Idiot, ugly is socially determined

As a 115kg (18st) woman who refuses to diet, unapologetically wears short shorts and eats tiramisu, I have experienced and witnessed a lot of fatphobia. This is a form of bigotry that equates fatness with ugliness, inferiority and immorality. In my new book You Have the Right to Remain Fat, I talk a lot about how being fat has shaped my life, how fatphobia has multiple dimensions and how it does not just move outward – from us to others. It moves inward – from our culture to ourselves.

As with what is poverty, ugly is culturally determined. Modern Britain says that poverty is a better standard of living than he median in 1970 (certainly, 1960) an better than the top 10% in 1930. So too with ugly. What is considered so in the here and now is determined by us in aggregate, that culture.

Trivially so, as tans and freckles have moved around from Jane Austen’s time to today. Size? There are places (Mali? Mauritania perhaps, our own past certainly) when a good 3 to 5 inch coating of blubber is/was considered highly attractive. Even rumours that the internal pressure makes uglies tighter (would Rocco care to comment? Something more than just “With mine horses are”).

Of course ugly, as with beauty, is culturally determined. How the hell do you think it works if it isn’t that way?

Luckily she mentions this but fails to grasp the point.

30 thoughts on “Idiot, ugly is socially determined”

  1. You have the right to be fat.

    We have the right to consider you probably stupid & certainly ugly and hope to hell you never get sat next to us on a plane in you short shorts (pass the mind bleach, Alice).

  2. wat dabney said:
    “You Have The Right to Diabetes, Amputations, Blindness, Chronic Ill-Health and an Early Death.”

    Yes, but I’m not sure she should have the “right” to force us to pay for her amputations.

  3. You’d need a heart of stone:

    Many fat people have anxiety about seating at restaurants. Will there be booths where the space between the table and the seat is fixed? Will the chairs be wobbly little metal ones held up by the furniture equivalent of pipe cleaners?

    Gravity is raciss, or something.

    Another time, I asked a thin woman who was lying across three seats on a train platform if I could sit down; she called me a fat bitch.

    😀

  4. ‘You Have the Right to Remain Grotesquely Obese’

    FIFY

    At 115kg, you have moved way beyond fat.

    Okay, so you have the ‘right.’ And I have the ‘right’ to think you obscene. You are in charge of you, I’m in charge of me.

    See you in Walmart.

  5. 115kg for a man is big, even if he is over 6ft. Unless you are seriously into lifting weights you’ll be a bit on the blubbery side.

    115kg for a woman is fucking enormous. Suicidal weight.

  6. She holds a Master’s degree in Sexuality Studies with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender. After teaching “Female Sexuality” at the University of California at Berkeley, where she completed a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2005….

    https://www.amazon.com/Virgie-Tovar/e/B003AROVMS

    What a valuable education. Berkeley of course.

  7. “…with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender.”

    Excellent. Let them keep throwing in more variations into the intersectionality stew. The more, the sooner the whole thing will collapse. What’s next? Adding intersections of Favourite hobby? Preferred type of Coke?

  8. Many fat people have anxiety about seating at restaurants. Will there be booths where the space between the table and the seat is fixed? Will the chairs be wobbly little metal ones held up by the furniture equivalent of pipe cleaners?

    Here we go again. A minority (TGs, gays, cripples, etc) expects not only tolerance – which is fair enough, though the obese are a nuisance* – but also significant structural change in wider society – which imposes costs on and often inconveniences the majority. How long before militant fatties demand no arm rests in restaurants, so their blubber is unconstricted? And so on and on…

    *e.g. by taking up too much space on pavements, aisles in shops, on public transport etc. And, given the NHS, by imposing their health costs on the rest of us…

  9. “I’d imagine the relative tightness would depend on whether you’ve located the correct crease.”

    For tightness, you can’t beat a slender horsewoman.

  10. Theo,

    We make allowances for the handicapped, but how much do those allowances actually cost society? Would our train journeys really be significantly cheaper if we didn’t have lifts in every station and massive wheelchair-accessible toilets on-board?

    As for the gays, they don’t impose physical costs on society, bar the odd clean-up of a Pride march in Brighton.

    Slender horsewoman? Careful! http://squaremilenews.blogspot.com/2018/07/olympic-equestrian-daubed-ex-lover-lord.html

  11. I’d imagine the relative tightness would depend on whether you’ve located the correct crease

    You’d have to roll her in flour to find the wet spot. Bet Rocco is penning the script already.

