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Old 08-02-2010, 06:40 PM   #1
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Default How much do you go along to get along?

i think we all do it to an extent. have you ever caught yourself agreeing with or being silent about fat related things that may be controversial. what do you think drove you to shut down and either be quiet about it or go with the program? was it a good move at the time or do you regret it.

i know that i have strong feelings about a lot of things and i tend to press subjects. i don't go along to get along that much but probably more than i know i should. i feel bad about it sometimes because a lot of times i can see both sides, but i feel driven to speak my mind. i've also been quiet a lot too about things that i've seen and didn't like. when i think back on it i'm embarrassed that i didn't say/do more and i always wonder if i'm helping something not so positive be perpetuated. i know i've done it way more than i have liked and it makes me uncomfortable thinking about it.

its also uncomfortable speaking out because there are always those who'd rather you be quiet and not rock anyone's boat. i can understand that too. no one wants to be uncomfortable but i wonder if sealing things in cement does that? it can make it awfully hard to move when you need to go forward.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:01 PM   #2
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If it's something important to me, then I'm fairly immovable. For the most part, though, there comes a point at which I say to myself, "What, exactly, am I hoping to get out of this argument?" As the old saying goes, "Never mudwrestle with a pig. All you'll get is dirty, and the pig will enjoy it."
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:01 PM   #3
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:15 PM   #4
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I can be a bit of both

in my everyday life I will always speak up and be honest

however there are times when saying what you are truly thinking is gonna get you bitch slapped (although it is rare for me to be in that kind of enviroment) my cousins is the perfect example if I said what I truly think I would be out on the street with no way to get home

and it isnt always easy to know when to speak and when to hold your tongue I actually think that that is a true art, sometimes speaking to a brick wall is just as bad as holding your tongue

and there are times when opening your mouth will cause far far more trouble than its worth

I do believe in always being honest and true to yourself, and being honest with others as I said there are circumstances where you are not always in a position to do that or you need to use a little diplomacy ie slightly sidestep the issue

on saying all that though I am normally a bull in a china shop and always want to plunge into the deep end and discuss and sort things out rather than letting them fester. And I love a good debate so erm yeah two minds on this one
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:05 PM   #5
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I do both as well.

I've learned, the hard way (of course), that most people don't like to hear that they my be incorrect in their thinking.

Over the years, I've developed a tactful way of explaining a viewpoint that is non-threatening and educational while respecting (mostly) the original thought I'm contesting.

My nickname in graduate school was "the conversation stopper." At first, I was offended. Then, they explained it wasn't a bad thing... it's just that I'm usually the one who gets tired of hearing the non-movement in the conversation (aka mindless bitching) and so I synthesize both sides into a point of agreement so we can move on with our lives. I like that role.

Now, I can be a raging bitch too... don't you forget it. However, I've left behind any sort of blind anger reactions in favor of thoughtful, educated passionate discourse.

I don't see myself as going along to get along... I see myself as a regular-folk's diplomat.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:10 PM   #6
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Default sorry...long post.

Online, I'll always speak up. If someone posts something fat hating in some of the other forums and boards I visit, I always speak up. But of course online affords you a level of anonymity that in person does not.

In person, I try to gauge my moments when to speak up and when not. I work in education and frequently when I'm hanging out in the teacher's lounge or chatting with co-workers at work, the subject of dieting, weight loss and counting calories/carbs/grams of sugar or sodium comes up. I try not to enter these discussions because I believe that everyone is entitled to their own body autonomy and to do with their bodies what they will, as long as there's no mental health issue attached to it (e.g., I don't support weight loss talk if I know the person suffers from bulimia or anorexia).

