The Artistry Of Glorified Bullshit

A critical view of groupthink and cult dynamics in today's world

The Artificial "Culture War"

The “Fat Pride” Campaign – Why Both Sides Are Wrong


Lately, I’ve come across some material about a campaign begun in recent years, urging society to embrace the concept of being overweight, by eliminating the ideals of beauty and health our culture has always had – a culture which today some claim imposes impossible standards through the flawless image of celebrities . As far as I’m aware, it was started by feminists and only centres on women.

There are, as expected, two extremes to the issue. Social justice warriors claim it’s about time we moved beyond conventional beauty; upholding the perfectly proportionate body is offensive to overweight people (and that causing offence is of course a crime). In the UK, someone went as far as calling the police for a comment made on television by a female celebrity.

(Later edit: at the time of writing this post, I had no idea who the celebrity in question was, which meant I was slightly better off in life. Of course, calling the police was ridiculous regardless.)

Their opponents, many of them male, argue that since attraction is a natural instinct, it is governed by immutable laws which should not be artificially redefined for the sake of political correctness. They argue this is a bid for encouraging a lack of discipline (though the words laziness and gluttony are used more often), that being overweight causes a multitude of health conditions which take resources from health care systems needlessly etc.

Each side has some valid points, and yet, both forget one important issue: the difference between the notions of PUBLIC and PRIVATE, in every sense that they apply to this situation.

So here are my observations, which I dare think make sense.

  1. The difference between harassment/ bullying and opinions

Whereas SJWs see the need for adding a human right to already existing ones, namely the right not to be offended by anything ever, publicly  expressing an idea such as the fact that being overweight is unhealthy or unsightly cannot be seen as harassment directed towards a particular individual.  If so, 95% (a rough estimate) of what people say on a daily basis would fall into that category, as it offends some group or another, and therefore offends the individuals in it.

That said, some health fanatics are just as irrational. I’ve come across confessions of a strange impetus some feel when they’re in a public place near a bigger person – to stare at them and the meals or drinks they order, especially if they’re underage, accompanied by parents. Someone should say something to these people, they should have ordered less, they should change their habits. Now that qualifies as bullying. Targeting random strangers in the street or in cafes with an unjustified sense of entitlement, tearing into them for private choices which don’t affect you,  doesn’t exactly shed a positive light on how healthy you are. That is anti-social behaviour at its best.

2.  Speaking of entitlement…

There’s probably no point repeating that SJWs by definition feel justified to want their ears protected against any criticism, which creates a weak and sickly society, full of people who constantly whine for privileges. But I’ll do it anyway.  If I were to draw a caricature of the typical SJW, it would be a student, possibly vegan, wearing a rainbow-coloured poncho and a pair of jackboots, pointing a loaded gun, spitting with ire, eyes bulging out of their head and their face distorted with rage, as they shout at the top of their voice: “LIIIIIIKE MEEEE…..!”

On the other side of the debate, there is a very different, equally disturbing sense of entitlement. In some hedonistic delusion, certain people think the world was created for their delight and those they deem unattractive visually pollute it. Because, of course, the rest of their surroundings are so delightful. There’s no point telling such characters they can only have a neighbourhood to their complete liking when they can afford to buy one and that they don’t own the streets they walk down. Staring at strangers, finger-pointing, mocking them in public is inexcusable regardless of the trait you dislike.

There is no logical reason one should care how a complete stranger looks. None at all. They can issue a non-requested opinion, preferably behind the person’s back, yet are not justified to feel that person owes them, anyone else or even themselves to look a certain way.

So why do people nowadays comment so ceaselessly, rudely and mercilessly about other people’s bodies, male or female? My best guess is the next point.

3. Overexposure 

It’s not the beauty of models, actresses and celebrities in general which causes other women to feel (and be) scrutinised at all times. It’s the culture of everyone being invited to explore the naked bodies of others down to their finest details; what was for thousands of years hidden from public view is suddenly on display now. And it’s not just in magazines or films one needs to be 18 to access; it’s everywhere. If you watch a documentary called “Sellebrity”, you’ll hear how rags such as gossip magazines pay famous women to put on weight and lose it over a period of weeks or months, for them to document every change. The money isn’t half bad, yet the public obsession with imperfections is being fueled. It leads to objectification and comments which in other times were reserved for very intimate gatherings (about the private parts of so&so) are now commonplace in  the street, for all to hear.

People suddenly stop differentiating between those who want their bodies scrutinised (who sell their image) and the ordinary person, who has not invited such analyses and should by all means be left alone.

