moon addled ramblings
I wasn't always fat, though I've always had a complicated relationship with food. Before top surgery, I had a very big chest (even after an insurance covered breast reduction).
I once read a short story about a trans man who was trying to live as a man in order to qualify for HRT and surgery, and while he himself doesn't do it he thinks of a friend who managed to do it because he was fat, and so his breasts didn't stand out. This was a fictional story so I don't know if anyone like that exists, or if that would even actually work, but I remember it stuck with me. While there wasn't a conscious effort on my part to "get fat," I think this sat in the back of my mind for a long time and, in combination with the general body neutrality my parents raised me with, led me to be more open and happy to see myself gain weight.
I still felt insecure, mostly in interactions with others when I would get teased for my weight. One moment that still stands out to me is when I wore a dress to school, just a simple bodycon dress made from a stretchy fabric I had got from Hot Topic, and as I was walking to my lunch table a girl I had almost never interacted with before told me derisively that I looked pregnant. I didn't buy or wear a dress for probably about 5 years after that, outside of a prom dress I got from the free clothes closet at school, and I spent a long time picking the right dress that wouldn't show my stomach.
I still get uncomfortable and fidgety when I wear dresses, especially anything that's made from a bodycon fabric. I now have a couple dresses, and I enjoy them, but I wish I had more. But I get very 'in my head' about dresses and how they show my stomach, so I don't often try them on or buy them even though I want them. I do better with skirts, and especially enjoy skirts that sweep all the way to the floor, and accordion pleats.
I've had top surgery now, and I don't feel at odds with my body every day. It has been such a relief. Now I pass as a man, I've found that I'm not and don't want to be 'just some guy' - at least as far as clothes are concerned. I want to wear bright colors, swishy fabrics, fuzzy coats, shining and jingling accessories, the whole nine. If being a fat man wasn't hard enough, now I was finding that being a fat femme is even harder. Especially if you're a fat femme who isn't a woman or isn't always a woman.
Dressing, presenting as, and/or being feminine while fat when your body is hairy and seen as masculine is terrifying. Even within fat spaces queer bodies are disliked, even within queer spaces fat bodies are disliked. Embracing, loving, and celebrating myself as a hairy, 'masculine-bodied' person who enjoys wearing feminine clothes and presenting in a feminine, gender bending, campy way, can be difficult at times. It's radical and transgressive and it's sexy and fun as hell.
Even though it's mostly online following and not always personal connection where we talk to one another, I have been bolstered to being able to feel this way and be loud and proud about it and about my sexiness by surrounding myself with other fat, queer people who are loud and proud themselves. A stretch-marked, hairy stomach overhanging flabby hairy thighs that are bulging out of ribbon adorned, ripping thigh highs that were made without fatness in mind... Is beautiful and sexy and fun.
It has taken time. A few years, surrounding myself with people who were fat. Queer fat people who unabashedly loved other fat people, and not only that, but loved fatness. Months of my main online feed being filled with professional photoshoots of fat models, amateur thirst traps from other fat users, and posts waxing poetic about the glory of a fat, hairy bear. To see fat people being loved and celebrated (not as a show of progressiveness or tolerance, but as a wholehearted and genuine love for fatness) and being seen as sexually attractive in part for their fatness rather than in spite of it - has been perspective changing in the best ways.
I've always been generally neutral on my body, I don't think about it as separate from me and I don't sit in the mirror and stare (especially not since top surgery). I don't hate my fat or hate myself for being fat. But I would still feel insecure about my fatness - not because of my own feelings, but because of what I knew about how others would see me. But now I was seeing other people who didn't see it negatively, or even neutrally, but saw fatness as something beautiful, something to celebrate. I took those perspectives, alongside the fat activism that was in my feed and that I seeked out to read, and it's been changing the way I think of myself.
When I step out of the house and my shirt rides up over my stomach, or I drip ice cream on my shirt, I still get a ping of insecurity. But then I stop and I think of all these things. When a skinny person's shirt rides up over their stomach, it's sexy, it's a thirst trap, people reply with a hundred comments of keysmashes and drooling heart eyed emojis. So when my shirt rides up, I know I deserve that same reaction, and that there are a lot of people out there who would give that reaction. When a skinny person eats something messy and drippy, it's sexy, it's innuendo. The same can be true for me. My body is simply my body, but it is neutral. It is fun, beautiful, sexy, and confidence-giving.
