Sunday, October 14, 2007

ASSumptions

I sometimes visit websites where current events are discussed, and, I'm sorry to say, I read the discussions about fat people. This is not some sort of masochistic tendency. I just feel that it's important to know what dialogues are happening outside of the FA sphere. I'm sad to say, there are a lot of very ignorant, hateful people out there, and many of them seem to be just itching for an excuse to treat another person like dog shit.

One of the biggest mistakes these people make is assuming that they know everything about a person just by looking at the size of that person's body. With no other information, the fat person is tried and convicted in one fell swoop of being irresponsible, stupid, piggish, lazy, dishonest, and, ultimately, worthless. The assumption is that, IF they weren't stupid, they would know that eating less and exercising more will make them lose weight. If they know this, and are still fat, then they are irresponsible, piggish, and lazy for not doing those things. If they say that they are doing them, or that they have tried them and failed, then they are dishonest. These huge assumptions take one enormous logical leap after another, until it is concluded that fat people are not only worthless, but they only have themselves to blame for their being worthless--and, any responsible citizen should, by way of shaming and shunning, encourage fat people to lose weight in order to prove their worth.

Which leads me to the rather glaring and ridiculous assumptions I saw the other day regarding disabled people who are fat. It was the usual pissing and moaning about how "all the motorized scooters in the grocery store are used by omg fat people omg only buying JUNK FOOD OMG!" The assumptions here were this:
- If you are fat, then you cannot be disabled
- If you ARE fat and disabled, fat is always the reason you are disabled, and losing weight will cure you--and therefore, your disability is entirely your own fault, so you should be denied any form of mobility assisting devices.
- Denying fat disabled people the use of motorized scooters will force them to walk, and subsequently, lose weight
- And, if they don't want to walk, then they don't deserve to shop, especially for groceries, as they ought to be starved until they are at a socially acceptable size.

As a person who occasionally uses a motorized cart for shopping, on days when I am in a great deal of pain and am fatigued, I am, frankly, insulted by this line of reasoning. The option for me is NOT to "walk, and lose weight" on those days, it is to stay home. If I'm having a bad day, the only thing that can make me feel confident enough to go shopping is knowing that I will likely be able to use a cart or wheelchair for the trip. Doing this not only reduces my pain; it also allows me to have a clear enough mind to get the shopping done efficiently, and not have to send the poor husband back to the store for some strange ingredient that he's going to have to call me twice while in the store in order to find.

Knowing that some of my outings are going to involve a mobility aid allows me the freedom to HAVE those outings, and, more importantly, the ability to ENJOY them. If I'm at an art museum, and all I can think about is how badly my back is hurting because it's spasming, then there is no point to my even being there. Sometimes, my cane is all I need to keep my balance and stave off the muscle tremors. Sometimes, if I know it's going to be a long jaunt, the chair is needed for me to enjoy a day with my husband.

But, is this really the issue? The haters don't seem to have any real concern for the health and well-being of the people they are complaining about. Sure, they give lip service to health care costs, but let's get down to what this is REALLY about: They don't want to have to look at happy fat people. Yes, my mobility aid allows me to get out of the house and enjoy myself, but that's exactly what is pissing people off. How dare I be out in public, looking all fat and grotesque, and not even having the sense to be ashamed of myself? That's what your real problem is, isn't it assholes? Well, guess what? That's too damn bad. I have just as much right to be out in public and shopping and visiting museums as you do. I'm not the hell affecting you any more than the next person is, so mind your own business, and maybe try giving yourself permission to be happy without it being at the expense of others for a change, okay?

1 comment:

Toni said...

I stumbled across your blog and wanted to comment. I too have FM, and have gained a LOT of weight because of the immobility, the fatigue and the heaps of drugs I've taken trying to get my body back in working order.

I've also just recently started to get into the concept of body/fat acceptance and stopping fighting and punishing my body. And that's actually been the absolutely best thing for my health.

I'm fortunate enough not to have to use any mobility devices, but at times I can't climb stairs, or have to stop and rest, etc.

There are days that I want to have a big flashing sign above my head that reads "Hey, asshole! Stop staring at me with that disgusted look on your face. I know I'm fat. I also have a fucking medical condition that makes it really hard for me to get around. I was thin before I got sick, so don't give me that crap about how I wouldn't be sick if I just lost some weight."