Tagged: part of the problem

Just a thought: create solutions which are relevant to the problems they’re meant to solve

The headline says it all, really, but it shouldn’t need saying at all.

If your problem is too many apples, you need to decrease apples.

If your problem is too many apples, and you suggest solutions which are based on the idea that the problem is actually not having enough oranges … you’re not really going to be very successful at fixing the actual damn problem.

Let’s consider the number of Labour MPs who think if the problem is their own amateur media management of a proposal about women-only candidate shortlists  (no, I’m not saying it again)

Then the solution is never make policy proposals which might get media attention.

And if the problem is people aren’t supporting Labour because they don’t think Labour has a vision, a soul, a coherent leader, etc

Then the solution is you should just support us anyway because then we’ll have support.

It’s ignoring the real problem.  It’s too many apples and desperately trying to pretend that the problem is really not enough oranges.  Possibly because you have no idea how to decrease your apple stock, and whenever someone outside your clique suggests “eating some fucking apples”, you accuse them of not seeing the bigger picture, engaging in identity politics, being beltway, and just trying to undermine the leader.

Guest post: Phil Goff’s balls

Now up at The Standard and reproduced below for those who choose not to tread there.

Guts. Backbone. Chutzpah. Grit. Will. Vision. Courage.

The one thing all of these words have in common is that Phil Goff could quite easily have used them instead of “balls” when he said:

“It’s time to make a decision that will build a stronger future for New Zealand. We’ve got the balls to do that. John Key doesn’t.”

And I know that Phil knows that, because he’s quoted using at least two of them elsewhere in that story.

Normally you’d cue up a big ol’ Queen of Thorns rant complete with naughty cusswords and all-caps. But seriously? Phil, save us the trouble of firing up a whole two brain cells to figure out your subliminal messaging. We get it. You’re a Man’s Man and you speak like Common People and The Days Of That Nasty Bitch Helen Are Behind Us.

You’ve been listening to Chris Trotter and you wanted to make it very clear, to talkback land and those nasty white-anting progressives at the same time, that you’re A Safe Pair Of Manly Man Hands and Not A Pussy.

You’ve chosen to put yourself firmly, obviously, in the camp (ha) of Damien “gaggle of gays” O’Connor.

Or alternatively you’re a bit shit at figuring out the implications of your own words.

In either case, those of us clinging to a phantom hope of a Labour/Green/Mana-or-Maori coalition actually delivering good outcomes for women, non-whites, queers et al can surely, at this point, take it as read that your party gives not a shit for us if we’re in the way of taking power. (And somehow expects us to vote for you anyway.)

I mean, when Jordan Carter’s pre-emptively parroting the line on Twitter I think we can safely file this crap under “Labour election key message”.

Or I’m just vindictively destroying the Left from within. Again.

Several interesting things

1.  Jordan Carter and Scott Yorke both post about Trevor Mallard’s historic “Tinkerbell” comments, targeting Stephen Wittington, ACT candidate, and David Farrar, National pollster, for raising said comments following the announcement of Labour’s policy on same-sex adoption.

2. Apparently neither Jordan nor Scott read No Right Turn, which is a shame.  Or it might have just got in the way of the “this is a nasty rightwing plot against us” meme.

3.  Jordan thinks the big issue is that we must be very clear that Trevor Mallard isn’t a homophobe.  He just says homophobic things, which is … better, and also completely different.

4.  Scott thinks the big issue is that National are full of homophobes anyway so stop paying attention to Labour’s.  I am possibly coincidentally reminded of when a few of the secondary school teachers in my family pondered voting National in the early 00s, on the basis that “at least we expect to get fucked over under National”.

Moral of the story?  Firstly, as I said on Jordan’s blog, in a country with NZ’s suicide rate amongst queer youth, I have no time for “but just saying a homophobic thing doesn’t make a person A Homophobe” hair-splitting.

Secondly, when an outspoken, openly gay MP like Grant Robertson is reduced to saying of a senior MP, and of a homophobic attack against one of his colleagues, “It’s a silly statement“, when you’ve already had another MP’s homophobia defended because Oh Well Those West Coast Rednecks Will Like It, when it takes two fucking years for someone to admit calling a gay man “Tinkerbell” was “probably unfortunate” but oh, oh, he’s totally not homophobic?  I feel quite happy assuming Labour has a serious problem with homophobia.

