rant

Berating People For Their Health

So I notice that people like to make extremely rude/judgmental/condescending remarks to and about people who are fat or mildly chubby or even just not totally fat-free dehydrated muscle-covered skeletons.

One of my quirks is that I constantly psychoanalyze everyone.  This stems from having a psychologist father and a psychiatrist mother, no doubt.  I am always trying to figure out why people do things.  It’s an intellectual curiosity sort of thing.  I know I can’t control other people’s behavior; I just find it interesting to try to figure out what they get out of it.  I do this to myself too, by the way.  I once had someone tell me that I “reached depths of self-analysis never before seen in a human.”

I have several theories about the mean-to-fat-people people.  Here are some of them:

1. They are trolls who are trying to stir up drama.  Trolls are interesting in their own right, but I think this one is pretty self explanatory.  Maybe I’ll write about my theories on trolling some other time.  The basic gist is that they are making intentionally inflammatory statements just to cause trouble.

2. They think being fat is a fate worse than death.  I can’t really blame people for this one.  Our society is pretty fucked up when it comes to the way we talk about anyone who is not a totally fat-free dehydrated muscle-covered skeleton.   We are bombarded with the message every day that anyone who is even remotely chubby is a lazy, useless slob with zero self control, no goals, and mentally inferior.  I have even seen a few people state that they believe fat is a “mental illness”.  So I think some people react to this by separating themselves from any possibility of being mistaken as one of the inferior fat people by making broad proclamations about fat people.  Some of the people who do this are fat themselves, and they hate themselves for it and blame themselves for being a moral failure (I know this because I have been this person before.  Hint: it never made me thin).  The people who believe this have a visceral reaction to anyone who is fat, especially if that person is unabashedly okay with herself.  Being okay with not being skinny is like WHAT?! especially to a person who spends her entire life fighting her body out of fatphobia.

3. They think it’s really unhealthy to be fat and fat people are all slowly killing themselves of heart-diseasabetes.  They also believe that unless fat people lose weight, they are doomed to die young of a preventable disease.  This one is interesting to me.  I’m not surprised people believe this.  We are constantly bombarded by messages that the “obesity epidemic” (in quotes because I don’t believe this really exists) is ruining the very fabric of society.  Ok, so let’s say that being fat is the worst thing ever to happen to anyone’s health AND that it’s easily reversed by a few simple behavioral changes (I know for a fact this isn’t true through my own personal experience, but let’s say it is) AND that if you do lose enough weight not to be fat, you will magically be immune to all disease, like all thin people are (hahahaha!)

Ok, so if all of that is true, and fat is a horrible health problem, and it is going to cause death, WHY do people use that as a reason to berate people?  This is where I get really confused.  I have seen so many people declare that the reason they have just made some kind of derogatory comment about fat people is because HEALTH.  So you’re telling me, health-concern trolls, that because fat is unhealthy, that’s a reason to be a total asswipe to fat people?  No sir, you are just a total asswipe.  But I find it really interesting that these people seem to think they are benefiting society with their asswipery because Health.  Delusional.

4. They are mean sad bullies who need to put other people down because they hate themselves and everything.

5. They are bigots.  They are prejudiced judgement-filled people who allow their personal attraction or revulsion to other people’s appearances to determine the worth of that person.  They believe that thin attractive people ARE smarter and better and more-goal oriented and, of course, healthy.  Because all thin people eat vegetables and work out every day, right?  Actually, numbers 1-4 are usually caused by or mixed in with a bit of #5.

 

Berating people for their own good.  For their health.  I just can’t get over that one.

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rant

Beauty Fatigue

I am tired of beauty.

On one hand, we have the constant barrage of techniques and products for making yourself more beautiful. These include altering your appearance through the use of makeup, hair styling, skin products and procedures, wardrobe choices, body hair removal, and even cosmetic surgery. Some of these seem innocuous. Some women even state they ENJOY their beauty regimen. But some are downright painful. Others are possibly life threatening.

On the other hand, we have a counter movement that is attempting to spread the message that ALL  women are already beautiful! Instead of changing yourself, they say, simply embrace your own unique beauty that you had all along if you would just have the confidence to show it off. At the core of this message is the belief that every woman wants to and deserves to feel beautiful.

I prefer the second message, if those are the only two choices. But the second message is still problematic in that the underlying message continues to be that beauty is EXTREMELY important for women. So much so that in order to be empowered, we must all have it.

Ask yourself this: How would you feel about a campaign to convince men that every man is handsome? It is absurd, right? Because men are expected to go on about their lives whether they are handsome or not. Being handsome is not required.