I struggle with eating - not out of any desire to be skinny or to control my body, but out of a tendency toward restrictive picky eating that evolved into something more pathologic. Combined with a neurodivergent brain, medication that interferes with appetite, and a fatigued body that often forgets or doesn't want to eat, struggles to plan and prepare food, dislikes changes in routine or exploring new things, & struggles with the sensory side of eating... It's difficult. It has been, and still is. I have found ways that have made me feel better, have helped me onto a path towards healing, but every day is another fight.
Enjoying fatness not just as a tolerance of fat bodies, but as a celebration of fatness and the sensory joy of eating food and feeling yours and other people's fat bodies, has given me a new avenue to explore food and heal my relationship with food and eating.
I am not a feeder or feedee, or particularly aroused by weight gain, and I know the communities have their ups and downs. There are plenty of people in those communities who fetishize fat people and who dehumanize us, all while arousing themselves to our bodies and to their abuse of us. I understand why so many fat people draw a strong line of not wanting to interact with anyone with those kinks or with chubby chasers as a whole. I have had the fortune to fall into a place near the fringes of these kink communities, where it is fat people enjoying, celebrating, and being aroused by their own and other people's fat bodies.
I enjoy focusing on my fat body, my stomach, and the pleasure and sexy-potential of eating in my play, but I only do it with my long term partner who is also fat. If I ever did something like that platonically, I think it would have to be with other fat people. I cannot stand any hint of degradation or humiliation within this play. Me and my partner have experimented with 'hucow' ideas, but that was approached from a petplay perspective, and is more of an intertwining of previous petplay establishments we had made along with celebration of fatness and body worship.
Body worship means to me, as a fat kinkster, fat worship. Not fetishization or dehumanization, but worship of a fat person as a fat person, and not just as a person who happens to be fat.
In Defense of the Classic;
Classics (literature, film, etc. though I’m writing this focusing on lit) are touted by society / academia / culture snobs as perfect which is untrue, everything has its flaws no matter how good it is. The snobs who say something is perfect and flawless and the best thing ever made probably haven’t actually consumed that content or if they have then not much other content.
Elitism is very rampant in communities like fandom but also in academia, and is often used as a means of snubbing marginalized people and throwing their credibility into doubt so I disagree with it – though I do think it’s alright to be “elitist” in the way of thinking a book is better than the movie adaption or so on and expressing that view and joking with friends about it so long as you don’t turn any negativity onto the fans you believe are “wrong”.
This is especially something prevalent, in my experience, in spaces where it’s about appreciating a work of art (whether that art is writing, art, video, or something else) which is directly contradictory to the truth that all art is subjective at some level. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while yes you can believe someone sees an art piece the wrong way that is still opinion-based – unless they have some sort of base misunderstanding of the direct facts. And I don’t mean a “misunderstanding” of the “facts,” where you believe the facts should elicit a certain logical leap or inference.
Elitism and snobbery are bad, and elitism and snobbery insist that ‘classics’ are above reproach, and that is false. But that doesn’t make classics all bad or garbage either, which is an approach I see taken as a response to the un-nuanced championing of classics that one is often exposed to as they grow up.
Many ‘classics’ that we see have the majority of white male authors because they of course get the upper hand with exposure and praise unfettered by negative bias; that is something that should be actively worked against. Not just to the point of not locking only white male authors works into history and praising them and giving them publicity, but also to the point that you (yes, you, dear seeker) should put in that extra effort to read works of more diverse authorship.
Yes, white men have the upper hand of publicity through history, but other works still exist. We have detailed accounts of Aztec philosophy that no one reads because people, even those in higher academia, assume it doesn’t exist and don’t go looking.
Read the works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Frances Harper, Phillis Wheatley, Sei Shonagon, Gabriel García Márquez, Gabriela Mistral, Julio Cortázar, and more. Put in the five second effort it takes to google “classical writing by black women” or “mexican women’s writing in history” or something else. Don’t assume just because you haven’t heard of it that it’s not out there.
And on classics in general… They’re not just garbage writing that you don’t need to care about. They’re classics for a reason. Works that shaped the culture at the time or reflected it incredibly well, and that have something within them that is still understandable to this day. Something that is core to the human experience and is something the reader can sympathize and empathize with even well over 100 years later.
‘Classics’ and older works are often dismissed as stuffy, old, boring, not understandable and not relevant but it’s just not true. At their core, so many classics have a theme that can still be applied to this day.
