I care a lot about things like gay rights, self acceptance, tolerance and motivation of others. I fall into numerous categories with my own little things. I follow blogs and pages that talk about these issues and attempt to promote something positive, but many of these communities are simply spiraling out of control.
Let me make something clear: acceptance and motivation should never be at the cost of common sense and a healthy perspective.
Blind support is a poison. If you tell someone they are beautiful because they’re fat in an attempt to boost their self esteem, you are doing nothing more than poisoning them. If you tell someone is amazing because they are gay, you are devaluing them as a person. If you support someone’s decision to rely on an inanimate object they regard as a real person, you are taking them further and further away from becoming a healthy person.
Many of these things are just as bad as their opposites. If I am beautiful because I’m fat, then I can be ugly because I’m fat. Let that sink in for a moment – this statement is just the other side of the very same damning coin that has caused so much misery and pain in my childhood. Besides that, this statement puts everything else about me aside as insignificant. It tells me that my charm, my wits, my sense of humor, my outlook on life, my love and support of my friends and family and everything I’ve learned does not make me beautiful. I struggle with the idea that someone may be sexually aroused simply because I’m big. On the surface it’s nice to finally live in an opposite world, but deep down it’s not what I want or need to truly feel beautiful.
My ex was always telling me how much of a real woman I am because I’m curvy and have some extra padding, reiterating how much he enjoyed that quite often. At some point I started to believe that I was beautiful because I’m big, and I didn’t realize until just recently how damaging this was to my life.
You see, when I began to date my current boyfriend, I worried a lot that we were too different, physically. He’s a pretty skinny guy who can eat a ton of junk food and be fine.He isn’t very interested in women’s physical appearances in general. That’s why he never really told me the things my ex told me – that my weight was sexy to him. I talked to him about it and he seemed pretty surprised that my weight even mattered.
“Our bodies are just some bones with flesh and fat. They’re constantly changing, they can be influenced to change. We’re all going to grow old and saggy. You can become thinner or get bigger and it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t change who you are on the inside. The only thing that matters is your attitude. If you don’t care about yourself and allow yourself to become morbidly obese or completely starve without even trying to be healthy, now that’s ugly and unattractive.”
I can’t even begin to tell you how hard this hit me. I didn’t even realize how warped my view on myself had been, how low my self-esteem had sunk because I started equating my amount of beauty to what is ultimately nothing more than a fetish. That doesn’t make fetishes bad by the way. My boyfriend has some preferences about my physical appearance, attraction is important after all, but he makes sure to remind me that my assets are to his liking because they’re mine. They’re attached to a person with a personality and attitude that he really enjoys. So whether I’m a 130 lbs blonde with blue eyes and big boobs or whether I’m the 270 lbs amazon with massive curves, as long as I stay who I am I’m beautiful and attractive to him.
My story isn’t the only one like this. Replace fat with sexuality and you get the same thing. Too many people are heralded as brave and wonderful because they’re gay. Too many people are made out to be special because they identify as a non-binary gender. Can you see how damaging and destructive such claims are? Nobody is any of these things because of their sexuality or identity. They are those things because of the person they are inside.
The interesting irony about this whole thing is that the message these communities hold up is one of ‘self acceptance’ and ‘loving yourself’. Yet when they make attempts to encourage others, they are doing the very opposite.
When a grown 40 year old transman relies on a stuffed doll to be the equivalent of a ‘support animal’, and treats it like a real creature, it’s a sign of illness. I understand that the idea of saying “Your doll looks so lovely!” is one of attempted support. I understand not wanting to judge this man for his choice of coping mechanism through what must be a significant impact on his life, but it’s frustrating when these people don’t see the damage they’re doing by encouraging it. He’s obviously in need of therapy to help. He’s not healthy. Saying this has no further bearing on his gender identity or sexuality. I’m not saying “This person is sick for being a transgender.” I’m saying this person is sick because referring to an inanimate object as a real creature and treating it as one is a serious mental condition that will eventually spiral out of control and alienate him from the rest of the world even more. That’s the very last thing he needs!
Among these communities, allowing children to choose their sexuality and gender identity early on is becoming increasingly popular. I don’t care about things like ‘what gender are toys for’ because that’s bull. Toys are for kids, the end. What I do care about is people becoming too obsessed with the possibility of their children being something other than cisgendered heterosexuals. Non-binary genders and sexualities are, and always will be, a minority. Most people on this planet will grow up to be cisgendered heterosexuals, and that’s fine. The survival of our species and the creation of more non-binary gendered non-heterosexual people kind of depends on that. But when you’re in these communities, it’s almost like everyone’s children has to defy the norm so that the parents can be open minded heroes. It baffles me. It never seems to be about the children, just an excuse for the parents to brag about how amazing they must be because their son wears a dress. Doesn’t anyone stop to think that this attitude can lead a child to question their sexuality unnecessarily? Except instead of wondering if they’re gay, they feel that they have to be gay even though they feel straight or just cisgendered. Isn’t that a whole bucket of opposite day right there?
I’m having a hard time verbalizing my thoughts in the previous paragraph, but I hope it makes sense what I’m trying to say; it’s another attitude that is meant to be encouraging but can have disastrous effects because people are doing it wrong. Allow your child to play with whatever toys and wear whatever, but don’t do it just so you get bragging rights and end up confusing your kid about what’s important.
This is why blind support is so harmful. Support isn’t just about making someone feel good for a few minutes. It’s about supporting something that can be sustained for a lifetime because you’re supporting what’s really important.