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Your Argument is Fat

One of the funniest folks in my twitter feed, the fabulous Lindy West.

I follow Lindy West a little because her writing has a feminist bent, but mostly I follow her because I find her extraordinarily funny. And she handles trolls expertly, with astonishing patience and wit. But watching her defend herself against accusations that she is fat gets exhausting after awhile. As if Lindy West doesn’t know she’s fat. As if we don’t all know she’s fat. As if her being fat renders her arguments invalid. The rule at play here is pretty clear: if you’re a feminist and you’re not thin, at any time some anonymous troll can just come back with “you’re fat.” It’s a cruel and obnoxious derailing technique and it makes me livid.

If you follow me on social media, you know I recently posted a full-length picture of myself posing in a really silly pose. My son requested I pose “like a rocker.” So I did. I posted the picture because I turned 43 yesterday, because the picture was funny, and because I’ve lost a decent amount of weight in the past few months and I’m happy about that (for various reasons I prefer to keep private). But if I’m honest with myself, one of the reasons I posted the picture is because I wanted to take the the “you’re fat” card away from any potential trolls. And that makes me really sad. I shouldn’t have to worry about that. And, ideally, I’d be so strong I wouldn’t worry about that card. But frankly I’m not as strong, kind, and patient as Lindy West. (Certainly not as quick-witted, though goddess knows I’m working on it.) Even as a low-profile Internet Feminist, I find the prospect of being at the receiving end of this kind of thing exhausting and terrifying.

Internet Feminist: I think this thing because x x and x.

Troll: That may be so, but…you’re fat.

Internet Feminist: Sure, but the fact still remains that x–

Troll: Faaaaaaaat.

Internet Feminist: Ok, but can we actually deal with the fa–

Troll: Fatty fat fat fat fat…*spittle flecks*

The bottom line is that no matter where you are the political spectrum, it’s the weight of your argument that should matter, not your actual weight. But for too many women, that’s simply not the case.



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