Alternatively, I suppose one could argue that it’s just a context-free political ploy to unsettle Finlayson, they would’ve called him Four-Eyes if he weren’t gay … but if you’re seriously happy with your political party playing off other people’s homophobia and a culture of queer-bashing for their own gain and still want to defend them, hey, you go right ahead, I’ll be over here with the people who have basic ethics.

And yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees, Scott, National are probably 1,367 times as homophobic as Labour so why am I trying to destroy the Left again???????  But you know what, when it comes to the left, I expect more.

Dinosaur trips over own boner while tilting at self-constructed windmills

I’m sorry, everyone.

I’m sorry Chris Trotter likes to wax lyrical, pretending not to know what people are talking about when they’ve taken the time and energy to provide all the relevant links to his own previous sexist whinging.

I’m sorry Chris Trotter has so little respect for women he thinks we can’t concentrate on more than one issue at a time.

I’m sorry Chris Trotter is so defensive about being called on his and the “mainstream” Left’s misogyny that he has to ironically apply a “you’re either Nexus with us or against us” strawman on feminists.

I’m sorry if any of you sustained abdominal injuries while cackling* at Chris Trotter of all people calling someone else a “bully”.

I’m sorry if anyone had to waste 5 minutes on Google to reassure themselves that Chris Trotter has no idea what he’s talking about in regards to the US antichoice movement, which has been incremental and smouldering and very subtly engineered for the most part.

I’m sorry that my heretofore mild tone is about to be cast aside in favour of my usual “expletives-included” style.

Because fuck you, Chris Trotter.  Fuck you for using vulnerable solo mothers as a fucking weapon against a feminist who actually gives a fuck about helping women take charge of their bodies and doesn’t cast them aside once they’re no longer useful.  Fuck you for trying to turn NZ feminists against each other and using a woman public figure, very thinly veiled, as another weapon.  Fuck you for fucking implying with scare quotes that that woman was somehow being dishonest in describing herself as a mother.

And fuck you, you pathetic, outmoded hack, for trying to say “that’s politics” as though you have a single fucking clue how to get the left back into power in this country.  Let me know when that brilliant racebaiting manoeuvre from fucking 2009 starts paying off, mmkay?

But thank you, too, Chris.  Thank you for continuing to demonstrate your utter irrelevancy.  Thank you for proving for me (as though it needed to be proven) that feminists cannot assume the left are allies (hey Marty G, if you’re reading this, remind me why you were surprised my post was less than flattering of Labour?).

Thank you for the hilarity of the fact that you have no fucking sense of history, when you try to say that the people who stood up and made noise never achieved anything.  I’ll remind every civil rights activist ever, shall I?  Guess they should’ve just got up and asked quietly from the back of the bus if they could be treated like full, worthy human beings, etc.

You’re not scary, Chris.  You’re not intimidating.  You haven’t put me in my place.  You’ve just made my entire argument for me.  And I thank you for that.


*Like harpies!

You are actually part of the problem: fat edition

Yesterday’s post crystallized a lot of things for me around how people think they’re not fatphobic or not engaging in fat-hate.*

Today’s lesson:  you are.

Now, there’s probably plenty of you out there who don’t even think fatphobia exists or if it does it’s totes justified ’cause fatties are gross.

This actually isn’t about you.

This is about you, the liberal, the progressive, the feminist, the ally, the friend who sincerely starts sentences with some variation on “I don’t hate fat people but …” and who is, in fact, fatphobic and does, in fact, hate fat people.

It is fatphobic …

When you allow yourself a magic cut-off point at which a fat person is “demonstrated” to be wrong-fat.

Oh, but you get that some people are naturally big and of course you’re totally sympathetic to people who are fat due to medical reasons** and you’re accepting and progressive and non-judgemental … but come on, you’ve got to have some people who it’s okay to hate and judge and scorn!

