God, I’m tired. Not the take-a-nap-and-feel-better sort of tired. And not even any sort of tired-down-to-my-soul sort of spiritual fatigue. I’m just really sick and tired of gender-based assholicity, of appearance-based bias (especially including my own…ick), and especially tired of having stuff to be pissed off about.
Dear not-so-good men of the world, get over the fact that you have dicks and they’re both endlessly fascinating and enormously fragile, or that God made you first, or that your mother spanked you or whatever it is. Get. The. Fuck. Over It.
Good men know that civilization (I am not kidding or exaggerating here) depends not insubstantially on them not being jerks. I know a lot of good men. I know a lot of awfully good men. This is not about you, guys. Unless there are those spots where you slip, and in this case you can take this under advisement–just leave out the swearing and read it as info.
It turns out (http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/01/10/no_justice_for_fat_women) that, according to a study done by Yale psychologists, men on a jury are more likely to convict a woman who’s fat. Oh, goody. So now, in the blessedly unlikely event that I am ever on trial for something, I’m more likely to get sent up the river than if I were skinny. I guess that if I ever do something truly heinous, I’d better get a lawyer who can postpone the trial until I have a chance to have bariatric surgery or a season on TBL (imagine the promo: Dieting to keep herself out of the Electric Chair!!!!).
The lean men were the worst. Whee. And they did not show the same bias when shown fat male defendants, so it’s not about class or generalized anti-fat bias. It’s specifically about fat women. I know that there are awful things that happen early and often to fat guys, but this pretty much does prove there’s at least one way in which it is much worse to be a fat chick than a fat guy. Which is really not happy news.
The study’s infuriating, but what really bothers me about this is the long list of potential ramifications and implications it suggests about the fragility/reliablility of the jury system. It’s really scary on that level. I know that fragility is inherently acknowledged in the possibility of appeals, to some extent, and in the process of voir dire, where lawyers get to challenge potential jurors on the basis of bias, among other things. The problem with that, of course, is that there are firms & clients who can spend zillions on outfits that do nothing but set up voir dire questions in order to create the juries they want, which, as is too often the case, means that those who can pay their lawyers the most get the most effective (if not just) justice–but the economics of the justice system are not the business of this blog (or something I would pretend to be able to speak really coherently about without a lot of research and talking to friends who are lawyers and/or judges). Still, it does suggest that there are likely to be a whole list of prejudices and biases out there that influence juries in ways we have yet to map. Which really is a scary thought.
Back to the fatmatters-ish take on the whole thing: It also suggests something else really unpleasant to think about–something I’ve nudged up against suggesting by times–which is that fat women are subjected to even more sexism than thin women. Perhaps it’s because they’re perceived as being too much of a girl–just too much of the feminine–for men to be comfortable around (not so much the vagina dentata, perhaps as the girl-flesh-that-ate-Manhattan…). Or maybe it’s that not-so-good men just can’t see non-skinny women as fully human. I have often suspected that one, I will admit. If fat people are, by definition, less than human, then fat women are less than less than human.
It’s one study. Studies really do need to be repeated by other researchers if we’re to start basing action on them on a large scale (though I would certainly hop on this one if I were a fat chick awaiting a jury trial at the moment). But I have to say that it rings painfully true. I was not surprised by the article. Sigh.
And, to add the proverbial insult to the epic injury, apparently the ever-weird Pat Robertson (http://www.salon.com/2013/01/11/pat_robertson_awful_looking_women_are_ruining_marriages/ ) has now come out and announced that it’s the fault of women who don’t “keep themselves up” that marriages drop dead. And, of course, one of the primary definitions of not keeping yourself up is weight gain. So, according to Robertson, it would be perfectly understandable if my husband just up and left me. There must be some lovely graduate student out there somewhere waiting to fall in love with a distinguished senior prof and promise to love, honor, and keep herself up for him… According to Robertson, I should be staying up nights figuring out how to be less “hard-nosed” and more “feminine” so I can keep my man. Okay–I’ve never listened to Robertson and I don’t intend to start now. And okay, he’s fringe (not small fringe, but fringe, nonetheless), not mainstream, but the problem with fringe is that fringe is the id of the culture’s collective mind. And the id is apt to cause misbehavior. The id is what’s under the ground on which a culture stands, rumbling away, trying to generate faults.
Robertson is definitely one of the poster children (I use the term “children” advisedly) for The Old White Guys Who Are Losing Their Hold On Everything And Are PISSED OFF. Sadly, they’re not all wingnut evangelists (sadly, an awful lot of people listen to the wingnut evangelists…)–some of them are in Congress and many run companies and sit on, oh, the highest courts in the land. But they are a passing phenomenom: slowly, painfully, and with lots and lots of damage as they leave, they are dying off. They will never go away entirely. My hope is that they will be like modern-day Nazis–doomed to the margins and to being carefully silenced by those who realize their ideas do worse than suck, always there, and always dangerous, but no longer capable of dominating the larger agendas. Well, my real hope is that the sexists and the Nazis will all disappear in a puff of brimstone, but much as I would love to, I don’t believe in unicorns, either. And, yes, I did mean to lump the sexists and the Nazis into one group. Make of it what you will.
So, even though I am pleased to say that neither Pat Robertson, nor his opinions about how marriages work or don’t have much to do with any part of my life, he’s out there hurting people and spreading untruth and wounds, and that pisses me off. It pisses me off particularly as a Christian, because he’s spreading this plague, this darkness, this foulness in the name of a god who was particularly intentionally revolutionary in his treatment of women as human beings, and who was not fond of people who got rich by selling false salvation, and who is my north star, and I am really sick to death of having to say that we’re not all “like that” (and there is a long list of “thats” I keep working to prove we’re not all like…).
But I am perhaps mostly just really tired of having stuff to be pissed off about. And even as I write that, I remember how good my life is and how little in my immediate life I really have to gripe or be sad about. But I’d have even less if people didn’t assume that because I’m fat, I’m dumblazyunlovableguilty. And my losing weight is not the fix for that any more than black people figuring out how to get pale wimpy-haired is the fix for racism. And I’d have less to grumble about it the savage survival of sexism didn’t manifest itself in things like rape culture, the Taliban, and crap that comes out of televangelists’ mouths. The fix for that, well, that’s a long, slow revolution. Changing human culture is like turning an aircraft carrier–it takes a lot of miles and a lot of moving parts and it’s sloooooowwww.
Dear jerkbump jurors of the world and Mr. Robertson, we may be tired, we may be really tired, but we don’t give up. We’re kind of like Inigo Montoya…