If feminists really were against the use of women’s bodies to sell everything from cars to alcohol, they would advocate more modesty, which in turn would mean more protection for women in general. But what do they do instead? They call on big women to pose naked and flaunt their bodies in front of the crowds, engaging in the exact behaviour which contributed to their negative image.

4. Cognitive dissonance 

Having dealt with social anxiety for many years, I have utter respect for those who manage not to give a fuck about what others think of them. Also, I am in favour of seeing the human body as nothing more than a temporary vessel, therefore I don’t understand the obsession with spending half of this short life on Earth perfecting something which will ultimately be consumed by flames or maggots. But each to their own.

Anyhow, that is not the case here.

Those involved in this campaign cannot honestly claim they don’t care what others think while they are so desperately seeking general validation. This goes for SJWs in general. Personally, I don’t care how others look, who they sleep with, how many people they sleep with etc; it’s lobbying groups  who continually shove their private issues in everyone else’s face, looking for cheering and applause.

Self-acceptance it tacit; it’s only when you want others to acknowledge your conclusion about yourself that you take to the streets with a megaphone.

5. Let’s stop kidding ourselves.

It is an undesired physical trait. It doesn’t make anyone inferior or less capable, it doesn’t change who people are on the inside, yet no one can honestly tell me that if they had a choice between being fat and slim they would choose to be fat, because it’s all the same.

Most strangers only take a fleeting, superficial peek at us and go by what they see. Many overweight people I know approach others’ superficiality with humour; they don’t make an issue of pride versus oppression out of it. It’s unrealistic and if anything, it will only draw more antipathy form others.

Aesthetics and health were designed by nature in a manner recognisable to all through natural instincts; whilst we can in no way say the body is the most important aspect of a human being – as previously mentioned, it is, ultimately, devoured by flames or maggots – there is no denying that these are biological facts and not abstract social constructs. You can call an unhealthy person a hundred positive things which reflect their true qualities; what you can’t call them is healthy. And there’s no need to; it should be fine to admit no one is perfect.

On the other hand, those who bully overweight people or make sarcastic remarks in order to humiliate them should stop kidding themselves that they’re doing it because they care about their well-being. A well intended thought is never expressed in a deliberately hurtful way.

6. You address bullying by addressing bullying, not by reinterpreting the object of it.

Fat pride is not the answer to bullying. Neither is any other kind of pride of this sort.

Kids and young adults should be educated about what it means to be civilised, respectful to others, empathetic, not how wonderful it is to be overweight (any overweight person knows it’s anything but). They should be educated to not assume the causes of differences between people and to not be superficial, label, call names and so forth. In other words, to not bully.

I’ve always seen it as sheer idiocy to teach people to identify themselves with a single trait they have, be it race, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc.  People are far more complex than that. Of course, asking them to identify with a physical defect, and a potentially temporary one, is much worse. They become stuck in this constrictive paradigm in which everything can be linked to that specific trait. People, youngsters in particular, are also bullied for reasons such as stuttering or wearing glasses, yet we don’t see anyone glorifying eye conditions or speech impediments.

By pushing notions such as “fat pride”, society at large only becomes more antisocial. We no longer only have people who bully a specific group; we have that group bullying everyone else; the opposition becomes radicalised and tensions increase.

7. Self-acceptance is beneficial; taking pride in every defect isn’t

It’s often pointed out by SJWs that people commit suicide because they are bullied over one trait or another; prior to that they become isolated and depressed. That is true and terrible. And it’s also true the media pushes an unrealistic ideal of perfection, which would be fine if remaining an ideal, yet is embraced by the masses as a mandate, especially among younger people.

Accepting oneself, as opposed to self loathing, is necessary for an individual to function, to be motivated; without the hope for a better tomorrow and the belief they can improve their lives, people become demoralised; they lose that motivation. Without any joy there is little point to life, some would say. But acceptance entails balance and realism, it entails knowing oneself and one’s possibilities. What these people are proposing is self deceit by calling black white and vice versa, and what is more, by rejoicing in aspects which are potentially detrimental to them.

If we go by previous experiences with SJW fads, overweight people who want to change their appearance or criticise the “fat acceptance” movement will probably be classed as self-hating by these radical feminists, and as a danger to those who want to embrace the movement.