Jane Austen’s works were romances where women struggled within the misogynistic society but ended up happy. “Pride and Prejudice” sounds boring, but when you sit down and read or watch it you find there’s sharp banter, comedy and situations you might encounter today (though not exactly the same). Pride & Prejudice within itself is about a woman disliking someone she then falls in love with, having to deal with an embarrassing family and money troubles, going to awkward dinners, complaining to her friends and caring for her sisters while also being irritated by them.
Shakespeare is widely thought of as something stuffy and for rich culture snobs, but the original plays were written not only for the upper class but for people who could barely even afford to get in the door – look up ‘Shakespeare groundlings’ sometime. The dialect of English has changed over time so it can seem archaic and hard to understand especially when just sitting down and reading the script, but truly…
Go and watch a play or movie from Shakespeare’s writing, even with the original script (may I suggest my favorite, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ from 1993 with a stellar cast including Keanu Reeves, Kenneth Branagh, Denzel Washington, Emma Thompson, I could go on) and if you really watch and get into it, you’ll find the exact words don’t matter. The feeling is still conveyed, through the stage setting and emotion and actions of the actors. You can research more into the original meaning and references in his plays of course and that will bring up some fun new understandings of jokes you may not have gotten before, but you don’t need to to get the gist of it.
Romeo & Juliet is about kids falling in love and being stupid and dealing with families that feel and do things out of their control. Hamlet is about mourning and the way it can change you and dealing with the anger of an unjust death when you know where the blame lies. Macbeth is about the power a loved one can have over you, lust for power and the way it can make you unable to see things you should have been able to.
Classics stick around for a reason. You don’t have to enjoy them, you don’t have to enjoy or like anything. But please give them a chance at least, an honest chance. You might really enjoy it.
Arcade, son of Israel
Arcade Gannon from the video game Fallout: New Vegas has always been one of my favorite characters in the series. When you dig into his character, you definitely get hints to him being Jewish. Most notably, his middle name is Israel. But there are other signs when you start looking.
He’s snarky and quick to debate, and as all Jews know that’s a valuable quality to have. He’s got a healthy respect for history, reading, and knowledge. Arcade’s consistently shown referencing classical literature (Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and Dante’s Inferno) and his hobby is reading Pre-War books on socioeconomics. Now there’s a man who would show up for Torah study.
And just to point out: one of the references he makes is to the line “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, said by Antonio to the Jewish character Shylock.
He’s fluent in Latin which shows an affinity for languages (with no regard for their general popularity) and it wouldn’t be surprising to find he was fluent in Hebrew as well. He’s also got that classic Jewish guilt, bearing the weight of so many’s sins on his shoulders.
He takes an active role in helping the community and has a sharp moral compass, leading him to join the Followers of Apocalypse who’s main work is to preserve knowledge, prevent atrocities, and help the people. He also resents when authorities abuse their power and abhors fascists. Deep down, he’s driven by a motivation to make a real positive impact on society. All of which shows a firm hold on some Jewish core values.
J.E. Sawyer, lead designer and project director of Fallout: New Vegas and writer for Arcade, had this to say about him:
Arcade’s conflict is about his identity. He is torn between a sense of loyalty and tradition to his father and adoptive family and a desire to be independent, self-made. He feels caught between generations and cultures and isn’t sure who he should be or how, if at all, to use the “legacy” (material and otherwise) left to him by his father.
This could be reflective of a man coming from an Orthodox Jewish family torn between family and tradition and his own way (Arcade strikes me as a Reform Jew). He’s preoccupied with cultural loyalty as well, and might feel obligated to keep the Pre-War Jewish ways that he knows of alive, which coincides with his interest in Pre-War culture.
His middle name Israel is very fitting for a doctor in a post-apocalyptic world who’s trying his best to do what he can and caught in the middle of a struggle between forces like Caesar’s Legion and the NCR. Despite facing off against powerful enemies as a companion to the Courier, he takes it all in stride and puts forth his best effort to do what he thinks is right and holds to his morals all the way through no matter what.
Arcade dealing with the legacy his father passed down to him… How very biblical.
Your name shall be Israel, for you have striven with beings divine and human, and have prevailed.
If Arcade’s middle name is in honor of a relative as is a Jewish custom, the only male blood relative of his we know of his is father. If it was after him, Arcade would quite literally be a Son of Israel.
Arcade’s first name as well has an interesting meaning. In architecture, it’s the name for a series of arches along a passageway. It’s very common in Roman architecture, which is a nice nod to his fluency in Latin.