Archive for the ‘fatty fat fat’ Category

Good fatty, bad fatty and the gym

July 23, 2014

When I was about 13, I got braces. Braces come with diet restrictions. Food like candy, gum, corn on the cob, ribs can (or could, when I was in my orthodonture phase in life) snap the wires pulling teeth into place. I remember my mom discussing these restrictions with her friend, who turned to me, grinning, and said “Think, Kim, maybe you’ll lose weight!” As far as I can recall, that’s the first time someone directed a nasty comment about my body to me.
They’re not always that blatant. In fact, they hardly ever are. Last night was an exception. The idea that calling out my body in public is supposed to shame me gets more and more ludicrous, thanks to help from friends and fat activists who show love and support.
What’s more insidious to me is what might be called micro aggressions.
A few years ago, I did a regular workout class with a friend and a trainer at the Y. It was a mix of cardio and weight lifting, and it was awesome. Once, during wall sits, my friend said “Look, Kim! You have ankles now!” The trainer said, “What did she have before?” HE shouted “Canckles!” and the trainer and he had a good laugh.
Not long after that, I started working out at a gym in my building at work. I was trying to keep up with both the cardio and strength training and working in a little meditation at the end to boost my mental/emotional health as well. One afternoon, a woman approached me about my meditation and asked if I was Buddhist. We had a short conversation about Buddhism before she leaned in and said, as if in confidence, “You know, I used to hate my body, too. But you can do it. You can lose the weight.” After that, every time she saw me at the gym she’d give me an exaggerated thumbs up or cheer.
This is why not your good fatty resonates with me so much. It nails the intersection of my relationship with my body and your opinion of it. Whether I am so audacious that I actually walk my fat body down a street or lug it on to a bus, or even have the nerve to drag it to the gym, it’s my body and my business.
I should go to the gym! I have, and I will. But not as performance for you.

Street harassment: this happens to fat women

July 22, 2014

I went out for a walk this evening. Surprisingly audacious move for a fat woman, as it turns out.

I was standing on a corner (17th and U, NW, if you must know) waiting for the light to change when a young man approaching me on U suddenly exclaimed “YOU SHOULD BE AT THE GYM!” I was stunned. He was half way across the crosswalk at 17th when I said, true to Dinero, “Are you tawkinda me?!” “YEAH!,” he shouted back. My mouth, lurching ahead of my brain, responded, “You should go fuck yourself! HARD!,” and then I laughed in disbelief.

Look, I love people*, but I need you all to contain your need to tell me about my body. It’s mine. Whether you love it or you hate it, keep it to yourself unless and until I ask. Do you. I’ll do me.

*I hate people

To the Girl Who Called Me a Fatass on the Bus

June 3, 2011

I know we haven’t known each other for very long – we were only on the bus for a handful of minutes – and I suppose it’s possible that my weight gain is sudden, but it’s not. I have been hauling this junk in my trunk for probably longer than you’ve been alive. And you’re not the first person (and likely not the last) to call me fat. So not only are you not as shocking as you probably hoped, you’re not terribly original, either.

Not only am I a fatass and a big fat fattie, I am well educated, I have a good job with reasonable hours that pays me well, and I am loved. I go on vacations, I have fancy meals out with my friends, I have a nice apartment in a great building with wonderful neighbors, and a cute little dog who amuses the hell out of me. When I get sick, I can afford to see a doctor. My refrigerator and cabinets are always full. I have the tremendous privilege of free time to read, watch trashy tv, blog, navel gaze, meditate, and wonder about the meaning of life. I get manicures and pedicures whenever I want. I had a fantastic massage last week. I am surrounded by people who love me just as I am.

When I look in the mirror, at my face, I sometimes smile. I like who I am. I even like the curve of my hips and the swell of my breasts. I have managed to extract some self love from the battlefield that is my body. Like yours, my body has been under scrutiny and judgement for most of my life. We both face a constant barrage of images and expectations of what our bodies should be like. We will probably never be enough. Skinny enough, curvy enough, tall enough. We will never be just right. And if we are, or close to it, our reward all too often is harassment from strangers in the street, in the store, on the bus, where ever we have the nerve to be attractive to or noticed by someone in public. From early on, we are watching what we eat, binging and purging, counting calories, measuring inches, thinking about our “skinny jeans,” sold diets and fasts, and scrutinized for what we put in our mouths. And despite that, maybe because of that, your words did not shame me. That’s why I held your gaze for so long after you said it.

I’m not telling you this to one up you. I am telling you this because I wish the same for you. I hope that you grow up avoiding or shedding the judgement and shame that is foisted on your body and runs the risk of keeping you from living fully. I hope you find yourself in 25 years in comfort, with little struggle and lots of love. I am writing this to remind myself, too, that I am so much more than the words you slung.

I could have written the title of this post 25 years ago. The rest, I couldn’t have written until today.

Too Fat to Fly and Fat Shame: Why Are You Surprised?

February 14, 2010

In case you haven’t yet heard the buzz, director Kevin Smith was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight last night because of “safety concerns” over his size. He mentioned it almost immediately on Twitter, and his rant continues today.

Southwest, via their own Twitter feed, has attempted to manage the situation as it’s whipped through the Twitterverse and into the blogosphere, going so far as to issue “heartfelt apologies” on their own blog. Unfortunately, in Kevin Smith’s words, it basically says “Sorry, sir. But you ARE kinda fat…”

Southwest’s policy isn’t new, as evidenced by the Customer of Size Q&A on their Website.

I could get into a whole litany of things about fellow airline passengers that make me uncomfortable or invade my space, but as Kate Harding pointed out, that can devolve to quickly into other kinds of shaming. And therein lies the rub: Southwest Airlines is counting on their customers to be so ashamed of their bodies that they will sheepishly allow the airline to kick them off a flight – or worse: buy two tickets to avoid the shame in the first place. Yet they claim it’s not a revenue generator.

The biggest surprise for me in all of this is actually the surprise from everyone else. I’m fat, and I’m very well accustomed to fat shame. I worry every single time I fly. I worry that I will have to ask for a lap-belt extender, and then I worry that the flight attendant will be mean about it, or that people will stare when they hand it to me, that the person next to me is going to complain that I am too fat, that I am taking up too much room. I get aisle seats so I don’t have to get past anyone to get in or out and then suck up the fact that it results in me, inevitably, getting bashed in the elbow by a flight attendant’s beverage cart.

The shame doesn’t end in the air. I worry that I take up too much space on the bus and train, restaurants, and even on the sidewalk (exacerbated by our recent snow, resulting in one-lane sidewalks). I’ve been approached in Victoria’s Secret in DC and not-so-politely been told by a sales person that they didn’t have anything there for someone of my size.

We hear you. We’ve been talking about negative body images in the media for years and years. And now the message is louder and more pointed. Look around – tv, magazines (I’m looking at you, Vanity Fair), the First Lady: fat is BAD and you’re going to DIE, but first we’re going to make you feel REALLY BAD about it.

So my question for you all is: why are you so surprised?

Kevin Smith on a Southwest Airlines flight

Kevin Smith: Too Fat to Fly