Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Sly's Tackle It Tuesday Holiday Edition + Inner Champion Workbook: Chapter 9: Find Strength in Adversity

Disclosure: If readers purchase a copy of the book through the above link, I earn a small commission from Amazon.

Today's post is written by my social activist alter-ego, Sly Fawkes.

Lessons I’ve learned from challenging experiences:
When it comes to people who are hateful towards me, I've learned that it really isn't me, it's them. Note that this does not prevent the things they say from hurting or stop me from going into a downward spiral of self-loathing in every case. However, these days I am more likely to consider the source. 

If you feel the need to say crappy things about another person, it says more about you than it says about that person. I am not talking about criticisms of bad behavior, I am talking about ad hominem attacks and negative stereotypes. 

dumb blonde
lazy welfare recipient
lazy fatty
lazy (insert race here)
they could just try harder
at least I'm not...
like a girl
maybe if they laid off the cheeseburgers
it's for their own good
users are losers
just get a job
if they just tried they could (insert oversimplified action here)
if they just didn't look so gay people wouldn't pick on them
godless (person who doesn't worship as I do)
disgusting bum
looks too healthy to be sick
probably faking their illness to get out of things
needs to just be more positive
was probably asking for it

Have you ever said any of these things?

Then your New Year's resolution should be to stop being judgmental and hateful. You don't know what anyone else is going through or what conditions or circumstances led them to be where they are now.

Even "if I can do it anyone can" is no excuse for being horrible to someone else. No, not "anyone can." Everyone's circumstances are different. 

Five ways I can positively channel negative energy in my life:

1. You think I'm bad at the things I do? Fine, you are welcome to think that. I'm going to do them anyway.

2. Try to educate through action. I hate the fact that damn near everything I read has to have its Moment of Size-Shaming, which immediately lowers my opinion of the work and its author. It doesn't make me popular, but I call this out wherever I see it. I also try to put my money where my mouth is. I try to have at least one large character in every story who makes a positive contribution. Actions rather than appearances are what makes a person good or bad. Fat is not synonymous with slovenly or lazy. Small is not synonymous with weak. Old is not synonymous with incapable. 

3. Realize that seeking approval from others doesn't work. Anyone who needs me to be perfect or they will ostracize me is not someone I want to keep company with.

4. Tell my story so that others who are being bullied and ostracized realize that they aren't alone.

5. Engage in activism. Try to encourage change in the way people like me are treated. Call out the use of words like "obese," which are used to stigmatize, shame, and silence larger people. 

Obese is a word used to excuse poor treatment of larger patients, to shame them into silence, and to practice lazy medicine, attributing any malady the patient reports to their adipose tissue. This attitude results in dead patients, and I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that.

Ellen Maud Bennett was a 64-year-old Canadian woman. She had been feeling ill for years, but every time she went to a doctor to try and find out what was wrong, they told her that if she just lost weight, she would feel better. When a doctor finally took her seriously, it was discovered that she had stage 4 ovarian cancer. She died a short time later.

Ovarian cancer is extremely treatable in the early stages. If doctors had listened to Ellen instead of dismissing her because of her physique, she would probably still be alive.

Ellen did not want her death to be in vain. In her obituary, she called out the lazy and bigoted practices which resulted in her untimely demise.

Personally, I think that one Ellen is worth a million sanctimonious medical "professionals" half-assing their way through patient "care." Either treat your patients--all of your patients--with respect or find another profession. 

Sometimes doing the right thing means distancing yourself from people or ideologies who refuse to treat you with respect. I have stopped calling myself a feminist after 46 years of proudly bearing the title. I began identifying as a feminist in 1973 when I was eight years old and sick to death of being told what I couldn't do because I was a girl.

Feminism, however, has changed a lot since then. These days, it seems more and more that feminism is only for women who meet a certain standard of attractiveness, and that certainly doesn't include fat women. In fact, most feminists will tell you that they refute size activism because it "promotes obesity and unhealthy lifestyles." Meanwhile, all fat people, but fat women, in particular, experience great difficulty in obtaining compassionate and competent healthcare. Women's concerns already tend to be dismissed by a sexist healthcare system as "hysterical." Fat women are seen as hysterical, lazy, and stupid.

Our current healthcare system literally kills people due to size bias. This bias, by the way, kills thin people too. A thin person is automatically assumed to be healthy, which leads to health problems being overlooked. Medical "professionals" believe that fat people would all be healthy if they'd just lose weight, thus their real health concerns are overlooked. 

Model and photographer unknown

The fact that fat women are seen by modern feminism as unworthy of activism to improve and in some cases save their lives means that modern feminism is unworthy of my support. This does not mean that I will no longer fight for all women's rights to equal treatment and opportunities. It simply means that I will no longer identify as a feminist while doing so. My actions may be feminist A.F., but until feminism embraces all women, including the round ones and those deemed "unattractive" in other ways, then feminism and I must part ways.

Sly wishes you happy holidays, be you thick or thin, and hopes that one day we can find more reasons to embrace rather than ostracize one another.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright juliahenze @123rf.com

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