FA/FFA Denial- I DON'T mean the closet

Discussion in 'BBW/FA Board' started by Dr. P Marshall, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. Oct 1, 2009 #1

    Dr. P Marshall

    Dr. P Marshall

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    First of all, I'm not pointing fingers at anyone. I also am not trying to make excuses for the behavior of fat admirers. I am hoping to have a constructive discussion about something that I have been trying to work out in my own head as I read around the other boards here at Dims.

    I know that there are fat admirers who are just callous. But it seems to me that sometimes, some of the posts that pertain to health, confidence and weight loss seem to contain....almost a zealotry. I guess what I mean is, I feel as if the FA/FFA is not really speaking to the fat person, as much as they are speaking to themselves. I always read into those type of posts a certain denial born out of the desire to shape the world into the fat admirer's ideal. I have seen the usual conflicts around here lately and it seems to me that maybe part of the problem stems from the fact that the reality of life for many fat people can rattle a fat admirer's sense of ease with their sexual orientation(or whatever you want to call it). I particularly feel that this is true when it comes to the issues of confidence and the health/weight loss issues. I admit that I have at times in the past read those things and felt a little rattled. And I also admit that, at least in my own head, in the past I have been guilty from time to time of a certain denial. So I am starting this discussion with my own mea culpa. I'm not really sure what my questions are....I guess it's just do you feel as a fat admirer that you sometimes put reality on hold in order to feel less threatened by the challenges that fat people face? Or do you go the other way and wallow in guilt? Do you think there's a balance to be struck that would make it easier to both appreciate BBW/BHM, yet at the same time create a more supportive environment from fat admirers? Is there anything else you want to say about this topic?:p

    Again, this is not to start a flame or blame war. This isn't to make fat admirers feel badly, either. I just always feel that there is something under the surface sometimes when you see a fat admirer who contributes to the boards in a more meaningful way than just "that's hot" but who at the same time seems to almost willfully be ignoring what is being said by the fat people. It's like we want to have the discussions, but only if we can keep the tough stuff out of the conversation. I just wondered if anyone else felt this way, I guess.
     
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  2. Oct 1, 2009 #2

    Tad

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    Really good points (so good to have you back, btw!).

    I agree that a lot of it sounds like trying to convince the speaker. Basically I agree with all that you just said. Everything that follows is not to disagree, but to add an additional, but related, option.

    Another thing that may be happening too is what I think of as ‘defense of identity’ amongst those who cling to the idea of there being only sort of fat admirer or one sort of size acceptance. That is, I think a lot of people arrive at Dimensions (or more broadly the broader size acceptance ‘community’;) who have not had any other good references for being an FA or for accepting size. So all that they really know on the topic is how they feel, what they have learned, and what they believe.

    I suppose if we were all good statisticians we’d take ourselves as one data point and each other person we meet as an equally important data point. But in general I’d say we don’t, I think most start off assuming that others are like themselves. Unless and until we give up that assumption, others who ‘should’ be like ourself but who aren’t are a real danger to our self-image.

    So our fresh, na├»ve, FA arrives at Dimensions—let’s call him or her ‘Chris’ for gender ambiguous convenience. Chris has seen a whole culture trash fat people, but to Chris they are the most attractive and wonderful beings on the planet. Chris has done a little bit of research and paid attention to the news, and has found that fat may not be the instant death sentence that it is often portrayed as. And paying attention to others, Chris has noticed a few fat people who are very active and super healthy. From all of that Chris deduces that fat people don’t have to be inactive or unhealthy. What a relief! Chris feels much bad about being attracted to the fat now. Chris develops an attitude that being fat is OK, it is mostly a social bias against it, and that fat people can be just as happy, active, and healthy as thin people. Chris builds an identity in part around having established this deeper level of insight into how the world really works—Chris doesn’t go along with the common herd on this point!

    Then Chris finds Dimensions. WOW! A whole web site full of attractive fat people who have already heard the message, and of other FA who obviously feel like Chris does. After all, they all admire fat folk, unlike the broader population, so clearly they are alike. Chris starts off expecting the other FA to like what Chris likes and to share similar views, and for the ‘enlightened’ fat folk to be accepting that as well. Then Chris finds that not everyone agrees with Chris’s views. This threatens Chris’s whole view of how the world really works. This other person also claims to be an FA, and doesn’t agree with half of what Chris says! This person claims to be fine with being fat, but denies even more of what Chris believes.

