make me a bird...

I have no love for America. I have no patriotism … I desire to see the government overthrown as speedily as possible and its Constitution shivered in a thousand fragments.

— Frederick Douglas, declaimed in a lecture to the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1847 (via danielu92)

I have no love for America. I have no patriotism … I desire to see the government overthrown as speedily as possible and its Constitution shivered in a thousand fragments.

— Frederick Douglas, declaimed in a lecture to the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1847 (via danielu92)

Why should kids be taught to hate the police? Because there are 2.3 million people in jail in the US right now and every single one was put there by a fucking cop. Some people talk about good cops and bad cops, but a good cop, a cop doing their job properly, still puts nonviolent drug users in jail for many years, totally ruining their lives as they lose their jobs, houses, cars, romantic partners, access to college, and become substantially less employable upon release. A cop doing their job properly still gives homeless people tickets for vagrancy which they obviously can’t pay and when a warrant is issued as a result an officer doing their job properly arrests those homeless people. An officer doing their job properly peppersprays and arrests environmental protesters so that logging companies can clear-cut old growth forests. An officer doing their job properly is evicting a family from their home as you read this because the parents’ jobs were shipped overseas so that the bosses could make eight figures a year instead of seven. Those people will become homeless, vagrancy tickets will be written, warrants will be issued… And then there’s the “bad ones”.

— Sacking Rome: A Magazine for Vandals, issue one (via daetrimental)

(Source: waroncops)

the personal as political →


if the personal is political then is there any part of my body that does not belong to the movement?

can my lung breath for itself or must it also gasp for the revolution?

do my feet walk for themselves or are they only preparing for the march?

does this brown exist outside of struggle?

does this queer matter if it’s no longer transgressive?

this gender if it can no longer dissent?

if the personal is political then i wonder if the revolution asked for consent

i wonder if i gave it the first time i picked up a microphone and pronounced ‘PAIN’ and the papers reported ‘POLITICS’
the next day

and i wonder if there are politics without pain these days?

when we must use our tongues as knives and scrape off all of the color, all of the violence and place them in petri dishes for you to consume
like soundbytes,

like each piece of me is an intersection for your theory,

like all we are is a constellation of trauma
and quotes and broken

if the personal is political then do i own these samples?

do i own the pain?

do i own myself?

or is this the reward for the job completed:

how many tears i make you shed

how many paradigms i make you shift

if the personal is political then how many hours
can i sleep tonight? how many boys should i kiss?
how many lies must i tell?

until i prove myself activist
or rather

prove myself boring

prove myself happy

if the personal is political than can we be happy

when our politics resemble the nightmares

we are trying so desperately to wake from?

if the personal is political then will you love me

when i turn off my phone? will you forgive me if i
am late to work? will you respect me if i miss the meeting?

will i matter if i am incapable of crying?

will i matter if i am incapable of bleeding?

do we matter if we are incapable at all?


From Still Life with Woodpecker:
'Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.' View Larger


From Still Life with Woodpecker:

'Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.'

Mary Oliver reads Wild Geese →

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Women who are fat are said to have ‘let themselves go.’ The very phrase connotes a loosening of restraints. Women in our society are bound. In generations past, the constriction was accomplished by corsets and girdles…. Women today are bound by fears, by oppression, and by stereotypes that depict large women as ungainly, unfeminine, and unworthy of appreciation…. Above all, women must control themselves, must be careful, for to relax might lead to the worst possible consequence: being fat.

— “Letting Ourselves Go: Making Room for the Fat Body in Feminist Scholarship,” by Cecilia Hartley (via loniemc)

I’m afraid I’ll never finish college. I’m afraid I’ll finish college with student loans I can never pay back. I’m afraid I’ll get a degree and won’t be able to find a job in that field. I’m afraid I’ll get a degree, get the job I dreamed of, and hate it.

— A Mental Illness Happy Hour listener whose list of fears matches mine four for four. (via undeadlife)

(Source: insensiblenothingness)

Shakesville: Fatsronauts 101 →

Fatsronauts 101 is a series in which I address assumptions and stereotypes about fat people that treat us as a monolith and are used to dehumanize and marginalize us. If there is a stereotype you’d like me to address, email me.

