I have not been shy, in this blog or on my Facebook page, as identifying as a fat man. For the most part I feel fairly safe doing so. The people who read here, and the people who I am 'Friends' with on Facebook are by and large people who understand issues regarding difference and prejudice. Even so, there are moments when I realize that even these spaces are not particularly safe for me.
Everyone has seen, I imagine, the news reports of the 5 statues of a nude Donald Trump that showed up in very public places in 5 American cities. The statues aren't at all accurate, I know this not because Mr. Trump have been intimate, but because I've seen him clothed and know that he does not have the body that has been created for the statue. He is not a particularly fat man.
But, we live in days where racism and sexism and homophobia and ableism and disphobia are no where near as damning to a person's reputation or character than simply calling them, in any form possible, fat. Further the statues show Mr. Trump having a very small penis, it being embedded behind folds of fat.
When you see pictures of the statues you also see pictures of people around the statues. People desperate to get a picture of them. Pictures of women screwing up their faces in disgust as they touch the statues penis. People laughing at the image, not of Trump, because other than the hair and face, nothing about this is Trump, but at fat men with fat bodies, at men with penises which nestle rather than hang because of the body type they are attached to.
Worse are the comments.
I can't ever unsee that again.
This is so disgusting I can't even look.
I'm going to stop there, because they get worse, much worse and they betray what I know to be true, being fat is the ultimate in ugliness, in failure, in criticism.
Mr. Trump and his rhetoric appalls me. But it's what he says, it's how he represents himself that causes me to react to him the way I do. It has nothing to do with his hair, his body or the size of his penis.
Yet I see people, people who I thought were pretty cool people, cool with difference, cool with me as a person, posting pictures of these statues with horrible fat phobic remarks. Remarks made acceptable because they think they are commenting on Trump. Of course they're not. They are commenting on men who look like me, fat men.
And it startles me.
You say, in all your other posts that you honour difference.
You say, in all your other posts that people should love themselves as they are.
You say, in all your other posts that body shaming is wrong.
And now I know.
And I don't know what to do about it. Except to realize that the space I thought was safe.