But sometimes it's hard for me not to say something at work. Occasionally, when one of my co-workers who I feel a little closer to is talking about diet or weight loss stuff, I've said something like, "can't we like ourselves the way we are?" or "I think we're all good enough the way we are." I've let a few of them know that I'm a size activist and given a nutshell explanation of what that means to me. But most of them, especially the women, feel a little uncomfortable when I say things like that, because it's so opposite of what they've been conditioned to think and feel. Some of my co-workers try to blow it off with humor - "oh, that's just thirtiesgirl, blathering on, being her size activist self!" and "Isn't it funny how she says the word 'fat' so openly! I'd never do that, but that's just thirtiesgirl, being funny."

Last year, though, I made a social faux pas at work with my size activism. I was sitting with a group of mostly women co-workers at lunch who, as usual, started talking about sugar and sodium content in different foods. It wasn't weight-oriented, specifically, but I was just so tired of all the talk about "good" and "bad" foods and I was kind of at my limit. I was drinking a small carton of low fat strawberry milk, and one of my co-workers picked it up to read the sugar content on the label. I took the milk back from her and said, "I really wish you guys wouldn't bring your food drama into the lunch room." That upset some of my co-workers and they essentially told me to stick a sock in it with my size activism.

Admittedly, I probably should have just walked away from that conversation and not said anything, but I know it would have just festered in my mind for the rest of the day if I hadn't spoken up. ...Then again, speaking up didn't work out the way I'd hoped either. I mean, one of the things I enjoy about work is the social interaction with my co-workers and when I say something that creates an unsuccessful interaction with them, I feel bad. But it gets damn hard when almost every conversation turns to food and/or diet talk. I guess I won't be able to hang out with them as much at work this year.

I used to be part of a group of women friends, not co-workers, but women I met in LA shortly after I moved here. There were a few other women in the group besides me who were fat, but not all of them were. All of them had the usual body issues that most women raised in western cultures do. We all discussed our body issues frequently with each other. Although I must admit, the other women did so much more frequently than I did. I started getting into size acceptance around the time I befriended these women, but because I was still new to it, I rarely brought it up around them.

When I read Wendy Shanker's book The Fat Girl's Guide to Life in 2003, that became my size acceptance bible. But I still didn't feel comfortable bringing up the book in the presence of my friends. In 2004, one of the women in the group took a trip to Ireland as part of her graduate studies program. Like me, she was one of the fatter women in the group. While in Ireland, she met a guy who she really liked. She started a fling with him, which she shared with one of her other close friends in the group, in addition to the fact that she'd been afraid to get naked in front of him and had wanted to keep all the lights off.

Her close friend told me because we'd both been secretly rooting for our friend to have another relationship since she'd been keeping herself out of the dating scene for nearly 2 years after a bad breakup with an ex-boyfriend. When I learned about her issue being naked in front of this guy, I figured it might be time for me to share some info about size acceptance with my friends. So when our friend returned from Ireland, I did. I didn't go overboard with it, but one evening when we were all hanging out together, I started talking a little bit about size acceptance, sharing a few of the basic tenets, and saying that I really liked the idea. My friends weren't very receptive, especially the woman who had just returned from Ireland. I didn't bring it up again, but would periodically make little size acceptance comments during our regular conversations, especially when one of my friends was saying something body-hating. They mostly ignored me.

In 2005, Wendy Shanker came to LA to host a plus size fashion show at Macy's. When I heard about the appearance, I was beyond excited. I thought it would be fun for my friends to meet her and see a plus size fashion show. So I invited my two closest friends in that group of women - the woman who had gone to Ireland, and her friend who'd told me about the fling with the Irish guy. They initially told me they weren't sure if they could make it, that they possibly had other plans that weekend. When I called them a few days later, they said the same thing - that they might have other plans, but maybe not. The day before the show, I called them again and was told that they both had just bought tickets to a play in town and couldn't make it to Macy's. So I went to the fashion show and met Wendy Shanker on my own (and got her to sign my copy of The Fat Girl's Guide to Life - woohoo!).

