Tuesday, August 21, 2007

feminism and fat: "what about teh menz?!"

Because the lovely ladies at Big Fat Deal linked to me, I find myself in an interesting conversation over there about fat, feminism, and what about teh menz.

I've noticed that conversations about feminism often turn to the men in the conversation arguing that they, too, are oppressed, because they are short, or working class, or fat, or gay, or bookish, or black, or Hispanic, or dyslexic, or not athletic, or what have you. Then they want to claim that I am holding some kind of competition to decide who's the most oppressed. Which I'm not.

There is no competition.

Women get the shit end of the stick in patriarchy, period. The patriarchy creates a hierarchy, yes, and tall blond rich buff heterosexual American men are at the top of the heap. Men who do not conform to this standard are discriminated against. But women are always and already the inferior sex class. Men, no matter who they are, reap the benefits of patriarchy, whether they wish to or not. Just as white people reap the benefits of racism, heteros reap the benefit of homophobia, and so forth. The foundational submission/dominance model of patriarchy renders the non-ideal man Less Manly, and for that he suffers. Not just because he is gay, or fat, or black, but because he is deemed inferior, and thus more like a woman. But he'll never be a woman (unless he's trans, but that's a whole other kettle of fish).

People raised male in this culture are raised with patriarchal privilege. Men who are wrapped up in their own battles seem to find it hard to acknowledge the feminist battle, and this I do not understand. A man who suffers oppression seems that he should be a likely feminist ally, and yet this is most often not the case. Men of all stripes wish to deny the always-already state of oppression women experience, even when they have suffered under the exact same system that oppresses us. This is not rational, sensible, or even sane. I do not pretend to understand it. I find it extremely frustrating.


Edward Foster said...

I bet you're fat!

Jezebella said...

Oooh, snap! What are you, some kind of fucking genius? I can't imagine how you might've figured THAT out.

I bet you're an idiot!

The Thin Size Activist- Equality on the plains... said...

You don't bet Jezebella: You know.

As for the post:
I'm a thin male Size/Fat Activist (Dormant). I can understand where you are coming from. I don't think it is that fat men and fat women are directly hated at different levels per se, but that fat women (Or women that are interprted to be that way ["HOLY SHIT OMGZ ZOMGZZZ UR 140 lbs at 5'8!! UR BUXOM!!"]) seem to have the more aesthetical side of the stick. A byproduct of this I think is that they are likely to get badgered more often about it on a societal level (We both know about our good friend medical science). The traits that you associated (A man is supposed to eat a lot for example) with gender were great too. Good post.