    Chris can now do one of three things: abandon the whole structure of size acceptance and fat admiration that Chris had built up to embrace some other view of it, accept that there are multiple views on these subjects so hold onto his or her existing structure but accept others as valid, or insist that his or her view is the correct one. The former two both involve abandoning that belief in having achieved some greater enlightenment, so are kind of painful to do. By far the easiest one on Chris’s ego is to insist that he or she has it right.
     
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  3. Oct 1, 2009 #3

    Dr. P Marshall

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    I think this is a really good point. It was sort of what I was trying to say about the threat to our identity. I feel sometimes like FA/FFAs, as they are embracing their identities, swing too far to one extreme. The point about enlightenment is something I see reflected around here a lot. Maybe the real issue is really about FA/FFAs reaching a level of ease with themselves. See, this is why I am always mystified by the arguments about who has it worse and who doesn't understand what, because to me, I think fat admirers and fat people (at least here and I'm talking about the FA/FFAs who aren't just skulking horndogs, of course) are often having parallel experiences. Both sides are trying to find an ease with themselves in a world that doesn't reflect us well. Both sides come here because there is a freedom to be ourselves here, and a chance to bolster our sense of self and self esteem (and I mean that for us FA/FFAs too) and yet, we all really have to get to that place within ourselves first and we can't rely on Dims or anyplace else to completely get us there. The problem is, I think too many people on both sides try that. It seems like the real trick is finding the balance between the support and freedom we can find here and learning how to stand up to the real world, rather than picking fights with each other and being excessively sensitive (again, I am talking about FA/FFAs too) over certain issues.



    Also, I wanted to make clear that this is not a topic just for thin/thinner FA/FFAs in my opinion. In fact, it would seem that denial would be even easier to get stuck in if the FA/FFA and his/her partner were both fat. (?)
     
  4. Oct 1, 2009 #4

    LillyBBBW

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    I'm not sure I see it that way so much as trying to keep a fair balance to the discussion. Sometimes it truly is oblivion at play on the part of an FA but a few times it seemed a matter of just an FA who expresses himself poorly at a time when s/he should probably just shut up and let people talk and vent things out. It's very easy for a particuar strain of thought in a discussion to become so prominent that it obscures everything else. If four or more people gather together to begin a chorus on some experience they've had that a lot of fat women share in common it quickly becomes a fat issue and obscures the fact that there are over 53 other fatties here. None of the others have or have had this issue, yet sadly they're not participating in the thread nor are they relevent now. Maybe only in drips and drabs one will say, "Nope, not me," but nobody remembers them. Along comes lowly FA who on some levels may have had some experiences with fat women he was close to. His input may be as valid as anyone else's yet when he opens his mouth he gets called an insensitive leg humper who ignores problems with fat. On a personal level many of the things commonly discussed here by fat women are things that have passed me by completely and I most likely will never have issues with. Genes? A mean streak? I don't know. I do feel a strong sense of wanting to be supportive and respectful of my fat sisters but a few times I have felt an atmosphere of pressure, as if I should put on sack cloth and ashes and take up a lament for myself. This has bugged me a few times but I felt it was inappropriate to grand stand about it so I held my tongue. There are some primative posts here to be sure but I do recall a few where I actually felt bad for someone who was trying to make what seemed to me to be a valid point but it was done in a clumsy manner that was viewed immediatley as an affront to all that represents decency in the world.

    And that's where things seem to go awry I suppose. These things affect people so deeply and directly. There's a balancing act between letting someone pour out their soul, yet finding a way to express maybe another way of looking at things that doesn't subtract from the person or add to their torment. Nine times out of ten favor is going to sway towards the injured party looking for a safe place rather than the person trying to pull back the curtain on another point of view. For anyone who isn't fat this will seem unfair. Maybe it is but I think it's a fine line we have to walk.

    I swear, I'm using every ounce of energy I have today trying to string together an intelligent train of thought.
     
