07 December 2007

fat is a feminist issue, part n

dan savage has missed a number of boats this week, including the non-fat-phobic boat, the actually-understanding-weight-changes boat, and the boat he's perennially waiting harborside for, gender.

in principle, yeah, hilarious joke there. let's take advice to gay men regarding other gay men, change the pronouns, and see how the audience likes it when we pretend it's advice to straight men about straight women! ha ha!

in practice, as well as in several different and equally important principles, wow, that was dumb as shit. it was, of course, dumb as shit to begin with, even before we applied the pronoun hilarity. how do we 'solve' our partner's weight gain? is there some rule to follow? real answers: we shouldn't and can't, and duh, of course there isn't.

however. if for the sake of argument we choke down the assumption that one partner's fat-phobia is the other partner's problem (or, to put it more kindly, that one partner is only attracted to a narrow range of body types that hir partner no longer falls into), is there any reason -- given american culture and whatnot -- to assume that talking about one's partner's fat should be a gender-neutral thing to do?

yeah, i didn't think so either. being a fat american blows because people are mean to you when you're fat, but as i've blogged before, those meannesses fall harder on those of us with two x chromosomes (and no y's).

a long, snarky whine about the inconsistent advice we give to homosexual males as versus heterosexual males misses the point, which is that the advice concerns partners of different sexes. and unless they've had no media exposure since infancy, said partners are likely to have quite different orientations (ha!) toward fat and toward their own fatness.

(although it's an interesting question, even when it's not about fat: what is the ethical and sanity-saving thing to do if you're no longer sexually attracted to someone you love?)