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Thu, Jan. 18th, 2007, 05:08 pm

Morality, Desire, and more damn IM transcripts

Part I:



On reaching Attic Corydallus, Theseus slew Sinis's father Polypemon, surnamed Procrustes, who lived beside the road and had two beds in his house, one small the other large. Offering a night's lodging to travelers, he would lay the short men on the large bed, and rack them out to fit it; but the tall men on the small bed, sawing off as much of their legs as projected beyond it.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths


Part II:



fruitnrrd:	I could have had a crush on her, but I didn't.  I don't know why.

vinnietesla:	You don't particularly seem to go for the zaftig chicas.

fruitnrrd:	yeah. Kind of a bad habit of mine.

vinnietesla:	Perfectly reasonable.

fruitnrrd:	I don't want to have this habit, but I do.

vinnietesla:	People have tastes. Nothing wrong with that.

fruitnrrd:	well, considering I'm something more than zaftig,....

vinnietesla:	I dig chicks with short hair. Chip Delany is into guys with ragged 
chewed-on fingernails. It makes the world work. You're also male--that doesn't obligate 
you to dig guys.

fruitnrrd:	I understand the point, but I don't think you see my point.  It feels 
exclusionary.

vinnietesla:	I do see your point, which is political, in a sense.

fruitnrrd:	?

vinnietesla:	You don't approve of the derision our culture heaps on big women.

fruitnrrd:	right

vinnietesla:	And you feel like your tastes make you a participant in that.

fruitnrrd:	exactly.


Part III:



from this comment by primroseport:
My reasons for being generally repulsed by fatness are bound up in feelings about what is healthy and necessary, what is appropriate with one's activity level, which speaks to self-control and self-assuredness, what speaks to weakness. It is the same for men as women, but I'm a heterosexual man, so I think about it most when my eyes land on women, because that's where they tend to land, given the choice.


Part IV:



Okay, look. Libido. Beliefs. Different things. Try to fit one exactly onto the other, and you'll end up stretching and hacking to make it fit.

The temptation to congratulate yourself on the discernment shown by your sexual tastes is strong. Let me give an example from my own life: I'm turned on by women with unshaved armpits. It's very easy for me to start patting myself on the back for this enlightened attitude, because it conforms neatly with my politics.

However. What I find most appealing is when the patch of hair there is small. What are the politics there? There are none! That's not something for me to scold myself for and try to change my tastes. Nor does it call for me to try to formulate a General Theory of Female Armpit Hair Rightness that demonstrates the superiority of my preferences to all other configurations. It's just what I like.

Primroseport has opinions about what a healthy* body looks like. His sexual tastes, he tells us, dovetail neatly with those beliefs. Each appears to lend legitimacy to the other. He doesn't stop there, though. To fail to attract him, it turns out, "speaks to weakness," and, in another comment, "an ugly lack of control."

Inevitably there will be some people whose politics and sexuality conform perfectly. Just as a stopped clock is right twice a day, this agreement says nothing about the Rightness of their beliefs, or their sexuality.

UPDATE: fixed broken link for the Primroseport comment.

*A friend points out that 'health,' in this context, is a problematic concept. How do we define it? Lifespan? Pounds benched? Fertility? Quality of life, whatever the hell that is? What about when these point in different directions? Remember, this isn't just a personal judgment we're making--it's a matter civic morality. After all, people who aren't civicly healthy are stealing from the taxpayer!

Thu, Jan. 18th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
laurenpburka

If I were slightly more stoned, I'd send you a pic of my pits. They're... hairy.

Thu, Jan. 18th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
diseased_inside

Maybe I'm just strange but I almost invariably find it amusing when the libido starts to take over belief and vice versa. I don't know why I find it so amusing.

But it can be a tedious conversation.

Thu, Jan. 18th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
mycrust

I'd prefer that you stop describing your sexual preferences if they're going to continue to match mine so neatly.

Thu, Jan. 18th, 2007 11:49 pm (UTC)
vinnie_tesla

Cool! Now I can modify the essay. How does this read?

Mycrust, that sick freak, is turned on by women with unshaved armpits. It's very easy for me to start patting him on the back for this enlightened attitude, because it conforms neatly with my politics.

However. What he finds most appealing is when the patch of hair there is small.

There. It sounds so much more authoritative that way.

Fri, Jan. 19th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
mycrust

dammit.

Fri, Jan. 19th, 2007 01:55 am (UTC)
malakhgabriel

This seems to tie in with my own thoughts on my sexuality in relation to aspects of BDSM and how that relates to my beliefs regarding power and violence. As I've become more aware of and comfortable with my pacifism and anarchism, I've also become more aware of and comfortable with my dominant and somewhat sadistic sexual side. It led me to wonder if my increasing demonization of violence and authority (for lack of a better word at the moment) led to a fetishization of those very traits, or if this is just some part of the cosmic joke of the universe.

Tue, Jan. 23rd, 2007 01:17 am (UTC)
vinnie_tesla

There are happier readings as well. Such as, "as I have managed to disentangle myself from the mechanisms of violence and domination that pervade modern culture, I find myself more able to revel in the joys of mutually gratifying power exchange"

Fri, Jan. 19th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)
primroseport

I think from now on I'd better be careful what I say around here. I keep finding myself on the defensive for unexpected reasons.