  5. Oct 1, 2009 #5

    Dr. P Marshall

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    I see what you mean. I think you actually much more eloquently expressed what I was trying to say about the "tough stuff." I didn't mean in terms of what the issues were per se. I get the sense more often than not, that it is because these issues are so personal. And I think from the thin/thinner fat admirer side they can be personal in the sense that they reflect what we fear. For example, a health issue. I have often felt that it is not always insensitivity that leads to some of the stranger F/FA posts about those topics. I think there is a desire of the F/FA (maybe even a hope?) to express a possibility that, to them doesn't seem as dire, even if rational thinking should lead them away from that train of thought. And then both sides fat and fat admirer end up feeling attacked or brushed off or invalidated in some way. Does that make sense? I too am having trouble today getting my thoughts in order.;)

    I also agree with you that sometimes I see posts and I think "oh, no, I know what you're getting at but the way you said it is just going to lead to all hell breaking loose." Like you, I believe in balance (we're both Libras;)) and I understand that there will always be times, issues and personalities that clash, it just seems to me lately that some of the strains on the community as a whole often seem like they could be avoided if people would take a deep breath and try to hear the other side and not automatically jump to a preconceived set of conclusions. It's almost as if some topics have a script that plays out over and over.

    Thanks for your response. I think you're pretty smart for someone having trouble keeping their thoughts in order today.;)
     
  6. Oct 1, 2009 #6

    LillyBBBW

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    A few years ago I was hospitalized with a pulmanary emboli and was diagnosed with a cerebral spinal disorder. I nearly had a nervous breakdown after because I felt so cursed and fearful. Fast forward 15 years and I'm somewhat ambivalent about it. I'm taking care of it with meds which is simple enough. My life hasn't missed a beat really save for the mental meltdown I had in the beginning that nearly crushed me. Maybe once or twice I've come upon someone who is dealing with the same issue and being run through the same spin cycle. I want to come along side them and say, "Everything is going to be ok. Things are not as horrible as they seem, you can still have 'Happily Ever After.'" Being that I've been there they may or may not look to that with some small sense of assurance or hope. Coming from an FA though? A SKINNY FA? To the person grappling it really can be seen as denial in favor of a love of fat even though it is coming from the same place my advice came from and possibly the same knowledge too albeit second hand. In some cases I can see someone coming from that angle in a reply posted here but I tell you, 15 years ago if an FA tried to brush off my fears like I'm overreacting I would have flogged him raw and screaming. Or at least I would never have spoken to him again, even now that I'm forced to admit that he was right all along. I still would have felt slighted and my feelings unsupported then because support is often seen as different things to different people. What was given at the time wasn't what I needed and it can be hard to understand this for a person who wants to offer something they view as valuable.
     
  7. Oct 1, 2009 #7

    Dr. P Marshall

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    That is why I put this as an issue on the F/FA board, because I DO think that in terms of issues like health, even if we think we have something supportive to say.....it's usually more supportive to be quiet. Not that I mean this as a plea for F/FAs to shut up or anything, that's not my point. I just know that there are topics where, regardless of what I may think, I would never, ever jump in with my two cents. It doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about....it just means I don't know it from the fat person's experience (I guess that's the best way to phrase it). When I see posts where an FA is trying to offer advice, or encouragement and it goes awry, I often feel that the solidarity is sincere, but there's no comprehension on that FA's part that it's just not the same thing as support from another BBW or BHM. That the support needed is not the sort that an F/FA can give. (Unless, of course, they had the exact same medical condition and weight was not part of the issue in any way).

    Also (not to stir the pot or anything amongst FAs and FFAs) but I often feel as a woman who is not fat, but is still a woman, that I read half of these threads and my head wants to explode. The fat admirer side of me can understand what the intention was and may even agree completely with the male FA, but the female side of me can't grasp what it is that the male FA in question isn't understanding about boundaries. Again, I often think it comes from a sincere place, it just mystifies me sometimes. The thing around here that I often find the strangest is that there are many posts where someone speaks about their wife or girlfriend having gone through something and they act as if it has happened to them. As if they know first hand what that feels like. Which they can't. I don't mean that they shouldn't offer support in a "I know you're scared, I saw my wife go through it" type of way. I don't mean those type of posts. I mean the ones that speak with authority about alternatives to weight loss or some other issue. The only one off the top of my head I can think of that isn't inflammatory is I once saw an FA mention his girlfriend was athletic and wanted to lose some weight due to back pain or something and another FA started talking about more supportive sports bras. And I remember thinking that I knew the FA was trying to be helpful, but the idea, for me as an athletic female, of a man talking about simple garment issues when most likely the pain impacted her doing something she really loved doing.....it just amazed me a bit. I don't know. Again, I'm NOT trying to start a male/female thing here. I know lots of male FAs would have read that post the same way I did. I have also seen some insensitive stuff on the BHM/FFA board from FFAs too. I think it's something all fat admirers need to think about more often.

