Friday, February 1, 2008

I'm fat because I hate men

If I wrote tripe like this, I wouldn't be publishing it where anyone could actually read it. For god's sake, woman, have someone edit your work. I am sick of reading poorly written garbage that reads like walking through a mirrored maze during an earthquake. And somebody, please, buy her a keyboard with a working comma key!

However, I suppose it isn't completely fair to dismiss this based entirely on crappy writing. I'll even be kind and assume the "speaking to a kindergartener" tone is because the author writes on a third grade level instead of accusing her of being condescending. Instead, I'll address some of the bullshit contained within the article, starting with the idea that women get fat on purpose to make themselves less attractive.

The first bullshit assumption she makes is this: "When you are obese, you are less sexually attractive. " First of all, she is making an absolute statement about a subjective matter. Second, she does not qualify it--less sexually attractive than what? Than a rabid anteater? Than a used blow-up doll? What's that honey? Just a moment, the husband is whispering to me...Oh. I get it. Than a thin person. She means that fat people aren't as attractive as thin people. Unfortunately, she does not say, "In my opinion," before that statement, she just says it like it's an indisputable fact. Well, sorry, but she's wrong. Some people find thin people sexually attractive. Some people find fat people sexually attractive. Some people find automobiles sexually attractive. It's subjective, and Ms. Rubaum-Keller does not dictate to the world what is and is not sexually attractive. Since the majority of the rest of her article is based on this flawed assumption, I could easily just dismiss it as false, but I'll forge onward regardless.

So here we are, deliberately surrounding ourselves with an armor of adipose tissue so that the icky, scary men don't pester us for nasty, dirty sex. If we are fat, then no man will want us, so we won't ever get abused or taken advantage by them! And if we lose weight, we have to be totally afraid of men running after us as we walk down the street, pestering us, asking us out, and having penises in their pants while they do so! And if you're fat, they leave their penises at home, so you have nothing to worry about. Or something. Because, according to Ms. Rumbaum-Keller, penises only want thin women, because biology makes them go for cute, healthy people, and fat people are not cute or healthy.

Did that make any sense? I'm sorry to say that it made more sense in the above paragraph than it did in the two she used to say it. And, again, she's wrong. For one, if there are women who deliberately get fat just to scare away men, they are a tiny minority. For another, if you ARE getting fat just to keep men from asking you out, it isn't going to work, because fat is not inherently unattractive, and there are plenty of men out there who love women of all sizes. Besides, isn't that rather counter to our usual stereotype of the poor, lonely fatty who wants more than anything to get a date, but can't because she's omg fat? You can't have it both ways folks, and neither is actually true.

However, I also take issue with the idea that fat women are less biologically attractive because "fat is unhealthy". Considering that, biologically, it is only very recently that thin became the "ideal", our species has not had time to evolve into changing its instinctive preferences. Examining the history of our species shows that the fat female figure has been a fertility symbol for thousands of years. This is not to say that thin women are inherently unhealthy or unattractive--I am being inclusive, not exclusive here.

Once we've been patronizingly informed that we don't want to be thin because we might be attractive to males, we are then treated to the idea that our friends will totally hate us out of jealousy if we lose weight. This is because losing weight leads to DATING MEN, and then our friends will be mad at us for not being alone and miserable. Losing weight also makes you pretty, and pretty people are to be hated and treated with snideness and envy, especially if they were formerly the "fat friend" that made other people feel better about themselves.

Do I even need to explain how completely ridiculous this is? As a fat, happily married woman, I can only respond to that by laughing hysterically. As a fat, happily married woman who has had to gently let interested parties down by informing them of her marital status, I spit on this article and its idiocy. I'm sorry, but if my friends only like me because I "make them look good" when we are out together? They don't stay friends for long. I prefer friends who are intelligent and interesting, not shallow idiots who are only thinking about where to get their next lay. If I suddenly lost weight, I am pretty damn sure that my circle of friends would become fearful that I'd become deathly ill or anorexic, and they'd try to help me out. That's what friends do, when they are real friends and not shallow, petty bitches. I'm sorry that Ms. Rubaum-Keller doesn't have real friends, because they're great to have.

