So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

14 February, 2010

Weighty Contemplations

So, I recently joined FetLife just kind of for the hell of it, and discovered that it's full of all the same stupid arguments I see on the blogs, only with maybe a little more kink acceptance. (Sometimes that maybe is a little thin. It's depressing.)

Today I decided to poke around the Submissive Women community to see if there were interesting discussions there. I found "interesting", though not the sort I think that one might be hoping for.

There were two threads in particular that caught my attention. One was "Would you let a dom give you a buzz haircut?" and the other was "Would you let a dom put you on a diet?"

Guess which one got the more vehemently hostile reactions from the community?

Guess which one had, in the first comments to the discussion, something along the lines of, "I bet this one will go over better because it's serving vanity!"

Oh no, I thought, people will be just as harsh if not harsher on the weight-loss thread, because it's so much more invasive, because health concerns are involved, because ...

Wait, what. "They're about equivalent in invasiveness"? The vast choruses of, if not enthusiastic support, "Yeah, that'd be okay, I think, so long as she's not at a healthy weight already". A few lone voices in the wilderness suggesting things about that sort of thing being bad for self-esteem were scattered among the generalised quiet murmurs of assent and one or two "If you're going to do that sort of thing be sure you have your medical shit together, you know."

I'm left kind of half-speechless. Even knowing that there is so much derangement around weight and the possibility of losing it, a community of people who spit fire at cutting their hair but would acquiesce without complaint to being ordered to lose weight? Who consider these things roughly equivalent, but only the latter acceptable?

I wish I had clever commentary. I'm just too stunned.


Lissy said...

The submissive women forum on fetlife quite often leaves me stunned as well... I often don't know whether to laugh, cry or poke my eyes my out when I read it, mostly I end up slamming my head on my desk and repeating to myself "Being kinky is no panacea for stupid, I need to stop having high expectations of kinksters."

What I found interesting in the hair discussion was the amount of comments talking about how personal a woman's relationship with the length of her hair was, but in the weight thread there was an absence of the idea that a woman could have a personal relationship with her weight...

I don't know if that makes sense...

Alex said...

...I think the only response I have is what is this I don't even

I mean. What. Just... how. *whimper*

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Yeah, Lissy, that's sort of what I was having a hard time articulating.

You have an intimate relationship with your hair but not your body, what?

I mean, what?


And at that point I wind up as articulate as Alex here. ;)

Lissy said...

You have an intimate relationship with your hair but not your body, what?

I was thinking about this last night while drifting off to sleep (because I am a nerd)- women's hair is often constructed as a source of personal happiness (ie you feel good when you have a good haircut) and something that it is legitimate for women to control in the creation of personal identity (I'm thinking of the old break up with a bloke and go cut all your hair off or dye it a different colour)... that is, a woman controls it to get a positive feeling about herself...

But weight and bodies... are constructed as a source of unhappiness, something that a woman controls to avoid feeling negative about herself...

Also is it that hair is allowed to be personal but weight and bodies are not... its okay for a woman to have an internally focused (self) relationship with her hair, but its not okay for a woman to have anything but an externally focused (others) relationship to her body and weight?

I'm not sure I'm making sense... need coffee

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I think you're a lot more articulate than I am, honestly. Coffee or no.

Lissy said...

Thanks... I've had the first cup of the day mind has now wandered off into the kinky implications of this thinking... is hair control more likely to be considered a hard limit by sub women because, in general, its more legitimate for their relationship to be a personal one and for them as women to exercise control over their hair... so a request by a dominant for control over hair is more likely to be seen as unreasonable?

Whereas because its not okay to have a personal relationship with your weight or body... sub women are less likely to set a hard limit around that kind of control by a dominant... and to percieve such a request as reasonable.

I'd really like to see a discussion about this from a sub bloke perspective...

Also I'm now busy examining my kinky personal trainer fantasies...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that was my experience trying FetLife too. I recommend you not go to the kink-and-disability group, because there's a lot of abilism in it. /headdesk

Vieva said...

I suspect there's also a good chunk of "well we're fat anyway and we SHOULD get thinner" in there.

NOT saying remotely that that's true or reasonable or anything like that - but I can see the basic attitude being that being put on a diet is "good for me" and "caring for me" - whereas having one's hair chopped off or changed or the like has no apparent benefit to the woman.

When even healthy-weight people are bombarded by the idea that they're fat, I can see why someone being willing to "help" would be considered acceptable even if it really isn't.

Unknown said...

>Guess which one got the more
>vehemently hostile reactions
>from the community?

I really thought this would be the diet thing, and I figured I knew where you were going with this, and then you pulled the rug out from under me.


Anonymous said...

As a belated comment, I'd note that in the Standard Cultural Model, losing weight is assumed to take one closer to the feminine ideal, and cutting hair short (especially to a buzz cut) is assumed to take one further away.

Thus, I expect that, at least to some extent, the reactions there would be entirely different if the options were "grow her hair out" or "gain 30 pounds". I really expect people are not thinking of "gain 30 pounds" and "lose 30 pounds" as even in the same category of requested change.

(Also, addressing Lissy's first comment: I'm not sure it's entirely that there's an absence of the idea that a woman could have a personal relationship with her weight; I would expect merely an absence of the idea that she could have a relationship with it other than wanting it to be less. Not that this makes it any better, mind.)

I also wonder about ... well, anyone who has long hair knows how much time and effort it takes to grow your hair back out if it's been cut; that's a fixed time. But losing 30 pounds, you can do in a month easily if you just follow the advice on the supermarket checkout lines, right? Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Also, because I'm still gibbering at this one: "Yeah, that'd be okay, I think, so long as she's not at a healthy weight already...."

I just want to point out, and circle with a red pen, and make vociferous note of this pernicious idea that the default state for a woman is assumed to be "not at a healthy weight". That a woman who is at a healthy weight is a rare case barely worth noting as an exception.

And, for that matter, once we've sufficiently jumped up and down about that (which we have not done, but we move on regardless), the secondary idea that "a healthy weight" is such a narrow range that one cannot possibly lose 20 pounds (say) from a healthy weight and still be at a healthy weight. That one probably deserves some jumping-up-and-down too.

But seriously, people. When your idea of a "healthy weight" for a woman (not optimally-healthy weight, mind; just "healthy" at all) is something that's narrow to within a tiny fraction of a person's weight, and being "unhealthily" overweight is your unmarked case to such an extent that you pretty much exclude "healthily"-weighted women from your theories of normal behavior -- can you possibly defend that your scale is not completely wacked?