Sense of Worth Being Unemployed, Fat, and Queer in a Capitalistic Society

Being unemployed for the last few months has really messed with my sense of worth. With no job and no regular income, I feel exceptionally worthless and unproductive. I’m just starting to deal with my anxiety and depression, making many jobs difficult. Currently, I irregularly walk dogs for different family friends and I honestly love it. It’s not a steady income with regular hours but it’s a job that I really love doing regardless. I don’t have to conform to corporate dress codes or work weird shifts or constantly interact with people (which is really difficult for me). Having depression and anxiety (and being an introvert) make it really hard for me to not only interact with a wide range of people for an extended period but also makes productivity a fleeting thing in my life.

And then there’s the fact that I am fat, something that my parents and the rest of society negatively reiterate almost every day. Diet culture and societal pressure to be thin upholds capitalism, something that Melissa A Fabello describes in a video for Everyday Feminism (transcript is available). As Fabello describes it:

And so who wins when you repeat this [diet] pattern over and over and over again? The diet industry. The beauty industry. The fashion and cosmetic surgery industry. Media and advertising. All of the people who convinced you that your body was wrong in the first place are the ones profiting off of that low self-esteem. We’ve been socialized since birth to believe that the way our bodies look will tie directly into how we experience our lives. We think we’re unhappy because we don’t look good. But the truth is that we’re unhappy because consumerism needs us to be.

Capitalism and so many industries (like the beauty and fashion industry) profit off of the self hate they’re created in so many people. Because who would buy diet related things if we weren’t constantly inundated with messages that we should all be thin and general messages of fatphobia? In a different article, Golda Poretsky breaks down the desire to be thinner and writes that:

The desire to be thin is so ingrained in our culture (thanks, $58.6 billion diet industry) that we don’t often ask the question, “Why do you want to be thin?” But what does being thin really mean?  What would being thin mean to you? People often talk about thinness and the desire for thinness as a given.

I wrote a few months ago about my experiences of being fat and since then, I’ve lost roughly 35 pounds. My weight is something I now obsess over, it’s something that is consistently and negatively shoved into my face from so many places. Ads for weight loss are on all the time between the radio and television it seems like and going shopping is a nightmare. Knowing that there are corporations and businesses making billions of dollars on the self hate society is shoving down the throats of so many only makes things worse.

And then there’s the mass producing of heteronormativity within our capitalistic society. Kelsey Lueptow points out the ways in which television, magazines, and other media reinforce the heteronormative culture that exists. She writes about lady magazines for example, saying that:

The reason mainstream ladies’ magazines focus solely on heterosexual relationships and try to focus on a certain single male identity is because it is cheaper. It is cheaper – and easier, for that matter – to produce content of a very specific mold than to acknowledge how amazingly diverse the sexuality of young women actually is.

Of course, all of this really only highlights my own experiences of being unemployed, fat, and queer within our capitalistic society. There’s so much more wrong with how capitalism pushes for oppressive structures within our society. Low wage workers are often consistently devalued, made to work for wages that barely cover the necessities. Loopholes allow for billion dollar corporations to take advantage of not only their workers but of the environment and earth for their greed and benefit.

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