[Content Note: Fat bias; dehumanization; racism; heterocentrism; discussion of thin and fat bodies.]

#5: Fat is axiomatically ugly.

This is, by far, the most-requested entry for this series. And it’s simultaneously the easiest and most difficult myth to address, because, on the one hand, that is obviously false: Beauty is subjective, and there are people of all sizes who find individual fat people beautiful, attractive, sexy, desirable—even in modern Western culture, which is the setting for this post. On the other hand, there are all sorts of qualifying narratives that are used to “explain” fat attraction and set it outside the rigid bounds of a “normal” spectrum of attraction, and those need to be addressed to really get at the heart of this belief.

"You have such a pretty face." This is probably the most common iteration of a theme that essentially boils down, in all its variations, to: "There is something vaguely attractive about you despite your hideous fat body." These sorts of "compliments" implicitly acknowledge the "conventional wisdom" that fat bodies are gross and unattractive, but one part of that body might not make strangers want to barf! It’s a strategy often employed by fat-haters who fancy themselves tasked with the responsibility of bestowing upon wretched fatties the gift of self-esteem via the rhetorical equivalent of salvaging a diamond from pig slop.

This sort of salvage-complimenting is deeply harmful, because it’s embedded with the message that our bodies are the pig slop—which salvage-complimenters treat as so axiomatic that they don’t understand why their “compliments” aren’t well-received. (Also because these “compliments” are deeply narcissistic, and don’t really serve to compliment fat people, but to display the salvage-complimenters’ imagined magnanimity. They are very confused when they are not rewarded for their “kindness” to fat people.) Salvage-complimenting works on the premise that fat is ugly, and identifying attractiveness in fat people is something you do out of the goodness of your heart, not because fat people are actually attractive.

This not only feeds the narrative that fat people can’t be viewed as attractive by “normal” people, but also feeds the narrative that anyone who finds a fat person comprehensively attractive is “not normal.”

The Exceptions. There are narratives of exception to the rules that fat is axiomatically ugly and fat attraction is axiomatically unnatural. BUT! These exceptions all exist in service to a kyriarchal beauty standard. For example: Women of color can “get away with” curves, or are “allowed” to be fat, in a way white women cannot. Or: Men of color like fat women, in a way white men don’t. Or: Gay/bi women can themselves be fat, and also love fat women, in a way straight women cannot.

These narratives are, of course, not true. Fat women of color are just as likely to face fat hatred and discrimination as fat white women. See, for example, Keena speaking about her experiences in The Fat Body (In)Visible. Women partnered with other women are not magically insulated from institutional fat bias by virtue of their sexuality. Men of color have individual preferences and biases informed in part by the cultures in which they’re socialized, just the same as everyone else.

Like many other cultural narratives, these myths serve to monolithize and Other people who intrinsically deviate from the kyriarchal beauty standard and a heterocentrist model of partnering. They are not, as they are frequently positioned, authentic evidence of a more diverse spectrum of attraction within marginalized communities, but instead are myths told by privileged classes in order to suggest: It’s okay for those people to be fat and/or find fat attractive, because they don’t matter anyway.

(Which is not to say that there have not existed and do not currently exist communities, particularly communities of color, in which fat bodies are admired and valued. But this post is addressing a central fat-hating myth of the dominant modern Western culture.)

Often these attitudes among privileged people toward fat marginalized people are inextricably wrapped up in other marginalizing narratives, i.e. black women are sexually voracious jezebels, whose voluptuous bodies are vessels of insatiable sexuality, or Latino men are lustful lotharios whose sexually charged machismo renders their libidos impervious to the aesthetic discernment of cooler-blooded gentlemen. Within these frames, “women of color can have curves” and “men of color like fat women” are clearly not evidence of tolerance, but narratives in service to oppression.

Thus, do these narratives also reinforce the ideas that fat and “objectively attractive” are mutually exclusive concepts, and that attraction to fat is deviant.

