Fat with a Side of Mixed Messages

As a fat person today, we live in a culture that gives us an unbelievable number of mixed messages. Some are nuanced and some are obvious but they are all correctable. Let’s look at some.

Your body makes you unattractive and unhealthy. You should be ashamed of the reflection that you see. Now, go take good care of your body!

I think that this one is the most prevalent. People don’t take care of things they hate whether it’s an ugly gift from their mother in law or their bodies. People don’t hate themselves healthy. People don’t care for something that they don’t think is worthy of care. Shut up already. Everybody is beautiful and amazing and if you disagree please feel free to apply your beliefs to your own body and leave the rest of us alone.

We are fighting a war against you. Say thank you, it’s for your own good!

Around here we call this “Pulling a Jillian”. Abuse is never, ever, called for. Wars have casualties and if you are fighting in the war against obesity then you’d better be ready to accept responsibilities for the injuries (mental and physical), deaths and collateral damage you leave in your wake. Or, you could fight for healthy options instead of against fat people all the while making choices for yourself and letting other people make choices for themselves.

When you go to the doctor they will humiliate you and provide subpar treatment. Now stop being such a drain on the healthcare system.

According to research from Yale over 50% of doctors find their fat patients awkward, weak-willed and unlikely to comply with treatment. This leads to fat people getting less time with the doctor and less respect. Often doctors will ignore whatever we came in for, do absolutely not diagnostic work, diagnose us as fat, give us a treatment protocol of weight loss and send us on our way.  I’m not too worried about being a drain on a healthcare system that treats me like yesterday’s bedpans.

If you don’t work out, we will complain that you are sedentary.  If you do work out, we will make fun of you for how you look working out.  Now, go out there and exercise because it’s good for your health!

Why is it always the same people who assume (outloud) that I don’t exercise who also have a problem with how I look when I exercise?  I would prefer that they just shut up but at minimum they should probably choose one or the other.

Speaking of shutting up, if you’re one of the people giving these mixed messages, how about doing that? You are not the Underpants Overlord so if you spend a whole lot more time being the boss or your underpants and a whole lot less time trying to be the boss of other people’s I’ll bet everyone will be happier!

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Published in: on November 23, 2011 at 6:56 am  Comments (22)  

22 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. How’s this for grotesque:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2064690/You-fat-cow-Friends-tough-love-saved-life-says-gastric-band-op-woman.html

    I choked on my porridge. Apparently being as nasty as you possibly can be to a friend who clearly has low self esteem now gets you rewarded by praise in a national newspaper.

    • The comments are depression. Apparently, the main things that bother the commenters are their suspicion that she’s not as thin and she says she is, and the old “Weight loss surgery? Too easy!” thing. The idea that a constant stream of emotional abuse could be anything but the best thing ever for a fat person doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone.

    • The Daily Mail really hates fat people anyway, I prefer to stay far far away!

      • Far away from the Daily Mail, that is.

  2. Hello! Just found your blog from a friend that posted your pie graph on “what you can tell about fat people”, on FB and I love what you are about! I wanted to share an experience that I had that is both related to that graph And something you mentioned in this post. A few months ago I changed drs and was meeting with my new Dr for the first time. He had never seen me before, barely looked at my medical history and hadn’t asked me any questions about why I was there or my health when he busted out with “im sure all of your medical problems are related to all of that soda and sweet tea you’re drinking!” I sat there baffled and staring at him blankly. I literally had NO idea what he was talking about. I think I was in shock because all I managed to say was…”i just drink water” which is true. We continued with our visit and he continued to stereotype the HELL outta me. He was DETERMINED to TELL me why I was so fat AND unhealthy despite me trying to tell him that I was VERY active (three triathlons, tennis, bellydancing and kickboxing) and had A fairly decent diet (however sweets and portion control ARE an issue for me). He really was not trying to hear me. He ordered blood tests for me and low and behold my cholesterol levels were awesome, my blood glucose levels were normal and …..the only bad thing was my iron levels were low. HAH! in your face! Lol. I know that I could be healthier but like you, I just hate the assumption that im just sitting around in a dark room guzzling grape soda and eating hohos all day just because I’m big! Btw, I’m 5’10 and 350 lbs…I’m off the charts on that bmi deal…what’s after morbidly obese? I should figure that out before my next TRIATHLON! :)

    • I’m sorry that your doctor was such an ass but you are super inspirational and awesome!!! Welcome to the blog, I hope to “see you” around!

      ~Ragen

  3. How about “You must exercise to lose weight. We can’t possibly make exercise clothing in your size”? That is a real head scratcher for sure.

    • Yep, yep. I’ve gone to a couple of stores now where I’ve asked a sales associate about plus-size active wear and have received responses like:

      “Plus-size active wear? You mean there is such a thing?”

      and

      “I guess we must not get much demand for that, since we don’t have any on the rack.”

      There were a couple of interesting conversations with managers following those, but I can’t really do that every time I go clothes shopping.

    • I’ve had the same thought. Tell us we must exercise, refuse to make clothes for us to exercise in.

      I’m going to assume exercising in my underwear isn’t the solution we’re looking for.

      • I’m having these visions of Nude Protest Runs in front of exclusionary apparel retailers.