I do not feel empowered by being told that I am beautiful; I feel suffocated by it. I feel that I cannot go through one day without hearing about beauty and how I must find a way to embrace it in myself. Yet I have come to realize that I simply do not want to.

I don’t find my appearance all that interesting to think about. Certainly I have gone through various stages or insecurity, rebellion and conformity. I have tried to enhance my socially desirable physical traits and minimize those parts that are wrong, wrong wrong according to the ideal. I have told myself in the mirror that I am beautiful but it never felt right.

The truth is that I am not beautiful. I am not hideous. I am an unremarkable looking woman. I make the bare minimum effort to look presentable for my job and would do even less if I could.

For a woman to say “I am not beautiful and I am fine with that,” is the ultimate rebellion in my book. Because when people hear that, they hear “I am unworthy and unlovable.” Because when people hear that a woman does not find herself beautiful they believe it means the woman is depressed and has low self-esteem. Because beauty is so important that nothing else you think about yourself matters unless you are also beautiful.

I am smart. I am hilarious. I am clever. I am creative. I have innate artistic talent. I am caring. I am compassionate. I am successful. I am independent. I am empathetic. I am out-spoken. I am confident. I am loveable. I am a good friend. I’m an all-around pretty fucking awesome person.

I can be all of those things. But if I say I am not beautiful, I have low self-esteem because clearly a woman’s self-worth comes from her feelings about her appearance.

I don’t spend a lot of time looking in the mirror, but when I do I do not negatively judge myself. There I am. That’s me. That’s what I look like. Do I have spinach in my teeth? No? Ok good. I do not berate myself for “flaws” but neither do I swoon over my own image.

And I am in a long term relationship with a man who finds me sexy. I don’t care if anyone else finds me  sexy because I am not trying to have sex with anyone else. Yet I cannot go one day without hearing tips about how I deserve to feel beautiful and sexy at every waking moment and it drives me crazy sometimes.

Women do not exist for the visual pleasure of others. We are unique individuals with hopes, dreams, aspirations, struggles, histories, and all the humanity of any person.

I Am Over It.

What is beauty, really? As an artist, I certainly do find things aesthetically pleasing. I find people aesthetically interesting, even if they are not beautiful. But beauty is a social construct and it has always been changing. What we find most beautiful today in our culture would be considered hideous in another place and time. Some people say beauty comes from the soul, but I think that’s bullshit. There are beautiful people who are vapid and awful inside. And there are ugly people who are saints. If everyone is beautiful, what can beauty possibly mean? What is it then, if it is not an outer appearance? It’s nothing. So can we PLEASE stop talking about it?

I would like to talk about ANYTHING else. Anything. Can we work on empowering women through our accomplishments instead?

Basically I have beauty fatigue. I am so incredibly bored by the idea of female beauty I don’t care to hear about it ever again. It either pits us against one another or we all have it, so let’s just move on to something more meaningful.

Maybe beauty is a complete farce to keep us distracted from things that matter. Instead of worrying about what’s happening in the world or your country or your government or your society, here look, Shiny Things! See how they sparkle! You want to sparkle too, right? Everyone loves to SPARKLE.
I don’t want to be a shiny thing. I want to do things.
I am worthy.
I am good enough.
I am loveable.
I am awesome.

I am not beautiful and I do not need to be.

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Five Photos That Make You Feel Beautiful

This is a thing going around on Facebook right now.  One of those chain post things.  A person is tagged and they are supposed to post “five photos of yourself that make you feel beautiful” and tag 5 friends to do the same.  I’ve been tagged in this thing multiple times now.

I don’t plan to participate and here are some reasons why:

1. I don’t do chain mail.  It’s no different now than it was when it was on paper or via email, it just spreads exponentially faster now that we have social media.

2. I don’t care if I’m beautiful.  Yes, you read that right.  I am a woman who doesn’t find any pleasure or power in thinking about how beautiful I am.  Now you may be thinking that “true beauty comes from within” or some other nonsense but that’s just a load of crap to me.  There are beautiful people who look gorgeous on the outside and are hideous beasts on the inside.  They’re still going to look beautiful in a photo.  You cannot look at a photo and see someone’s “soul”.  Beauty is outward, aesthetic, ever changing, and superficial.  As women, we are taught that nothing we do matters unless we are beautiful while we do it.  I reject that.  You may be thinking “well you must be ugly then, only ugly women say beauty doesn’t matter.”  That’s fine, like I said, I don’t care what random strangers think of my appearance.

