Monday, July 18, 2011

SmartAss Politics, I Have Them: Fathood

As I was writing about my politics as one piece, I noticed that it grew pretty big very quickly. I am breaking it down into parts, which will hopefully be less irritating, and allow me to explore each piece a little more coherently. I started writing about the politics of fathood a while ago, in response to someone being Wrong on the Internet. The timing of that incident has long past, but my views are still the same. So, come, and share them with me!

Wall of Text version: I am a big liberal, you may want to get used to it. I hold the lofty belief that the world would be a better place if we could all be the people we want to be (without causing harm to another, or hindering their ability to do the same), as determined by our own ideals. I also believe that a representative government has a duty to make sure that we all have the opportunity – an equal opportunity – to do so. While I am talking about my beliefs, I want to include that government should maintain a social safety net for those neglected, ignored, and/or abused by that society.

I believe in the use of the word “fat” as a value-neutral term.That is easy for me to say because I am not considered fat. I have been fat - or at least reacted to in a manner that suggested the other person thought I was fat. I have considered myself fat (hello there, body image issues, how have you been?). I have never been called fat by anyone since I left my parents home. As an adult, I have weighted from 105 to 175 pounds at different points in my life. I am personally uncomfortable using the term fat because I do not believe that the use of it as a value-neutral term is wide-spread enough for me to assume that it is being heard in a value-neutral way. Do you find yourself asking WTF is this “value-neutral?!?”  I say this: fat is a descriptor, like brunette, tall, or tan; rather than a judgment indicating lazy, gluttonous, jolly, etc… And while that is what I mean when I say “fat” I shy away from using the term at all for fear it read as a judgment even though such is not my intent.

Here is an interesting article: New York Time: Body Mass Index Can Be Misleading.

I believe that the BMI can tell you that you are obese, and yet your cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart health may indeed be fine. I mean that you can be heavy and healthy at the same time. I know for a fact that your BMI can be “ideal” and you can be an internal mess – that is where I find myself lately. So my “The BMI does not indicate health” stance does go both ways. Any meaningful use of the BMI must take into consideration the origins and original purpose of it, along with its inherent flaws.

I know I am going to fuck up being a good ally on occasion. I hope it is a rare one. Not only is it the right thing to do, but this issue challenges a lot of people that I care about deeply.

Now, articles agitate folks every so often, and I do not want to get into that one way or the other but I am glad that the discussions happen. I lay clam to being fat accepting, but there are people you should be reading if you want to really get to know what that means.  The Fat Nutritionist is a good start.

First, Do No Harm is a place where people can go to talk about fat-phobia they are subject to from medical professionals. I have seen this in action. I have watched my husband’s knee and back concerns blown off by tying them to his weight (he had bulging disks, and a torn meniscus/missing cartilage in a knee).

Now, of course there are intersections between disability and size-acceptance, and s.e. smith talks about that really well here.I love s.e. smith, as you all will probably figure out sooner or later.


I am sure this topic will come up again in the future, but this looks like a good start.

Do you have a Health at Every Size or fat acceptance link or story? Share it below!