  12. Andrew M

    For example…the costs of providing disabled access in public and other buildings are huge. IMO, the costs are out of proportion to the benefits to the disabled. I can see the benefits in dropped curbs, but the imposition of ramps and lifts everywhere can turn reasonable men into cripple-kickers…

    Gay marriage has costs…as did HiV…

    And the TG demand for gender-neutral toilets is likewise costly, never mind the cost of NHS surgery for these deluded unfortunates…

    And so on…

  13. “This is a form of bigotry that equates fatness with ugliness, inferiority and immorality.”
    I could see a basis for arguing that judging a fat person as inferior, or morally inferior is a form of bigotry. But ugliness, no virgie, no, i don’t see that, and you slipped it in there hoping we wouldn’t notice.

    Find a physically ugly person in your eyes. Whatever it is about them that makes them ugly will be some aspect of their face or their body. Why should general size as an ugly factor be bigoted but oversize schnozzles, or forehead, or ears or teeth should not?. If you think virgies argument applies to oversize anything too then you’re not arguing for the removal of bigotry you’re arguing for the removal of ugliness. And is there any real point in doing that?

    On the otherhand it holds that general size is something special, then why is it Mauritanians that have been doing it right all this time and most other societies not? Are Mauritanians morally superior in your eyes virgie? I’d like to know.

  14. I’d imagine the relative tightness would depend on whether you’ve located the correct crease.

    There was a young sailor from Brighton,
    Who said to his love “You’ve a tight ‘un.”
    She said “Oh! Bless my soul!”
    “You’re in the wrong hole!”
    “There’s plenty of room in the right ‘un!”

  15. “Many fat people have anxiety about seating at restaurants. Will there be booths where the space between the table and the seat is fixed? Will the chairs be wobbly little metal ones held up by the furniture equivalent of pipe cleaners? This anxiety leads to many fat people opting out of social dining situations.”

    It strikes me that this like a self-regulating system. If you can’t get under the table, stop eating.

    Also, why do these “fat and proud” women look like they get styled by Stevie Wonder? There was one on the cover of Cosmo who was going for a look like Mutha from Biffa Bacon with slightly more ink than David Beckham but in a green bikini.

    https://metro.co.uk/2018/09/03/no-one-is-going-to-aim-for-obesity-because-of-tess-holliday-7907937/

    “Tess Holliday, plus size model and body positive activist, is on the cover of Cosmo. She is, as you’ll probably be able to see by looking at her, a fat woman. She is also very beautiful, not apologising for her BMI and wearing a bathing suit. She had the audacity to stand there smiling, despite the fact that not all men want to have sex with her.”

    No, she isn’t very beautiful. She’s obese, she’s covered in tattoos and wearing a swimsuit that makes her look awful. Very few men will want to have sex with her. I’d pass out from drunkenness before I could drink enough to shag that.

    And the worse thing is that this is two-faced abuse from other women. They want other women to be fat. They’ll say “no, honey, you look amazing”. Because they want to destroy their rivals for men.

  16. You don’t need to be disabled to want lifts at a railway station. Many old people have issues walking stairs. We watched a woman three days ago take about 10 minutes to get down some stairs that were steep and badly lot. My mother-in-law struggles with going down stairs due to depth perception issues, and is always at risk of falling.

    It’s been a relief for me while travelling to get to places with lifts. 25 kg bags down precipitous flights of stairs is no fun.

    (To be fair, most lifts could be replaced by simple ramps or escalators. I’m not sure why they take the expensive option.)

  17. @BoM4
    I’m reminded irresistibly of the work of the great Alfred Hawthorne “Benny” Hill:
    Now my lonely nights are over
    Ever since I met Claire,
    She is the fat tattooed lady
    From the local fair.
    And she has said she will be mine,
    The thought makes my poor heart pound,
    For I’ll have heat in the winter, and shade in the summer
    And moving pictures all the year round.

    (Lonely Boy)

  18. All this suggests the health Nazis are missing a trick. In addition to banning junk food shops near schools (which is pretty ineffective) and banning any fat, sugar, salt, or taste in foods, they could also start a campaign to ban the sale of any chairs that can be sat in by someone with a BMI of 24 or over, or the sale of any clothes sized for such people.

    I guess you’d support that?

  19. I really do not fancy fucking a morbidly obese bird. And if you call me fatphobic, well I’m just exercise my free speech or you just don’t understand my English irony or summit

  20. Tim
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – so ugly must be likewise. It isn’t socially determined, unless you mean “social-medially determined”.
    Phobia means fear – fatphobia means the fear of being fallen or sat on and squashed by an obese female weighing more than twice as much as I did when young and nearly twice as much as I do now.
    If she does take especial care not to be at risk of tripping over and falling upon innocent people that is definitely immoral. Does she always keep 6 feet clear of the innocent bystander?

  21. ‘This is a form of bigotry that equates fatness with ugliness, inferiority and immorality.’

    And your point is . . . ?

