Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bill Maher Gatekeeping and Permitted Discourse Productions Promoting Transitive Victimization



vice |  I used to be close to 300 pounds, so a lot of what you wrote hurt to read—it took me back to a time when I wasn't fitting in airplane seats. Reading your book really made me think back to that girl and how I still end up being her, even after losing weight.Exactly. After writing this book, I realized that I want to change my body, but not in the way that you would think. I started seeing a dietician. We don't even talk about food. We talk about behaviors around food. On the first day, she was asking me about the traumas in my life. And I started to list them: "Well, I was assaulted." And then I thought about it longer and said: "Well, being fat." I just started crying because I realized, "Oh God, this is a thing that is never going to leave me." It's not about self-loathing at all. It's because of societal loathing and the ways in which people talk about our bodies and frame our bodies. I just realized that it is a trauma—and that shows how pervasive fatphobia is.

Yep.
I've told my parents many times that I'm as over being raped as I'll ever be. It's 30 years later. It's not fine, but I've dealt with it. I've gone to therapy, I have worked through those issues. But I don't know if I'll ever overcome the ways in which I was treated for daring to be fat. Honestly, I think it's one of those final frontiers of discrimination. People feel very comfortable being cruel to fat people and talking shit about fat people. Very fucking comfortable.

They think, I'm at work, I'll just fire off a tweet at some woman about how fat she is. It's hard, I think, particularly for men, to handle a woman who can't easily be made into a sexual object.
Exactly. They don't know what to do. They lose their fucking minds. They get confused. "Wait, I'm not getting a boner from you? What are you doing on this planet? You don't belong here! Get out of here!"
"The implication is that if you have a body that doesn't fit, fix your body because they're not going to fix the chair."

This sort of goes back to the idea in your book about being seen as genderless because of your weight.Being fat means you aren't desirable. So as a woman, you are basically degendered. People also often read fat bodies as male. I was just in Australia and almost every person there called me "sir." And it really drives me crazy because I have huge boobs and they are incredible. So it's like, "Come on. What are you fucking talking about?"

One part of the book that really broke my heart was hearing about the planning that you do when you visit different cities to make sure a restaurant has chairs that will accommodate you. This idea that you couldn't just show up somewhere made me so fucking mad for some reason.Well, it's either prepare or be humiliated. And I have learned to prepare. The world is not accommodating. I spend a lot my time in LA these days. All the chairs are tiny and super modern and sleek. And that's cute but my ass is not going to fit on those chairs for two hours. When a chair designer is creating a chair, they're creating it for one type of body. And it's not my kind of body. The implication is that if you have a body that doesn't fit, fix your body because they're not going to fix the chair.

By the end of the book, you emerge as this fierce being—open, raw, defiant in book and body. Did you feel that way while writing it?Partly I did. Partly I was like this is the book of no fucks given. I was terrified to write the book, but when I got to certain places, I was like, "You know what? I'm going to let it all fucking hang out."

One thing that was so interesting about this book is that you don't wrap it up in a neat bow. You don't end it with a declaration of diet or anything like that.That's exactly why I wrote the book. There is no easy answer for our bodies. There is no closure.