What you quoted was an explanation as to why it was easy for me to slide from belief to sexuality--both happened to coincide. I realize that one does not provide for the truth of the other.

None of my words were intended to be prescriptive--only descriptive of me as a possible model of the way others think--others who clearly don't speak much around here--or maybe we're the dumb ones.

Fri, Jan. 19th, 2007 04:26 am (UTC)
vinnie_tesla

*sigh*

I'm gonna try to be very open here.

I understand why you feel attacked. My tone was escalatory. What you were saying is very normal, very reasonable, in the eyes of the larger culture. You were open and blunt, and I jumped on you for it.

I think your way of thinking about weight, and diet, and other people's bodies stinks. I think it's thick with unexamined, false, hurtful assumptions. I DO NOT think that makes you a bad or malevolent person, and you are not unwelcome here.

But the work I'm trying to do is to unpack and dissect those assumptions, and when you walked over and handed me a beautiful display of them, I couldn't resist going to work on them.

I was planning to do more posts examining these issues, and drawing on your comments more. But if you ask me not to, I will seek my examples elsewhere and lay off of picking on you.

Fri, Jan. 19th, 2007 05:05 am (UTC)
primroseport

I'm not insulted, but I am quite at a disadvantage because I didn't realize I would be examined so critically. I'd rather you find your examples elsewhere; since what I said is exemplary of the larger culture, you shouldn't have much of a problem doing that.

I think that I misunderstood your point and your purpose, spoke too soon. I walked into a trap by intentionally being honest and exposed (saying what I usually keep silent) rather than investigative. I was not and still am not invested in this issue enough to pick it apart and correct the alleged fallacies in my thinking. I suppose I was, consequently, also being escalatory.

Fri, Jan. 19th, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
najalaise

If you were to decide it was worth it after all to pick apart your statements and make sure they're consistent with what you believe, and also felt like talking about it more after doing that, feel free to let me know. I can definitely understand needing to give some time and thought to how to express your argument.

Fri, Jan. 19th, 2007 05:18 am (UTC)
primroseport

PS, I went back and saw that I'd made some comment that could be construed as giving you the go-ahead to pick apart what I'd said and dismantle it.

Oops.

At the time, I didn't imagine I fit the profile of the typical fool so well on this subject, so I felt more generous. Now I can sense the beat-downs coming, and it's not such a pleasant feeling--I'm sure you understand.

Fri, Jan. 19th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
lumpesse

Honestly, I find the "perception of health" excuse to be a cop-out. If the same person has equal sexual revulsion against smokers and drinkers it might pan out. I am overweight and exercise regularly, eat reasonably and have excellent blood pressure and cholesterol. I don't think these facts necessarily mean someone should be attracted to me but pretending it is because I am lazy and unhealthy, lacking in discipline, is an insulting assumption. Small bodies are what do it for some people, nothing wrong with that until they find the need to spew hateful assumptions about those that don't turn them on.

Fri, Jan. 19th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
najalaise

I agree with you. Relying on one's guesses about why someone else is overweight to be correct seems iffy to me.

Tue, Jan. 23rd, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
riceagain: you kids are killing me

good Christ in Cromwell---
I looked over this whole thread several times and didn't find anything even remotely resembling a person "spewing hateful assumptions". I also couldn't locate where Primroseport commented "an ugly lack of control", as he was quoted by Mr. Tesla.
Primroseport made it clear that the very skinny are also not appealing to him, but no one's said a thing about it. Could it be, the majority here are in agreement with him on that point, so it's not nearly as harshly critiqued? What do we assume about a skinny girl's health (or lack of)? I'm just saying is all...
oh yes, and lumpesse's observations re: body size and health corelation are great. We all need to define health with much broader strokes.

Tue, Jan. 23rd, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
riceagain: really, I'm a thoughful citizen too!

apologies!!
ok---I went on and found the thread that ran through najalaise's journal...found the "ugly lack of control" quote. So I'm all set. It's such a hotbutton topic that I had to comment, when usually I just lurk happily at the other end of the pool. Thanks for your patience as I wade quietly.

p.s. this seems like a nice time to be grateful for all the people that do luuuurve the girls that are curvy, zaftig, squishy,swelly, full, thick, stout,big,hefty and primarily, not teenytiny. bless your big-ass lovin' hearts, every one.

Wed, Jan. 24th, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
vinnie_tesla: Re: you kids are killing me

The hateful assumption in question, if I can presume to speak for Ellie, is that fatness (as defined by Primroseport) is a reliable indicator of "an inability to control one's behavior and thoughts," "weakness," "gluttonous[ness]," etc.

You're correct that no one went after his comments on the very skinny specifically (once again as defined, implicitly, by him). I would hope that the majority here are not convinced that other people's health is their business.

I would agree with the general proposition that BBW-lover LiveJournal communities and the suchlike devote a depressing amount of space to spiteful, narrowminded sniping at thin women, buying into the inane notion that there has to be one beauty standard for everybody. However, I haven't seen any signs of that attitude here.