    OK, I got off topic in my own post, but I'm really just sort of thinking this issue through. It often confuses me. Not hard to do, admittedly.:p
     
  8. Oct 1, 2009 #8

    chicken legs

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    i feel like im on the tail end of a very heated discussion...so can someone clue me in because i dont have the time to go through the boards...and this is totally hitting my curious button....does it have something to do with Melian's post in the BHM/FFA forum?
     
  9. Oct 1, 2009 #9

    Tad

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    Well, recall that as a rule of thumb, when a guy reads "I have a problem...." he assumes that the point of mentioning it is that you want solutions offered. Or as one friend of mine puts it, that you are being transactional, that you are trying to do something around the topic. So to "just" offer support seems wishy-washy, something you'd do only if you had nothing useful to say but felt obliged to say something.

    This is one of THE classic male/female communication issues. I can't speak for other guys, but even being aware of it, I find it really, really, hard to respond with support rather than suggestions in these situations. I don't know now much is nature and how much is nurture, but it tends to be a really natural reaction for most guys that I know.
     
  10. Oct 1, 2009 #10

    Dr. P Marshall

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    That's not what inspired me to start this thread. It was actually on the Main Boards in the "I'm Real" thread I saw someone bring up a point, which I have seen before, about whether or not size acceptance/self acceptance and fat admiration can really peacefully coexist. The thread in question meandered through a lot of topics, but that was one of the places it landed. I also was just perusing some other threads and saw references to FAs butting in on the BBW board and vice versa and I guess it just got me thinking. I wasn't directly addressing any particular incident. I've seen this idea of fat admiration and size acceptance having trouble coexisting on more than one occasion here. And I often see posts that veer off in that supportive but not at all understanding direction. The post I referenced about the sports bra came from WAY back, like over a year ago and I don't remember what thread. I was just putting all of my experiences over time here together in my head. This was also an issue I touched on once several months ago in a thread asking if certain pictures were detrimental to size acceptance. That thread also meandered to a different place and I ended up saying that I thought a lot of F/FA cluelessness stemmed from our desire to have our sexuality validated and that could seem risky in the face of some of the challenges fat people face.

    That was a convoluted answer, but the truth.:)
     
  11. Oct 1, 2009 #11

    LillyBBBW

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    Yes I was pretty much referencing the same things. I haven't seen Melian's post though. Am I missing a fun opportunity to give her a hard time? Now I have to go look for it. :D
     
  12. Oct 1, 2009 #12

    LillyBBBW

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    I experienced this very thing with a guy I've been corresponding with. I was pouring out my soul about a harrowing situation I encountered where I had to make a decision that I was not comfortable making. The situation is still pretty much unresolved and I'm treding carefully trying to let things run their course till a solution can be siezed upon. Anyway I'm a little uncomfortable in that corner but it's a necessary evil for now. After giving this account he responded with some canned counsel any person over the age of 85 would blurt out in an instant, like I was a child. It came off as impassive and trite, though I knew on some level that was not the message he was trying to convey. It took a day for me to respond because I was so annoyed. I'm glad I waited, I think what we had in that situation was exactly what you've mentioned Tad. I was seeing so much red at the time I nearly missed it and let him have it.
     
  13. Oct 1, 2009 #13

    Ben from England

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    Cool thread.

    Comments or attitudes from FA's that spur the notion of fat being anything other than a good thing reek of over compensation to me. Like you said, they are more speaking to themselves, because acknowledging some of the harder truths can lead to uncomfortable reflections. The example you gave about the guy suggesting different clothing, whilst certainly insensitive, seems more like cognitive dissonance than anything else. The thought process of that person ends up in a different place as a self defence mechanism. The idea that clothing is the problem is far more comfortable than having to acknowledge that the persons size, something they love, is causing them misery to any degree.

