Tonight I had the pleasure of being insulted while hanging out with some of my closest friends, not by them, but by somebody I didn’t even know.
I went with Alice and her husband to an event for the “young professionals” at Mountaintop Community Church that was being held at his parent’s house. Joy and her husband showed up shortly and we had a good night talking and laughing and making puzzle pieces for puzzles that had been missing pieces for years.
A guy who I’d never met before was there and stayed there well after the others had left, apparently he’d been off talking to Michael’s mom for an hour or so before he came down and joined us. The boys went and started to play pool and I sat with Alice and Joy and we talked.
Eventually the guy came over and asked Alice if she was married to Michael or if he was joking and he started telling her how beautiful she was and yada yada, nothing wrong with telling a pretty girl that she’s pretty. I then proceeded to get up and walk behind the bar we were sitting at (and therefor behind his back) to the fridge to grab a drink. While I was behind him I hear “Lately all I’ve been able to attract are fat, ugly girls and gays.”
I rolled my eyes to myself, I wondered if he thought I wouldn’t mind because he didn’t deem me “bad fat” or if he just thought I wouldn’t mind him insulting fat people as I wasn’t one of the girls he had attracted. I don’t meet a lot of size activists in real life, I doubt he ever had, so I figured nobody had ever had the guts to tell him off when he made comments like that.
I walked back around the bar and as soon as he saw me he grabs my shoulder and goes “Oh, I’m sorry. I hope we’re alright.” Immediately my mind jumps to, “Does this douche think I’m fat and so he has to apologize, or does he think I’m ugly? Or is it both?” I recongized he was making an effort to apologize, and as in poor taste as it was, I decided since it had been a church event and it was somebody’s house I’d just let the issue slide. I tried to shrug his hand off my shoulder and said it was fine in the most gracious voice I could muster, but obviously I wasn’t too keen to stick around him anymore.
Why am I writing about this? It really didn’t hurt my self-esteem, I’m well past that point. I mean, the dude was completely un-appealing to me, when he said anybody was attracted to him, I was surprised. If it didn’t bother me, why am I staying up ridiculously late to rant about this?
The truth is, what happened tonight is un-acceptable, and I hope that all my friends recognize that. I know I’ve posted things time and again talking about size acceptance, about loving your body the way it is. I’m all for taking care of your body and working out and eating right, even if I don’t always stick to it, but that isn’t trying to force your body to be something it’s not. The truth is, some people are bigger, plain and simple. Some people have health issues that cause excess weight and can honestly not help it. And yes, some people are just not taking care of their bodies, but the same can be said for so many skinny people that are just lucky that they’re not overweight, who are lucky that one of the most shameful signs of unhealthiness isn’t visible on them.
I am fat, and I am fine with that. Dare I say it? I’m happy. Yes, I’d like to lose some weight, in the stomach region, but if I stayed fat, I’d be fine with that. I think curvy girls are gorgeous. And I know for a fact I’m not ugly, unless your only required qualification for ugly is excess weight. In that case, guilty as charged. And how many of you, my smaller friends, can say you’re happy with your body? Are you about as happy as me, the bigger girl? I’m like every girl, I suffer from insecurities and the desire to fit into the unrealistic ideals of the media (ok, maybe not so much… I want to keep my curves so I’d never want to be that skinny). But I probably look in the mirror without think ing “I’m so fat” half as much as a smaller girl. Or if I do, it’s a statement of fact.
I am fat, I won’t try to deny it. But I don’t generally use “fat” in the deragatory manner most people do, I use it because it is the most truthful discriptive of my physical appearance. To say I’m obease gives the image that I have serious health issues and am on a fast track to dying. To say I’m “pleasantly plump” or “zaftig” or “chubby” I feel downplays my size and trys to sugarcoat it as if it’s something I should be ashamed of. To say I’m plus size is too technical, and the image of plus size is so skewed by the fact many “plus size” models are a size 8 when a size 12 is considered the start of plus size clothing . I am fat, and I am happy.
I dislike when a friend who is small pokes what little chub is on their stomach and tells me “I’m so fat!” but I’ve gotten used to it and now I just feel sympathy for them. I can’t tell you how many friends have said that in front of me, and when I pointed my own weight out to them got “But you’re just big boned” or some other well meaning, sugar-coating comment. And yes, I am rather stocky, I like to say that if I were a horse I’d be a clydesdale or one of the larger, stockier work breeds. But I could lose some weight. Heck, I was 40lbs smaller and super happy with my body, and I’d love to get there again, but I won’t lose sleep or hate myself if it takes me awhile. I’ve got other things going on right now. I don’t want anybody to feel like they can’t come to me with their body issues, but recognize that when you come to the girl who has been fat pretty much since she can remember, sympathy for having a little chub is harder to come by. And even then, that hasn’t really happened to me in years, I’m happy to say a lot of my friends have begun to accept that they are beautiful the way they are. I only have one or two friends who are obviously scared at the idea that they may ever become chubby, and I honestly feel sorry for them… if that’s the worst of your fears, you’re doing good. If that’s what’s important to you, you need to realize how lucky you are to have the body you do… to not feel trapped in a larger body that it seems almost impossible to get rid of. Trust me, I’ve been chubby, I’ve been fat, and I’ve survived… and you will too.
My point is that what this guy said was totally unacceptable. I’ve said it before, size-ism is one of the last acceptable forms of bigotry. I’m not saying the guy has to find bigger girls attractive, or that he has to seek them out to date… However, if he had even thought to say “The only people I attract are digusting (insert race here)” he would have likely not had the guts to say it to people he hardly knew. Hating on fat people is ok because we choose to be that way, don’t we? Despite the fact that some people honestly struggle to lose weight in a healthy manner. Maybe I can, but I am not all fat girls. The fact that I felt I had to be polite and accept his apology goes back to the fact that I have become accustomed to taking insult and mockery for my failure to conform to what is acceptable, and that I valued the comfort of my friends/hosts more than trying to make him realize what an ass he is.
I want to challenge all my friends to stop hating on fat people, and I’ve seen many of you do it, and I’ve bitten my tongue. I can’t say I haven’t seen the obease person riding on the little cart at wal-mart and not thanked God that I was healthy and able to walk and something I found attractive. And I can’t say I’ve never wondered if they got that way because they just decided they weighed so much that it was difficult to walk so they make it worse by riding a buggy instead of burning some extra calories. But I don’t know their story, and I don’t know why they are the way they are, and I’ve tried to control it. I don’t want to continue seeing statuses ragging on larger people. And I don’t want to be out with friends and hear them insult somebody they don’t like saying how fat and disgusting they are. I’m not saying if they’re fat not to call them fat, I mean, I call myself fat… but the way you say it makes the difference to me. Is it a statement of fact or something you say because you want a good insult? And if you’re hanging out with somebody and they make a comment like that to you, or especially if they say something to that effect in front of a friend and then make it obvious they consider that friend to be what they just insulted, stand up for them. I appreciate he was trying to apologize, but he could have just acted as if I was not one of those fatties he was insulting. I was trying so hard to give him credit that he was talking of the bigger fatties, instead I was subjected to something that might have embarassed me had I not been with close friends and as comfortable in my skin as I am.
I could probably go off on this topic more, but I’ve been typing for a long time and it’s 4am and I’m tired and not able to word my thoughts clearly anymore, I was just hoping maybe somebody would read this and start to think about how they’re treating others. I know this made me examine my treatment of those around me, who I might judge for just as stupid of a reason as them being fat.