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Livejournal is being weird so I've decided that I'm gonna post here since I'm here anyway. I keep meaning to start cross-posting, but I'm not sure how to rig it so that if I post something here, it cross posts but still stays under a filter on LJ. I'm sure there's a way to do it... anyone wanna tell me how? :)

So there's another several rounds of stupid photos making their way around facebook, and a bunch of conversation happening around these photos. The one I've seen the most often is the one with a row of photos of extremely thin women in bikinis on the top row, then a row of photos of curvier women (Marylin Monroe, I don't remember the other photos). And a statement in the center that says something like, When did we start believing the above women are hot and stopped believing the below women are hot? or something like that. Honestly while I completely understand where the motivation for stuff like that comes from, it so very doesn't help to pit women against women in competitions over who is "sexier", regardless of the good intentions. It doesn't really help to empower one group at another's expense - we're still having random folks looking at pictures of scantily clad women and judging those women based on their size/shape, making both some subset of the photographed women wrong AND making some subset of the viewers wrong. Heaven forbid you should find a thin woman attractive, basically.

What I find actually way more offensive than the well intentioned but missing the mark photos is the horrendous commentary I see accompanying nearly every one of the reposts of this picture. At least one or more commentator generally feels the need to say something like this: "Well, I think fat/thin is gross! I would never screw/date/find attractive a fat/thin woman!" Seriously. And take your pick - someone is being called "gross" without fail. What's even more troublesome about the commentary is that it completely misses the part of the conversation about how women get to be more than sexual objects. And devolves the whole conversation into a discussion of who the viewer wants to fuck. Without fail. It doesn't always get that explicit, and any attempt to call out the offensive statement generally results in a statement along the lines of, "I just wouldn't *date* a fat/skinny chick! why do you think that's offensive??" Why? Because you're missing the goddamn point. Women get to self determine. We should all be allowed the dignity of the truth of our bodies, at whatever size we are, without getting judged or harassed about it. We're more than a fuckable body in a bikini, large or small, thank you very much. IRRITATING.

And it's really when we get into honest discussions about size and oppression that it seems like the appropriateness filter just comes off all together. It's not just these stupid facebook viral photos, either - I've seen the same crap in the comments section of online articles about size and health, about size and politics, about size and oppression. Like somehow an article talking about how recent medical studies showing that underweight folks are more likely to die of heart attacks than overweight people requires some idiot to announce, "Well I don't care if thinner people are gonna die of heart attacks, fat is just gross and I'd never date a fat person". Seriously, I *wish* I wasn't quoting. If you were to substitute "size" for "class", "race", "religion", "country of origin", would you still feel it was appropriate to announce which group of folks you would want to sleep with/date? "I'm sorry, I just think poverty is unsightly and I'd never date a poor person!" right? You'd sound like a complete wanker in a conversation about economic disparity, don't you think? When we're talking about people's experiences around size/fatness/thinness, I'm sorry, some of this discussion IS about oppression/discrimination. It is not "simply a health conversation", like many folks like to make it. You don't get discriminated against in hiring because of lactose intolerance, you don't get hassled around seating on airplanes on account of having high cholesterol.

It's also not simply a "but I have the right to my attractions!" conversation, because honestly? The conversation wasn't about sexual preferences and attractions until some helpful joker decides to MAKE it about their sexual preferences - unless someone actually directly asks you, "hey buddy, what kind of body do you find sexually attractive?" seriously? I don't care who you want to screw. I really don't need to know. I like strong hands and strong jawlines. what does that have to do with conversations about people's experiences around discrimination? Or around being judged for being too big (OR too thin)? Absolutely Nothing.

So consider this a public service announcement. These shenanigans are offensive and idiotic. And the next person who makes the mistake of announcing their sexual attractions directly pertaining to size in my presence as part of a discussion about size discrimination or size and health will be mocked within an inch of their lives. Consider yourself warned.

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bearfairie

December 2012

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