    As a veteran wallower myself, I see where you're coming from in regards to the idea that as FA's we are somewhat doomed to straddle the line between guilt and denial, but I think it's a very glass half empty perception of our lot in life.

    Fo what it's worth, in recent months I have found a measure of peace in regard to my FA-ness by taking the burden of my partners well-being off of my own shoulders. Whilst locked in the millionth endless conversation about the guilt I felt, my girlfriend sighed deeply and said something along the lines of 'How about you trust in my ability to look out for myself and know what's best for me. It's patronizing and self-centered that you talk about me as though I have no will of my own. I'm an adult and I know what I want. Enough with this shit. Lets talk about what dog we are going to get? I like spaniels...' then we talked about dogs for an hour instead of guilt. It was way more enjoyable.

    Something about that clicked and I've been pretty chilled about the whole thing since. Trusting that the people we are attracted to are adults who make their own choices is as important as questioning our own actions. I don't think there's anything wrong with asking the hard questions of yourself, but dwelling forever is not the answer either. Talking about dogs is way more fun. :D
     
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  14. Oct 1, 2009 #14

    Dr. P Marshall

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    You know what's funny, though? I know it is a more traditionally male trait, but my mother is actually by her own admission "a fixer." Not once in my life has she ever offered support, it's always what can be done. And my father is the same way. So, I guess that's why I sometimes don't understand why even if you (the general you) don't feel it......you can't recognize the pattern. I know it can be frustrating and believe me, I was reared entirely in a fix it environment, but I still get that not everyone was. I think with things like this a type of cognitive therapy has to come into play. I completely understand it can be foreign for each side. I guess I just am always amazed that people of both genders, who know this is an issue, can't step back and say "wait a minute, this didn't work the last 1000 times, maybe a different approach, or silence." :p And Tad, I am by no means asking you to be the voice of male FAs(as you know, I see you as one of the ones who does a very good job at seeing other people's sides of things), I wasn't even trying to turn this into a male /female thing. I think a lot of the problems happen with FFAs too. I have seen that lack of empathy on that board in the past. I have seen excessive objectification on that board in the past. And I love my FFA sisters, don't get me wrong, I'm just trying to point out that there is almost the exact communication/understanding issue across fat people/fat admirer lines here as there is with the man/woman thing. Then, when talking about a BBW/Male FA dynamic, it can get even more complicated. That's just how it seems to me anyway.
     
  15. Oct 2, 2009 #15

    Dr. P Marshall

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    I agree completely that we don't have to be stuck with only guilt and denial! That's one of the reasons I started the thread actually. You know I have wallowed too:). But I think we as FA/FFAs often take an extreme approach one way or the other. I don't think that approach is right, though.:) I think there has to be a middle ground that we all have to reach. I think sometimes in reaching it, we end up going through the thought processes that cause the "overzealous denial" posts. And those are the things that seem to cause trouble on the boards as a whole. I think it is perfectly possible, and should be the goal of all fat admirers, to be at ease with all of it. I think many here are. I was noticing a trend in all of the posts that seem to tread the supportive/vaguely insensitive line.

    Oh, and I kept the quote by your girlfriend because she is very wise and you are very wise to listen to her and I think all of us fat admirers would be wise to do the same.:)
     
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  16. Oct 2, 2009 #16

    Carrie

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    This quote bears repeating, in the hopes that it will sink into the psyche of more well-meaning FAs. I remember the FA guilt thread, and several of us fatties expressed this sentiment exactly. The thread was moderately frustrating, because all of the BBW posts expressing the same thing seemed to get overlooked by the FAs, in their haste to talk more about the guilt. I'm very glad it sunk in for you, Ben (and bravo for her saying it!!), and I hope it will sink in for other FAs/FFAs reading, too.

    Sorry for the interrupt, Dr. P, but I got all excited and had to say something. :D:p

    This thread topic is great; I'm reading with much interest.
     
  17. Oct 2, 2009 #17

    Jon Blaze

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    Usually I go about things on a case-by-case basis. I try not to act as if I know what someone has gone through.