    You are ugly, inferior and gluttonously immoral. See, my judgements are MINE, I get to choose. YOU DON’T. You can choose to be obese; I don’t care. But when you say I’m a bigot, you have become evil.

  22. Your judgements are yours. Her judgements are hers. You can judge her fat and ugly. She can judge you a bigot. You can make the case that society should dismiss her judgements and accept yours. She can argue the case for society to dismiss your judgements and accept hers. And it’s up to society which of you they listen to.

    But if we argue for a society where people judge others inferior, immoral, and evil on the basis of their differing opinions or appearance, and use that to justify being deliberately nasty to them to try to make them stop, or to prove to our friends that we can, or to make ourselves feel better about what we are, then that’s what we’ll get. That’s not a judgement, just a consequence.

    Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you.

  23. @ NiV
    I judge her *dangerous*. I always stop when there is a danger of my running/walking into a small child or their running/walking into me because it would be dangerous for them if I ran/walked into them but not for me if they ran/walked into me.
    I shall not be nasty to her as a result but I shall maintain a prudent distance.
    She is self-declared as not caring about the consequences to herself of her over-eating, so why should I suppose that she cares about the consequences to others?
    She is at liberty to be fat but she has no right to demand that no-one objects – I get objections when I occasionally make attempts to get rid of my middle-aged spread: do I have fewer rights than she?
    PS I lost a “not” in the penultimate sentence of my last post but I hope the sense made it obvious that I had done so..

  24. “She is self-declared as not caring about the consequences to herself of her over-eating, so why should I suppose that she cares about the consequences to others?”

    Perhaps she simply *disagrees* with you over the consequences of overeating? (If, indeed, that’s the cause of her size. It probably isn’t.) Do you have any evidence she doesn’t care about the consequences to others? Do you care about the consequences of your actions to her? Or, when exercising your own autonomous rights, to anyone else?

    “She is at liberty to be fat but she has no right to demand that no-one objects”

    I had a quick look at the article – on a brief reading, she didn’t appear to be *demanding* anything, she was asking/proposing/suggesting.

    However, I disagree. Free speech means she can “demand” anything she likes – she just can’t enforce those demands. In the same way that we can “demand” she lose weight, or we can “demand” she accept we find her ugly, or we can “demand” she shut up about her complaints. I think she’s aware of that – the article seemed to be quite carefully worded to avoid the trap of making “demands” or calls for enforcement. (Judge, yes, enforce, no.) Possibly the fact it’s in the Guardian lulled people into the assumption that she would, but it looks to me like she tried not to.

    That one has the right to say something does not mean that it is right to say it.

    But in any case, I have a considerable degree of sympathy with the obese. “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” I have even more sympathy with them than with those persecuted because they are racist or religious – who I would also argue for. Granted, you’re entitled to your opinion about fat people – but some of the nastiness here about it seems quite gratuitous. As if you was assuming she was taking a more authoritarian position to which you was responding in kind. Or as if you regarded ‘obesity’ as a moral failing in itself, rather than as some sort of proxy substitute for objecting to her “demands” on society.

    Again, it’s a case of attacking the sympathy group, rather than the authoritarians sheltering behind them. Plenty of non-leftist, non-authoritarian people are fat. Plenty of them would quite like to get a little less hassle and nastiness about their shape, without anyone necessarily being authoritarian and prescriptive about it. It’s not clear to me that she’s being unreasonable, *asking* for a little more tolerance and consideration. I agree she doesn’t have the right to *enforce* such tolerance, and I agree that calls for enforcement should be opposed. But is she actually making any here?

  25. @ NiV
    She says that she refuses to diet and eats tirimasu so she is choosing to eat more than is good for her health (at 18stone she is overstraining her heart, part from the risk of diabetes etc etc); tirimasu is a pretty unhealthy choice for someone who isn’t burning off the calories and increases the risk of heart disease. The recommended dose of tirimasu for an overweight female is zero.
    So overeating is certainly *a* cause of her size.
    You talk of “demand” in the terms of “free speech” meaning that you can say anything but not expect anyone to listen – that is *not* what I said. And free speech is just what you are objecting to – free speech permits “And you, Madam, are ugly, horribly ugly, but I shall be sober in the morning”
    I have no objection to the large majority fat people – some of whom are fat for reasons beyond their control (e.g. medication they take for a heart condition, an injury that prevents them from taking exercise, 70+ hours a week in an office job, where tiredness makes them hungry but burns few calories) but I do object to someone trying to impose her own views upon others. There are places that I am not allowed to enter wearing shorts, others which I cannot enter without wearing a jacket and tie but she wears short shorts and expects no-one to object and demands that restaurants design seating for the tiny majority of obese customers – which would make difficult for any customer with short arms.
    I still consider her dangerous

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