To summarize simply: Being fat is not inherently unattractive. Fat girls do indeed attract mates, and there is ample evidence for this. Citing evolutionary biology as a reason for fat being unattractive is not a good idea when you don't really have any understanding of the subject. And you know what? Some of us "stay fat" because we don't think being fat is a bad thing. It has nothing to do with fending off men or not wanting your friends to hate you, and everything to do with having better things to do than put a bunch of effort into conforming to someone else's standards of beauty.

15 comments:

Jen said...

Your post made me so happy. I read Ms. R-K's article earlier today but couldn't make heads nor tails out of it but knew there was something seriously wrong with it. Thanks for articulating what I could not. You rock my socks.

Ashley said...

I am so sick of the implication that sexual attractiveness is an absolute, incontrovertible constant in this universe.

Just as many sexual preferences exist as there are people in this world. Sex isn't simple, and attraction isn't either. There are an unending number of factors.

Moreover, why does this article make it sound as if every person, from the men who don't want fat women, to the women who are fat, to the skinny women who are apparently trollops (sorry, but if fat women are scared of sex, does that mean very skinny women are all really, really slutty? The logic fallacies continue to build) they all think with some giant hive mind.

Lawdy, this article. Journalism becomes more and more of a joke every time something like this gets published.

Lindsay said...

Some people find thin people sexually attractive. Some people find fat people sexually attractive.

It's really quite simple: if people universally found fat people sexually repulsive, any genetic predisposition towards adiposity would have been weeded out millenia ago. Christ, do they just not teach LOGIC anymore?

Oh wait, i forgot: fat is like, totally not genetic. Or something. Right. *snort*

I've never had problems finding sexual partners. Sure, i got more attention when i was a size 16 (as opposed to the size 22 i am now), but i mostly attribute that to the fact that the only place i did NOT lose weight was my boobs - thus making them look significantly larger in proportion to the rest of me. O.o

Because, according to Ms. Rumbaum-Keller, penises only want thin women, because biology makes them go for cute, healthy people, and fat people are not cute or healthy.

Nice way to objectify both men AND women. Men are reduced to nothing more than animals functioning on instinct, and women are nothing more than meat to which those animals must be attracted in order to be validated.

RioIriri said...

Jen,
I don't blame you for not making heads or tails out of it. It is extremely poorly written. It reads like a freshman cheerleader with a third grade reading level writing about why omg fat ppl are like gross n stuf n thin chix rule except when icky nerds pester them for dates like totally.

Yeah.

Ashley,
I agree with everything you said in your comment. I think the "writer" (I can't call her that with a straight face) is projecting her own personal little neuroses onto all women, which makes her wrong. It'd be like me saying that all women hate babies and only have them because they're forced to by the patriarchy, based on my own dislike of babies (I like children, but just can't stand babies*), and the fact that the only way I would ever have one is if I were literally forced to do so. That would be incorrect, as many women truly adore babies, and want them. But I'm not so arrogant as to think that my view of the world is the only one (let alone the only valid one--it amazes me that this woman doesn't even bring up other viewpoints and say that she thinks they are wrong; she simply acts as they do not exist!).

*Note to people who do like babies: My not liking them does not mean that I look down on you. I acknowledge that my personal preference toward them is not a superior or inferior thing, it is just how I feel. Don't jump my case over it.

RioIriri said...

Lindsay,
Yes, I didn't want to take it seriously enough to spank her for reducing men to mindless sex machines, but that really pissed me off too.

She'll probably think her partner cheats on her because her butt was too big, because it obviously couldn't be due to her being vapid and dull--men don't care about anything but getting laid!

What is it like to view the world as a giant meat market? I mean, I get together with my friends and we talk about things like quantum mechanics, literature, and art. If my husband just thought of me as an in-house prostitute, I'd throw him out.

Meghan said...

I looked at that car-sex thing, and I think my brain broke a little.

kellycoxsemple said...

Huzzah! Well said! It was all I could do to lift my massive jaw off the floor while reading that article. Aside from the points you so accurately address (the hideous writing style, for starters), the first scary thing is that this woman is a psychotherapist. She supposedly HELPS people deal with the “problems of living.” ACK!

