Last one, I promise.
All that hullabalo isn’t why I find you ignorant.
It’s your insistent injection of assumed opinions of anyone that doesn’t reblog you with a “OMG You are so right!” based on things you can’t even read clearly because you are so heated in your agenda. Injected opinions written just so you can hear…
This whole exchange is a good example of why it is so difficult to address the kind of criticisms privileged people make of disenfranchised groups. While the details are unique to fat acceptance, the dynamics aren’t. Right down to the fauxgressive insistence that the disenfranchised group are just like Fox News. Feminists saw this when criticizing Julian Assange. Non-whites saw this when raising issues about Occupy Wall Street. Even in liberal circles, there will be people unwilling to let go of their privilege and they will make these kind of nonsensical characterizations of their foes as being true oppressors.
Indeed, we also see here another tactic used by the powerful to privilege their opinions. Its fully their right to critcize me, but when I stand firm in response, its because I’m closed minded. That exchange shows nothing like that. It just shows that I found them unpersuasive. As they did me. Only they characterize this dynamic as one side (the other side) being closed minded. In the end, that means they are just taking issue with the fact that I disagree with them, and isn’t that actually what’s closed minded? They don’t see the disconnect there because their opinions carry social power and they feel entitled to wield that power. Just disagreeing morphs in their perspective to an offensive act. They scream “hypocrite!” and play the victim of oppression. From their perspective, to be disagreed with does feel like oppression. That’s how privilege works. People feel entitled to get their way. If you don’t fall silent, then you are the one who is oppressing them.
What I find really bizarre is the insistence that I am making unfounded assumpsions. I saw them do this earlier to another person who disagreed them. They dismissed the response for clearly not having read what they said. If this sounds familiar, its probably because you’ve been speaking out about fat issues. Or, probably, any issues of privilege and empowerment. When people get called out for their assumpsions (here, the insistance that accepting one’s body is incompatable with hard work and physical activity), they just dismiss you as not having read what they said. The possibility that you disagree with them won’t be considered. You just must not get what they are saying.
We do, though. It is extraordinarily important that we recognize these tactics for what they are and resist these efforts to tell us to keep our mouths shut. To tell us that we just don’t get it. To tell us we’re putting words in their mouth as we directly reference what they said. To tell us we won’t listen to different opinions if we listen and don’t agree. To tell us that we’re just like Fox News if we infringe on their sense of righteousness. What this individual was saying was clear from the start. They said they objected to this project because derby athletes are trying to improve on their health and fitness. They said objected because roller derby work their asses off to take care of their body and improve it. I have no arguments with those claims about derby athletes. They are awesome competitors who put in hard, grueling work for their sport. They objected because they think that hard work cannot be done by a person in a fat body who “just accepts it”. They regard body positivity as a negative feeling. They see fat as a necessarily wrong state and that to care about one’s body, one has to want to “improve” it by losing weight.
I get why they thing fat is a state of failure. I get why they think fat is necessarily a flaw to remedied. I know where they are coming from because we are all coming from the same culture that teaches us these things constantly. What this individual and so many others cannot understand is that we really are questioning these core assertions about fatness. That we really are refusing to be labeled as defective because we have fat bodies. We can’t really mean that. We must just not understand what they are saying. We must just not be listening.
We really are questioning those core beliefs. And our resistance is powerful. People wouldn’t respond with so much hostility if it wasn’t. Its hard to try to push through that and I am certainly not suggesting that anyone has an obligation to always respond, but I do want you all to know the power we have when we say no. It is something no one can take for us and that is incredibly powerful.