On the heels of The Secret, Sarah and I were encouraged to watch What the Bleep/Down the Rabbit Hole so bought it and have watched it front to back, sideways and downways... it really is great, even if there is a quarter of it I cannot begin to comprehend. (Physics is a quantum leap out of my league.)
Watching the Director's Q&A the other day, I was struck by one segment in particular.
Ramtha, a channelled being (through JZ Knight) was being complimented by a studio executive... the Director sat listening as the exec raved about how much she loved what Ramtha had to say, how profound "she" was, how "her" words meant so much to her. When the Director realized who the executive meant, she explained who Ramtha was and it seems the Los Angeles studio head became livid, feeling duped.
Confused, the Director clarified that the executive previously thought Ramtha had terrific, even life-changing thoughts to share, but once she realized the information came through a human voice, the entire message was discounted? The very angry studio head said that was exactly what happened.
As the discussion unfolded on film in front of me, the Director and Producers chuckled about how often in our lives... even in our days... do we do this very thing. If the information comes in the package of Mr. Giant Many Letters After His Name Who Works at the Big Famous College says something, it most certainly is correct, right? If Mr. Few Letters After His Name Who Works at the Community College says something, it holds a lot less weight than his Mr. Giant Man's word, now doesn't it. (I can't even put a question mark after that because it is so much of a statement.)
Didn't this exact thing just happen to me this last week?
It most certainly did.
In an old post resurrected, I spoke about Fat Vaginas, and what I said was twisted and turned to make it sound like I hated fat people, that I thought fat women had vile vaginas that couldn't keep a full-term baby inside it because it was so lax and that I was one of those despicable health care providers all fat women should do everything in their power to avoid as well as warn everyone in their lives to stay away from.
Assumptions were made that because I had had Weight Loss Surgery (WLS), I was now svelte and society-sexy. Assumptions were made that I had something called a "perfect life" because I had a gastric bypass.
The assumptions and beliefs lingered until I reminded (revealed?) that I weighed 220 pounds. While still weighing 130 pounds less than my 350 pound pre-operative weight, I am still considered obese in our society. Sarah calls me "Garden-Variety Fat." Just normal fat in this culture.
It seems the moment I said how fat I was, the daggers of anger fell to the ground with deafening thuds. I've gotten a couple of random comments since, but other than that. Nothing.
Why is it that my weight makes any difference whatsoever if what I have to say is true or not? Who gives a fuck if I weigh 220 or 120 if my tampon popped out at 350 pounds and I said it did and I know that my fat cunt made it do that? Why is what I say more valid now that I weigh 220 and you can see I have flapping arm wings?
Yeah, I am angry about this.
There are some packages that matter when it comes to advice or information.
I know I am certainly more apt to listen to a midwife who has 20 years' experience with hemorrhage than a brand new midwife who's had one, BUT, I will absolutely listen to the new midwife because she might have discovered a new and amazing technique. Just I will give far more weight to the older midwife.
I find it hard to listen to a new mom giving me parenting advice about my toddler unless she's already had one.
If the Lactation Consultant hasn't nursed her own children successfully, it's very difficult to imagine she can offer the most impressive information possible.
I say these statements with certainty because I have heard, dozens of times, women who previously believed they were wonderful at what they did, realize they were quite inept until they actually became what they were counseling women to do.
Midwives (plural) who'd had no children, rather good midwives at that, who were transformed once they had children themselves, understanding labor, birth, postpartum and breasfeeding in a way they never understood or imagined when they explained it to women previously. I've known them to apologize to women for saying insensitive remarks, encouraging them to do impossible tasks and to find themselves incredibly humbled by their mothering experiences.
Midwifery isn't the only time this happens.
But, this is an example when the package does matter.
What of those times when words or experiences move you, sweep you up and change your thinking? Why then does learning of the package make a difference in how the message is interpreted?
I'm not talking of a love letter from prison or an IM from a troll.
I'm talking about a profound, thought-provoking word, sentence, paragraph from someone that is dismissed because it comes from a co-worker you can't stand or that neighbor kid down the street or your daughter's boyfriend with the tusks coming out his nose.
I'm just baffled why it made any difference that I weigh what I weigh and my words carry more weight now (pun surely important).
I encourage any of the Fat Activists still reading my blog (if any are even left now) to look inside and think about this. No one needs even answer; it doesn't make any difference to me. It's something I am looking at myself. Why I do this, too... I am sure it's something our culture fosters.
I want to be heard for me, though. Not just for my package. For my experience. My knowledge. My wit. My love for women. My joy for humans.
Packaging. I'm in a brown paper bag with gobs of tape macked around it.