My friends started flaking out on me more often when I'd invite them to do things with me. They stopped calling, stopped e-mailing, and a few months after the Wendy Shanker fashion show thing, my friend who'd met the guy in Ireland sent me an e-mail saying that she'd decided to end our friendship. She wouldn't give me an explanation why, but I could only assume it had to do with my interest in size acceptance and the fact that she didn't like it. Because she was kind of the 'queen bee' among that group of women, I stopped hearing from the others in the group, and soon lost my friends who I'd known for over 5 years. And all over size acceptance.

I know it's better to leave your unsupportive friends behind when it comes to size acceptance, but losing a group of them in a matter of months really sucked. I can't say I regret it and would probably do things the same way if I had to do it over again, but it wasn't fun to experience.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:10 PM   #7
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Fat is a polarizing subject. And we wear that subject on our backs. Other people's interests, issues, preferences, foibles and flaws are less visible and can remain hidden depending on the individual. In our culture people can excuse much of their behavior (and in fact are medically diagnosed) with disease, ie; AA, gambling, shopping, sexual, 'insert excessive activity here' addiction. People are now going to rehab for anger management....all excused except for the fat person. It's our 'sin'. We 'let ourselves go'. It's a 'moral outrage'. 'Think of the children'. Apparently it's all acceptable subject matter in the lunchroom, conference room and dining room table. And in our presence or directly to us as if we're undeserving of respect and discretion.
Intolerance against fatties is still PC and remains very very popular.

There's always someone (hundreds of thousands of someone's many of whom are also fat) who feel it's their duty/right/career to discuss, dissect and condemn the evil fat and I pretty much caught on to that very early on.

When I found my voice and aha moments are for other threads but I do speak up, some would say too much but they can suck it. It's not just politics, it's my life--I'm fat and I do take a good deal of it personally--not usually personally 'Elaine', but personally as in 'those are my peeps'. My nation, as it were.

And a lot of it I don't bother speaking up. Because I don't have the time, or I'm tired, or I'm having a bad day, or I was caught off guard or it will never ever change them and I can't educate the world.

What can be the most dismaying and discouraging are when the so-called fat advocates whose personal agendas, veiled threats and longstanding breaks from reality show their true colors--again those are for other threads or perhaps even other forums. I don't relate to them and am not grateful for the attention. It's not enough to want to fuck me, sorry.

Sometimes trying to reason with people really is casting pearls before swine.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:20 PM   #8
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I wish I had more fat loving friends. Sometimes I make subtle comments about that big guy in the corner, or they notice me checking one out. Problem is, I never get any of that "yeah, that guy is so hot stuff" in conversation. I'll play along sometimes when they do it, if the guy is good looking (for a skinny guy), but a lot of times I just can't pretend to be attracted. I guess that's how they feel about the guys I point out...only they expect me to agree. It sucks, but I don't think a sexual fetish is worth losing friends over, so I usually try to go with the flow. I don't join in when they go fat bashing, and I don't join in when they pick on the fat guy, though. That's where I draw the line.
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:29 AM   #9
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There are certain issues I have, lately, been silent on. Fat isn't one of them. I've stopped arguing with racist people who have racism so deeply internalised they don't even seem to be aware that they are being racist twats. I no longer go out of my way to educate people who act and speak like bigoted fools. There are just too many out there and my spirit, my joy, was being drained by constantly keeping up the rage. I choose what I get angry about now. The old lady in the store in Mpumalanga who thought she could push in front of me at the till cos she's white got told off viciously but the silly woman who tells me how she knows for a fact that black people never get tired cos genetically we're built for hard work...ja - her I just point and laugh at. So, essentially, if racism is in any way intefering with my own comfort levels the person/s guilty will know about it. But I can no longer fight every battle, verbal and otherwise, for every single black person in South Africa who is not standing up for themselves - it was getting to a point where I started feeling that way, where every was bitter and angry, and thats when I knew I had to stop.

