Dan Savage’s follow-up note last week promising to revisit the issue of a spouse who no longer finds his fat spouse attractive initially gave me cause for optimism. His advice, reaffirming spousal weight-gain, really disappointed me, but I had hoped readers would help him see the error of his ways and he’d set things right.
This week, Dan rants and raves about the perceived contradictions in reader reactions to a similar situation involving gay men – although, as Fillyjonk points out, people write in to get Dan’s opinion, not that of his denizen of readers.
Dan tries desperately to cling to his fast-crumbling pedestal of self-righteous narcissism. But in the end, his feelings on fat people are clear.
In response to a letter writer who asks what Dan would say had the spouse got breast cancer and had to have a mastectomy, Dan writes:
There’s a difference between eating yourself into unattractiveness—or dieting yourself into unattractiveness (some people are attracted to big folks, marry big folks, and want ‘em to stay big folks)—and suffering a disfiguring accident or boob-threatening illness. It’s the difference between something that happened to you and something you did to yourself, YMIOTO.
Again, the passage of time destroys us all. But you can’t sit on the couch stuffing Twinkies in your mouth and bitch about how shallow your partner is for not finding you attractive anymore because some people get cancer. Please.
So, there you have it. Fatness is something “you do to yourself.” Fatness is a “choice.”
Sound like deja vu? Oh, right. It’s the same thing the ex-gay movement folks say, too.
Welcome to The-F-Word newcomers who’ve stumbled across my blog thanks to Dan’s mention of my entry in his blog here. You’re more than welcome to debate the issue, but do keep in mind, this is an eating disorders awareness blog. People who frequent the site either currently struggle with or are recovering from either an eating disorder or disordered thinking about food. Please be sensitive to this and exercise restraint in your comments.
And please don’t come here and tell me that you’ve lost weight by dieting and exercise, and that if you can do it, I can too. I’ve been there and done that and chances are, I’ve probably lost more weight than you in a shorter amount of time – 175 pounds in a year, to be precise. Of course, my diet had a name: anorexia and bulimia, and my willpower damn near killed me.
Just to clarify, I think the ex-gay movement is abhorrent. By no means do I agree with or endorse its views in that homosexuality is a “choice.” But nor do I think one’s body weight is always a “choice.” Yes, there is a correlation with what we eat and how much we weigh, but just as with height and eye, hair and skin color, there is no genetic one-size-fits-all.
Before you comment, I ask that you read Kate Harding’s primer on the myths of fatness in her article “But Don’t You Realize Fat is Unhealthy.” The diet industry is at at an all-time high, generating $55 billion a year in revenue. If fatness were a matter of simple “choice” and lifestyle changes, we’d be a nation full of thin people.
And last, I ask that you please be respectful of one another, and keep in mind my Comments Policy. Thanks, and welcome.