Monday, June 6, 2011

Dan Savage: Post Pregnancy Weight Does Not Justify Fat Shaming and Misogyny

Dan Savage speaking at IWUphoto © 2007 Erik Abderhalden | more info (via: Wylio)

My readers have come to know me very well.  When people like Terrence Howard Baby Wipes, Gweneth Paltrow,  PeTA or in this case Dan Savage says some hateful shit, I can guarantee that my email will be filled with people notifying me of it.   I absolutely refuse to read Savage Love, Dan's weekly column, because the man has failed too many times for me to pretend that he has anything to say that is worth listening to.  In this week's edition of Savage Love he was asked:
Is it better to stay with your overweight wife—who happens to be the mother of your infant daughter—and cheat on her to get sexual gratification (and be a shit of a husband) or leave her (and be a shit of a father)?
Almost Twice The Wife
First, let me say, what kind of megadouche even asks a question like this?  He describes his daughter as an infant and therefore that means what he is actually complaining about is that his wife has not lost the weight she gained during pregnancy. 

At the beginning of his response, I thought Savage was going to do the right thing.  He points out that it was ridiculous of him to expect his wife to loose the weight in 10 weeks, like many of the celebrity mothers do. However, I should have known better than to put my faith in Savage, because of his history of fat shaming. 
Perhaps I'm being too hard on you, ATTW. For all I know, your wife is one of those lousy spouses who abandon routine physical maintenance once the first kid arrives, because, hey, now you're stuck! Forgoing routine physical maintenance is the mother of all take-you-for-granted moves, one that quickly kills desire and slowly smothers love, and it can constitute grounds for cheating and/or leaving. (Normal and natural aging, health issues that make routine maintenance impossible, etc. do not by themselves constitute grounds.) But it's too soon to know if your wife is one of those lousy take-you-for-granted spouses, ATTW, as your daughter is still an infant.

Masturbate, help out, make sure your wife has the free time she needs to take care of herself, and you may find that you don't have to be any sort of shit.
 Right, women don't lose the weight after pregnancy because at that point they consider the man trapped with no place to go.  I wonder as he wrote those words, if he even realized for a single moment how sexist his commentary was.  The conniving woman out to trap a man is straight out of the patriarchal playbook. But if that were not enough, he declared, "forgoing routine physical maintenance is the mother of all take-you-for-granted moves."  Are you reading along ladies?  It is your responsibility to stay in peak physical condition to make sure that you are always fuckable.  By fuckable, he of course means slim. No fat woman is worthy of being considered sexually desirable, let alone loved.

I suppose that I should have been relieved, that he gave women like me who suffer with chronic illnesses a pass on his fat shaming mantra, but it reads like our bodies are already deformed, so what does it matter.  Fat is not something to be ashamed of, despite the clear hatred that he exposed in his answer.  Fat people are deserving of being loved and having good sex whether they are gay, straight, bi, poly etc.,

Finally, in the end he suggests that the husband masturbate and help out around the house, because this of course would free his wife to get back into shape.  Savage does not consider for one moment what the woman in this relationship wants, and what she sees as a priority, now that she is a mother. Taking care of herself may not be hours in the gym, but it could be a chance to get together with her girlfriends and have an adult conversation, or having a long undisturbed bath (something btw that I have given up on), or even the chance to read a book in peace.  None of that qualifies as letting one's self go, but it certainly qualifies as taking care of oneself.

The truth of the matter is that we all change overtime.  The true test of love is not fighting to stay skinny and being in top physical shape for your partner, but embracing the fact that you will both change, while attempting to grow together, rather than apart.  Today, I am nothing like the young woman the unhusband first met 21 years ago.  I have had two children, I am disabled and weigh more than I ever have, but I know without a doubt, that he loves me and finds me sexy. Love that stands the test of time, is love without requirements and demands; it is based in friendship and respect.   Loving someone is certainly about more than getting your rocks off, but I suppose that the opportunity to be sexist and fat shame, was more than Savage could pass up.