I don't get fat hate or fat challenged much - I can be fairly loud and scary when I want to be and the people who try that kind of thing only try it once. My friends are all extremely well trained on the subject - they even read Dims and F-F with me at times, know a number of the players and are beginning to grasp a lot of the issues. Also, fat is an issue that most people are not educated about. Ignorance on the subject is rife and people feel they have a right to shame the fatties around them. That I never let lie. That said the gigglers, who are mostly young women in clubs who can never seem to recover from my presence in their midst or the existence of my cleavage - only the special cases who are really rude and in my face about their horror at my body - feel my wrath.

I really believe in choosing my battles. Hyde Park is a prime example. There are some people and attitudes on that board that make me sick to my stomach. These are people I would quite honestly spit on in the street because their attitudes are so repugnant, just the epitome for me of everything wrong with our society. But I'm not arguing with them, can't be bothered to debate them, because IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE!!! Why waste energy on speaking up when it achieves nothing, when you make no dent on the overwhelming flood of hatred, stubbornness and stupidity?
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:26 AM   #10
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Choose one's battles carefully. I do not need to say a word as the sound of my high heels says everything.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:26 AM   #11
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This is not a "fat issues" thing for me, because I have been in situations with people who have controversial opinions on so many different subjects. And for me, the way I choose to react (or not react) depends on the same factors no matter what the topic at hand might be.

I will be completely honest and say that before I open my mouth and say a word, I think it over and decide which approach will be most profitable for me. Does this person have something I need or want? Will I have to see them again, and if so how often? If I piss them off, will it have negative consequences for me or for somebody who means something to me? Also, before I contradict them I have to decide if I am up for the use of personal time and energy, and potential drama the disagreement and resulting debate would cause. And do they come across as somebody who might actually hear me or would trying to engage them be just talking to a brick wall?

I am pretty skilled at just keeping my mouth shut, nodding my head and pretending to listen, while my mind filters their words to something like "blah blah blah blah blah" for as long as it takes to accomplish what I need to accomplish so that I can just get the hell out of there and be done with them.

However, I don't always keep my mouth shut. But before I do engage somebody, I make sure it's an actual debate and not allowing myself to just be drawn into a pissing contest over who can spew the most rhetoric. I also have to know when to walk away from the debate and how to just let it drop and leave it behind. Sometimes I think a person can truly be educated, in which case I try and put my opinion in a perspective that makes more sense to them. But other times it's just a matter of disagreeing and standing up for myself even if it just bounces right off the other person.

And I have to confess, on the rare occasion I just like to mindfuck somebody who has an opposing opinion that is offensive to me. I don't wear my opinions and causes on my sleeve. Most people who know me casually have NO clue what I am really all about. Most people who know me casually would be surprised and probably even shocked at some of the things I do and believe. Every once in a while I find myself in a casual social situation with somebody who starts up badmouthing something I am or believe in and assumes that I would be on the same page. I put on a slightly interested expression and let them talk. And then once they've talked themselves deep into a hole, I let them know where I stand. I swear the moment it clicks in their heads, what they've been saying and who they've been saying it to, the look on their face is absolutely priceless.

Wrong, I know, but amusing all the same. They either try and backpedal like hell, or they get pissy and storm off. Either way I've had my fun and they just might think twice about making an assumption. Or else they might think twice about airing their opinions to somebody they don't know well.

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Old 08-04-2010, 08:10 AM   #12
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Probably a lot. I tend to be very easy going about what people do, even as I'm playing devil's advocate with them. I do it once and then let it go. It's not that I approve or even understand it. One might call it exercising apathy. I'm curious but as long as they're not hurting anybody I don't care. I have too many of my own demons to wrestle. Yeah, it qualifies as keeping the peace but it's my peace I'm keeping. Let them get their own.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:54 PM   #13
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Online, I usually say what's on my mind. There is this one forum that I'm a member and the people there are kinda snobby and cliquish, like H.S. Complete with a queen bee and everything. They piss me off so much it is hard NOT to stay quiet.

