Lots of you know that I’m a fan of Health at Every Size. This is a philosophy that essentially says I’m going to eat as well as I can, and exercise regularly. If that doesn’t make me lose weight, so fucking what. I’m also a fan of Size Acceptance. This means that if you have some sort of problem with the size that I am, so fucking what. One might say I live on the philosophical corner of MindUrOwnBidniss Ln and HateElsewherePlz Blvd. One of the chick bloggers on FA and HAES I’ve enjoyed reading is Ragen Chastain. I’ve been reading her for a long while now. While I do think her blog is hella repetitive, I also think it’s full of good information.
But here’s the thing…
Like many blogs written with a concrete foundation in feminism, Ragen bends way the hell backward to not offend readers. Every opinion, every statement of philosophy, begins with a long disclaimer stating that just because she says something works for her–she’s not telling everyone else that they should do it, or that it’s the only right thing for anyone to do. I presume she does this because, on the internet, you can’t say anything without someone jumping on you about it. If someone says “Hey, what a lovely sunny day it is” someone else will rag on them for being insensitive to people with skin cancer. If someone says “I lost weight and I feel great,” others will undoubtedly ask how they enjoy being a tool of the diet companies. People are dicks, and anyone even remotely visible online needs to have a strategy for dealing with dicks up front.
But see, we all make judgements. I actually think the occasional shaming of idiots can serve to better the world, if only to encourage them to be a little less vocal in their idiocy. We all think that some people look better in certain clothes or with specific haircuts, would be happier dating different people, having a cat instead of a dog, finally admitting they’re gay, watching HBO instead of Honey Boo Boo. We’ve all got opinions about other people and the things they do. Me, I can’t shut up about mine.
Still, I don’t think having those opinions makes me a hater. I’m not putting people down to feel better about me. I don’t think even thinking ugly things about others does not make a person evil or mean-spirited. Own your judgements just like you own every other emotion–even when it doesn’t make sense. Just like we eat foods we know are bad for us, miss people we know are actually assholes, we sometimes make judgements about people that we later feel guilty about. That’s okay, really.
What’s my point? I’m getting to that.
it’s about my peeve: What I really, super, dooper hate.
When people pretend they aren’t being judgemental when they are. I hate when people, even people like Ragen, whom I admire, do this. If someone you admire is doing something you hate (say, a fat sports hero going on The Biggest Loser) fucking say so. Otherwise, you get into this infuriating sacrificial-grandmother posture. Oh no dear, you just go to that party instead of playing cards with me like we do every Saturday. You make your own decision like the grown lady you are, and if I’m dead when you get back…well, that won’t be your fault. You just went to a party.
This whole put-upon narrative of You can do any foolish, harmful thing you want…I’m not saying one single solitary word about it…not ONE WORD… thing is such utter bullshit. Prefacing your judgement with passive-aggressive ranting about how judgemental you’re NOT being is uglier than simple judgement would ever be.
Why? Because it’s dishonest. It also places the judger on a higher moral level than the person being judged–even though in most situations, the one being judged is actually the one being genuine. Look how judgemental I’m NOT being in the face of so-and-so’s complete idiocy. I think it’s their right to be an idiot so I’m not saying one word… in the middle of a post where you’re saying a bunch of words about the idiocy you just said you weren’t judging.
If you think people shouldn’t buy or use Slimfast, say so. If you honestly believe it’s harmful and dangerous– don’t pretend like you’re cool with it either way, and will respect the other party just as much if they do the thing you’re making it pretty clear that you don’t want them doing. Disclaimer: I don’t know Ragen in real life. I’ve not met her so I have no idea if she’s the same in her blog as she is in person. She’s certainly not the only person who fits the examples I’ve described. But it was her recent blog post that burst the dam on this issue.
All people make judgements every day. All of us. Even people like me who barely leave the house these days. I still make judgements about people based on what they say, what they do, how they respond to issues, what they say about their children. We all do this. There’s no shame in it. It’s how you navigate humanity. If you’re constantly treating others in a way you wouldn’t want to be treated–well, then you might be an asshole. Get that checked out. If not…relax. Having an opinion, even about other people, is normal, natural, and unavoidable. Opinions are actually part of instinct. We need them for survival, though this is less true on the internets
I’m what my mom used to politely call “mouthy.” I’ve got lots to say, and I’m reasonably good at saying stuff–so I do. If I start becoming a pompous jackass, a rude bitch, or a mean-spirited asshat, I fully expect my friends to tell me that. No, that won’t be a fun way to spend an afternoon. I can be rather defensive and difficult if I’m feeling insulted. But I also have enough introspective skill that I can look at the advice objectively and see if there are things I need to address.
I feel that improves me as a person the same way an aggressive editor improves prose. While I do have those moments of “Fuck you, really?” I end up a better person for it in the end. I was being a total snobby bitch about fanfic a while back, and a few people took me to task for it. It wasn’t fun, but as I was out of line, it was an asskicking I totally deserved. Just because I hate something, people who like it aren’t necessarily vapid morons with nothing to contribute to literature. Who knew, amirite? ;-]
So no, we shouldn’t all go around thinking we know what’s best for everyone. But if we’ve got something that we feel strongly enough about that we’re sharing it with a wide audience–it should be truthful, honest. If it isn’t, it’s deceptive, which means it might just as well be manipulative.
Don’t manipulate me, just tell me what’s up.
I’m a big girl, I can handle it.