injustice

All posts in the injustice category

Why I Take No Shit From Anyone in My Online Spaces

Published May 28, 2013 by Fat Heffalump
  • Angry fat bitch!
  • You’re so bitter!
  • You don’t care about the CAUSE, it’s all about YOU!
  • OMG you’re so rude!  It’s no wonder you’re hated when you’re so RUDE!  I was just giving my OPINION!!
  • You’ve got such a foul mouth!
  • Why are you so sensitive?  God, get over it!  What are you, paranoid?!
  • Well, you’re not getting MY support any more!  Not if you can’t be nice.
  • If you weren’t such a rude bitch, you wouldn’t have these troubles.  You catch more flies with honey than vinegar you know.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard something along the lines of the above statements, I would have a LOT of dollars.  It happens a lot.  I get people turning up here, and in my other spaces online, lecturing me on how I’m supposed to behave and react and address them… in my space online.

I feel like a broken record half the time, telling people to fuck off.

But I think people need to be told to fuck off once in a while.  It does us all good.  Actually, if being told to fuck off on a blog or a facebook page or somewhere else online is the worst of your troubles in a day, you’re doing well I reckon!  I wish the worst that happened to me in life was being told to fuck off!  In fact, at any given time that I comment on someone else’s blog or other online space, I do so knowing that they have the full right to tell me to fuck off.  After all, I’m in THEIR space.

There’s a reason I’m so vehement about telling people to fuck off.  Two reasons really.  The first is because most of the time, in everyday life, we can’t just tell people to fuck off.  Because people are so threatened by two words “fuck off” they’re likely to resort to violence, or ACTUAL bullying tactics.

Incidentally don’t let anyone convince you that telling someone to fuck off is bullying.  It’s clear, it gets the message across, it’s not hidden away from witnesses like actual bullying is.  It doesn’t denigrate someone or cause them any harm.  It is simply a succinct, profane instruction.  Fuck off out of my life.  As much as so many people want to clutch their pearls and carry on like they’ve been slandered or wounded or some other great harm, fuck off does nobody any actual harm.

The second is that unless we stand up and stand solid in our own little corners of the internet, then we just get silenced again.  And again and again and again.  We fat folk are constantly told that we have to play by society’s rules.  We have to put up with so much shit in this world.  From hearing that we’re sub-human, worthless and inferior, through to being the subject of hate, derision and scorn, and right through to physical harm – be it passive (diets, weight loss surgery, dismissal of our health needs, an environment that we have to painfully squeeze our bodies in to) or aggressive (actual physical assault and harassment).  Every day we are subjected to being policed for every aspect of our behaviour – from the mere space we take up through to what we eat and what we wear and what we do with our bodies.

So when we do carve out a little space, a tiny corner of the vast universe of the internet, then we have EVERY right to set up boundaries in that space and not tolerate anyone who tries to police us within those boundaries.  I have to sit through people telling me I don’t have the right to agency over my own life and body every single day, I’ll be damned I’m going to sit quietly while people do it in my tiny spaces online.

Actually I just thought of a third reason.  So that I can hopefully give you folk, even if it’s only one of you, the strength to tell someone to fuck off when they’re behaving in a manner that is unacceptable to you.  If I give just one of you some strength when you’re feeling like the whole world is just pushing you down at every opportunity, then it is worth it.

You bet I’m angry.  You bet I’m going to get hot headed and loud about it.  It’s WRONG and unless those of us who can speak up DO speak up, it’s never going to change.

I’m under no illusion that I’m “nice” or “sweet” or even “popular”.  I don’t want to be nice, or sweet or popular.  There are no “true colours” waiting to be exposed – I’m angry, I swear a lot and I have little tolerance for bullshit.   I want to be the thorn in people’s side when they’re behaving in a way that is unacceptable.  I want to be that painful bit of sand that irritates the oyster of the world and creates change.  So what if people hate me for it – people hate me already just for living in a fat body, they hated me even when I was a brown mouse fatty too scared to say anything to anyone.  I’m used to being hated.

I’m tired of playing nice with people.  Nobody plays nice with we fat folk.  We are forced to justify our existence time and time again, we are dismissed, dehumanised, derided and denied.  We are treated as though we are inferior, and we are vilified as monsters at every turn.  So I feel no obligation to be “polite” with people who turn up in my online spaces under the guise of “disagreeing” or “freedom of opinion” with our rights to live our lives on equal footing with any other human being.  Nobody gets to debate fat people’s right to fair treatment in the world.  NOBODY.

I’m not here to convince fat haters, not-fat people looking for superiority and “skeptics” of fat activism that fat people deserve to be treated as human beings.  They’re never truly going to be convinced anyway, and they waste all of our time putting caveats on that, on the condition that we “play nice”.  The minute they disagree with us or we stand up to them, they turn that hate back on to us all over again.  Don’t be afraid that you’ll “lose their support”… if they’re that easily turned away, we never had their support to start with.  And NOBODY is that important that their withdrawing their support is going to end the fat activism movement.  And I believe if you connect with ONE person properly that it’s worth far more than suppressing your voice to make a thousand people happy.

I’m here for my own sanity, my own voice but most importantly my fellow fatties, who are told everywhere else in the world that they are inferior.  I’m here for you my beloved fat community.  I’m here to show you that you don’t have to stand for shitty treatment and that you are valuable, that you are worthy, that you are equal human beings to anyone else.

