Men and Their Diets

People in my life like to not conform to gender standards. I like this, but sometimes it presents interesting challenges.

Today, I had three conversations with male-folk. One was about Halo Reach and the other two were about how they want to lose weight. Now, as awesome as Halo Reach looks, I’m the high end of bad or the low end of mediocre at FPSes and this blog is about my path to body acceptance, so sadly that’s not going to be the subject (though if you like that kind of thing, the extended trailer for that game is just breath-taking).

I’m getting better at being anti-diet pro-body love when it comes to talking with the people who normally talk about these things AKA women. I can say “Check out these great FA bloggers!” though I usually don’t. But I could. Interestingly, I have not had a conversation about weightloss with any of my female friends recently. But if I were to point them in the direction of any of the FA bloggers that I know about or even read, those friends will be the target audience.

But that’s not the case with my guy friends. It’s not that I don’t think they should be exposed to feminism, but FA is baby steps. Feminism brought me to FA so seeing all this feminist rhetoric mixed in isn’t something that strikes me as at all weird. But anyone coming at FA without feminism (without even being female) is now approaching two concepts. I don’t mean to say that men cannot be feminists, but often their feminism isn’t as active. I know at least one of the friends I mentioned tends to agree with my feminist ideals, but sometimes the idea is new to him. So it isn’t that they now have to both accept gender equality and body acceptance, but they have to actively participate in the dialogue of these ideas, even if it is just by reading.

Not only that, but anyone who hates their body, is dieting, whatever is probably going to be touchy on the subject of their body. And when you mix new concepts with even more new concepts going back to the status quo has a lot of comfort to it. And then there’s seeing a post called “Vagina Friendly; Make Friends With Your Area“. This makes it clear who the target of these entries are, but weight loss commercials often have at least one token man, so they get to be all inclusive! And commercials for muscle building equipment are not only targeted at men, but almost always mention weight loss (and they don’t always pair that voice over with the token woman).

To be fair, The Rotund also has her most recent post (as I’m typing this) titled “What about the Mens; Gender, Gender All the Way Home”, but even that is seeped in feminist ideals. It’s not just Marianne, either. Fatshionista and Kate Harding also mix and alternate between FA and feminism.

I don’t think it’s wrong that FA is mostly targeted at women. I think a lot of points about space and women and feminism and society are all very important ideas to get across to the dieting women out there. And maybe there isn’t as much feminism as I think, after all, that’s who I am and so that’s what I’m gong to find. However, the size issue is not an approach that is even relevant to men. They’re allowed to big, they’re even supposed to be big, they’re just not allowed to be “sideways” as one friend put it.

This post is both an observation and a call for help. I know I mentioned something about not responding to comments at some point way earlier in this blog, but I would really love some now. Word Press is still insisting I get a few hits. Who and/or where can I point my friends the next time they talk about how they feel fat and how they want to lose weight and how eating is totally ruining their diet?

One last thing. I know there are a lot of FA blogs that focus on a lot of feel good self esteem exercises. This is not what I’m looking for. My generation grew up on self esteem building and being special snowflakes and how everyone is wonderful and deserves to be loved. I cannot speak for everyone else, but I know I have witnessed too much disconnect between this kind of discourse and the “real world” to do anything but roll my eyes at these ideas. I know my peer friends have expressed similar sentiments when this kind of topic comes up. Blogs that like statistics are preferable.

Note: I’m at that awkward age where people are no longer “girls and boys” and while technically “men and women” identifying as such is uncomfortable and not quite fitting. So any odd gender nouns in this entry is due to that.

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September 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized.

3 Comments

  1. The Rotund replied:

    Many bloggers came to FA through feminism – which is why so many FA blogs are explicitly feminist spaces. Also, FA is part of the larger social justice context, which means many of us are also concerned with racism and sexism and other forms of oppression.

    The lack of male voices in FA is pretty often remarked on – and there are some male readers and commenters who participate. It’s a situation in which men are having to learn a new way of finding things that speak to them – which is what women (and people of color and queer people and other traditionally oppressed groups) are usually pretty used to doing. Ideally, this would lead to more men speaking up. I’m kind of baffled that it hasn’t – though given the way weight functions for men and the way men are culturally constructed, I guess it isn’t entirely surprising.

  2. Summer replied:

    I would look at Fierce, Freethinking, Fatties if you haven’t already. One of the contributors is called Atchka. He’s a dude and an FA activist, and likes science and statistics. He can be a bit controversial at times but his writing is very accessible I think. http://fiercefatties.com

    • atchka replied:

      Aaaaaaaaaaw, Summer, I’m touched. Seriously. That was very kind of you to recommend us (I found this comment because somebody came to our site via your recommendation).

      Our site does have its fair share of feminists, but we tend to be an FA-only space. We want to tackle the issues that affect fat people, regardless of gender. But FA would not be what it is today without the feminist foundation that made it a vital issue for women and women’s health. The only reason we were able to break off from feminism was because the FA-feminists created the powerful environment of activism and education that we now have today.

      So, yeah, invite your male friends if they aren’t comfortable with feminism. We invite dissenters as well (so long as they’re respectful in their dissent), so if they have questions or doubts, they are welcome to share them.

      Peace,
      Shannon/Atchka

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