8. Society understood backwards

At times I’ve heard fitness fanatics say that the tendency towards becoming bigger is not a societal problem, that it’s a hundred per cent the responsibility of each individual. It’s a no-brainer that their assessment is false. Compared to a few decades ago, life has turned on its rear end. Social isolation causes people to watch mindless entertainment and thus be sedentary; the market is laden with unhealthy foods which are constantly being advertised; people who work long hours are in no mood (and have no energy left) to exercise etc.

I’ve heard people say overweight kids should be taken from parents and that such families are irresponsible or uncaring for not being able to say “no” when youngsters throw a fit over the latest junk  advertised on TV. It is the most idiotic approach to always blame the impressionable consumer instead of the devious retailer and advertiser of such junk.

If the leadership of affected states really wanted to address this issue, they would clamp down on the toxic junk being labeled as food and the freedom to advertise it everywhere, particularly to children. But of course governments don’t want that since they are in bed with the corporations lining their bank accounts from the enormous sale of said junk. Hence they have no interest in the sales of unhealthy (even toxic) products declining.

Health Nazis expect them to allow the hypnotising and poisoning of the population and simultaneously punish individuals for falling into that trap. It’s obvious that people won’t perceive junk as threatening when they’re surrounded by ads and hear them constantly on TV, on the radio etc. They grow up that way; those products are part of their daily existence.

Western societies are sick as a whole, on so many levels. Life nowadays is quite demoralising; psychological and emotional health have declined, yet we expect to be disciplined enough to maintain our physical health.

9. My conclusion

In a normal world,  people wouldn’t require public validation for the way they look – they would not receive feedback without having asked for it and would certainly not demand endorsement from others.

It’s our culture of overexposure and objectification that needs changing.

We are gradually being trained to see people as no more than animals. There are naked bodies everywhere, of all shapes and ages and for any given purpose, from health documentaries to porn, and millions of strangers gawking behind television screens.

Call me a puritan – though I am not, by any standards – yet we have no respect or love for each other and each other’s privacy anymore. Many see slabs of meat when they look at another human being, as the success of the exhibition of plastinated bodies has proven. We have no love for our own dignity when we plaster our social media profiles with duck face selfies and skimpy outfits. And no, I am not Muslim or with the WBC.

Leaving health aside (as that is relevant to others such as one’s doctor or employer) and those who make a living from their image, a person’s appearance has no business being of interest to anyone else but themselves and the one they are intimately involved with. Unless one has a legion of demons inhabiting their body (which is of course a joke), that only makes two altogether.

This is another old post on the same the subject.

For many, picking sides in this debate needs no hesitation, particularly when finding factual arguments against the concept of body positivity (and there are quite a few, where health is concerned). When looking deeper into the issue however, matters are complicated, as proponents have different attitudes and aspirations, from benign to utterly toxic.

  1. People who have experienced bullying and simply want it to stop

Although generally seen as reality distortion, this movement has become a refuge for those who seek acknowledgement for the very real suffering they have been put through pointlessly, sometimes for decades.

Their argument is in fact very logical – namely that people have no claims of entitlement to how others look, except for sexual situations, which involve (on average), for each person, one to a few individuals on this entire planet. Hence there is no reason to analyse every person we come across in terms of sexual desirability, since no sexual encounter is possible or likely. Many disagree, saying the analysis is a built-in mechanism; however, the point of voicing one’s conclusions abut the desirability of people they will never actually sleep with is lost to me. Especially voicing it to the world and to those they target.

There should be boundaries established by decency, but unfortunately, we live in times when boundaries are increasingly unclear.  The world is a fiercely competitive place; since any aspect can be used as a means to stand out – including the size and shape of one’s genitalia – no part of a human being, physical or not, is excluded from appraisal.

It is true that society at large does not understand the difference between body shaming and other types of bullying. By instilling the idea that one is reprehensible to look at/ be in the presence of, the person is made to feel they will never be accepted by others in any situation, causing them to become very isolated and depressed. Whereas other defects, perceived or real, can be hidden  with a bit of effort, there is no way to hide one’s size in a real life situation, hence a person feels targeted whenever they step outside their home, sometimes inside it as well. Also, this is not an issue one can fix from one day to the next, so there is no immediate relief in sight from the shame of being bullied; in fact there is no guarantee the bullying will ever stop.

Bullying also demonstrates the cruelty of the human jungle, as one’s chances in the world are reduced to the quick”eye test”, the failure of which obliterates any true qualities one might have. You can be intelligent, caring, well read, emotionally available 24/7 and have so much to give, yet if you don’t pass the one second ”eye test”, no one will even attempt to know you better. Whilst this type of judgement is rooted, especially for men, in the way their brains are wired and is a fact of life, it also seems very unfair.