    One of the best examples is a friend of mine who I found from another decided to lose some weight. For me it wasn't the action but the motivation that I was interested in. After finding out the whole story from the first friend, I just wished her luck because I honestly couldn't relate. I mean, I have joint issues now, but the only time where I've had worse joints/mobility was the time I came back from a camp and I was underweight for me.

    I didn't say anything not only because I know I couldn't relate, but I felt no real need. Everyone and the size that they are can have all sorts of personal issues both positive and negative. Things are always different for people, and I don't expect x to "Work" for everyone.
     
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  18. Oct 2, 2009 #18

    Dr. P Marshall

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    Oh, I wanted input from everyone! In fact, your post and the quote by Ben's girlfriend are the types of things that I think get overlooked and lead to the whole F/FA guilt/denial conundrum. (Yes, I just used that word.:p) I do realize that a lot of the times, in seeking to be supportive or dealing with our own feelings as fat admirers we do come off really condescending without meaning to at all. I think that's where a lot of the disjointed communication comes from. We get so caught up in our own guilt or other feelings that we almost forget that the object of our affection has lived their life just fine before us and will do so with or without us.

    I wanted to put this thread here because I honestly think it becomes too easy when speaking about miscommunication to imply that it is a simple dynamic of fat person sensitivity/lack of confidence vs. FA desire. I have always really thought what was going on was FA sensitivity vs. Fat person sensitivity about particular topics and experiences. Does that make sense? In general I think everyone tries to come to various discussions with the best of intentions, but there can be a very paternalistic (for lack of a better word) attitude sometimes from us. I mean that for both genders of fat admirers. And I really think part of it is some deep seated FA guilt and denial. A fear of having our fantasy world intruded upon and I don't mean in terms of just sex, either. I think most F/FAs would love to believe that whatever size partner they find attractive will always be perfectly happy and healthy and trouble free as long as fat admirers are there to appreciate. As if the reality of society or even at times a person's health doesn't exist because we don't want it to. But my point here is that I don't think it's just because fat admirers want to be able to have sexual fantasies and don't want to hear about the "pesky problems." I think it stems from something inside of us fat admirers that functions as a defense mechanism for those who aren't completely at ease with themselves yet. I guess I wanted to talk about the denial, but felt we had to stop denying that the denial is even there. :p But I definitely want to hear all input. :)
     
  19. Oct 2, 2009 #19

    Mini

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    The aforementioned example with the sports bra seems to me a dude who's well-meaning but FUCKING STUPID. I am, however, perhaps too quick to assume malice and idiocy when simple aloofity - screw you, it's a word - fits better. I never considered that men and women offer support in different ways ("support" is, to me, a rather nebulous concept to begin with) and I also never considered that it could by genuine instead of willful ignorance.

    Yeah, imagine that, I'm quick to think the worst of people. :p

    I dunno, it's an interesting thread and one which I'm happy to follow. :)
     
  20. Oct 2, 2009 #20

    StarWitness

    StarWitness

    StarWitness

    part square, part drape

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    That's a major point of being an ally to any sort of group: realizing that sometimes the best course of action is listening, because it's not about you.

    I've been on both sides, in various situations, and it's very frustrating. As an ally, you feel like you want to help out, but you don't know what the best course of action is, and passively observing doesn't feel like enough. But, as a member of the group seeking allies, sometimes that input can indeed be condescending, especially when it's coming from someone from a privileged group that usually gets the lion's share of power/attention/visibility, and it just seems to reinforce the idea that the opinion/support of the privileged group is essential. Which reinforces the inequalities that we were trying to dismantle in the first place.

    Maybe that's reducing people to their labels, but sometimes you do have to be cognizant of those labels, because they do affect how we interact with each other.


    I totally agree with the point about accepting that the fat person you're admiring's fatness isn't dependent upon your admiration (and if it is? hawt). I don't know that I necessarily agree with the idea of FA guilt as a defense mechanism... I can see how there might be some vestigal "fat = bad" feelings that manifest as guilt regarding one's orientation, but I feel like it's more complex than that. While I think we can all agree that there's nothing inherently wrong or evil about being fat, it is something that can have negative side effects. When you care for someone, you don't want them to suffer-- but when an aspect of them that you're really into is also a (potential) cause of unhappiness? Of course you're going to feel guilty about that.
     

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