And they also underwrite the similarly functioning narrative…

White men who prefer fat women are fetishists. To prefer fat women’s bodies is not simply a preference, as it is considered to prefer thin women’s bodies. It is considered a fetishistic sexuality—which, naturally, has its roots in the premise that natural body diversity does not exist (thin is “normal,” and fat is “abnormal”), so attraction to fat bodies is thus deviant.

But, of course, natural body diversity does exist, and so it is eminently reasonable that it would follow a natural spectrum of attraction exists. (Brian has eloquently written about being a fat admirer here, for example.) If it seems there are fewer men casually expressing their preference for fat female bodies than men who openly prize thin female bodies, that may have a lot less to do with an assumed dearth of men attracted to fat women than the strong cultural disincentives against partnering with fat women.

Men, especially thin men, who partner with fat women risk being bullied by their peers, being questioned and criticized about their choices by family, being professionally disadvantaged by employers, and in other ways negatively judged, because fat attraction is seen as deviant, and because a straight man’s worth is still valued in large part by the “quality” of the woman he dangles off his arm like a trophy.

Thus exists a self-reinforcing cycle: To be attracted to fat women is “deviant.” Men are discouraged from expressing attraction to fat women. Few men express that attraction. Their paltry number is cited as “evidence” that attraction to fat women is “deviant.” Rinse and repeat forever.

(Among men partnered with men, there are similar disincentives, and to be attracted to fat gay/bi men outside the bear community can carry similar stigma.)

There are men who do not fetishize fat women—that is, they do not reduce our qualities exclusively to our fatness—but nonetheless prefer fat female bodies. That shouldn’t be controversial—and wouldn’t be, if fat were not pathologized.

It would also be less controversial if we recognized that fat admirers, i.e. people with a preference for fat bodies, were not the only people attracted to fatsronauts.

No one is attracted to both thin people and fat people. Except for all of us who are, of course. I have been with thin men and fat men. Those men have been with thin women and fat women. I don’t believe I’ve ever fucked anyone who only liked fat women, or who only made some wild exception for me in order to cross “fuck a fatty” off their bucket list.

This myth is deeply entwined with…

Only fat people are attracted to fat people. Except for all the fat people who are happily partnered with thin people who find them attractive, of course. Naturally, we’re meant to believe that thin people who are partnered with fat people are just grody fetishists, or aren’t really attracted to their partners, as if the world is just one big game of musical chairs and those poor skinny folks just ended up without a skinny chair partner when the music stopped. That’s not how it works.

(There are, I will briefly note, d-bags who prey on fat people with low self-esteem, and that is not really about attraction at all. That is about exploitation and control.)

There are people who prefer thin bodies, and people who prefer fat bodies, and people who don’t really have a preference—who find individual thin people and individual fat people attractive.

Again, an idea that shouldn’t be controversial—and wouldn’t be, if fat bodies weren’t treated as though they were monstrously grotesque, instead of the different presentation of the same parts that they actually are.

There is nothing aesthetically unpleasing to me about a fat body—not other bodies, and not my own. There was a time when I did not like what I saw when I looked at my own fat body in the mirror, but it was not because I thought it was ugly; it was because all I could see was how different it looked from what I believed all bodies are supposed to look like. Once I believed, truly believed, that it was okay to look the way I look, I found I was pretty damn happy with the curves and bulges and dimples of my fat body.

I’m not making the argument that everyone would find fat bodies beautiful if only they didn’t subscribe to fat hatred. (Although undoubtedly a lot more people would.) I am simply saying that it made a difference to me, and that intrinsic attraction was not the issue. Perceived deviance from a “norm” was.

And that, really, is what the myth that fat is axiomatically ugly is all about—the failure to conform to a beauty standard structured to uphold the kyriarchy and routinely (mis)represented as a reflection of attraction designed by biological imperative. “Norms” are socialized. Failure to exist as a kyriarchetype is not “ugliness.” It is deviance ascribed by privilege.

Until we make thorough examinations of whatever thin privilege and internalized fat hatred we have, as thin or fat or in-between, we can’t truly know what we find unattractive, and what we simply find aesthetically transgressive.