I have no interest in catching flies with honey or vinegar.  We all know flies eat shit anyway – I’m here with a can of Fuck Off, to repel those flies from this one little corner of the internet.

Rage Against Injustice

Published February 8, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Following on from my last post, and after the good ole ranty pants I had on Twitter this evening, I want to talk some more about anger.  Because you know, the minute a woman stands her ground and says “Enough!” she is accused of two things – being selfish and being angry.

I think there is a whole lot of shame attached to anger, particularly in women.  We’ve talked before about how accusing someone of being angry is meant to derail and silence someone who is speaking up/out about something.  I want to expand on that a bit further.

Particularly on the accusation “You’re such an angry person.” that so often gets thrown in the direction of women.

When it comes to social justice, which is what fat activism is a form of, anger is a completely understandable emotion to feel, and to see from social justice activists.  Because really, we’re talking about injustices here.  We’re talking about the oppression of people based on their size.  We’re talking about the open hatred of people because of their weight.  We’re talking about social and medical discrimination of human beings.  We’re talking physical, emotional and social abuse of a whole swathe of people, simply because their bodies don’t fit into a narrow, arbitrary measure of “acceptable”.  I say there’s something wrong with you if you’re not getting angry about this.

In fact, I get angry about ALL forms of social injustice, be they based on gender, size, race, sexuality, spiritual beliefs, physical ability, economic status or beyond.  I get angry at the marginalisation and oppression of human beings for any arbitrary reason.  Because it’s fucking wrong!

If that shit isn’t making you angry… there’s something wrong.

Of course, speaking up about any of this gets that dreaded accusation “You’re such an angry person!!”

What many people fail to understand, is that they so often only see one aspect of someone.  Many readers of my activism work know little more about me than what I write here, or tweet.  They see just this perspective, Kath in her activist boots.

We’re all a whole lot more multi-faceted than that.  Yes, as an activist, there is a good amount of anger expressed through my work.  But then there’s my career – those people only know me through my employment.  They see a different side of me, and many of them don’t know about the activism I do.  They see dedicated Kath who loves her job to bits and most of the time, has a whole lot of fun doing it.  They see Library Kath, in her librarian hat.

Beyond that, there are people who know me primarily through my hobbies.  They see yet another facet of me.  They see someone who loves to have fun and laugh.  They see playful Kath, who loves to try new things and expand her horizons.  They see Leisure Kath, in her leisure dress.

Then there is Kath the friend.  Kath who cares about the people in her life.  The Kath that wants to hear when her friends are going through good times and bad.  They see Friend Kath, in her friend socks.

Then there is private Kath.  This is the Kath who enjoys her own company, likes quiet down time on her own, away from any need to perform to other’s expectations.  Almost nobody sees this Kath, since she likes to keep that side of herself to herself.  That is Kath, in her private underpants.

Some very special people in my life get to see all those facets, and they know me better than others, so they see the whole outfit – dress, hat, socks, boots and if they’re really lucky, underpants.  They see all of me, the whole outfit.  They see that the anger is tempered by the humour, which is balanced by the caring, which is strengthened by the intelligence.  Now sometimes parts of those aspects of myself get a bit worn through, and I have to lean on the others.  That’s how it is with everyone – we sometimes focus on one aspect of our lives more than others, until we are refreshed about our careers, our loved ones, our activism, our hobbies etc.

Yet because people may only see certain parts of the whole, they decide they can judge someone only on the strength of the part they see.  So in my case, lots of people know me as the angry fatty, who rants and raves about how people treat fat folks.

I hold no shame for my anger.  Just like love, or humour, or sadness, or passion, or worry, or dedication, it is part of who I am and a genuine emotion that I have as much right to express as any other emotion.

Many people equate anger with violence as well – but the two are not the same thing.  I believed they were until my late teens, because that’s what I was taught anger was.  I was taught all my childhood and most of my teens that if you made someone angry, the repercussion was violence.  It wasn’t until I met a dear friend of mine at 17 (hey Big Dude, love you!), who taught me that someone could be absolutely livid, totally pissed off, and not engage in violence at all.

Anger can be damaging, for sure.  It can be damaging if we direct it towards the wrong things.  It is also damaging if we let it fester inside us and don’t deal with it.

So often, we bottle up our anger.  We suppress it to be “nice” or “polite”.  Particularly women – women are expected to be pleasant and nice, caring and gentle.  We’re not allowed to express anger at hurt or injustice.  If we are, we’re aggressive, unfeminine… bitches.  So instead, many women learn to be passive-aggressive, and engage in snark or spite.

For the first… well most of my life, I didn’t express my anger at injustice.  I held it in, worried about what people thought about me.  So it came out at things.  Instead of allowing myself to be angry at people for behaving like complete arsehats, I let it fester inside me until I took it out on something inanimate.  I can’t tell you how many appliances I’ve destroyed in complete rage that was boiling over from the way I had been treated as a fat woman.

Now, I focus my anger on the injustices of the world.  Instead of swallowing my anger at bigotry and ignorance and hate, which forces it to surface later, in my job or at my loved ones, I let that rage out at where it should be –  at the injustices towards human beings.