29 June 2007

again with "health" and appearance

i spend a considerable amount of time in fatblogland, thinking about health and politics and the weirdly moralistic "science" and "health" arguments behind a lot of fat-hatred. this week's treasure from that neighborhood of the internets is fat fu, where i found, among other things, this excellent essay on the ridiculousness that is 'if you just tried'.

the following quotation is actually from the comment thread, but it's too spot on not to share: "The unadulterated insanity of the argument: I’m allowed to hate you unless you live your life to my exact specification - and if you do I still won’t believe you unless you look exactly how I want you to. I will call this 'concern for your health.' It’s megalomaniacal control freak psychology - like being in an instant dysfunctional relationship with an abusive boyfriend. And yet it passes uncommented by most people as if it were the work of a reasonable mind."

it reminds me a bit of the hateful little moral mix-ups in _the mill on the floss_, which i've been reading this week. here a central problem is that the female protagonist, though entirely blameless, is often trapped in circumstantial "evidence" of wrong-doing. (often wrong-doing of the sexual sort. THE WORST!) her brother (playing the part of the fat-moralist in this disturbingly direct analogy) implacably refuses to believe her, assumes the worst, and mercilessly punishes her for her non-sins. (to which punishment, despite a burning sense of injustice, she submits.) why? because a brother who truly loves and cares for his sister has a duty to "protect" her from both dishonor and the appearance thereof, even where that "love" and "protection" takes the form of contempt and hardness.

this has been a message from your friends respect and autonomy to remind you: by analogy and otherwise, fat is a feminist issue.