12.15.2011

There is a reason my picture is at the top of the page

Wow. You losers really love taking your marching orders from an obsessive dweeb you probably would have beat up in middle school. Not because you were tough, of course, but because he was weird and defenseless and made for easy prey. Its ironic that he now is both desperate for your approval and simultaneously directing you to swarm at his command. I mean, really fucking pathetic, but ironic, too.

Have fun being sad, worthless people who disappoint everyone around them!
So, someone on reddit linked to my post about White Knights today and my traffic shot up. I'm always amused by this in Blogger stats. They have a little chart of my blog traffic that defaults to the current week and usually there are normal little ups and downs but sometimes something throws off the curve and I get a straight line hugging the bottom of the chart and then a line going straight up to the top. This happens most reliably when I get linked on reddit or when I get linked from Shakesville.

Anyhow, someone made a sad little quip about supposed "white knights" and someone responded to them by linking to my deconstruction of that line of attack. It will not surprise you to learn that the response was a whole lot of guys dismissing me as a white knight and generally belittling me in a general.

Quite a few took the time to mock me for being fat. They saw my photo in my blog header and decided they could just stop right there. Clearly someone so fat wasn't worth listening to. It was a potent reminder of how much risk fat people face when they are publicly fat. Of how much entitlement people feel to insult and demean us on sight. Which, as it happens, is precisely why my photo is up there.

I put my photo on the top of my blog specifically to say "fuck you" to each and every person who thinks I don't matter because I'm fat. I put it up there knowing it would incite hatred and wanting that reaction. I don't want to comfort these assholes by hiding. I don't want to feel like I'm not putting myself out there to stand behind what I believe in. Mind you, I don't think this is something fat people are obligated to do. The risks are real, after all, and I can't ask anyone else to take on those risks. I can ask myself, though. I can decide for myself that I can take the abuse. When I was considering it, I was thinking about all the other fat bloggers who I knew what they looked like. It might not be because their photo was on every page of their blog, but they are putting themselves out there. I found that really inspiring and when I took some great shots of myself in Santa Monica last year, I decided to just go with it.

I'm not going to lie, there are moments where the insults hurt. Where the risks are realized and they sting, but they are getting less and less. Today, reading the insults, I mostly just laughed. Really? That photo up there is so outrageously ugly that you can dismiss everything I have to say? Bullshit. I look great in that picture. I love that picture. Not every fat person can get to the point where the really love how they look, even for just a moment in one photo. I am fortunate to have gotten to that point and its something that I can come back to in the times when I'm struggling. Is that vanity? Maybe. Maybe some vanity is a good thing for fat people to have. Given the way we are told to feel about ourselves, I don't really think there is any danger in going too far in the other way. That scale is never going to get imbalanced that way so we should have no shame of whatever bit of vanity we may get.

I put my photo in my header because I think I look awesome and I want the people who hate me to see it and know just how awesome I am. I want them to look at that picture and then tell me I'm ugly so I can know that they don't know what they are talking about. Never am I more confident than when responding to someone trying to strip me of my confidence. For me, the vulnerability of being fat and visible is ultimately a source of strength.

Like I said, I don't think this needs to be everyone's choice. Even those who shy away from linking their photos to their fat politics are still living their lives visibly fat. Even those who still hate their bodies are publicly fat and that should inspire us all. There is tremendous power in being seen. That is why people want to drag us down. They want to take that power away from us, but they never can. Our bodies are powerful and we can be inspired by this power. Not to put our photos on the internet, but to do anything in our lives. Being seen while fat is a real power we all have. They will never take that from us.

29 comments:

Anastasia L said...

De-lurking to say: you ARE awesome. I love this blog, and I was so happy to find a male voice chiming in on fat and feminist issues (and kicking ass at it).

(And I love that picture of you too)

I'm a fairly recent redditor, and the fat-hatred over there absolutely bowled me over when I first joined. But hey, some of those folks who clicked over here today learned something new when they read your post, and that is also awesome. :)

Brian said...

I think with maybe one exception, every time I've been linked at Reddit its been by someone who agrees with me and wants to share what I've had to say and I'm nothing but humbled by that. It does seem to reliably provoke a certain contingent there, though, who spend large portions of their life sniping at feminists, fatties, and when they are really luck fat feminists. Still, always more fodder for Fat Hate Bingo.

largepinkwoman said...

Screw them, that photo is totally awesome!

sossajes said...

cheers to this. visibility is so important for any marginalized group. and that suit (or jacket) is just fantastic, where did you get it?

erylin said...

well honestly i think you are dead sexy. thats an awesome pic of you and i always enjoy your writing.

Ollie said...

De-lurking too. I arrived at this blog last time you were linked from Shakesville and added you to my blog roll straight away. That pic is awesome, as are you, as well as terrifically brave for putting yourself into the fray like that. I'm not on Reddit, and it sounds like I shouldn't bother - I'll just stay here!

JeninCanada said...

You DO look great in that photo, and screw the haters. Your writing is vibrant and passionate and I really appreciate it.

Elizabeth said...

Hey Brian! I've been reading your blog for a looooong time, since way before the brouhaha, and I've been meaning to tell you for quite a while that I'm really glad you're back. I missed you when you were gone.

Anonymous said...

It is a great photo of you. You are lookin' sharp!

Thalia said...

