Do Me a Favor and Leave Kate Harding Alone

January 13th, 2008.

Yes. I know. So you can all quit freaking out about it because I’ve already read it.

And yes, I am well aware that in Kate Harding’s rebuttal to my article* about the Fat Acceptance Movement, she originally credited my comments to a mysterious commenter with very masculine sounding name. I do not doubt for one second she did this on purpose in order to further her half baked opinions that everyone who is disagrees with her is a misogynist sexist jerk. Trust me; I realize it must be more fun to imply that a male wrote the comment regarding breasts of morbidly obese women being nothing more than sweaty bags of fat in order to snidely insist that the author has never touched a breast in his life than it is to admit that my comment was about my own breasts and how difficult it is to view yourself as sexy when you’re in incredible pain.

I also know that Kate Harding did the same thing everyone does when I write an article lambasting them and that is imply that I sent them no traffic and insist that their site is more popular than mine. Regular readers have seen this tired argument played out from everyone from Ryan Holiday to RockStarMommy and I really hope they’ve gotten a bit savvier since the first blatant lie was told. The fact of the matter is that anyone with even rudimentary web surfing skills can look up Kate’s traffic and my traffic and prove her a liar, so it’s pretty pointless for me to cover that ground AGAIN. Now obviously, stats don’t make either one of us right or wrong, but I will maintain until the day I die that’s it’s a pretty pathetic way to discredit someone’s point of view. After all, if a site with higher traffic than mine made fun of me, I would have the guts to address their points candidly without making up some lying bullshit about how they’re a nobody and I’m Queen of the Blogging world. But hey, that’s just me.

And lastly, I know that Kate Harding, when called out after misrepresenting my quotes on her website, tried to claim that she never read my post even though:

1. She quoted it, verbatim, a total of six times.
2. Not one of the snippets of my article she posted on her site referenced Joy Nash, yet she somehow how knew my article mentioned her. (Perhaps she’s psychic.)
3. She admitted she’s been to my site and looked it over long enough to realize I don’t allow direct comments. (Wonder why she would be looking to make a comment if she never read anything?)

But while I know all of this, I’m just going to let it all go. Because honestly? It takes a special brand of insecurity and cowardice to do some of the shit Kate just did (Publicly on her website, no less) and I really don’t want to touch that kind of emotional baggage with a 10 foot poll. The more I read about Kate Harding and her movement, the more I feel sorry for her. I can’t imagine feeling so defeated and beaten down by life and society that you not only want to give up completely, but you willingly embrace the behaviors that will ruin your quality of life and will eventually kill you. At least my survival instinct is still intake, thank ya Jesus.

Kate, on the other hand, is currently committing a slow and painful suicide right before our very eyes. I’m sorry, but I can’t hate on that. I may be a bitter, evil bitch. But even I have my limits.

With that said, I’m going to do something completely out of character for me and give people struggling with their weight an….wait for it….wait for it….an excuse. I know! I know! Not my style at all! But stay with me for a second and I’ll try my best not to let you all down.

I’ve always been a big fan of evolutionary psychology. Awhile back ago, I recommended an article entitled The Monkeysphere on this site, not only because it’s hilariously funny, but because it’s pretty much about evolutionary psychology. Now while I’m not a scientist and therefore haven’t actually experimented with any of this on my own, I am pretty convinced evolutionary psychology can explain the majority of our seemingly abnormal modern day behavior.

I’m going to attempt to break the theory down for you as best I can, but like I said before, I am not a scientist. So before you take my word as the gospel, you should do your own research because I might misremember a fact or two.

For anyone to get behind evolutionary psychology they have got to be willing to believe 3 important things and they are as follows:

1. Human beings are ultimately just animals and therefore possess similar instincts to every other animal currently inhabiting this planet.
2. The greatest instinct that any animal possesses is the survival instinct.
3. The second greatest instinct is to procreate.

(If you are unable believe those 3 things (due to your religion or whatever) then you might as well quit reading now because you’re going to find the rest of this shit incredibly boring. Also, you might want to quit reading if you’re not interested in science, psychology, or evolution.)

Now while every animal possesses very strong urges to survive and procreate, we all evolve physically at very different paces. The animals with shorter life spans will generally evolve much quicker. For example, a gnat can live out its entire life in a couple of weeks. In just one short year, generations of gnats have lived, procreated, and died. With every generation of gnats, they have, through evolution, gotten just a teeny tiny bit stronger. But since they’ve had so many generations in such a short period of time, they evolve much faster than say, a human who doesn’t even reach sexual maturity until it’s a teenager.

