Whenever someone calls or texts it, it reads back feminist quotes from the writer bell hooks.I called the New York number and got this lovely gem: “Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power—not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist.”
today a customer i’ve had a few interactions with before asked if i wanted to go with her to a crossfit class at her gym. i told her i wasn’t interested and she tried to play it off, like she just doesn’t know very many people and wants to take advantage of the guest days at her gym. which might be true, but i’ve also consistently dealt with customers suggesting diets to me whenever i help them find a diet book over the years. and people who are total strangers go out of their way to give me cards for their gym. so i’m really skeptical to think this is the entire case, and she wasn’t subtly trying to concern troll me.
this is why i get so frustrated whenever i talk about fatness and people question the necessity of it. that some people’s response to my essay on bgd was that i just need to “love myself,” or that i “attract what i put out on in the world,” and other bullshit mantras that put the onus completely on me to deal with people’s bullshit with a silent smile.
because here’s the thing: i do fucking love myself. i love myself enough for the entire fucking world. because i have to.
and it doesn’t fucking matter.
because no matter how much i love myself, people still hate me. people still feel free to shit on me and pretend they are being nice, or friendly, or helpful, because the only way it’s okay for people to exist in fat bodies is for us to hate them, to hide them, to constantly try to make them smaller. and when we refuse we are targets. there is something wrong with us, we are at fault for our pain for not conforming, we are giant walking jokes, we need to be constantly reminded of our transgression of existing in fat bodies. nothing i can do for myself will ever change that, unless i make myself miserable by dieting and exercising to get a body i was never meant to have and never will. and i fucking refuse.
because i do love myself. i love myself enough to know i deserve better. and that’s why i’ll never stop screaming.
[In neoliberalism], [t]he economy produces legitimacy for the state that is its guarantor. In other words, the economy creates public law, and this is an absolutely important phenomenon, which is not entirely unique in history to be sure, but is nonetheless a quite singular phenomenon in our times. In contemporary Germany there is a circuit going constantly from the economic institution to the state; and if there is an inverse circuit going from the state to the economic institution, it should not be forgotten that the element that comes first in this kind of siphon is the economic institution. And even this is not saying enough, for the economy does not only bring a juridical structure or legal legitimization to a German state that history had just debarred. This economic institution, the economic freedom that from the state it is the role of this institution to guarantee and maintain produces something even more real, concrete, and immediate than a legal legitimization; it produces a permanent consensus of all those who may appear as agents within these economic processes, as investors, workers, employers, and trade unions. All these economic partners produce a consensus, which is a political consensus, inasmuch as they accept this economic game of freedom.
Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979 pg. 84
the state does not have an essence. The state is not a universal nor in itself an autonomous source of power. The state is nothing else but the effect, the profile, the mobile shape of a perpetual stratification (etatisation) or statifications, in the sense of incessant transactions which modify, or move, or drastically change, or insidiously shift sources of finance, modes of investment, decision-making centers, forms and types of control, relationship between local powers, the central authority, and so on. In short, the state has no heart, as we well know, but not just in the sense that it has no feelings, either good or bad, but it has no heart in the sense that it has no interior. The state is nothing else but the mobile effect of a regime of multiple governmentalities.
Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979 pg. 77
The second consequence of this liberalism and liberal art of government is the considerable extension of procedures of control, constraint, and coercion which are something like the counterpart and counterweights of different freedoms. I have drawn attention to the fact that the development, dramatic rise, and dissemination throughout society of these famous disciplinary techniques for taking charge of the behaviour of individuals day by day and in its fine detail is exactly contemporaneous with the age of freedoms. Economic freedom, liberalism in the sense I have just been talking about, and disciplinary techniques are completely bound up with each other. At the beginning of his career, or around 1792-1795, Bentham presented the famous Panopticon as a procedure for institutions like schools, factories, and prisons which would enable one to supervise the conduct of individuals while increasing the profitability and productivity of their activity. At the end of his life, in his project of the general codification of English legislation, Bentham will propose that the Panopticon should be the very formula of liberal government. What basically must a government do? It must give way to everything due to natural mechanisms in both behaviour and production. It must give way to these mechanisms and make no other intervention, to start with at least, than that of supervision. Government, initially limited to the function of supervision, is only the intervene when it sees that something is not happening according to the general mechanics of behavior, exchange, and economic life. Panopticism is not a regional mechanics limited to certain institutions; for Bentham, panocpticism really is a general political formula that characterizes a type of government.
Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979 pg. 67
we can say that the motto of liberalism is: ‘Live dangerously.’ ‘Live dangerously,’ that is to say, individuals are constantly exposed to danger, or rather, they are conditioned to experience their situation, their life, their present, and their future as containing danger. I think this kind of stimulus of danger will be one of the major implications of liberalism. An entire education and culture of danger appears in the nineteenth century which is very different from those great apocalyptic threats of plague, death, and war which fed the political cosmological imagination of the Middle Ages, and even of the seventeenth century. The horsemen of the Apocalypse disappear and in their place everyday dangers appear, emerge, and spread everywhere, perpetually being brought to life, reactualized, and circulated by what could be called the political culture of danger in the nineteenth century. This political culture of danger has a number of aspects. For example, there is the campaign of savings banks at the star of the nineteenth century; yo see the appearance of detective fiction and journalistic interest in crime around the middle of the nineteenth century; there are the campaigns around disease and hygiene; and then think too of what took place with regard to sexuality and the fear of degeneration: degeneration of the individual, the family, the race, and the human species. In short, everywhere you see this stimulation of the fear of danger which is, as it were, the condition, the internal psychological and cultural correlative of liberalism. There is no liberalism without a culture of danger.
Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979 pg. 66
Broadly speaking, in the liberal regime, in the liberal art of government, freedom of behaviour is entailed, called for, needed, and serves as a regulator, but it also has to be produced and organized. So, freedom in the regime of liberalism is not a given, it is not a ready-made region which has to be respected, or if it is, it is so only partially, regionally, in this or that case, etcetera. Freedom is something which is constantly produced. Liberalism is not acceptance of freedom; it proposes to manufacture it constantly, to arouse it and produce it, with, of course, [the system] of constrains and the problems of cost raised by this production.
Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979 pg. 65
If I employ the word ‘liberal,’ it is first of all because this governmental practice in the process of establishing itself is not satisfied with respecting this or that freedom, with guaranteeing this or that freedom. More profoundly, it is a consumer of freedom. It is a consumer of freedom inasmuch as it can only function insofar as a number of freedoms actually exist: freedom of the market, freedom to buy and sell, the free exercise of property rights, freedom of discussion, possible freedom of expression, and so on. The new governmental reason needs freedom therefore, the new art of government consumes freedom. It consumes freedom, which means that it must produce it. It must produce it, it must organize it. The new art of government therefore appears as the management of freedom, not in the sense of the imperative: ‘be free,’ with the immediate contradiction that this imperative may contain. The formula of liberalism is not ‘be free.’ Liberalism formulates simply the following: I am going to produce what you need to be free. I am going to see to it that you are free to be free. And so, if this liberalism is not so much the imperative of freedom as the management and organization of the conditions in which one can be free, it is clear that at the heart of this liberal practice is an always different and mobile problematic relationship between the production of freedom and that which in the production of freedom risks limiting and destroying it. Liberalism as I understand it, the liberalism we can describe as the art of government formed in the eighteenth century, entails at its heart a productive/destructive relationship [with] freedom…Liberalism must produce freedom, but this very act entails the establishment of limitations, controls, forms of coercion, and obligations relying on threats, etcetera.
Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979 pg. 63-64
we should not think of freedom as a universal which is gradually realized over time, or which undergoes quantitative variations, greater or lesser drastic reductions, or more or less important periods of eclipse. It is not a universal which is particularized in time and geography. Freedom is not a white surface with more or less numerous black spaces here and there and from time to time. Freedom is never anything other — but this is already a great deal — than an actual relation between governors and governed, a relation in which the measure of the ‘too little’ existing freedom is given by the ‘even more’ freedom demanded. So when I say ‘liberal’ I am not pointing to a form of governmentality which would leave more white spaces of freedom. I mean something else.
Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979 pg. 63