These days, I just can’t.
Presumably, people attach themselves to liberal and progressive activism because they value open-mindedness and tolerance. They see it as an intrinsic part of valuing human life. Tolerance meant defending the legal and cultural rights of others to exist. It meant being open to new ideas rather than just accepting the status quo.
I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. Being tolerant no longer involves the inclusion and participation of marginalized people’s. It no longer means respecting the right of all people to have their day in court. It means we must celebrate and validate them, and give them a platform, even if doing so violates our goals and boundaries. It means being open to attitudes, behaviors and people whose goal is abuse, exploitation, and erasure. Being open minded no longer means open to ideas that challenge the status quo. It means being open to the status quo and revamped versions thereof as being “revolutionary” when they’re not. And as good liberals, we have to take it up the ass or else risk being labeled a bigot.
And notice that it’s always we who are the bigots. People aren’t called bigots who insist on colonizing our movements and our spaces, being contemptuous of our goals and violating our boundaries. We’re the bigots for not doing a good enough job sucking it and pretending we enjoy it.
You know what else I’m tired of? People ignoring the “social” part of social justice activism and making social movements all about them, their choosy choices, their special snowflake feelings and circumstances. You can’t make, or analyze, social observations without someone whining that they aren’t like that, they don’t experience that, or that you’re somehow not sufficiently inclusive of their totally individual life/categories of oppression. Well, that’s because it’s not about you. Social trends don’t cease to exist, or matter, just because they don’t affect, or reflect on, you. It’s like object constancy, a capacity that infants normally develop within the first few months of life, wherein they learn that objects and people still exist after they’ve left your line of sight. I wish more social activists would learn that.
I’m done being open to violations of my principles. I’m done being tolerant of abuse and exploitation. No more.
In other, related news, I recently reunited with an old childhood friend and she has claimed, for years, that she is fat accepting. Upon probing, however, I realized that she spends a lot of time talking about dieting on her Facebook page. Upon questioning her about it, she still claims to be “radically fat accepting” but she’s the heaviest she’s ever been and she’s not quite comfortable with it.
So we have officially entered the Twilight Zone where radical fat acceptance is inclusive of dieting. Big surprise. I’m done.