Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm trying this again...

I'm going to try again to keep this blog regularly even if it's only a few lines a day. Something to keep me grounded.

The last few days I've been hypomanic, what with discovering Facebook and all. Today I feel myself sliding down that slippery slope into the place where I can't get dressed or go out or even move, much.

I saw my pdoc yesterday and he raised my antidepressants yet again so maybe that will help. Time will tell, I suppose. I didn't have much time to discuss things with him--it was only a 15-minute med check--but he seemed sympathetic to the place I'm in mentally and emotionally. How I know it's not healthy to just sit at home all day, but at the same time trying to force myself into activities that I find no joy in just makes me frustrated and angry so I end up feeling worse. It's a real catch-22. (I suppose I should read that book some day so I actually know what that phrase means.)

I wonder if this next part should have its own post, but I'm here now so I'm just going to go ahead with it.

Last night I was reading articles on fat acceptance on the web. And I ended up feeling pretty bad about myself. I believe that fat acceptance is an important cause. Prejudice against fat people is one of the still-acceptable prejudices in this country, maybe in the world. And that's just wrong. Wrong to judge anyone for their body size, especially when a lot of the devices for measuring it are so flawed (don't even get me started on the BMI!).

So why do I feel bad about myself? Because though I could accept others with no problem, I have never been able to accept myself as a fat person, which is why I have been following the Weight Watcher's program the past year and a half. And I've done pretty well on it. I've got a body I can accept, finally, after many years of struggle. (And I even fit into the "normal" range of that wretched BMI.)

I feel like a Judas to the cause, though. Like I can't support fat acceptance without accepting myself as a fat person. M. says I have done a lot of hard work and should be proud of what I have accomplished but I just can't feel it. All I feel is that I'm not a proper feminist.

and now my thoughts are becoming incoherent and confused jsut when I feel this post is starting to become interesting, so I have to stop. Maybe I'll be able to say more on this topic later. I hope so.

1 comment:

Stef said...

This got long.

The first time I encountered the fat acceptance movement was when I came across Shadow on a Tightrope. I read essays by women who said they weighed over 300 pounds. I had two responses to this book. I felt glad that someone was finally saying that it was OK to be fat and that fat people should be treated as human beings. Also, I went on the only major diet I've ever been on in my life. (When I got to my lowest adult weight, I felt pretty sick and undernourished. But I was still overweight according to BMI.)

You and I are not the only people who have combined fat acceptance and losing weight. So did Paul Campos, the author of The Obesity Myth. So did Susan Bordo, the author of Unbearable Weight, one of the first books to compare the language of fat-hatred with the language used to describe Jews in Nazi Germany. (She also stated that she felt bad about herself for making that personal choice.)

If accepting your body -- fat or not -- is a requirement for being a proper feminist, then there are very few proper feminists, because most women (and some men) frequently feel unhappy about their bodies, and one of the most common reasons is feeling that your body is too fat.

I prefer to think that feminism is the radical notion that women are people, and that the actions which show someone to be a feminist are actions that support women. Since women are unfairly judged by our appearance (including our weight), publicly stating that fat prejudice is wrong is a good feminist action. It's also a feminist principle that what you do with your body is your own business.

People who can successfully lose weight over the long term are rare, but they do exist. If you are one of them and feel better with a smaller body, then I think you are fortunate in this, and I don't see harm being done. I would like to have a smaller body too. But that seems incompatible with my sanity and other health needs, so I need to focus on health goals other than weight loss ("Health at Every Size"

Unfortunately there isn't any way to change your weight without other people having opinions about it and likely expressing those opinions publicly. But that's part of society's mistreatment of women. Women's bodies are considered public property and that means people think they get to make assumptions about what the size of your body means and what it means when your body changes size.

What I'm writing here is somewhat different from other things I've said in my LiveJournal. For much of my life post-fat-acceptance I felt
personally threatened by people who lost weight. That's not rational because people's personal choices aren't about me.

I do think it's rational for me to be concerned that the vast majority of people who want to change their weight want to lose weight rather than gain weight. I think that shows evidence of social pressure. But that's a problem with society, not individuals.

Also in the past I've said stuff like, "OK, if you lose weight, fine, but don't talk about it in public at all." I still think I would *prefer* if people didn't talk about it -- especially as a casual female-bonding type conversation topic -- but I suspect I'm one or two sigmas over at the "reserved" end of the bell curve about certain personal stuff, and a lot of other people have different ways of handling what to share and what not to share.

I do feel angry/betrayed when someone who is a leader in the fat acceptance movement or is a celebrity who has publicly declared "I'm OK with being fat" then decides to lose weight -- and to be even more public about losing weight than they were about their fat-acceptance.