I'm also agog at the blatant "You took in more calories than you burned and stored them as fat" stance. Wait, that wasn't implied. Those were her actual words, as if she is the first person in the universe to finally decipher the one and only true cause of body size. Remember, she has a Masters' degree and works as a psychotherapist. Theoretically, she should have a modicum of intelligence.

It's far too easy to rant at length about this kind of stuff, especially in the comments section of someone else's blog! I'll wrap it up by echoing one particular sentiment of your and your initial commenters.

I NEVER hated men. In fact, I was always boy-crazy, from a very early age. Once I realized that the message “fat=unattractive” is hogwash, men came out of the woodwork. I dated a wide variety of men before meeting the one who eventually became my husband.

This is the first time I’ve read your blog, but it certainly won’t be the last. Keep on keepin’ on!

RioIriri said...

Meghan,
I am so sorry. I owe you some brain bleach!

Kelly,
Thank you for reading! I was also appalled that she is a psychotherapist. I sincerely hope that she has very few fat clients.

I have to say that I have never lacked attention as a fat girl. I think I actually got MORE attention fat than I did thin. Part of that was confidence and being a happier person (I don't eat when I'm unhappy or depressed), and part (albeit less important than confidence) is having bigger boobs :)

Fate said...

I didn't read her entire post (really too wandering for me) but there is a lot of evidence that because socially the attitude is that if you're fat you'll be unattractive that there can be a huge psychological component for children who were sexually abused to gain weight and work to keep it on. If that doesn't work to keep their abusers (and other suitors later on because the fear of sexuality doesn't always go away with the abuse, particularly if it were never addressed properly through therapy) then often cleanliness suffers as well.

For me? I was a heavy early teen and had trouble with minorities who like fat white women hitting on me (black, latino, middle eastern) and that was uncomforatble... and when I was thin at 18/19 I had trouble with EVERYONE hitting on me... but... it wasn't because they were hitting on me, it's because being a fat child I'd have my self esteem pulled so low and been badgered into a feeling of worthlessness that I didn't have any coping skills for the attention. I acutally usually felt that any cat calls of being asked out on dates (from my early teens on) were 'set ups' to make a fool out of me so was very defensive and never went out.

There have been times I didn't WANT to lose weight because I thought it made me unattractive... funny thing is, those are the times I was most active dating and sexually, heh, because I thought that if a guy liked me when I was 'ugly' then he liked ME and not my body so it was ok.

Getting out of that rut I did a lot of research on the topic, especially while teaching emotionally disturbed high school and JR high kids.

So... there is some basis to what she's saying, but she doesn't *get* it, nor does she present it well.

I, too, am a fat, happily married woman but really, really, REALLY feel that I probably wouldn't have accepted that relationship level when still thin, because when I thought I was beautiful my self esteem was still in the gutter so I assumed anyone who hit on my only wanted sex... it wasn't until I came into my own many years later and had gained back a lot of weight that I was able to accept that if someone liked me it was because I was really worthy of that love.

So... the bigger issue is not that partners may or may not find fat people attractive, but that she's continuing to spout this bullshit which primes youth to believe that they're worthless, just like their abusers/the media/cruel kids at school told them they are and to set them up for cycles of depression and self abuse in a way that is totally unacceptable. Thanks, Doc, for adding to the damage thousands of parents, abusers, teachers, media personalities and lawmakers are already doing to our youth.

As for the bit about loved ones not wanting you to change... this is only if they, too, are brainwashed into thinking that you're inferior if you're fat. My husband has been VERY supportive of my health efforts (which have resulted in significant weight loss through natural readjustment of my body, though I'm still a fat girl) ... but my dad? Not so much with my mom. Why? Becaus he, like so many people, believe that if their spouce gets thin/healthy they're a 'better' catch/person and will want to move on to bigger and better things. Why would they feel this way? Because TV tells them so... and worse, so many people, especially women, believe it about themselves too and follow through on leaving the men they love because they're 'better than them' once they're thin, or they get boob implants or whatever... never thinking about the fact that if they leave the one who loves them for who they are to persue someone who is only interested in the way they look... it's not a step 'up'.

