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ruthless compassion
05 March 2006 @ 11:46 pm
My livejournal seems to have sprouted a troll. We all know trolls: those comments, either on a mailing list, newsgroup, or, of course, here in our friendly little blogland, that are geared entirely to entice an angry or upset response. Well, a few weeks back, s/he showed up in this post, leaving me confused as to why someone would bother to troll that post without taking credit for it, but, at the same time, rolling my eyes at the obviousness of it. I track IPs, and this comment came through an anonymizer, so no clues as to who it might be.

On Friday, I posted that I was enjoying having a crush, here, and received a comment from the same troll, which I screened, because I didn't want people reading it to feel uncomfortable. S/he then left another comment, along the same lines, which I also screened. I'm now unscreening them, because it's relevant to my thoughts on the question of size, self-image and self-valuation.

Before I get into that, though, I have to say that I'm surprised to have a 12 year old reading and commenting on my livejournal. I wouldn't think it would have much draw for someone so immature, and I'm disappointed that someone trolling me would be so uncreative as to pull the fat card. First off, I've discussed some of the fat issue here, and I'm over any drama and shame that I might have once felt about being fat. Back in junior high, those comments that were geared toward bringing out that shame were, I'm sorry to say, pretty effective, but on the bright side, it's nice to be able to say I've grown a bit since junior high.

Apparently, not everyone has, which is a pity, but not really my problem. My troll is obviously a (figuratively) small, sad person who, by the way, needs some remedial work on the difference between "your" and "you're". While we're in junior high, however, I'd like to say this to my troll: chicken! I mean, really.

But, actually, the point of this post is more about fat and shame than about my troll. There are a lot of ways that we, as social beings, try to make each other behave in one way or another, and pushing the shame button is typically a pretty effective way to do that, assuming that our target buys the same triggers for shame that we do. In larger (no pun intended) society, weight is a pretty easy trigger, especially with regards to women.

I'm supposed to feel bad about being outside of the socially-approved shape and size, and then I'm supposed to be embarrassed about having the nerve to, say, have a sexual-romantic life, such as having a crush. I shouldn't be inhabiting my body joyfully, with life, verve, or enjoyment, and certainly I should show no hint of sexuality.

Except, I don't buy that, and I don't think anyone should. Bodies are wonderful things, with all their quirks, lumps, protrusions, dips, hollows. Whether they're hairy or smooth, skinny or fat, tall or short, bodies are fascinating and wonderful things, and I'm awfully fond of inhabiting mine, which gives me such opportunities, for movement, for pleasure, for connection with the world and with the people around me.

Mocking a fat woman for being in her body is a cheap shot -- the lowest common denominator of insults and attempted take-downs, and as such, it's neither interesting nor creative. Along the way, it's also not very powerful, at least not with me, which makes it more silly than anything else. I happen to inhabit my fat body with a lot of comfort, both physical and psychological, and I'm awfully glad that's true, though it's taken some real work on my part to get here.

For those of you who caught these trolls and felt angry on my behalf, thanks, but don't sweat it. I have my occasional bad days about self-image, but, then, don't we all? Mine sometimes focus on my weight and sometimes they focus on the fact that my toes are hairy or some equally irrelevant thing. Happily, I haven't had one of those recently, so my troll missed the mark, telling me s/he isn't someone who knows me very well. That's no surprise, of course, since my friends are better than that.

As to my troll... well, whoever you are, you won't be that interesting to me unless you decide to talk to me with your name on your comments.
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