I’m stuck on a Philosophy question and need an explanation.
I have attached the prompt that you need to follow.
You only need to do the first two bullet points. I do not have the reading but I think you can find it online.
Here are some examples that students have posted on a canvas discussion board about how they felt about the reading as well and you can use these and formulate your own by reading these. You can use these students writings to help you if you can not find access to the reading.
Roxanne Gay’s memoir, “Hunger,” encompasses Gay’s lived experience as she processes and responds to trauma. After being sexually assaulted, Gay finds comfort and safety in food in hopes of becoming less desirable in the social gaze. She says,” I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe” and goes on to say, “I do clearly remember eating and eating and eating so I could forget, so my body could become so big it would never be broken again” (p.21-22). Gay made herself larger for protection, yet this tactic led to her more trauma SSieber’s concept of complex embodiment applies to Gay’s sense of self. Gay felt that if she became “fat,” she would repel men in hopes of avoiding any more sexual trauma (p.22). Her trauma left untouched manifested itself on her physical body. Through her sexual trauma and weight gain, Gay became detached from her body. Her disabled environment caused her more trauma due to the socially constructed ideology surrounding obesity. Roxanne Gay struggled with how she perceived herself, and it was only hindered more as she endured adverse reactions from strangers who perceived her based on their predetermined stance on obesity. The disgust that she received only added to the struggle in navigating her identity. Gay’s disconnect with her body caused her often to view her self-worth through the same tainted lens that society socially constructed. Gay not only experiences a disabled environment through societal standards on weight and appearance emotionally, but she also became physically disabled in her community, where her body is not compatible with the current accommodation for people who are not able-bodied. Whether Gay fit or did not fit societal beauty standards, her body still faced physical and emotional trauma as repercussions for merely existing. Roxanne Gay concludes that in the social gaze, anything but the ideal is unacceptable. Today, there are such strict social constraints on an appearance that sometimes it may feel that dissociating from your body, like Gay, is the only way to endure the everchanging standards on what is deemed beautiful. The fact of the matter is that the ideal is unattainable, according to Seibers. Through Gay’s lived experience about her self-acceptance navigating her identity and the significance of inclusivity, my self-image perception has completely altered.
Disclaimer: I have the online version of this book, so I do not have page numbers (for some odd reason) and I am not entirely sure if the chapters are same in this version so if I misplace a quote, that is why.
The memoir Hunger, makes me think of The Autobiography of a Face in the way that are bodies are not independent entities. As Siebers, pointed out there is an ideal of the perfect body. In Chapter 3, we read as Gay sits in the waiting room before she goes to the seminar about gastric bypass. She measures herself by the other people in the room. She is “bigger than three, but smaller than two”. This makes me think that the versions of ourselves are never accurate, we know we are ugly, fat, undesirable, or bad when we look at others. A person may feel fine and confident with who they are, but it is when they are told they aren’t the norm that they experience dissonance. Like Grealy says, “Beauty is how well you can look like someone else.”
We see another example of this when Gay sees that the mildy overweight woman who is only concerned with her weight because of her husband. The doctor states “the normal people in your lives may be invested in you as fat people.” (Chapter 3?) I watched My 500 pound life this past summer with a friend. I had only seen the show a couple of times. This episode featured a woman who was over 500 pounds and was constrained to a mattress on the floor of her living room . Her boyfriend accompanied her to the visit to the doctor who hoped to help her get to a healthy weight. When she returned home, her boyfriend said to her “I don’t want you losing too much weight.” I thought this was an odd thing to say. My friend who had watched the show many times before said, ” He is going to leave her. It happens all the time.” I was dubious. Before the commercial break, the man broke up with the woman before she even lost a pound. The idea of her losing weight threatened him, and so he left. As I was reading and going over this example, I asked myself “Why is that we can only gain value or confidence in ourselves by the devaluing or praising the bodies of others?” “Is our confidence in ourselves ever self reliant?”
The idea of good isn’t exceptional its normalcy. Good is what is expected. Skinny equals normal/good fat is there for bad, the opposite of normal, subhuman. What is good? That is the question that keeps coming up. Roxane Gay does not see herself as the good catholic girl that everyone else does. She is so consumed by guilt and shame that she sees herself as less then human. She internalizes the way that society see overweight people as less then and sets out to make herself into something that society will not touch as a means of protection.
Throughout the book I was struck by the compounding levels of shame leading to self-loathing. Gay introduces her eating disorder as a means of protecting herself; not necessarily to avoid the feelings of guilt and shame by covering them up with food, which is how eating disorders are usually described. She does acknowledge that eating and spending money gives her a buzz, but it seems that she is almost attempting to make herself inhuman in the eyes of society. At one point she says as much before quickly moving on.
She wants to be good for her parents. She wants to go to college for them, to perform well in school. At the same time, it is very clear she does not feel she deserves it. She says in part II: I was all self-loathing, for what had happened to me, for what I was doing to my body by gaining so much weight, for my inability to function like a normal person, for the ways I was plainly disappointing my parents. There is obviously that level of psychological self-discipline, but it is strange because it is also a physical self-punishment. She never says it but I get the sense she believes that the higher her BMI the less human she really is. Society has taught her that. She says early in the book that I am always eager to disregard the measure (BMI) because it is technical and inhumane. It is obvious she has internalized it anyway. She has an idea of what should be normal and doesn’t feel like she fits into that box.
This form self-discipline is so counter to what we would hope for social structures. When I think of social control, I almost always associate it with some sort of utilitarian idea. That is what we hope. We do not deviate because it’ is better for the whole. This is so far from the case for Gay. The disillusionment of female bodies, her knowledge that her story is not the one that matters leads to a dark and deeply damaging type of self-punishment. We see the negative effects of the social gaze clearly in how Feelings of shame and guilt are internalized here.