Two things about that picture:

One, the first thing I noticed was that you did a seamless job rubberstamping that palm tree out of the original (lol, what can I say I'm an artist who uses Photoshop all the time), and two, you look like you have just heard a tiny cry of distress with your supersonic hearing, and are contemplating, with narrowed eyes, how many people are nearby, for you are about to rip off those glasses, jacket and shirt to reveal your superhero outfit and bound up into the sky. Seriously, that's totally, totally what you look like you are doing there.

L.V.Newc said...

Another de-lurker here to extend my support: I so very much value your voice, what you say, and what you do.
Also, the concept of vulnerability being a source of strength resonates particularly strongly with me right now, at a very vulnerable time in my own life-- thank you for sharing your stories of vulnerability so that I may remember to derive strength from my own.
All my best~

Brian said...

Many thanks for the ego boost. Wasn't why I posted, but I'm not going to act like its not nice to hear.

@sossajes: The jacket is from Men's Wearhouse. Strictly speaking, its a white jacket and different white slacks that match close enough for a pseudo-suit.

@Elizabeth: Glad to be back.

@Thalia: I actually also had to rubberstamp out a palm tree that was right behind my head. Set the camera up myself so I couldn't really frame it perfectly. I do agree that it does have a bit of a heroic edge to it. You'd never know I was actually at the corner of my hotel balcony.

BeccaTheCyborg said...

I always figured you posted that picture of you because damn, you look amazing. And yeah, superhero-ish.

*goes back to lurking and linking your essays far and wide*

Melissa McEwan said...

Not only do you look great in that picture (and you do, foxy business!), but, from where I'm sitting (on my own fat ass), the way you look in that picture confers more credibility on what you have to say on the issues about which you write, not less.

And because I'm in a meta mood, I'm totes gonna link to this post in the blogaround. :)

Brian said...

@Melissa McEwan: Yay for meta! I'm sure this will keep Shakesville comfortably ahead of reddit in my referring domains list for all none of you that are interested in that metric.

The awesome thing about my original post with that picture is that I keep getting these fantastic Google referrals like "stylish fat man", "chubby guy in nice suit", or "fat man in white suit". Having looked at the Google Images results for these kinds of terms, its alarming how much of it is actually very fat shaming, so I'm glad some people are finding me as well.

natesmom said...

I love everything you have to say at Shakesville and clearly I need to become a more avid reader of you blog.

That picture, btw = awesome x 1110. (not sure why 1110, but that's where my fingers hit)

More than anything, hoorah for having pictures of yourself that you can say YES about. I am getting there...it is a slow process....people like you help me get there. Thank you for that.

Nia said...

Hi, I come here mostly when Shakesville links to you, and the first thing I thought when I saw that picture was that the focus of your blog was fashion for fat guys. It's soooooo stylish; I thought it was more a message about being stylish than about fat acceptance. ;)

Dr. Free-Ride said...

Things made of win:

That picture.
This post (and the whole blog, really).
Brian.

GabrielD said...

I followed Liss' link from Shakesville, and I have done so in the past. Bit of a lurker, but I am commenting to add in that I think you look sexy-amazing in that pic, and to thank you for being awesome. (I am also fat, and I'm only just reaching the 'loving myself' stage.)

Holly said...

I think you look hotttt in that pic!!!! I'm adding your blog to my favorite fat stuff!

Amanda foxley said...

Good for you xx awesome post u should be proud. It really does start with adults and the need for size ism to be nipped in the bud once and for all. The other day at the shops, a 9yo boy pulled his lil sister in my direction and said 'weird hey'. The parents of that child and society have a lot to answer for!

Anonymous said...

Cute button nose? check
lucious lips? check
amazing hair? check
great jacket? check
Oh and you have a cleft chin .... ohhhhh :)

Yep, you're a good looking guy allright! :) xxxx

Cassie Vance said...

I agree with Thalia that your blog pic looks like a superhero - I think it bears a resemblance to Superman-just-whipped-off-glasses. Anyway, I think you look fabulous in the photo, but more importantly I love your blog and find it a support in a difficult world.

Anonymous said...

Those comments have to be buried someplace because I couldn't see them :/

Brian said...

I believe Reddit's platform allows the community to hide offensive comments, so it is not out of the question that you can't see them anymore without specifically unhiding them.

Anonymous said...

You are acers, Brian. Loved this and the White Knight posts. Genuinely inspirational.

Finisterre

Anonymous said...

Actually I come over here sometimes to look at your picture because you're attractive. And then I stay to read what you have to say and I'm wowed. So, right, fuck 'em. - Lookfar

Anonymous said...

I've been posting fashion shots of my daughter (size 4) and myself (size 18 or 1X) on my Livejournal and it occurred to me that one reason I keep posting the pix of myself is the sort of inspiration that I get from bloggers like you to stand up for the rights of fat people like myself to be gorgeous, interesting, dramatic and proud.

So thanks, Brian. I linked to this post so my six-person flist can read it.

Lookfar.livejournal.com

weeklymac said...

I just found your blog today, and I have to agree with at least one thing - you look FAB in your header! I'm a fat chick with a fat hubbie (and even a dog the vet considers overweight, but when we got her she had just gotten over being skin and bones!), and I am enjoying reading all the fat-positive words herein - though I know I have a long way to go towards embracing my own body (internalized fat-hate - boooo!). Don't let the bastards drag you down.

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