date: 2010-09-03 09:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wolflady26.livejournal.com
"What stuns me in the reactions I've been receiving is that while nobody blinks when I or somebody else rants about stupid people..."

Well that's kind of obvious, isn't it? I sometimes feel uncomfortable when you talk about other people's stupidity, because I think you're very hard on people (including yourself). But the people who read your journal are likely to think themselves quite intelligent, and not feel personally addressed, whereas I believe weight is a sensitive issue for many people on LJ.

If you were to make the same comments about intelligence on a board of, say, people who worked with the mentally handicapped, you'd probably get a similar response.

I bet that if you had said something like, 'I get it that some people are very overweight, due to illness or other reasons, but there are ways to dress that can either minimize or draw attention to your weight, and I feel sorry for people who work at Walmart because so many of their customers seem to do the latter," I doubt you would have gotten anything like the same outraged response, despite saying basically the same thing.

(On another topic, yesterday sounds like a rotten day for you, and I hope today is much better!)

Date: 2010-09-05 02:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dream-labyrinth.livejournal.com
Thank you.

I got the feeling that my point about clothing was completely lost, so I'm glad you're giving me the benefit of the doubt. I really meant to comment more on people's dress sense than on any other issue.

The problem with LJ is that while it is so easy to say whatever comes into your head, it also lacks the possibility to immediately clarify things that might come over the wrong way. Given my general foot-in-mouth inclinations, I need to work much harder at expressing myself... ;-/



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