I’ve been thinking about writing this post for quite some time, and then pondering even more after a dear friend of mine made an unthinking remark that I must admit, I myself have previously made. I didn’t want to ruin the mood then and there by pointing it out, starting a discussion, but it’s been nagging me ever since. You see, I’m fat. And this is going to get messy, so bear with me.
I’m not going to make any excuses of the sort that I’ve got heavy bones, that it’s better to be fat and fit than skinny and unhealthy, or that BMI is an imprecise manner of diagnosing weight standards, and a favourite mantra for many in some incarnation or other; men prefer meat, bones are for dogs. Yes I exercise, several times a week, I’ve tried diets, calorie counting, low carb… The works. The fat refuses to remove itself from my tummy. So yes, indeed, I’m in the lower spectrum of what going by BMI is overweight. Even though not even my doctor by looking at me would’ve thought it. So there you go. And I’m digressing. As usual. Let’s start at the beginning.
I was bullied in school. I can hear your internal groan, and no, this is not going to be a whiny story about how I’m blaming my childhood. I’ve merely been wondering where to start, and I think school is the right place to do so.
I was bullied in school . I didn’t know why then. It could be because my parents were both teachers. It could be because everybody else knew each other beforehand. It could be because I was “good” at school. You know how some are good at sports, and the likes? I mastered going to school. My being in a master’s programme today is proof of that if you go by Bourdieu, among others. It could be because… And this don’t make sense, really, because one of the kids bullying me was fatter – yup, there’s the f-word again – than me, but it could be because I was fat. The why of it isn’t important today. That was years ago, and while the experience is part of me today, and I can’t stand being in the company of former classmates because whenever I do, I regress to that insecure, little, big, fat girl, the why of their bullying me is not important. But I often wondered back then, and I sometimes catch myself wondering now. Was I bullied for being fat?
Whatever happened inbetween is ancient history. like the pyramids. But given my past, yes it felt better blaming my troubles finding clothes that fit on the designers and brands, making clothes only fit for clothes hangers rather than real women. After all, real women have curves, and the clothes aren’t made for curves.
Blaming it on the fit of the clothes, comparing modern day sizing to 50’s sizing and the likes…
I’m calling my own bluff. These are excuses. And they’re working.
Of course, slimming people is a big industry. But so is making people feel good being the way they are. Ever heard of vanity sizing? Levi’s even had a model of jeans for which vanity sizing was made a selling point. And gullible consumers that we are, we’re buying it. Accepting our growing girths, ever touting our mantra: We are real women. Hear us stomp.
Are you still with me?
Now I’m going to tie this whole mess together.
I’m not trashing fat girls. Some have clinical reasons for weight issues. I worked out almost every day, two times a day some days, for two months, living on less than 2000 kcal a day, and the only thing I achieved was two weeks of sick leave because my shoulder injury had worsened from the workouts. Before you start lecturing me, I excersised regularly before that as well, it just escalated, because I was trying to reach a goal. Thing is, some of us have been bullied, we’ve taken a lot of crap, and it’s all given us self-esteem issues. So we are entitled to trash the skinny girls. Right?
But that’s what we’ve been doing for years. We feel entiteled to some sort of protection, and the society should cushion any blows directed our way. After all, fat is becoming normalised, and we must aim to please the majority. No matter that what we’re normalising is obesity, it’s unhealthy, it’s bad. It’s fat. Sometimes we’ll use other words, like chubby, which sounds a bit nicer. And we’re trashing hard-working girls for being a healthy weight.
I’m not talking about models that might have some serious eating disorder or other. I’m talking about the girls that have to take all the crap us fat girls are throwing at ’em in order to make ourselves feel better. Some of them might be your friends. It might even be you who are reading this. I have several friends who can eat all day, nothing but junk, and still be 2/3 my weight. I have friends who struggle to achieve a healthy weight because they’re underweight.
Now I don’t know about you, but according to my friend, and to myself some years back, and a whole lot of other people, these ladies aren’t women. I don’t know what they might be by that definition, but they aren’t very curvy, one of those neat little words that are so much nicer than “fat”.
That reminds me of real curvacious women like Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and the likes. And I’ll be the first to admit, very few shirts and button-down blouses are made with these curves in mind. But these kind of curves seem to be growing increasingly rare. And don’t get me wrong, fat girls do have curves, there just seem to be a lot more of them, and they’re a lot more wobbly, oh, and they go “out” a lot of the places they should curve inwards.
Once more, I digress, so I’ll cut this short:
I do appreciate campaigns directed towards the use of underweight women in fashion. I do appreciate people who feel good about themselves. Me, I’ve sworn off dieting for the nonce, because I gave up a lot of things with no results whatsoever, so my new mantra is Life is short. Eat cake and exercise because you want to.
What I don’t like is trashing other people in order to make yourself feel better. It’s not OK to bully the fat kid. Or woman. But that doesn’t make it any better f you pick on the skinny one either. I’m sure making someone else feel bad is not the intention whenever the phrase “real women” rears it’s questionable head, but that’s the effect ofttimes caused. And there’s just something about it that’s just not right.
After all, if those women I’m talking about aren’t as real as you and me, well, then I must have quite a few imaginary friends.
So there you go. My rant on yet another F-word. Now, if someone strongly disagrees with me, and would care to argue on behalf of the construct of “real women” or inform me as to why we shouldn’t call “fat” “fat”, feel free to inform me in the comments section.
A rose by any other name, call a spade a shovel and all that jazz.