Monday, January 6, 2014

Shame, shame, shame...

: a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong

transitive verb:
 : to cause (someone) to feel ashamed
 : to force (someone) to act in a specified way by causing feelings of shame or guilt

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Okay, so you have a clue what today's post is going to be about right? I've written about guilt before here and I've written about the easily offended before here so this is probably going to be a little repetitive at times but I have had it up to here with something and so I am writing about it.

I am so over, completely and totally over slut shaming and fat shaming. Not the act of doing it, the act of calling everyone out on it.

You're familiar with these things right? Slut shaming is the practice of making a woman feel badly about her sexuality. Or at least that's what it's supposed to reference. If you wouldn't call a guy out for sleeping with someone on the first date but you would a woman it's slut shaming. I hate the term. I get that it's supposed to be shocking, that we toss around slut for normal sexual appetite. But it bugs the shit out of me. Because if someone says "no slut shaming" then you have just labeled what you are doing as slutty. Get it? You are saying I get to be a slut, you just don't get to judge me. STOP CALLING IT SLUTTY. 

And on the flip side of that, if someone tells you sex with strangers is dangerous, especially for a woman, they aren't slut shaming you. They are warning you. It is. Sex with strangers is dangerous. STDs, wackos, personal safety issues. If you want to have sex with strangers that's your choice, but someone telling you that hooking up with a guy you just met isn't the safest choice isn't slut shaming. It's practical advice. And along those lines if you have sex with a lot of different people and you talk about it other people are going to judge you. It might not be right, it might not be fair, but it is going to happen.

That's the thing with choices, they come with consequences. Now I will judge you male or female if you are really promiscuous. Not saying I am right, I'm just saying I will. I will wonder why you are choosing to share something that personal and deep with someone you don't really know. Because for me sex is something personal and deep. But I get that it isn't that for everyone. For some people it's recreational. And I will remind myself of that, but part of me will wonder why you don't feel that it's personal and deep. The same way a part of you wonders why I think it's that big of a deal when it's just recreational.

Get it? I'm not slut shaming you. You aren't prude shaming me. We just view it differently. 

And that brings us to our next part. Fat shaming. Oh god how sick I am of hearing about fat shaming and it's flip side thin privilege. This one drives me crazy. Seems as though you aren't allowed to mention that being overweight is unhealthy anymore. See that's fat shaming. Um, no it's not. If I am talking about my latest fitness challenge for myself and how I am motivating myself to get fit I'm not fat shaming you. It has nothing to do with you. At all. It's all about me. And how I want to be healthier. Because no matter what the fat acceptance movement is selling, being overweight is unhealthy. It just is.

Yes, you can be heavy and be in better shape than someone who is just naturally thin. It happens. But guess what? If you lost weight you would be even healthier. Now I completely understand that some people cannot get thinner. I have an aunt who had issues with her metabolism. Worked a farm and those of you who understand what that means get it, and was still heavy. She was just that way. I have friends now who have health issues that keep them from being as fit as they would like to be. Because they can't work out. Or they are on medication that keeps them heavy. Any number of reasons. They aren't the people I'm talking about. And generally they aren't the ones who are getting so cranky about all the fat shaming going on right now. You know, as people make their resolution to lose weight. Or a fitness model posts her hints on how to get in shape and you see it and aren't thin so you get pissed off. That's fat shaming you know...


I had to go to the doctor a few weeks ago. As we were wrapping up our visit she told me not to eat too much over Christmas. Was she fat shaming me? No. I had gained two pounds since the last time she had seen me, and that was only two months before, she was warning me. Now I told her no way, calories didn't count in December and I would worry about it in January. She laughed and told me I was cute. There are those of you out there saying, "She's your doctor though, doctors can talk to you about your weight, just no one else can." and I would agree except I read a "thin privilege" list last week and one of the items was "Your doctor actually tries to find out what is wrong instead of just suggesting you lose weight." You know why your doctor is suggesting you lose weight? Because that could be what is wrong. Your joints hurt? Your blood pressure is high? Your sugar counts are off? Try losing weight. They aren't fat shaming you. They aren't ignoring your health concerns. They are addressing the first and most obvious issue. Your weight. Being overweight isn't healthy. And it doesn't matter how many Facebook groups you join that tell you it's fine, it's still not going to be healthy.

As you all know I have issues on both sides of the weight divide. I could be and have gotten much heavier than I am, and I could be and have gotten much thinner than I am. Neither one is healthy. But I could find a support group for both. Did you know that there are pro-anorexia sites out there? Places where women and men who suffer from it can go and get positive reinforcement for how skinny they are. Just because a group of people tells you that it's okay doesn't mean it's healthy. Heavy or skinny if you take it to the extreme then you aren't being healthy. It's not fat shaming, it's not thin shaming, it's just the facts.

I also don't think being heavy is unattractive. I know quite a few people who are heavier than what would be considered in the thin range who are very good looking. They carry themselves well. I know some people who are firmly in the slim and fit camp who are just ugly as all get out. They carry themselves badly. Everyone carries themselves, yourself, your real self, the you who is inside the shell, well or badly or somewhere in-between. Weight has little to do with attractiveness.  No matter what the current meme on your Facebook page says. Being thin doesn't make you hot and being heavy doesn't make you a "real woman". 

So now that I've ranted a bit I want to say something else that I get grief for. I think a little bit of shame is a good thing. I'm not sure when shame became such a horrible idea. In my opinion shame is just like guilt. It's an actionable feeling. If you are feeling shame that's your cue to change your behavior. But shaming? Just like trying to make me feel guilty. It's not going to happen. You can't shame me, or make me feel guilty unless I let you. So fat shaming, slut shaming, none of it. Screw you. But my own sense of shame? Sure that works. If I feel ashamed over something I've said or done then I need to change.

Do you remember when you would say about someone "They have no shame" and it was a bad thing? Now it's like a blessing. No, have a little shame. It will keep you from wearing something you shouldn't, like tights for pants. Doing something you will regret. Saying something you can't take back. If you hate the word shame then use something else, like common sense. 

For the most part I'm putting these shaming allegations firmly in the camp of the easily offended. And I have no patience for that. Get over it. A friend of mine wrote a piece earlier this week (I would link it but he made it private, not everyone shares their guts and then leaves the wound open) on how easily people get offended by words. His life had a rough start. I cried for the boy that he was and what he went through. It was that sort of painful read. But I don't cry for the man he is because he made it through. Wonderfully. Fully. And with a comprehension that life can be awful but mostly it's not. And if you make it through something truly awful you find it hard to be offended when someone tells you to not eat too much over Christmas.

And for the last part, let's call it the disclaimer. I know how horrible it can be to your self esteem to have someone pick at you about weight or looks or any number of things. I know that damage that can come from an abusive situation. And I'm not talking about those situations here. If you are in a situation where someone is constantly being abusive toward you, get out. Nobody has the right to do that to you. If you are doing it to someone else, leave and get help for your own issues. I'm not talking about real actual cases of abusive behavior here when I have been bitching. I'm talking about the fact that people toss the labels around too loosely. Because if you start to apply labels to things that they aren't you just lessen the impact when it's really needed.

So have a little shame when you are posting, would you?

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