        Well, I mean, wearing BodyGlide. ;)

        • This idea is genius – just name the time and place and I’m there – and I’ll let everyone know that it’s BYOB (Bring Your Own BodyGlide)

          ~Ragen

  4. Happy Thanksgiving! I am a very thankful fat lady. And I’ve been given a grand ego boost by my dog. She has a lesson for all of us:
    Dolly was abandoned two months ago, apparently kicked out of somebody’s pickup. Eight months old, she was already a big girl of 70 lbs…and HUNGRY! Now 10 months, she weighs 90 and is still trying to grow into her feet. And what do the men say? “Dang, that’s a good looking dog!”
    And she is. She beautiful and muscular with big bones and a lush coat. But she’s built like a Mastiff (or something else solid) not like a whippet! So am I.
    I’m built like a Mastiff. And I can say it with a smile.

    • Peg Fowler, I LOVE your comment!!! There is So much to learn from our fur-buddies. I have a rescue Great Dane and thought of him when I read Ragen’s comment about becoming a crazy dog lady (of which I already am!) It’s not too bad really; ‘cos my big dog loves me for who I am!

      Love it!
      ~ManDee

  5. “Underpants Overlord” *snicker* I’m going to remember that this holiday weekend when my mother is watching everything I put in my mouth. Maybe then I can just giggle and let her remarks roll off my back.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  6. When I take over the wolrd, I shall call yself the Underpants Overlord. :D

    A great blog as always.

  7. Luckily my husband and I have control over the table this year. We love good food and so do all his (very thin) children and their (very thin) significant others. Weight has never come up, good or bad, and if it did they know I would tell them kindly but firmly that it had no place at our table, or they would get the joy of hearing a mini lecture on HAES and size acceptance. Because that’s just how I roll. :)

    Here’s another mixed message:

    Fatties need to stop wearing ill-fitting clothing, especially poor fatties. But we’re going to charge you 40% more for the same garment and you’ll have many many many fewer options. Good luck finding clothes you like that you think look good on you!

    Oh, and:

    We need to teach young people, especially girls, how to be body-positive. But we can’t ever let them think it’s okay to be fat.

  8. Glad to have found your blog. I’m a novelist and still really struggling with being fat, though I’ve been so longer than I’ve ever been “thin.” As an artist, I still find looking at myself in the mirror very troubling, because it doesn’t fit my aesthetic “ideal.” I have a lot of work to do in that department.

    On the plus side, I work out at the gym 4-6 times a week, alternating between elliptical/weight work and water aerobics. I’ve got a fair amount of muscle under the fat. I eat poorly … challenge to me is that I love carbs and sweets and dislike most “heatlhy” foods including vegatables–I’m what’s called a “super taster” and many flavors are too strong/bitter for me. However, I have a hubby of 27 years (He’s tall and thin) and who loves me as I am. Not once has a complaint about my weight passed his lips. And though my doctor has suggested that I lose weight once or twice over 11 years, he’s never harped on it or treated me any differently than he would anyone else.

    So right now, the struggle is for me to accept myself. I’m not even close, but it’s good to see others who have.

    Best,

    SueinNM

    • Hi Sue,

      Thank you so much for your honest comment, a lot of people are exactly where you are. To me it helps to remember that the single standard of beauty that is shoved down our throats is arbitrary. If you lived in another country or another time you would be considered the standard to which others aspire. When I struggled with this the thing that got me out of it was when I realized that what I didn’t like about myself I liked fine in other people.

      You might try looking at pictures of other people (there are a bunch of links in this blog: http://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/a-real-fat-intervention/

      And you might try Pearlsong Press, they are a publisher of books by and about fat people and maybe reading some of those works might help? http://www.pearlsong.com/

      Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to support you.

      ~Ragen

  9. Families seem to like this message: “I bought you a jelly doughnut and two kinds of cookies and three cartons of ice cream, so stay here and eat. But you’re fat, so stop eating so much and lose weight.”

    Food is regularly offered as a reward for doing something helpful or as an incentive to spend time and attention of the offering person, at least in my family. Then my eating habits and choices are leveraged against me because I’m an unacceptable size. I’m told, “Love me for the food I give you; hate yourself for accepting it.”

    My favorite remains the message, “You are so pretty, if you just lost some weight, you would be a knock-out.” We’re very sure you are lovely somewhere under that layer of fat you insist on covering yourself in. Just get rid of the body you have and exchange it for the body we think you ought to have.

  10. See to me the message is very clear – stop existing. Let’s make it so that no matter what you do, it won’t be acceptable until you just cease to exist.

  11. I’m new to this whole “thing”… Size acceptance, healthy at any size, etc. In fact, I only just admitted that I hate my own body two weeks ago. Hate it so much that I’ve been actively avoiding mirrors and cameras for years, I could barely make it through looking at myself for 5 minutes. Now I’ve got to figure out a way forward, and in that quest I stumbled upon your blog.

    As to the mixed messages problem, I agree with the difficulty in finding work out clothing. Tell me, where do you find an affordable, effective sports bra in a size 42G?

    Quite possibly my favorite mixed message is that it’s OK to be a larger size if you’re extremely talented (generally musically), but not otherwise. Because somehow talent cancels out fatness?!

    BTW – I’m sure you hear this often, but thank you for putting your voice out there. I’m immensely glad that I live in an age where I can reach out an meet people whom I can identify with.

    • Hi there,

      Welcome to the blog, I’m glad that you are finding it helpful. Just know that a lot of people have been exactly where you are on their own journeys to health and self-esteem. Most of us just kept flailing around until we figured it out. If there is anything that I can do to support you please just let me know.

      ~Ragen


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