*Sighs*

(I know this was somewhat incoherent, but I am just waking up from a night in my husband's arms and it's hard to re-focus myself after that... *Sighs* I like being fat and loved!)

onceupon said...

I love the contradictory stereotypes of fat women - and by love I mean hate for their utter nonsensicalness.

After all, why would we get fat if we were afraid of men when everyone knows fat women are wanton sexual beasts out of desperation for human contact? I mean, hello?

*snort*

Zan said...

But but...what about those of us who date women? I mean, I have a girlfriend who LOVES the fact that I'm a big girl. She adores my belly and my bottom and well..she's just loves me as I am. So...did I get fat to attract a girlfriend? I mean, if I got fat to avoid men....(which, somehow, didn't seem to work. Huh. I got more man-action as a fat fat girl who was happy with herself than I ever did as a still-fat-but-smaller girl who hated herself).

Mercurior said...

The deeper cynic in me says, she wants to create more "ill" people with body issues, because then she can treat them and make more money.

i had a friend, she was large lively, happy, she had men queueing up to date her, not because she was a slut or anything be she enjoyed life to the max.

Then she got invilved with the cult of weight watchers, and she lost weight, ok but it changed her whole personality, she became paranoid about calories, about what other people were eating. Then she tried to convert me, but didnt work. She then decided she didnt want to be my friend because i was fat and i was telling her bad things (like just have fun, eat drink be merry for tomorrow we all die). last i heard she was essentially a recluse with no dates she wouldnt go on dates with a meal.

If you were thin in the victorian era, you were considered ILL, with consumption, the reubenesque female forms are beautiful how anyone could say, in my opinion, that twiggy is sexier than some of the older larger models just stuns me.

its only in the recent 20th century has skinny been "in"

(and anyway size was a sign of fertility, and health, to be skinny was to mean unhealthy in the pre historic eras even in gthe early historics.)

Andee said...

I never had to "beat men off with a stick" fat or thin, married or single, at any age. They just didn't ever seriously approach me, for the most part. I'm just a very odd person and not many men are/were going to be all that interested in me, whether I was size 6 or a size 20. Especially after about age 25, when I stopped having one-night stands.

My life was littered with unrequited crushes even as a thin person. I certainly did NOT try to gain weight in order to reduce my chances of finding partnership or getting laid, that's absolutely preposterous. I was already desperate for a boyfriend even at my thinnest and wanted to be even thinner; even at my thinnest I thought I was way too fat to be loved. (That's before I got smart about The Fat, of course. Now I'm perfectly well loved as a size 18, and would tell my younger self to chill out about her weight.)

Yeah, when I was young I had plenty of men making kissing and hissing noises when I walked by, but that was because of my age, all young women have that happen to them. It doesn't indicate any serious interest. And now I'm 44. No one is going to do that to me now no matter how much weight I lose. And I don't miss it. You can keep THAT part of being young, thanks.

Is it possible that some random nut on the street will be less likely to attack me because I weigh more than he does? Yeah, it's possible. But it's just as likely that Random Nut does not see me because I am middle-aged and thus already invisible, regardless of weight. Or that he does not give a damn one way or the other and will attack absolutely anybody. Rape is not a compliment!

Andee (Meowser)

Jessica said...

And also, there's no such thing as lesbians? Wait, maybe there's just no such thing as *thin* lesbians.

Harrison - BBWfan said...

Riolri,

Slamdunk!! I love it when I read another articulate rant against the prejudice of thin-supremacists. Remember that the silly psychologist you stumbled across lives in L.A. the epicenter of movie-based narcissistic self-consciousness. Her livelihood depends on convincing "fat and unattractive" people that they need to get with the program and focus more on measuring up to the anorexic standards of Nicole Richie or Paris Hilton.

With almost no effort, I'm thin myself (good genes) and proud of it, but see no need to be obnoxious about it. I absolutely adore big, heavy women and am married to one.

If you ever want to entertain yourself with a male-run blog dedicated to fighting thin-supremacy, please feel free to stop by

www.bbwnation.blogspot.com

Take care,
Harrison