3. I spend zero time worrying about whether or not I am beautiful.  To me, looking in the mirror and telling myself how gorgeous I am is just a tiny step above looking in the mirror and thinking about how hideous I am.  Either way, it places a ton of importance on the outside package.  When I see a photo of myself, I don’t think “god I’m hideous” but I don’t think “Oh I am so beautiful!” either.  If a photo had the power to make me feel beautiful or not, I would see that as a problem not something to celebrate.  Vanity is still a vice in my book, despite what our society may be trying to tell us about the virtuousness of being obsessed with your own appearance.

4. “It is amazing how complete the delusion that beauty is goodness” – Tolstoy (one of my favorite quotes).

5. It’s sexist.  Can you imagine a viral chain FB post asking men to post five photos that make them feel handsome?  No.  It wouldn’t happen.  Why?  Because men are allowed to be things other than handsome.  They can be smart and talented and successful without also being handsome.  Their worth isn’t all tied up in whether or not they feel handsome.  They are expected to go on about their life either way.

To me, trying to convince every woman she is beautiful is just more of the same bullshit.  Call me when there’s a viral post to show five photos that make me feel powerful or intelligent or grateful and maybe I’ll think about it.

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Your Female Body Belongs To Us

Let’s set the record straight: your female body belongs to us and you must comply.

First, let’s talk about your appearance. Your body should be thinner, it should be smoother, it should have perkier bigger breasts, it should have a perfectly round bum, it should not have any visible hair, it must not be too white or too dark, it should not be blotchy or rippled, it may not have too much muscle or too much fat, nor too little muscle nor too little fat. We can see your cellulite; that is disgusting. We can see your ribs; that is nasty.

You must cover your female body or you are asking for trouble. It is your duty to be sexually attractive to males at all times. You must take care of yourself by removing all traces of body hair no matter how painful it might be. Do not be high maintenance. You must paint your face to ensure it is acceptable, especially when working because it is unprofessional to be undesirable to heterosexual men. You must wear fitted clothing that is not too loose or your will look shapeless, but it must not be too fitted or it is inappropriate. Your shorts should be longer than that. You should not show that cleavage. You look like a nun, come on, have some fun! You look like a bum; that is disgusting. You look like a prostitute; that is nasty.

When a man gives you a compliment on the street, you will smile and thank him because you are lucky you are attractive enough for him to pay attention to you.

You didn’t run away when that strange man approached you? You are so stupid. Anything bad that happens to you is your fault.

It is against our religion for a female like you to make your own health care decisions. From here on out, every gynecological appointment must be performed in the presence of a panel of male advisors. Otherwise, you may do something unacceptable like interfere with your body’s natural purpose of serving as an incubator for more males. Before you receive care, we must discuss it with your husband, father, and brother. They are only looking out for your best interest, don’t be mad sweetie. Do you have PMS?

Your employer-based insurance plan may not cover your birth control if it violates his testicles’ precious religious beliefs. You can go to Planned Parenthood anyway. We will scream in your face that you are a baby killer when you do. We might even try to murder you, but don’t worry you deserve it.

Just so you know, we have decided that Viagra, Cialis and Penis Pumps should be free to all men from now on.

You must never, ever have sex unless you want to have a baby. You owe sex to any man who compliments you or buys you dinner. When you do have sex, it must be focused solely on the pleasure of the penis. The penis is the only indicator of whether or not sex is good. If the penis is happy, you must be happy even if you are sexually unsatisfied or in pain. You’re welcome.

You should not have worn that dress. You should not have gone there alone. You should have used the buddy system. Why did you drink? Never walk home in the dark. You should have left that party. Don’t you know better? But come on really, you can tell us. You actually liked it right?

Why should our tax dollars pay for you sluts to have sex? An unintended pregnancy? Tough shit. That is the consequence of your bad decisions. You cannot have an abortion, even if the sperm donor has abandoned you and your unborn fetus. You shouldn’t have opened your legs. It’s too late now. You sinned and now you must face the music. It was your choice. I knew we shouldn’t let you make any.

The fetus is precious, don’t you see? It could still turn out to be male!

You’re not prepared to have a baby and you want to have an abortion? No, we’ve already been over this. Your possibly male fetus is precious. You, however, are a worthless slut. You do not matter.

You had a baby and you cannot afford to care for it? Tough shit, maybe you shouldn’t have gotten pregnant if the only job you are qualified to do doesn’t pay a living wage. You’re on your own. No handouts, you welfare queen.

Your decisions are not yours to make, but all of the consequences of those decisions are yours and yours alone. Never forget that. It’s for your own good, really.

Your female body belongs to us.

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