Feeding the Trolls: Free Advertising for the Patriarchy! You can do it! (Part 1 of 2)
So, I finally watched the crazy fat hate lady on YouTube because well, it’s my area of research. Sadly, I can’t use it for my dissertation because the comments are disabled. Dammit! But Whitney Thore, an activist, does a great response video where she knocks home most of the main points that this video brings into focus.
- You can’t know someone’s life by looking at them (what they eat, how much they exercise, their health, etc.).
- Judging someone (and making up derogatory stories about them) based entirely on how they look is, in fact, bigotry (see point 1).
- Everyone is worthy of love and self-acceptance, period.
There are a lot of responses that are insightful and awesome. Lindy West’s is particularly good--she points out that as an activist she is, in fact, fighting for the fat shamers (like crazy fat hate lady) as well as the fat, because everyone gets measured and judged as unworthy in our culture. That’s what patriarchy is, people.
I have a few additional thoughts. I posted this on my FB page when the commentraversy broke out:
When women shame other women for their bodies, their reproductive choices, their mothering, their appearance, their (fill in the blank) it is important to remember that they are working for free for the power systems and corporations that benefit from keeping women focused on fighting each other instead of inequality and patriarchy. Patriarchy is simply a social and power system that benefits the privileged few over everyone else.
So even though Schadenfreude can feel good (it offloads internalized aggression and pain), it’s essentially free labor.
Want to do free advertising for a highly profitable company? Attack another woman for how she looks. Want to help encode inequality and bigotry that benefits a few rich people at the expense of everyone else? Make a video about why fat people suck!
Congratulations! You are essentially an unpaid intern for an organization that wants you to be just as powerless as the people you deride.
When you participate in mass shaming and mobbing (even of people who suck) you are a mindless tool of the system that wants you to be as ignorant, powerless, and blind as possible to how that system exploits everyone, not just the people you deride.
Yeah. That. I’ve had to deal with some pretty pointed fat shaming over the past few months, and it doesn’t get to me much anymore for this very reason. It doesn’t make me cry, or question my self-worth any more.
The fat-shamer in my life also hates themselves (yes, I’m skipping gender pronouns for this, deal with my grammar) for a bunch of other purely patriarchal reasons – not being married, not being hugely financially and publicly successful; not being at the very top of the heap. But it’s okay because they hate themselves for it. Those are the rules. It’s acceptable to not be at the top as long as you don’t accept yourself the way you are. Fun, right?
I don’t hate myself for being female, fat, middle-aged, not famous, and only moderately successful, and that makes me confusing and dangerous to them. This makes me angry as fuck, but not particularly hurt. Why? Because, except for moments of extreme vulnerability, I don’t buy into this competitive, hierarchical, zero sum gain patriarchal shit any more.
You can be skinny and beautiful, and I can be fat and beautiful. You can be skinny and loved, and I can be fat and loved. We can be poor, rich, disabled, famous, of any ethnicity, gender identity, nationality, or sexual orientation, and we all are deserving of self-respect, respect from others, and love. We all experience pain, fear, loss, and heartbreak, regardless of where we sit on the imaginary ladder of patriarchy.
All of us. No exceptions.
Being an asshole to other people is a really, really effective way of offloading any self-loathing we may have internalized from growing up in this jacked up system (which may have been enforced and reinforced by our family systems, local cultures, religions, etc), but it only works temporarily. This is why the Donald Trumps of the world never shut up. He can never run far enough away from himself, so he has to keep finding new people to fling his shit at. But it’s his shit, so it never really goes away. Hence continued and more frantic shit flinging.
Okay. So that’s it for my feminist rant on this topic. Stay tuned for the psychodynamic look at what’s going on here. For science!