Tenth Rule: If you are tempted to begin an argument against something we’ve said here with, “God, stop being so PC!” just stop right there. We are proudly PC and have absolutely no intention of stopping. Racist, classist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and sexist comments are as unwelcome here as sizeist ones. That goes equally for unintentionally offensive language. If someone gets pissy at you for using the word “retarded” for instance, that doesn’t mean they think you’re an evil person who hates developmentally disabled people OR that they’re hysterical, overreacting thought police. It means there are people around here who find that word hurtful, and we’re a lot more interested in protecting their feelings than your god-given right not to think of a better word.
Eleventh Rule: If you say something like “Fat is the last acceptable prejudice” or “You could never get away with saying X to a black person,” expect to get smacked down. Occasionally, there are times when we believe that comparing the rhetoric of haters or particular expressions of bigotry is instructive, but comparing the systems of oppression themselves is always a losing proposition. (Not to mention, that is such a fine line to walk that even those of us who try to be extremely conscious of the nuanced distinctions there will fuck up and deserve to be called on it.) Every prejudice is still acceptable in some circles, and many of those deemed “unacceptable in polite society” are still woven deeply into the institutions of that society. That’s the reality, and we won’t be arguing about it around here.
While it is indeed more common to hear a vicious fat joke than a vicious racist joke on TV these days, for instance, that doesn’t mean fat prejudice is more acceptable–it means certain manifestations of it are more acceptable in certain places. But to suggest that this somehow means fat people have it harder overall than any other oppressed/marginalized group is flat-out fucking wrong and insulting. We don’t. We have it different. In many ways, we have it better. And those of us who belong to more than one oppressed/marginalized group have different forms of prejudice coming at them from all sides.
If you’re still not getting it, think about the difference between these two people:
Skinny Person A: You know, I really respect what you’re doing here, because people comment on my body and my eating habits all the time, and they assume I’m unhealthy just because of my weight. I don’t know what it’s like to be fat in this society, but I know what it’s like to have my body treated as public property and be judged negatively because of my size. It fucking sucks, so the Fat Acceptance movement resonates with me, and I hope I can be an ally.
Skinny Person B: People make nasty comments to skinny people all the time, too, so we have it just as bad! All prejudice is the same! We need a Thin Acceptance Movement!
Both those types of people show up here all the time. A’s get welcomed with open arms. B’s get ridiculed and banned. There’s a reason for that–and if you can understand that reason, you should damn well be able to understand why equating fat hatred to other forms of oppression with long and tragic histories is bullshit.
Besides, as The Rotund recently pointed out, if you believe fat is the last acceptable prejudice in “polite society”–if not our institutions–you really need to sit down and have coffee with a transperson.