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.