Under No Obligation

Published November 10, 2009 by Fat Heffalump

This isn’t just a post about being fat.  It’s also a post about being a woman.  The two are very much linked together, because fat actually is a feminist issue.  It’s not only a feminist issue, but it is still one.

One of the problems with being fat and being female, is that in Western society at least, and probably in others, women’s bodies, and women themselves, are often considered public property.  Women’s bodies are commented on and critiqued.  They are touched, felt, groped, stood over and dominated.

Even when it’s not intended to be a menacing thing, women’s bodies are public property.  Ask any woman who is, or who has been pregnant what it’s like having complete strangers paw over her belly, comment on her shape and ask inappropriately personal questions.

When a woman’s body is fat, it’s subject to judgement and derision, comment and criticism.  A woman’s morals are judged by her body.  Slender, pretty women are “lovely, sweet, take care of themselves, angelic” etc.  Fat women who don’t fit traditional beauty standards are “lazy, gluttinous, slothful, sloppy, dirty” etc.

Of course, it’s totally wrong.  Body shape and physical attributes have absolutely no reflection on the morals and values of the person within.

Because women are so often treated as objects, not people, we have to endure a lot of behaviours from men that we shouldn’t have to endure.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE MEN.  Whooooweee, do I love the fellas.  Not only cos I find men sexy creatures that I would like to do sexy things with, but also because I generally enjoy the company of men the most.  Except for those men that exhibit the attitudes and behaviours that I’m about to talk about.

If a man speaks to a woman in public, and she does not respond, or is not interested in him, she is not a bitch, a slut, whore, fat cow or a lesbian.   She is under absolutely no obligation at all to respond or pay attention to any man.  Her avoidance or disinterest is not an invitation for that man to aim hostility, ridicule or abuse in her direction.  It is simply what it is – disinterest, and she is allowed to be disinterested.  It is not a crime.

Guys – if a woman buries her nose in her book, or plugs in her iPod, or turns away from you – leave her alone.  This is her way of telling you she does not wish to be disturbed by you.  This is not an invitation for you to harass her, insult her or assault her.  Women are taught from a very young age not to argue, to not make a fuss, to behave in a “ladylike manner”.  So these are her cues to leave her alone.  It’s likely she’s not going to say “Go away.” or “Leave me alone.”  because she has been taught to “not make a fuss”.  Or she has had an experience where she has told a man to go away, and he has actually got MORE abusive, MORE persistent with her, so she’s trying to avoid that.

If she is talking, laughing, or paying attention to another man, this also does not  mean that she has to pay attention to you by default.  She is allowed to choose which men she gives her attention to, just as you are allowed to choose which woman you pay attention to.  That does not make her a bitch or a snob, it just is her choice.

If she is a fat woman, she is not desperate.  She does not have to be “grateful” for your attention.  Or anyone else’s attention for that matter.  She is not just waiting for someone, ANYONE to pay her attention.  She is not an easy target for you to sleep with either, because again, she is not desperate.  She is just fat.  Just because you think she is unworthy or somehow deficient for being fat, doesn’t necessarily mean that other people, indeed, other men feel the same way.

If a woman is not interested in you, she is not interested in you.  Move on.  Behave like a decent human being, and you may find the next woman you approach will be interested in you.

It is not true that nice guys never get the girl.  They do, they just don’t behave like a douchebag about it.

10 comments on “Under No Obligation

  • Hi. While I find myself disagreeing with plenty of what you say, I find your blog nevertheless intelligent, interesting and thought-provoking.

    I disagree with the statement that “a woman’s morals are judged by her body”. Sure, men are stimulated by sight much more than women, but in my experience men can and do differentiate between the woman who they find sexy and the woman who they respect or find morally virtuous. To use an extreme example, do you think men would consider a slim and sexy 20-year old prostitute more morally virtuous or worthy of respect than their 80-year old grandmother? Surely not.

    • Actually, yes, I do.

      But with the caveat that I am talking about women with no identifying factor other than their physical appearance. Line up two women (prostitute or not) and ask people (not just men) to judge their character based SOLELY on their physical appearance, and many (though not all of course) will suggest that one that is slimmer, traditionally prettier and younger is more virtuous than one that is older, less traditionally pretty and fatter.

      It’s a sad fact of life.

      • Hmm, yeah I suppose, if you take all other factors out.

        Also, if I speak to someone (whether male or female) in a friendly way in public and that person chooses to ignore me, even though they do have the right to ignore me, it would still seem impolite to me for them to do so and I would feel a little offended or snubbed. That’s no excuse for a “snubbed” person (whether male or female) then to engage in harassment or nasty name-calling but I can see why it might happen, if friendliness isn’t returned with friendliness.

  • But Belinda, you are a woman. You are conditioned to always be polite, to take the courteous, appeasing stance. Therefore you unconsciously look for that same courtesy and appeasement in return. That’s not to say someone has to be rude to you and say “go away”, but in the subtle ways that we humans, especially women, have in giving messages that say we’re not interested, as I mentioned in my post.

    Men are generally not taught that they are supposed to do this. If they are “snubbed”, many of them are outraged that someone would reject them (and the truth is, rejection happens to all of us, nobody is under any obligation to pay attention to a stranger) and then aim hostility at the person who has rejected them.

    It’s actually not impolite for someone to reject a stranger’s advances at all. It would be impolite for them to be rude about it, but a general “no thanks” message (be it verbal or non-verbal) is well with in anyone’s right to express.

  • I like your blog, I do, but you sound like a Jezebel clone. I’d be willing to bet $100 you’re a commenter. Whatever happened to individuality?

    • You just lost $100! You can donate it to Operation Baldy and I’ll pass it on to the Australian Cancer Council. I’ve got your IP address, I’ll send you through the details shortly.

      I rarely read Jezebel, and I think I attempted to comment once, but the page didn’t work.

  • Only just seeing this now. How does one prove they’re not a member of a site, exactly? To comment you’d have to have set up an account, thus become a commenter.

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