But, in RL, I'm not much of a talker. I have my spells where I do talk a lot, just chatter away, but most of the time I'm very quiet and observant. I believe I make most people uncomfortable by being so quiet.

I think it is easier and safer to be debatable with men, because they will just give you dirty looks, sometimes, but women they will do things that will make your life a living hell. So, I decide carefully.
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Old 08-05-2010, 04:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calauria View Post
Online, I usually say what's on my mind. There is this one forum that I'm a member and the people there are kinda snobby and cliquish, like H.S. Complete with a queen bee and everything. They piss me off so much it is hard NOT to stay quiet.

But, in RL, I'm not much of a talker. I have my spells where I do talk a lot, just chatter away, but most of the time I'm very quiet and observant. I believe I make most people uncomfortable by being so quiet.

I think it is easier and safer to be debatable with men, because they will just give you dirty looks, sometimes, but women they will do things that will make your life a living hell. So, I decide carefully.
They wont do that to you if you're insane, calauria. My grandmother used to say it's only safe in the woods for dangerous people. She's dead and can harm us no more but there's much truth in her words.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:23 AM   #15
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The amount of times I have recently heard discriminatory things about fat people astounds me. Many people may 'love' a fat friend, but have some sort of fat hate towards strangers.

One incidence is a friend who I helped pull off the street (gave her a FREE place to stay, food, got her a good job, and basically toted her around whenever she needed anything), decided to post on facebook, in comment to something someone else said about fat people, that fat people are lazy.

I am very fat. I am not lazy- in fact I didn't have a chance to sit down for months because I was helping her out. I volunteer, go to school, and work a full time job. She slept in every day, didn't help out around the house at all, and only really thought of herself. She no longer stays with me, since the job I got her pays enough for her to pay for her own things. But, a fat person like me is so lazy. I said something, and will be friendly with her, but I do not think hanging out with her anymore is an option. She has lost all of my respect in one facebook comment. (and reaction to my confronting her).

If it's someone just randomly trying to stir up controversy, I say nothing. I am intelligent, hard working, beautiful, and many other great things, and I do not need to waste my time on ignorant hate.

I AM concerned about fat-discrimination in the work force. I am currently seeking new employment, and know that while some might not say they won't hire me because of my weight -- that may be the reason. I know that I wouldn't want to work for anyone who discriminates, but in this economy it is just one more stressor to add to the list. I just continue to try to stay on top of things and strive to become a better person in all aspects of my life.

As a side note: I do say something when women or men complain about their bodies - whether I am saying something positive about it, or stating that complaining about their bodies has a snowball effect in making themselves and others feel less worthy.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:08 AM   #16
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There is this one forum that I'm a member and the people there are kinda snobby and cliquish, like H.S. Complete with a queen bee and everything.
Doesn't that pretty much describe every place on the internet ever? And most places in RL, too!
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:48 PM   #17
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Doesn't that pretty much describe every place on the internet ever? And most places in RL, too!
Yeah, but it just astounds me when "old folks,"meaning all adults, behave this way. I mean, shouldn't we be over this phase?
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:44 PM   #18
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It depends how well I know the people, and how open I think they will be to seeing another side of things. If they're friends of mine - like more than casual once-in-a-while-hang-out friends - and they say something that I feel is unfairly discriminatory toward any group, I will call them out on it. Usually I'll try to do it with humor and not a tone of anger (it's just my rhetorical style), but if we're going to be friends, I need to let my friends know what ways of thinking/speaking really don't jive with me. And I'd hope they do the same.

