When the Marie Claire debacle broke yesterday, I felt little need to respond directly the article as others had done such a good job. Thus, my pre-reaction to the kind of backlash those sentiments tend to engender from people fretting about us wanting to force our fatness upon them. While FA voices have acquitted themselves quite well, others... well, not so much.
For starters, there is the original author herself who posted an "apologetic" postscript to the original article. Its a total non-apology, but it actually seems even worse than that, to me. It was bad enough that she was all "in my defense, the people I'm disgusted by are REALLY fat", but I realized she actually only expresses regret to people who are trying to lose weight. Either the author thinks dieters are the only kind of fat people, or the only kind who matter. She's torn up if she offended someone who agrees with her that fat is a horrible problem, but that's not really addressing what was so offensive to people who don't concur that fat people are blighting the planet.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post offered its own "not getting" reaction to the reaction wondering if we need to ban the word fat. As if that was the problem that people were up in arms over. It makes a feeble connection to some Canadian article about a politician that called him fat a lot. Look, there is nothing wrong about fat. If people paid attention to the backlash from fat people, they'd notice we use the word a lot. The problem is the attitude. If someone uses fat as a slur, its that they think our bodies are wrong that is the issue. Not anything rude about the word itself. I don't care if someone calls me fat when they are expounding about how disgusted they are at having to glimpse my body. I care that they are disgusted by my body.
Marie Claire (who don't forget commissioned the article in the first place) has also acquitted themselves poorly. Or, at least their social media team did. When they did a good thing by inviting Lesley Kinzel to write a response for their blog, they promoted it on Facebook. Lots of people declined to be terribly moved by this manner of reaction. Marie Claire then pushed back by insisting that the offending attitude was just an "opinion" and acted like they were just engaged in an exchange of ideas. Hate may be an opinion, but its not "just an opinion". No one is saying the author should be thrown in jail for her fat hatred, but they are saying its offensive and unacceptable. The level of bitterness and hatred the author displayed was openly and intentionally hurtful (well, maybe not if you loathe being fat). There is no civil debate between "your body is disgusting and should kept out of sight" and "um, no". Making it like it is just deepens the wound caused by the hateful attitudes. This isn't some sort of "point/counterpoint" situation. The disenfranchised don't have an obligation to endorse their stigmatization as a valid opinion.
Well, guess what. An increasing number of fat people don't care to know their place while other people check off Fat Hate Bingo squares. That's a very good thing.