Saturday, February 26, 2011

Everyone Should be Required to Take Psych 101

I think one of the major problems we have in so many areas of life is the inability of some people to understand  how people come to the places they do. We see it in bullying, victim blaming, rape culture, and various privileged people failing to understand their own privilege just to name a few. They just can't understand how the words and actions of others can make people feel.

I'm currently on a supposedly plus sized forum which has begun to see more and more thin posters.. Now, thin isn't bad, but there does come a point where any group of oppressed people needs a safe haven- their own space. While some people are fine with this, some people are left feeling uncomfortable, judged and compared (even if just by themselves), and have decided to stop posting. The responses to this have been unfathomably cruel. Opinions abound that they just need to "get over it", that maybe they should just leave altogether and fix themselves before coming back, that bullying on the internet doesn't count because the internet isn't serious,  that needing a space to feel safe is "elitist".  We've even gotten that the abusive bullying comments are just sarcasm at it's finest (can't wait for a plus plus plus plus forum or an elbow fat forum- yeah.. that's not bullying at all).

The very serious trauma that is caused by bullying for years or even decades is something that many people find hard to comprehend. More so, however, people don't seem to grasp that other people can and do handle things differently from them. It's the "I did it so you can too" line. Oh, we've heard that one before, haven't we? It doesn't bother me so you're just being a wuss! You're just crazy! (hello ableism!) Yes, if the mere presence of thin people in a fat safe haven is enough to make you feel unwanted, dejected, and even suicidal then you do indeed have deeper issues.. but am I the only one thinking "duh" here? These places aren't only for people who have zero issues with their bodies, it's not for people who have somehow managed to come out of years of abuse with absolutely  no mental issues, it's not for only those who are completely able bodied/minded. If someone tells you that feelings of being compared to thin people in a fat forum makes them feel suicidal you don't say "get the fuck off the internet, it's not the place for you". People like that, in my opinion, are the exact reason why we need safe places. Elitist? You wanna talk about elitist? Telling people that their discomfort, their feelings are invalid and implying that they don't deserve to participate because they haven't managed to attain the level of self acceptance that you have.. now that's elitist.

I think that everyone needs a basic understanding of psychology- hell, maybe we should make it one of those mandatory courses (it's a bit more important than home ec or gym class). We could cut down on bullying by helping kids understand one another better. To understand not only the damage that bullying does, but the different ways in which people respond and the huge importance of how our environments effect everything about us.

And the thing is.. a lot of this comes from other fat people. Red No.3 points out that even fat people can experience thin privilege, especially when it's combined with male privilege.

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