The question I believe every bullied individual asks himself/ herself is why. Why can’t they peacefully go about their daily business, perform their role in society, have goals and dreams and not bother anyone, receiving the same respect from others. It seems reasonable enough, right? I will detail the answer to this question below, when describing the mentality of the bully, as I perceive it, and the reasons why campaigns such as ”fat acceptance” will never work.

2. Empathetic progressives in general

Many of them are sincerely well-meaning, while their intentions are merely to reduce the discord with regards to physical appearance (and not to enforce an ideology). Supporters of this campaign include therapists who have heard the stories of so many bullied patients they are aware of the harm done by everyday remarks to those who already feel down.

3. Ostracised people turned toxic

Moving on from harmless individuals who simply want to live without being insulted by strangers, one notices those who start making moral judgements  regarding the weight-related decisions of others. Just browsing the web I came across opinions criticising those who make a point of losing weight or helping their children do so.

You can see toxicity creep in as soon as envy of others’ physical condition reels its ugly head, along with disapproval of those who want to improve theirs. This is obvious in cases involving feminists protesting the use of models in ads and campaigns of all sorts. While they see themselves as brave and revolutionary, to the rest of the world it spreads a potent fragrance of sour grapes. Quite clearly the fact that other women are attractive in the commonly accepted (biologically driven) sense bothers them; it interferes with their body positivity.

This shows that a certain category of people are only peaceful as long as they remain ”the underdog”. The moment they secure some influence on society, they start a battle with anyone who disagrees, going from ”I want a kind world where people live and let live” to ”if everyone thought the way I do the world would be a better place”.

Whereas benign supporters of the campaign just want the same respect as all other human beings, these types deem themselves morally superior and are passive-aggressive during debates, identifying with their appearance to the point of turning its promotion into a crusade. For this purpose they will dump ingenuity, adopting manipulation and fact distortion, especially in terms of health issues, in order to make a point.

Others write they are triggered when their peers lose weight and are commanded for it. The moment one resents the fact that a peer is succeeding towards a goal and becoming healthier, turning the focus inward, something is amiss – it shows this person perceives reality as revolving around them and their feelings, disregarding everyone else. Unfortunately, this is quite common nowadays, especially for young people.

4. Social Justice Warriors (mainly feminists)

Bullies are all about dictating, shaming and cornering, until complete acquiescence is is achieved. This lot, although subjected to bullying due to their weight, have become bullies in their own right.

To start with, ardent promoters of this movement demand to be considered attractive by a large number of people, as if anyone could mentally program their attraction to others. Their intention is not to be left alone, but rather to draw attention and praise, often by being lewd and expecting applause. I do not understand why presumed promoters of dignity would pose nude, if their purpose was to stop the objectification of women’s bodies.

In truth, they have no problem with objectification, but with the fact that other women’s bodies are being admired whilst theirs are not.

Those who advocate real dignity have a worthy cause. After all, every woman, regardless of her looks, is someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, someone’s mother, being turned by our culture into cheap masturbation material found in public toilets beside the bog roll; a consumption good for all to use. And the same goes for men; their objectification and imposition of the metrosexual image is a very sad phenomenon.

One of the biggest clues you’re dealing with a toxic attitude from a ”social justice” campaigner is their hatred of dissenters within the category they are advocating for. Although they claim to respect and support all members of said category, the minute someone disagrees with their approach they become a pariah, the bond of brotherhood/ sisterhood/ common experience suddenly ending. There is nothing they hate more than the odd voice not singing in tune and disrupting the choir.

Here is a relevant example from someone who participated in such a community. The militant, cult-like behaviours sound very familiar:

 

It’s strange how so many advocacy groups for oppressed people end up behaving like Nazis, wanting to control and censor others until no view but theirs is heard in their midst. They call for a collective identity and a collective mind, as scary as that sounds.

 

Regardless, when pondering the arguments on the other side of the debate, a few misconceptions come up quite often; here’s my attempt to address a few of them, hopefully in a funny enough way.

  1. “Social acceptance based on your image enhancement equals happiness” 

There is a terrible idea out there, reinforced by popular culture, that all you have to do to be happy in a social environment is mould yourself to the exact specifications of the insensitive fuckers who are aggressive to you on a daily basis. Once you manage, you will forget their words and everything will be rosy in your world of pink unicorns.

Except it won’t.

