Monday, January 21, 2008

Big Buts, Part Three: Forces of Attraction

"But you want to force people to find fat people attractive!"

I have seen this numerous times, including several references to size positive advocates as "Fat Acceptance Thugs", trying to force thin, "fit" people to be attracted to us. Yet another straw man, of course, created out of whole cloth (to mix a metaphor with a fallacy); a rather pathetic attempt to make size positive advocates look like fascists who dictate what is and is not attractive. The most egregious part of this fallacy is that people who say this are attributing a level of power to the FA movement that is literally impossible.

What are they imagining here? Let me think of some scenarios:
- Fat people in a circle surrounded by candles, the air thick with incense, and a thin victim tied spread-eagle to an altar in the middle. The fat people chant something in arcane languages, casting a spell on their victim, forcing the innocent soul to only lust after people who weigh over 300 pounds.

- Fat people in a secret laboratory, concocting powerful pheromones to wear, giving everyone around them NO choice but to tackle them and start humping away until they die from exhaustion.

- Fat people kidnapping thin folks and subjecting them to chemical and psychological brainwashing, then releasing them once they are sure the victims are only interested in sex with fat people.

- Fat people going house to house with guns and torture equipment, threatening and waterboarding anyone who does not have sex with at least one of them.

Yeah, I don't think so. Look, you idiots (yeah, I know two ad hominems don't make a right, but c'mon, it's not FAIR to take the high road every time), no one is forcing you to find anyone attractive. No one! Attraction is not something that can be forced. It is not something that can be chosen, either. What we ARE asking is that YOU don't badger US into changing ourselves to be attractive to you. If you aren't interested, then let's go our separate ways, and we'll each find someone else.

Another thing we'd like is for you to stop fucking pestering people who DO find us attractive. If your buddy is interested in or dating a fat person, don't be an ass about it. Let your friends make their own decisions about relationships. Why is it so important to you to humiliate your friend for having a relationship with someone whom YOU consider unattractive? Sounds like you're forcing someone to be attracted to the kind of person you choose, doesn't it?

Here's another thing we'd like you to do: Stop being rude to us. Fine, you aren't attracted. Whatever. That doesn't mean you have to humiliate us, scream nasty names at us, or otherwise be uncivil. If we express an interest in you, and you don't feel the same way, just say so, and move on with your life. If we aren't expressing an interest in you, then why the hell are you bugging us about what we look like anyway? Just leave us alone. If we're being polite to you, how about being polite in return? If we are ignoring you, why not ignore us in return? Why is that so much to ask?

Finally, even if I had the ability to force someone to find me attractive, I wouldn't want to do it. I would rather have natural attraction--and on all levels. Mental, emotional, physical--and yes, believe it or not, some people (a lot of them, in fact!) are attracted to me, a fat woman. I didn't club my first husband over the head and drag him to the altar by the hair. I didn't drug the second one and cackle madly as he unwittingly wed me in a stupor. Both were attracted to my fat ass, physically and otherwise (and I won't go into the details of my divorce, but it was amicable and sad, and had nothing to do with physical attraction or fat; we just weren't right for each other, and it took us a while to figure that out). My current husband still requires no drugging, blackmailing, or regular beatings to keep him interested in me. So get over yourselves already.

So no, no one is "forcing" you to be attracted to anyone. Even if we wanted to, which we don't, we don't have the power. Even if we had the power, it wouldn't be worth it to have someone who wasn't interested on their own. All we want is some basic respect--you don't have to be horny for us, but for god's sake, could you use some manners?


Rebecca said...


Mercurior said...

many years ago before i got married, nearly 3 months now, i once asked a girl out on a date, i was friendly, i didnt push i knew them. THEY looked at me then up and down, then turned round and giggled with her friends.

as a man that didnt do my self esteem much good.

Andee said...

Yeah, exactly. I can think of all kinds of people I find unappealing, but I don't follow them down the street yelling at them about how unappealing I find them.

Andee (Meowser)

RioIriri said...

Thank you! Are you the Rebecca that I'm related to, by any chance?

See, that's what I'm talking about. Whatever happened to, "No, thank you--I'm flattered, but I'm not interested"? I may not totally agree with Miss Manners on her seasonal clothing changes, but just about everything else is spot-on.

I know, right? What kind of ugly-on-the-inside person do you have to be to act that way? Civility is a good thing, and yet it's fallen by the wayside.

Meghan said...

This line of thinking seems tied to the idea that a woman's worth is directly correlated to to her sexual attractiveness. It's almost as if they're saying "I don't want to have sex with you, so what right do you have to exist?"

Rebecca said...

No, I'm pretty sure I'm not =)

Kat said...

Love this post!

vesta44 said...

meghan - I think that's exactly what they're saying. They don't want to have sex with us, so we have no reason to exist, and the ones who do want to have sex with us are deviant, so they don't have a right to exist either. That's why all the OMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC hysteria and all the pushing to be thin and perfect. But no one is perfect, perfection is a carrot held out to keep you striving and concentrating on that instead of concentrating on having the best life you can at whatever size you happen to be.

William said...

Here some writings from the roots of Fat Acceptance. AA they were looking for is common decency.

Later Fat Acceptance mutated into something where BBW Dances were considered activism and Fat People were became BBWs and later BHMs. I always thought that attributes like beautiful and handsome should not have any worth in the core language of Fat Acceptance because it takes away from the singleness of purpose
and lets our enemies say that we are no different from them, even if that is not how things really are.


Anonymous said...

What I find most offensive is that MY self-worth and dignity is ONLY based on if I'm "sexually attractive" or not. What a load of c-r-a-p!

All I want is to be treated with dignity and respect, just like any other thin American. And on Martin Luther King Jr day in the United States, that message couldn't be more apt.

King didn't want people based on physical appearance, but on the content of their character. My physical shape says NOTHING about my character. Being fat is not a moral failing.

And if some man happens to find me attractive (which has happened SEVERAL times, btw) they shouldn't be punished or shunned for doing so.

Mercurior said...

i like the terms BBW, and BHM, as they give a boost of self esteem, i am a BIG accurate HANDSOME debatable and MAN.. Big beautiful women. beauty and being handsome isnt a crime, why must it be when talking about bbw and bhms.

beauty is from within i knew a lady who was supposed to be beautiful but she repelled me her soul was wrong, and one of my family isnt classically beautiful but whe she smiled the world lit up, she became beautiful.

Stefanie said...

To which I would say, "But you would like to force those of us who DO find fat men/women attractive, to find them repulsive! But we don't..."

AnnieMcPhee said...

This is a wonderful series - I'm reading with bated breath!

Eat a Book!! said...

I'm a little late to this, but God it's good. Thank you.

I also wanted to add: if someone likes you and works up the courage to surmount their personal fears of rejection and smiles at you or asks you out or wants to talk about your weekend plans, whatever, you should be grateful and you should feel flattered. Whether you find them attractive or not, they went through some mental acrobatics to get to this place, and they thought you were worth it.