Because humans are such slowly maturing animals, we also tend to evolve much slower. This partially explains why we have appendixes and wisdom teeth. It also explains why a lot of our current instincts (Outside of survival and procreation) don’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense. In some cases, they even seem to completely contradict each other.

The problem with the human tendency to evolve very slowly is that the world around is changing incredibly rapidly. With the invention of modern agriculture, our entire way of life has changed. Unfortunately, our bodies and minds were unable to keep up. Consider for a second how different the world was a mere 100 years ago. Hell, consider how different things were just 20 years ago! It’s mind boggling, when you think about it. Not only that, but when you’re a human being with an average lifespan of 70 years, it’s scientifically impossible for us to evolve fast enough to mentally understand our surroundings except in the most abstract of ways.

The Savannah Concept seems to be pretty popular in the evolutionary psychology community. In a nutshell, it states that: physically and mentally, we should all be leading hunter/gatherer lifestyles. It is in that period of time when our bodies and (more importantly) our brains quit evolving.

If you can embrace that theory, it can actually explain a lot.

For example, the emotion ‘jealousy’ can be explained away with evolutionary psychology. Most of us have been dumped, watched our exes begin new relationships, and become furious…only for our friends to tell us, “Don’t worry, there are other fish in the sea.” Logically, we know that our friends are correct and rather than mope around, broken hearted, we should get back into the dating scene. Emotionally, however, we have to fight the urge to bust in our friend’s well meaning faces.

Jealousy just doesn’t make sense in the modern world. Throughout our life, we will likely come in contact with hundreds or even thousands of suitable mates. It’s just plain stupid to get so angry over the loss of one man/woman.

Furthermore, a very large majority of people in prison right this very second got there after killing their spouse and/or their spouses new lover in the midst of a jealous rage. If you believe that our two strongest instincts are to survive and to procreate, the fact that people do this doesn’t make any logical sense. Killing someone will only land you in prison, thus making it difficult for you to ever procreate. Not only that, but if you live in a state that practices the death penalty, killing someone else might end in your untimely death.

But in a hunter/gatherer world ‘jealousy’ makes perfect sense. There were no prisons, no police officers, and no death penalty back then. On top of that, people generally lived in very small tribes. If you were rejected by a single lover, it could mean the end of your entire genetic line considering you would never meet another lover again in your lifetime. Killing your genetic competition (AKA the one who stole away your spouse) was a natural response to the world we lived in.

Still following me? Wondering how the hell this all relates back to Kate Harding and people who have very real and obvious problems with compulsive eating?

Well, think about it for a second. Our greatest instinct is to survive. Yet, people are currently eating themselves to death. We want to procreate! But the more obese we become, the more difficult it is for us to actually have sex! Hmmm. See a problem here? It doesn’t make much sense in this modern day world, does it now?

In a hunter/gatherer world, food was scarce. The people who compulsively ate all the food they could whenever it was available were able to survive times of famine. On the other hand, people who did not have the urge to eat compulsively when food was available usually died.

Right now, food is plentiful. But because we have not mentally evolved fast enough to understand this except in the most abstract of ways, we still possess that instinct to consume as much food as possible in any given moment.

So, in a way, people struggling with obesity are absolutely correct when they say they have a predisposition to gain weight. Most of us do. However, it is not a physical predisposition, but a mental one.

If you want to talk about physical needs, consider that a hunter/gather lifestyle required us to walk for miles and do plenty of strenuous exercise. In short, our bodies were built to move. However, the majority of us are now living pretty sedentary lifestyles. We’re also suffering from depression. Coincidence? Then why do most Drs suggest an exercise regimen before they pump you full of happy pills? And why does it work, if you’re willing to get off your butt and try it?

So there. I gave the fat people an excuse to be fat. Let the pity party commence!

On the other hand, instead of evolutionary psychology being used as an excuse for all the stupid shit we do, we could always use it as a tool to change our self destructive behavior. Unlike most animals, human beings are self aware and do possess the ability to rationalize our motivations and logically plan our best course of action. We could, through sheer determination and effort, force ourselves to adapt to the world we’re currently living in.

Either that or we can drop dead in droves because we’re too dimwitted to change our lifestyles.

Personally, I know what I choose to do. Hopefully, some of you will choose to keep fighting the evolutionary battle with me and I’ll see you around in 50 years. Considering that the majority of people who succumbed to obesity will have likely gone the way of the woolly mammoth by then, I’ll definitely need someone to hang out with.

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*Apparently, Kate Harding has made a habit of lying about and misrepresenting the people she quotes on her website. Check out another example here.

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