People assume that a demeaned person automatically integrates – mind and heart – into the social environment they’ve been rejected from once the object of the demeaning disappears, namely their defect.  Once you’ve been targeted, especially for long periods of time, trust is very shaky; you are always aware that they can turn on you at any time. You know that when you step even slightly out of line they will notice and react. They might not know who you are anymore (they might apply different labels than in the past), but you know full well who they are and how they really think.

Motivation which actually works has to be rooted in something positive, such as one’s desire to be healthier or to have a certain image for their own enjoyment, and not seeking to pacify the hounds, who will – surprise, surprise – find something else to hate them for as soon as their image is no longer prime pecking material. That’s how the larger pack of vultures – also known as society – works.

There is no empowerment in conforming to the standards your bullies impose. Hence, pleasing the fuckers or impressing them – never mind aspiring to their respect or affection – is not likely to bring you happiness in itself.

Which is not to say that enhancing your image is not a powerful shield against their nastiness. But you do it out of self-preservation, in order to survive. It is not a matter of making your life excellent by appealing to others, but rather to keep them from making your life hell by reducing your vulnerability in front them. There is no Kumbaya at the end of this film.

Some might find these arguments contradictory; my point is that whilst it’s good to use your image as a shield, you should not be emotionally invested in what others think of you. You should not let them into your mind.

2. ”It’s easier to make excuses than to bust your ass at the gym…”

Whenever I hear people boast about ”working so hard”, as if expecting a medal, I start to giggle; it sounds almost infantile. The praise they expect for managing to look good – in terms of general usefulness – is just as unjustified as that of fat activists.

What you do with your body benefits you and (presumably) the person you engage with intimately. Unless of course you sell your image (or body) and more people suddenly become involved. It’s ridiculous to demand public acknowledgement for something that is not of public use, elevating yourself to an example others should follow. Others should not need excuses to not follow this example as they might not have the same goals in life.

I’m glad their self-esteem is well established and I’m happy for them, but cannot admire them in the same way I admire an astrophysicist, a gifted artist or a historian working very hard, giving their time to shed light  on what is less known about the past. I can’t compare the result of their work to someone’s butt cheeks. When I see the righteous indignation in their eyes about how hard they work, all I can do is smile, if not laugh. I’m sorry.

3. ” I’m giving you a kick up the ass for your own good!”

Anyone who is emotionally invested in your  well-being, physicians included, would not refer to the advice they give you as a ”kick up the ass”; even harsh realities are expressed in non-hurtful ways.

Those who claim their mockery has the best intentions are either of low emotional intelligence (unaware of how humans react to their attitude) or deceitful. For many, I have noticed, the fierce attitude towards people they claim disgust them is meant to create an obvious opposition, highlighting their own qualities.

Think of it this way – if all risky behaviour was worthy of the same vehement criticism, they would go for those who are into extreme sports, unsafe sex, hard drugs etc. But some deliberately pick those whose defects are at the opposite end of their best valued qualities, such as physical appearance. Which is often connected to how ”hard they work” to achieve those looks and potentially a felling of frustration for their effort not being appreciated enough.

4. Everyone agrees facades are more important than what’s behind them.

Of course, we associate one’s ability to maintain a good image with intelligence and tact, overlooking known defects manifested in private and admiring someone for carrying themselves around in a dignified manner. However, good observers with a capacity to analyse human behaviour are well aware there is an infinity of possibilities within each individual and thus are not necessarily fooled by appearances. Older people in particular have seen many instances of impeccable facades crumbling to dust or hidden gems being discovered.

Hence, although they might pay lip service to currently held views in order to avoid attracting negative attention, the way people handle their lives and relationships is a whole other world than what the media portrays. Most families nowadays include or closely relate to people with an addiction, people who have been to prison, people who take recreational drugs, people with a very visible physical defect, disability or major illness and so forth. And when faced with stereotypes labelling thousands or millions with the same behavioural patterns, most have stories to tell which disprove their validity.

I can go as far as saying it’s very common to know individuals who are excellently seen in their communities and are a handful at home, or ostracised folks who are actually very decent, trustworthy and easygoing. They are not exceptions by far.

Unfortunately, many use those around them in order to feel better by comparison, which in turn creates acrimony. The irony is that by doing so they feed the culture of competition which brings them all unneeded misery and frustration, feeling the urge to exaggerate a quality in order to compensate for defects, often putting others down in this process. If they stopped the comparisons and constant competition, they could direct their energy to more positive endeavours.

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