No, you don’t.  You are not being accepting and you are not being progressive and you are not just being “reasonable” because …

  • they ate three pies in one sitting!
  • they can’t even fit [supposedly huge size] clothes!
  • they waddle, or limp, or dislike climbing stairs!
  • you don’t find them sexually attractive (and hey, you LOVE curvy chicks!)

Guess what?  All these lines in the sand which allow you to feel superior and get your hate on without compromising your progressive cred?  Are fat-hating. Are passing judgement on other people’s choices without any consideration of their lives, their dignity, their experiences.***

And it is fatphobic …

When you start throwing around fucked-up words like “natural”.

Things that do not occur in nature:  airplane seats, weight limits on mobility scooters, doorways.

Things that occur in nature:  my ass.

Yes, of course the size of my ass and of all the glorious asses of the world will probably have been influenced by a variety of genetic and environmental factors.  But the fact is that those things don’t really fucking matter in the long run.****  The fact is, I have a big ass.  And there is no “natural” way to decrease its size safely, predictably and permanently.  And even if there were, who fucking cares, it’s an ass and it’s beautiful and it’s none of your fucking business.

My ass is “natural”, however it came to be the brilliant size and shape it is now.  It will probably change throughout my life, due to lifestyle or environmental factors.  It will still not be an argument for or against my worthiness and hotness as a person.

While we’re on the topic of “natural”, it is fatphobic …

To insist that every fucking conversation about weight showcase the bits that justify your fat hatred.

Another bloody fat-horror doco is on tv this week.  My partner yelled obscenities at the ad we saw for it and then asked, somewhat rhetorically, why yet another Awful Fat Person Exists, Now In Vivid Technicolor doco was on our screens.

Easy, I said.  By constantly putting fat people into the frame, fat people at the most extreme end of the population bell curve, society normalises that level of fatness.  Like the headless fatties in every panicked news story, you are meant to see the image of that person and come to believe that that [horrible, ugly, awful] level of adipose tissue is what they’re talking about when they yet again remind you 1 in 5 New Zealanders is overweight or obese.

And these images and stories and panic get deeply embedded in our minds, and the fear becomes a part of our lives, and then every single fucking time there’s a conversation about fat acceptance or body policing or intuitive eating, it pops out in little objections like:

  • “But what about people who are so fat they can’t walk?”
  • “But some fat people are unhealthy!”
  • “But you should be getting regular exercise!”
  • “But obviously you shouldn’t just eat baby-flavoured donuts all day!”

Here’s what you think you’re saying:  “We should just keep these important caveats in mind!”

Here’s what you’re actually saying:  “Don’t get too comfortable, fatty!  We’re willing to tolerate your silly talk for now, but just remind your body and dietary habits and exercise levels are still totally ours to monitor and judge!  We refuse to let you just be positive and uplifting about body acceptance, and we’re going to burst that balloon at every opportunity!  Don’t you dare let go of the fear that one day you too will be Inexcusably Fat!!!”

In short:  it’s fatphobic, and you are fatphobic, and yes, your fat friends have seen through your protestations but just aren’t willing to confront you directly because it is fatphobic …

When you tell your fat friends you’re “not talking about THEM”.

You are.  Even if only in the most indirect way, when you say all these things, you are reminding them that they are fat [and that being fat is baaaaaad], and you are are reminding them that their bodies are perceived as public property for others to assess and find wanting***** and you are reinforcing the constant stream of body-policing, diet-policing, and lifestyle-policing that they are already subjected to every waking minute of their lives.

You are talking about them.  You are talking about me.  Your intent is not fucking magic.  So if you’re going to keep being fatphobic, at least do me the favour of quitting the pretence and join those guys up in paragraph three who are honest about their bigotry.


*And every other bigotry under the sun, but this is the fat edition!

**Especially sympathetic, even, because omg they’re sick AND fat and that’s terrible.

***Of course, taking these things into account would harsh your judge-squee.

****Which is of course not to say that we shouldn’t look at environmental things like poverty and nutrition and availability of ingredients/time/social support.  Just that looking at those things should not be completely motivated by ensuring no child shall ever again face having a big ass.

*****Because of course even supermodels can never actually be assessed as completely fulfilling our bullshit beauty standards.