Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

I live my life in boy drag (or why i hate Halloween)

People like to call Halloween ‘gay Christmas.’ First off, I hate Christmas. I dislike the drama that seems to go hand-in-hand with the holiday. It is why I stopped celebrating it: the awful family drama. I can see why people like christmas. I do.

Anyway, so gay Christmas, aka Halloween. When people get go to be adults they stop going out for candy and start dressing up in skimpy outfits and getting really drunk. Fine. Whatever. But I’ve been pretty much over halloween since I stopped going out for candy. I can’t remember exactly why I stopped doing Halloween in the first place… It might have been around the same time I decided to stop celebrating all holidays.

In any case, my motivation these days is different. Halloween is probably the one day a year I could dress up the way I’d like to dress everyday (maybe a nice flowy skirt and a shirt with a tie, my nails done and my make-up immaculate) without encountering any significant problems. No one would think it strange. Perhaps they’d be a little puzzled over my ‘costume’ but it’d be fine. I used to dress like this when I was in my late teens and early 20s. I stopped because of many reasons, the chief of which was some really nasty internalized femme-hate with a dash of trans-hate.

So, you might think, shouldn’t she love Halloween? He can dress as she wants! Not so much. I feel like I spend everyday of my goddam life in a costume. I dress to pass. I play the role of ‘man’ because it simplifies some things and, more importantly, makes me feel safer.

This makes me resent the notion that dressing up as myself should be a ‘costume’ I can only safely wear on Halloween. Perhaps things would be better (for a value of ‘better’) if I had a more binary identity and maybe transitioned. But there isn’t much room for non-binary people in this binary, cis-supremacist world. And I believe that I have the right to guard my safety (even as I recognize my ability to ‘pass’ is a privilege — it is only ‘passing’ because I do allow myself some authentic gender expression).

So no, I don’t want to dress up as a wizard or vampire on Halloween, not when I’d love the privilege of just dressing up as me.

October 27, 2011

Fat hating

My first encounter with fat phobia, or the concept of it, was in a conversation with the devastatingly biyutiful moonfirestarshine. She was kind enough to first call me out on my fat hating. She was even more kind to be persistent enough to actually cut through all of my thin-privilege denying and fat shaming. I really admire and appreciate that she was willing to engage on this, considering how awful I was about it.

Why was I so fat hating? Partially because we live in a culture that hates fat people and loves to shame them. It is one of the most socially acceptable isms. It was also a product of being raised by my Filipino dad. One of his (many) bigoted stereotypes in our house was that white people were fat and lazy. Of course they were fat *because* they were lazy. So I always associated laziness with fatness (I also still equate whiteness with laziness).

Not that it makes any of the above excusable. It doesn’t.

Recognizing my thin-privilege was a little easier to do, since I was already in the place when I was seeing the serious error in being a fat hater. A major thin privilege is being able to readily find clothes that fit (well, okay, I may not have *quite* this privilege since I’m short and slim enough in my Asian-ness that I often can’t fit into most clothes. Smalls are often too big for me). A bit of privilege I do have is the ease in which I fit into airplane seats. Those things are tiny! I barely fit in them, but I do have a bit of wiggle room. I remember reading a story once of a fat person trying to get accommodation for their weight, but it being quite clear that they have to buy two seats. I remember thinking, ‘yeah, of course they should.’ Because fat people should never be allowed to travel.

There are many reasons that fat hate is wrong. The principle one is the shaming that goes along with it. I’m a big fan of empathy based ethics. Not a single human being alive enjoys the feeling of shame (not even S&M peeople enjoy this outside of carefully negotiated contexts). Diminishing a hhuman being for their body is wrong. No one deserves to feel shame over their body. Over taking up space. Over needing accommodations to live a comfortable and happy life.

Living shame-free shouldn’t be a privilege but a basic state of being every human being is entitled to. Even fat people.