“But Not All ______ Are Like That!”

When your first response to a statement by or about a marginalized person is to say “but not all ____________ are like that,” then you aren’t listening. You are being an apologist for bad behavior.

The Belle Jar

I see this happen all the damn time.

Someone describes the actions of a privileged group of people and how these actions, purposefully or not, encourage the marginalization of a less-privileged group. Most often this description occurs within the context of trying to explain to the privileged folks how this dynamic is hurtful and oppressive. The hope is that the privileged group will listen to the marginalized person, examine their own behaviour, and try to do better in the future. The reality is that the person doing the explaining is nearly always met with a chorus of, “but not all men/white people/straight people/cis people/able-bodied people are like that!”

Look. I get it. You, whatever privileged group you happen to fall into, are a good person. You want to remind the marginalized group that you view yourself as an ally. You want them to know that not everyone is against them…

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Being Fat vs. Having Fat

I could describe myself as the fat, older lady with long gray hair and glasses. People could easily pick me out of a crowd with that description, I think. However, I’d have plenty of people telling me not to call myself fat or old. Why shouldn’t I? They’re neutral descriptors!
I also bet I’d have plenty of people asking me why I don’t dye my hair. After all, why wouldn’t I want to try and pretend I’m twenty-five when I’m actually nearly twice that?
I think it’s eye-roll time!
I would love to live in a world where a person could be what they are and not be told that what they are is unacceptable.

Dances With Fat

my name is Reader Jennifer let me know about a Facebook meme that says “You are not fat.  You have fat.  You also have fingernails.  But you are not fingernails.”  I’ve seen this in plenty of version and I think it’s problematic on a lot of levels.

First of all, as regular readers have probably already sussed out, I would be much more comfortable if this was written from the perspective of how someone feels about/for themselves instead of dictating to others how we should feel (ie: “I’m not fat, I have fat” instead of “You are not fat, you have fat”.)  People are allowed to look at their bodies this way because, hey, underpants rule.  That said, I think it’s an idea worth some exploring.

First of all, let’s consider some other examples: You are not brunette, you have brown hair.  You are not tall, you have above-average height. When I’m…

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