Dan Savage: Love Fatties (Just Keep them Coverd Up)

So, Dan Savage wrote a fat themed column this week. I read it on Wednesday but was hesitant to post about it because it was just disingenuous that it was tough to get my head around. Not to mention that most of the fat-related advice revolved around wanna-be feeders and feederism is just the greatest red-herring ever inflicted upon fat acceptance but I'm not going to even try to get into that.

Basically, some ass writes in all self-loathing over his fetish for fat "ugly" girls. Savage tells him to get over his prejudices and that the girl doesn't deserve him. Which is all true, but might mean more coming from a guy who doesn't think fat women owe it to the him and the world to cover up lest their "unhealthiness" be an aesthetic blight upon our society. Its a classic case of someone talking inclusiveness one second but loudly demanding exclusion the next.

I'll guess he's doing this because he's busy picking a fight over Beth Ditto's generalizing statement about how gay men are dictating weight standards to fat women. Which was completely overgeneralizing and simplifying the situation in a way which only protects the status quo. But the complaint would have been better served NOT being made by a gay man who dictates to weight standards to fat women. So Dan wants to pretend that's now who he is. Never mind that in his rebuke to Ditto he generalized fat people as being "dumb motherfuckers" who were "eating themselves to death". See, that's not bigotry. That's just Dan being "edgy" and "politically incorrect". Takes a lot of courage to take fat people to task for being fat. Gosh, I NEVER see that.

Then, of course, there was his hissy fit a few years back over "Girl Love Handles". Basically, some guy wrote in to whine about he had to occasionally glance at women who weren't a size 0 wearing low-rise pants and Savage right-on'd him because its just awful that women who aren't extremely thin would dare show any skin. Gosh, don't they know how disgusting that is? It was total "my sense of aesthetics is the only acceptable one" BS, but Savage took it one step further and linked the aesthetic disgust to the "obesity epidemic". You see, its not that it looks disgusting. No, no. It looks "unhealthy". Never mind that most of what is being talked about are women who are probably a size 8. No, no. Its about the "epidemic". Again, classic attempt at asserting that a beauty standard is unassailable because it actually isn't a beauty standard at all. Its all about your HEALTH! Yeah, read the letter that Savage agrees with 100% and tell me that any of that is about "health".

Savage wrote a follow-up column mocking readers who took issue, going as far as scolding Marilyn Wann for not being "realistic" about the "consequences" of I guess being fat and wearing low rise jeans while also insisting that the pants simply "don't flatter" fat bodies while ignoring that the issue is that the standard for flattering a fat body is hiding the fat. I don't really take a position on what anyone wants to wear, but I absolutely take issue with fashion ideals founded on the notion that fat is bad and thus must be suppressed at all costs. Savage also hints a paternalistic pandering to Wann when he suggests how best to be a fat activist to her. See, he knows this better than she, so she ought to take his advice. He then printed ANOTHER follow-up column opening up the floor to plenty of Fat Hate Bingo hits. "The Law of Thermodynamics says you're a liar," "So I'm supposed to think fat chicks are hot?" "Public healthy crisis", "You're being too extreme," "You just want excuses," etc. I actually checked, and I am calling Bingo for the center column in Fat Hate Bingo 1 just in the second follow-up column. Then, after spending 3 columns on the issue, he writes yet another follow-up when he has the audacity to scold fat people for caring about this issue when there are so many more important things to discuss. I'm not sure that's on FHB yet, but "There are more important things to discuss" is a classic privilege bingo item but its especially galling coming from someone who just spent three nationally syndicated columns on the topic.

Lest you think that this was all Savage's first foray into fat bashing, he actually published a letter from Marilyn Wann before back in 1999 and his response was equally patronizing. The sort of "Its all good that you're happy, but you're still going to DIE!" approach that is so common. I swear, he's a Bingo completing machine.

I've looked back through his columns and a trend clearly presents itself. He's okay with people being attracted to fat people. Totally supportive of that. Fly your freak flag and all that. Fat people being okay with fat people? At best, he offers a "Your funeral" response and at worst he calls them liars and tells them to lose weight. Its okay to be turned on by you, but its not really okay to be you. I mean, if you wanna be okay with it, its totally your choice to eat yourself to death while lying to yourself. He's enlightened like that. "Like that" being the key.

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