Friday, August 20th, 2010
I hate smoking. I hate it with every fibre of my being. I grew up a severe asthmatic, and even the slightest hint of smoke sets me off. My father is a smoker, and has been since well before I was born. And I hate it. When I went to school my uniform blazer often reeked of smoke because he would light up in morning traffic. The smell was so much so that teachers would pull me aside to warn me about my bad habits. Hell, even my grandfather smoked for 77 years before it got him.
We are now a society that has banned smoking in a lot of areas, and as a society we tend to make moral judgements on those who do. Well, at least I do. If I’m being honest, I consider people who smoke to be less intelligent, more prone to impulsive behaviour and with disgusting hygiene. I am aware of the bias I have, given my family history.
Tonight I realised that people think these same things about me, but because I’m fat. See, I hate the smell of smoke. But they hate the sight of fat. I feel as if smokers encroach on my personal space. They think I, as a fat person, encroach on their personal space. I care about the damaging effects to smokers’ health and wellbeing. They want to fight obesity to improve my health and wellbeing. I must admit, it’s an interesting comparison that I hadn’t really considered until this evening.
Does this make it better/worse/indifferent? I don’t know. I think there’s a difference between fatness and smoking, because a person chooses to be a smoker – but then people think I choose to be fat, too. And maybe I do? Does it make them any better than me? No. It just means I’m fat. Just like it just means my dad is a smoker. It doesn’t make him better or worse than me. Or anyone. It just is.
Why do we make the moral judgements we do? Why is any one group more or less simply because? I will never like smoke being around me because too much of it induces an asthma attack. But my dad is a very considerate smoker these days, and if I ask him to he wont smoke around me. I’m afraid it can’t be the same if a person dislikes my fat; it’s not something I can (or am prepared to) change so easily.
My dad disagrees about the medical risks of smoking – he claims that people die of lung cancer and emphysema who don’t smoke, and that correlation does not equal causation. I don’t know what the actual research is or who did it; I only know about those ads I’ve seen on television where they wring a sponge out to symbolise a smoker’s lungs. But I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been judging people based on the court of popular opinion, in exactly the same way people do about studies regarding fat, and obesity. I know it sounds crackpot and conspiracy theorist to assume that studies are wonkily funded, but if reading books on obesity and politics has taught me anything is that you can’t always trust the studies. It’s important to look at who funded each study, and if the research is unbiased. Only then can we get true results.
I’ll always disagree with smoking because it fucks with my ability to breathe. But I think from now on I’m going to stop making moral judgements. I have no right. Nobody does.
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
I have been quite unwell recently, and have subsequently spent a large chunk of my time watching gloriously bad trash television. E! and the Style Network have become an unusual crutch in my down time. And when I say crutch, I mean hopeless addiction that may never be cured. Because I don’t currently have the mental capacity for anything too thought-provoking, I have seen both of these channels as beacons of entertainment. It’s basically makeover shows and celebrity happenings, as far as I can tell. Chewing gum for the mind most definitely. That being said, I did learn something today.
I was watching a recap of Joan Rivers bashing celebrities for what they wear. Joan being Joan, I can’t hate her – she’s caustic and cynical and downright mean sometimes, but there’s something about her i find truly endearing. It made me think, though. How often do I go out and mentally note other people’s clothing/demeanour? I know that I’ve done it before. I remember thinking “Oh no, she should NOT be wearing that!” as someone walked by me at the shops once.
And now it hits me how much this attitude SUCKS. What right do I (or anyone for that matter) have on saying what a person should or should not be wearing? Why are fashion “rules” so deeply ingrained in me? Have I just been watching too much Trinny and Susannah? Is society to blame? Family? The media? Am *i* to blame?
Lil’ Kim has graced many a “worst dressed” list during her years as a celebrity. And I don’t think I’d ever wear an ensemble like the one above, but fuckdammit! She should be commended for having the courage to wear what she wants, and not what someone told her to wear. (If that’s the case, which let’s assume it is for the sake of this argument.) It’s fucking ridiculous to judge anyone based on what they’re wearing – if I do that then I’m no better than someone judging me because I’m fat.
So tell me, readers – what’s your opinion? Have you ever judged someone based on what they’re wearing? And are celebrities asking for it, since they are the ones who put themselves in the limelight? What about people who post their own pictures on a blog? Leave your thoughts below.