Yes, you read that right so buckle up and hang-on tight. We’re going in baby!
So, a friend of mine recently tagged me in a post on Facebook, linking to this image
It was mildly entertaining, some quite accurate tropes. And I’ll admit I was a little disappointed to find out that male slave Leias is common enough to be a ‘thing’ at conventions (I thought I was so special).
As is almost inevitable on the internet, a comment appeared that pointed out that the comic makes explicit reference to “fat dudes” but doesn’t do so for female bodied people. Needless to say the person who placed this comment preceded down a tediously predictable route of escalation, inflammation and outright trolling. I didn’t want to waste my energy there but I did want to expound a little on a couple of points.
First up, let the record show that I’m writing this as a clinically obese short guy with ridiculous facial hair and a lisp. I’m also writing this as someone who’s gone through their own struggles with negative body image and low self esteem (which is material for a blog post that I’m not ready to write yet).
Essentially the argument came down to, “So you’re ok with people using the term ‘fat dudes’?” and, in short, my answer is yes. It’s yes for two very different reasons.
First up, I find that it’s a really helpful way of filtering for arseholes. Basically anyone who references my body shop as a pejorative immediately flags themselves as a bit of a shallow person who really isn’t worth spending my time and attention on.
The second reason stems much more from context. You see, when someone calls me fat, it isn’t the same as when someone calls a woman fat. Why? Because when someone calls me fat it doesn’t come with an implicit threat of sexual violence.
“Whoa now; wait a minute!” cries the comment-troll, “surely saying you’re not attracted to someone is the absolute opposite of threatening sexual violence?”
Which completely misses the point. It’s not suggesting that someone is attractive that carries the threat, it’s the simple attitude of being free to comment and pass judgement on women’s bodies that’s threatening. It perpetuates the attitude that women’s bodies are not their own, that your opinion matters. So the woman you call fat is both being insulted but, also, is being reminded that they could be the target of sexual aggression. Just not from this guy, this particular time, because they’ve deemed it so. Aren’t you lucky, shouldn’t you be grateful?
So, can I tolerate a supposed double standard around “fat dudes” actually yes, yes I can.