The Liberal Landslide

I’ve been thinking about this whole Goforth thing and about what I want out of situations like that.  Now, I’m a white person, so take that as a huge caveat.  But I don’t want someone like Goforth to lose her job.  I want her to get why what she did was wrong and for her to change.

I don’t think Black is a “worst person in the world” candidate because she didn’t fire Goforth, either.

I don’t know.  This is hard for me to talk about because I feel like I’m not getting out exactly what I mean.  I just know that when I saw the tidal wave that came after Brittney and how there wasn’t any way to stop it and there wasn’t any way to speak against it and make your voice heard, it made me very wary of that kind of liberal landsliding, where a few tiny stones start moving at the top and before you know it, the whole side of the mountain is coming down on someone.

And you wonder–if a person just needed a rock upside the head (metaphorically), is the whole mountain necessary?  Or even appropriate?

I don’t know.  And I say that as a person just as likely as the next person to wonder if the media is going to pick up on something.

And I’d like to think that there’s a useful distinction between pointing out a problem & getting it dealt with and everyone piling on in order to prove… what?  I don’t know exactly.

I just feel like, though, that there’s got to be a difference between yelling “fire” in order to get everyone to come running to help put it out and yelling “monster” and handing everyone pitchforks and torches.

But I don’t know that I’m always clear about what that difference is.

Fat Gals in Love

So, I had heard about this show on Fox, the name of which, mercifully, I cannot remember, about fat women looking for love, but I had put it out of my mind.

Last night I saw a commercial for it. And it was so surreal that I almost expected it to be a fake commercial, like the commercial where the newlyweds live in a very tiny house.

Now, if you read any of the fat-acceptance blogs, you’ll know that they have this very reasonable and right idea that it’s not really helpful or appropriate to be all “but you’re not fat” as if there is something wrong with being fat and, whew, you might have thought it was wrong with you, but you have dodged the bullet.

But I have to take a minute here to not follow this wise guideline to say that watching that commercial was so jarring because they put a woman on and she says about how she’s terrified she’s not going to find love and then they put someone else on who’s going on about how her sister could be so beautiful if only she lost weight.

And I can’t tell the two women apart.  One of them is supposed to be fat and unloveable and the other is supposed to be skinny and hoping that her fat sister can join her in the promised land of thin, and to me, they look pretty much the same.  It’s not like we’re talking one girl weighs 130 and the other weighs 260.  We’re talking one girl looks to weigh 130 and the other looks to weigh 180.

Neither women is particularly fat.

So, there’s this surreal kind of dissonance where you’re looking at the “fat” woman trying to figure out what makes her fat.

And it’s that action I find so fascinating.  I mean, think about this for a minute.  If I tell you, as a descriptor, that I am fat, and you see a picture of me, you will see instantly that I am indeed fat, that fat is an accurate description of my body and, if you decide to argue that I am NOT fat, we’re getting into the territory where you think that fat isn’t just a neutral description but a moral one–that since I am not smelly (most of the time) and dirty and lazy (though I am) and all those negative things we put on fat people, I am therefore somehow fat, but not fat.

And I think that’s easy enough to understand–what it means to insist that fat folks are not fat (or its charming friend, “not that fat”).

But it’s the moment we have just witnessed that shows, I think, why fat-loathing in our culture is a feminist issue.  Because the moment we’ve just witnessed is exactly the kind of moment in which this idea that women’s bodies are up for public scrutiny gets embedded in the culture.

Someone with some kind of authority (even if it’s just the authority that comes with having the ability to get on TV) says, “This woman is fat” and you look at her and she doesn’t look fat.  This causes a little moment of uncomfortable dissonance.  You could say, “Well, this authority figure is full of shit.” but that’s hard.  Instead, I think the natural impulse is to thinks “She doesn’t look fat to me, what am I missing?”

And just like that, this idea that you have to scrutinize her body takes hold.  And why do you have to scrutinize and pass judgement on her body?  What’s the compulsion?

To resolve your own discomfort.

That’s a pretty powerful thing.

I have to say, though, that I wonder between this and the whole “Diets Don’t Work” campaign of Weight Watchers, if we’re not seeing the kind of squawking that lets you know that this idea that you should be as healthy and active as you can be instead of pissing your time and money away on dieting is making some real inroads.

WTF, Obama?

When my parents where here my dad was all “The second I realized I recognized almost every name going into his cabinet, I knew it was going to be business as usual.”

And I don’t think that it’s been exactly business as usual, but I’ve got to tell you, I am at a loss as to how to understand his missteps when it comes to gays.

Even if I accepted the reasoning that the administration has to vigorously defend the laws of this country, I refuse to accept that a vigorous defense entails invoking ancient and hurtful stereotypes.  If you can’t defend a law without resorting to the incest argument, then maybe it’s time to get with Congress and change the law.