Thursday, January 27, 2011

Conditional Love/Conditional Hate-- Guess the condition

You know that moment when you recognize that you are watching a commercial for some sort of weight loss product, or that feeling of disappointment when you hear a Fat joke or some other message supporting the Fat Hatred that is a part of the world we live in.

It happens all the time. Everyday. Every hour. Every minute. On top of that, there seems to be a new crop of shows about very fat people trying to loose weight. Even Rachel Ray started her season introducing a young fat girl, a senior in high school, who agreed to accept the show's help with her weight (and the show's cameras to document her struggles) for a new feature that call "80 pounds by Prom" There is new clone of The Biggest Loser that follows two very fat folks try to make their "Lifestyle" change before the six months of free trainers, nutritionists, and medical observation all expire. These is a MTV type show called, "I used to be Fat" where fat high school seniors are given a summer of free personal training and some cooking advice so they can go off to college skinny and prepared to stay skinny for the rest of their lives.

You in the FA world know that feeling of disappointment as we see fatties being told they are going to die and early death, or never get married, or some other bullshit that we know isn't valid…. or helpful for that matter. I really like Jimmy Kimmel, and every time he goes for the fat joke, I am disappointed in him because he is so much smarter that the cheap fat joke.

How about the anger and rage. Like when a diet supplement TV commercial touts that a university's double blind study confirmed that it works, and actually 88% of all the weight lost was belly fat! oh joy.

The frustration when a cooking segment talks about how much weight you can loose by cooking the food in a better way.

The feeling of defeat when Michelle Obama says something about her program that we all know will translate into some fat kid getting more messages of how wrong they are to want to eat and how bad it is that they look the way they do. Children being supported in hating themselves with generous help provided by our government, paid for by cutting the food stamp program designed to keep people from starving.

Today's feeling was profound sadness courtesy of the MTVish show. The young girl featured who during the intro talks about how important getting married is and how she knows no one will want her in her disgusting state. She is so self hating about what she looks like. Then cut to the father talking about how her daughter dreams of getting married, but, sadly, guys want girls who are thin and pretty, and his daughter is going to have to work very hard to stop being fat and ugly and unloveable, and condemned to a life of profound loneliness. (I am embellishing, of course) Cut to another scene at the dinner table when Dad asks our Fat college bound young lady what kind of wedding she dreams of, his passive aggressive way to tell her to not eat so much.

I was so sad for a couple of hours thinking about the crimes against humanity that are perpetrated on fat children all the time. I was sad that a Father would let his daughter think she isn't pretty. I flash back to some of the hateful, abusive things my Father said to me when I was a young boy, things that I internalized and bought into as the Gospel. Things that I still struggle with. The biggest being my lovability.

My Fucking Lovability! Even today, although I know that it is all based on lies, I still battle with feelings about my worth, especially when it comes to being the subject of a woman's desire. How tragic that we teach folks that their lovability is in question. No one's lovability should every be questioned.

I have a fantasy. I meet a television producer who really understands what FA and HAES is about, and we do a six month intensive around HAES and Size Acceptance. Sort of like the show Heavy, but teaching all our participants the tenants of HAES and Size Acceptant and we show how all their relationships go through that common reaction to a decision to stop trying to loose weight. I think it could be compelling television.

When I stop fantasizing about producing tv shows and come back to center and I honor my feelings that came up when I watched a show on TV where I saw that Father make his approval of his daughter conditional on what she looks like. I honor the sadness and pain that live in all my cells as memories of sad times gone by.

I also honor myself by writing about this. I feel connected and valued as I think about folks on the feeds reading this and shaking their heads in agreement and recognition. I honor myself by recognizing that most of the world not only doesn't want to hear what we have to say, they actually think we are crazy and out of touch. I am honored to be connected into our little corner of the universe, our determined little sub culture, where we understand that Fat is not bad. It is just fat. Where we understand that we are not bad, we are awesome, courageous, trailblazers who boldly go forth knowing our value and taking care of ourselves.


  1. Your post really home with me. I am nearly 40 years old and just now learning that all the crap my parents told me about myself is a lie. That I'm not as lovable because I'm fat, or at least less lovable, and that I can't have "bad" food in the house because I can't control my eating. That I have no self control or self discipline. All lies.

    Let's not forget my grandmothers, one of whom told me repeatedly that I looked just like my great-grandmother who was kicked in the face by a horse when she was young. And secondly, my other grandmother who told me on my wedding day, that all brides are beautiful, even you.

  2. Honestly? I am so used to it that I either tune it out or shout evil things at the television. I avoid reality tv in general, but I still see the ads. My eyes roll back into my head. I fear they may never return to normal sometimes. Ha!
    But we cannot change our relatives or their pasts. All we can do is focus on our own future and hope and work towards a better tomorrow.

  3. Kate, I get it. It is not easy to overcome, especilly when I am thininking those thoughts about myself because my family, and my society taught me to think these horrible things of myself. Not anymore.... I still struggle, but I now know better...

    notblue -- I never yelled at a television before fat acceptance... now, I can't contain myself.

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  5. FatBstard - I am not, as you say, "promoting gluttony and obesity". You either misunderstand my reasons for blogging, or you are intentionally contentious. Please stay away from my blog if it is the latter.

  6. You really touched me talking about conditional love. I feel for those kids on tv as well. I end up feeling so helpless, like, if I could just say to them that they ARE loveable, they ARE worthwhile, that it might make the difference they need. But often, it's so ingrained, especially coming from parents, that it may not make that difference. Thanks for this post. And please don't doubt for a second that you're loveable.

  7. sweetnfat - about the fathate being so ingrained.... i want to reach out to kids who are being told there is something wrong with them simply because they have a different body shape... i want to teach them what the movement has taught me and the forces I am up against seem so daunting. and even I struggle with internalizing the acceptance and those ingrained beliefs that I know are erroneous but they still have a hold on me. I know that bonding with this FA community is the right thing and I hope someday that kids don't have to grow up under the weight of stigma.

  8. I'm with you, nycivan. I hope you get the opportunity to reach out to kids and teach them. I can't begin to imagine how different my childhood would have been free of all that fat hate.

  9. Ivan,

    I saw a comment from you over on Lesley's site and came here to see if you posted lately and sadly you had not. (I can't really bitch about it because I don't blog at all.)

    I hope you are doing well and I miss your posts.

  10. Just ban Fat Bastard outright. He is a dickshitting crotch stain who trolls FA blogs because he has nothing to do.

    In any case, I hope you feel better. I hate watching the TV Guide channel for just this reason. Nothing but weight loss ads.