Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bariatric Betty says "no" to brunch, and rape jokes

This last weekend my parents invited us to join them for brunch at their independent living facility.  They reassured me that scrambled eggs would be available, and that the kitchen staff would be happy to prepare an omlet or a veggie patty for me.  They did everything they could to make sure I would be set as a vegetarian post-WLS person that they love.  And it was not fun.  Beyond not fun, I would say that the morning of going there I realized I felt like I was about to do my taxes.  In front of an audience. 

I got irritable that morning, and it only grew when I got an email from my mom letting the whole extended family know that she was going to have my dad take a family picture while we were all there.  Great.  So now I'm hoping I don't get anything stuck in my pouch and have to puke in front of everyone, don't have dumping that leads to explosive diarrhea in front of everyone, and no matter what happens I should plan on being photographed.  I don't know what I would look like in a photo after dumping, and I don't want to find out. 

Before we left I told my husband "This is going to be the last time I accept an invite to go out there for a meal."  Given that he had been sensing my stress and irritability with the situation all morning, it is understandable that his response was "Thank you!" 

I made it though brunch without having to make a run for the bathroom, although there were a couple minutes when it was willpower (go down, dry eggs, go DOWN).  And I looked fine for the picture.  Then I talked to my parents about it and explained that I don't want to make plans to see them or anyone else around meals when it's avoidable.  If it's a matter of me spending a whole day with someone, then obviously I am going to eat with them.  But if it's about spending a few hours together, let's plan BETWEEN meals if we can.  Meals aren't fun social situations for me anymore.  In the best of circumstances they are a time I'm trying to do something I need to do and hope I do it well and don't make myself sick.  On a poorer mental health days they are a time I might feel judged, anxious, tempted, and/ or self-concious. 

My parents took this very well, and understood I didn't want to avoid them or think their brunch/ dining room was bad.  They even suggested we could try doing something less meal-oriented for Christmas/ Hanukkah (I think we'll probably have a serve-yourself buffet in the kitchen instead of a sit-down dinner this year) and Thanksgiving (that one I don't see myself changing).  I don't want to deny my kids or husband chances to have great experiences with family and friends (or myself, for that matter), but having those experiences with me as a stress case definitely lowers if not wipes out the net gain. 

So now on to a more volatile subject.  Rape jokes.  For the past few days I have been reading on about fallout from a comedian who likes to make vulgar and misogynistic jokes about women.  Apparently he was doing a show and make a joke about someone being raped and when a woman from the audience spoke up and said "That's not funny".  He responded by then making jokes about how funny it would be for multiple men to rape that woman, right then. 

Yesterday I was reading an article written by two women who were talking about why some people are able to find these situations humorous.  They talked about how it is partially because of the perpetuated myth of rape victims "bringing it on themselves" - by how they dressed, by getting drunk, by being in a bad neighborhood, by being alone with someone... That even well-meaning police officers and public officials may inadvertantly contribute to this when they are warning of a serial attacker in a neighborhood and say "Women are advised not to wear tight or revealing clothing, be walking alone..." etc.   That to some men, they twist these words of advice into a judgement that says "if you wear tight or revealing clothing, or walk alone, you are willing to put yourself at risk of being raped".  Never mind that I would be willing to bet that most rape victims aren't wearing tight or revealing clothing at the time of their attack. That some are in fact wearing burqas.  Or onesies.

This concept, of somehow being a willing rape victim, is insane.  Some women will dress in revealing clothing, go out, and look to hook up and have sex.  That is completely UNRELATED to someone wanting to be raped.  Rape is not about sex, it is about violence.  Men who rape are not enjoying sex, they are enjoying hurting someone.  In my opinion, they are less than men because they have lost their humanity.  They are simply violent male mammals.  But people who find rape jokes funny turn this around - they see the women as less than human, as female mammals that can be used to bring them pleasure.  They don't see them as daughters, mothers, sisters and grandmothers. 

Current statistics say that 1 in 6 women in the United States have been attacked.  So this comic probably knows several.  I don't want to challenge him (or even write his name and give him any more audience than he already has).  I would like to challenge the women around him, and everywhere.  If you have been attacked and you are emotionally able to do this - tell the men in your life what that did to you.  The physical pain.  The shattering of your concept of being safe.  The fear that prevented you from having healthy relationship with men for however long.  The fear that may have caused you to be unhealthy - maybe like me you ate yourself into a cocoon that you felt would keep an attacker from picking you (again).  If enough of us share the reality of being attacked, more men will understand there is no humor in it.  Maybe even that comic.

In this train of thought I made a specific choice today.  I usually wear loose fitting tops, partially because most of my clothes are too big at this point, partially because I don't like my chest being defined most of the time.  And hiding my muffin top as well.  :)  But part of the not liking my chest being defined is because of not wanting to be sexualized, or for some twisted person to identify me as a potential target.  Today I thought "I can wear a top that shows my shape and not be a target, so I will."  When I walked my dog two miles around my neighborhood this morning I didn't have makeup on or look super-attractive, but I wore a top that FIT.  And I wasn't scared.  Here's a picture:

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