This image got me BANNED from Facebook

Last month I posted the above image as a commentary on a Facebook post. The image is a caricature of a campaign poster in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, on which a veiled Muslim woman and a Jew are kissing in front of the iconic Erasmus bridge.

Image Volkskrant.nl

I greatly dislike the puritanical culture that Facebook imposes on its users. Of course, it has every right to do so as an enterprise operating in a free market. But such ‘blocks’ that last 3 days after the first violation, 7 days after the second and ‘even longer’ after more offences, become a serious barrier for those of us who are used to slightly less puritanical limits to their free speech.

These bans convince me that we need a Commons Facebook that differs from the current commercial platform in three ways:
1) It has no central authority, hence no universal ‘community standards’. There can be several coexisting communities with slightly different standards;
2) It has no incentive of profit extraction. The platform shall be paid for by public funding (like the British National Health Service);
3) Since it is tax-funded, decisions about the platform will be made by a representative democracy.

Facebook has too much power. Its good intention to ban images it considers offensive are promoting a very specific and dominating puritanical culture at the expense of minority views. It makes these values appear as universalities, especially to young social media users, to whom a block from the platform is akin to ostracism. First, they are afraid of speaking up against the arbitrary morals of the all-powerful Facebook, then it becomes unthinkable to do so. There is no need for mind control. The new generation of users that Facebook is raising, will voluntarily censor themselves. They will incorporate the mores of the behemoth, and the fear of becoming an outcast will make them aggressive against those who violate the ‘community standards’.

You have been warned.

This image got me BANNED from Facebook was originally published on Meandering home

Weightism

Image Wikipedia

The obsession with equality, forged in the boredom of the post-war world order, has spawned concepts like ableism, genderism, and so on. By claiming to be fully inclusive, they make the denial of those differences not protected by the neologisms all the more cruel. Manufacturing an -ism for each difference, alluring as it is because of the ensuing discourse that would give it a place in the minds of those who were ignorant, condemns the differences that haven’t been put into -isms to irrelevance. Take for example, weightism.

Our entire cultural narrative presupposes that when ‘we’ eat too much, we gain weight. Our waist line is perpetually threatened to expand, belly fat is something ‘we’ must get rid off. Every article I read that makes a mention of body weight treats it like humanity’s nemesis, renders gaining weight as our natural sin and exercise as the absolution. Eating less, starving, is portrayed as a virtue and not touching that brownie is akin to buying an indulgence from the holy Church. Every food magazine, yes the packaging of processed foods itself, is filled with this obsession over our body weight.

This grossly insults those people, like myself, with a very fast metabolism, who have tried everything and would love to finally put on some weight. Not to comply with the societal norm that requires men to have muscles as much as it rejects excess meat on a female body, but in order to stay healthy.

I say to hell with weightism. I demand my equal rights as a skinny person. I demand that magazines limit flippancy about ‘the expanding waist line’ and compensate puns that cater to the potentially obese with healthy jokes for thin people. I would like to read, for example “Be careful to add enough sugar to the rhubarb or you risk your scale not getting out of the danger zone” or “Don’t do too much cardio fitness to preserve the padding of your thighs” or “Just sitting on the couch and watching television has the additional benefit that it can make you gain weight.”

Weightism is a crime against equality. People who have fast metabolisms deserve more respect. Just like blind people or people in a wheelchair can navigate the world because of braille and elevators, skinny people should be able to navigate grocery aisles, beauty magazines and gyms in a way that makes them feel included and respected as citizens of the wonderful world we live in.

Disclaimer: The cis-gender heterosexual white male author measures 1.78 and weighs 57 kgs.

Weightism was originally published on Meandering home