In an un-fat-related example, while I realize the word "retarded" gets thrown around casually these days, I'm not a fan of that. Having taught special education for several years, and just having several friends in my life with various developmental disabilities, I don't like when people use a label that technically describes a lot of my friends, in a pejorative way. But do I make a big deal out of it every time some stranger says, "He's retarded" about some dumbass? No. But my friends sure as hell know not to use that around me, and most of them stop using it altogether. Recently a friend and I were around another friend of his, who used "the R-word" really quickly in the conversation, and my friend looked at me in horror. It warmed my heart...lol.

But I think a lot of it comes down to how the issue is brought up, and the style someone uses. Some ways of pointing out someone's biases are more effective at eliciting certain responses than others. Some styles shut people down and end dialogue; and if I am communicating my disagreement in a way where that happens, I will try to find a different approach. Not because I think my approach is "wrong" in and of itself, but because I do seek dialogue and genuine communication, and want to do my part to make sure that can happen.
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Old 08-08-2010, 01:51 AM   #19
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I am probably one of the shyest people you will ever meet, but when it comes to "fat hate" i get over it real quick.

In high school, there was this overweight boy getting picked on in my gym class by some stupid kids and i could hear them across the gym and i went over there and blew up on them, eventually they stopped and i didnt see them pick on the kid again.

I think if you dont speak up, no matter what the situation, people will just assume that its ok to spread the hate.
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:39 AM   #20
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I am probably one of the shyest people you will ever meet, but when it comes to "fat hate" i get over it real quick.

In high school, there was this overweight boy getting picked on in my gym class by some stupid kids and i could hear them across the gym and i went over there and blew up on them, eventually they stopped and i didnt see them pick on the kid again.

I think if you dont speak up, no matter what the situation, people will just assume that its ok to spread the hate.
Bullying of fat kids just kills me when I see it in school. Well, any kind of bullying, really, but it especially rankles me when fat or differently abled kids get bullied. I'm glad you spoke up and the bullying kids stopped. I just hope the boy didn't undergo any other bullying their hands when you weren't around. Kids can be pretty damn mean and subtle in the ways they bully. Bullies do what they do to get attention from others. Any kind of attention will do - positive or negative. The best way to handle bullies is to get them away from the group and confront them privately, on their own, so they're not getting attention from you in front of the group, and thereby getting attention from the group.

...Sorry. I just always speak up when I hear about bullying. It's a personal vendetta of mine and something I deal with a lot as a school counselor. Enough bullying can result in a kid feeling hopeless enough to commit suicide. It needs to stop now, but there's a right way and a wrong way to handle it. Bullies definitely need to be confronted immediately, as soon as someone notices what's going on, but it's always best in private, where they can't get attention from others.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:56 PM   #21
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I guess being a Buddhist and my personality I overlook most things. I feel most aren't worth my attention. I care for myself and my daughter,but if no one isn't in any danger it doesn't matter. Most human are to caught up in minor thing. Filled with insecurities and hate so ..I pay most no mind at all. Sounds arrogant but I have found my life more pleasant and freeing.
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:55 AM   #22
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waaay more than i'm comfortable with
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:38 PM   #23
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It depends on the situation.. where I am, who I'm with. I pretty much have given up on trying to confront my family about it, especially my mom, who recently lost about 100 pounds and also recently referred to me as a 500 pound slob. It's just not worth it. Her and I fight about pretty much everything and her lecturing me for being fat is pretty low on the list of things that make me hate her. A lot of my fat hating family I've pretty much cut off for unrelated reasons. But, on the rare occasion I see them I usually just smile and nod and say I know, I know, I'm going to lose weight, don't worry, because they're stubborn and rude and just don't care if they're upsetting me.

As far as friends & acquaintances, I only say something if we're close or if I think the people I'm with will be open to looking at things differently.. I try not to rock the boat when I'm with people I hardly know. I have in some cases said something to people and I felt like it isolated me which made me feel more uncomfortable than a random fat joke or comment. I try not to take things too seriously or too personally and I don't feel like everyone I interact with has to believe in fat acceptance.. as long as they respect me as a person, I'm good.
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