Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wanna Talk About Fat?

I'm in a state of conflict. A hypocritical one at that. I was recently on the shuttle at work when a larger girl, who I don't know, made a comment to me that in reality, wasn't rude. If Lindsey had said it to me I wouldn't have even thought about it twice, but when this probably nice, fatish lady who I don't know personally made a comment about how they just don't know how to make bras for "us larger girls", I was in a state of shock.

I'm all for keeping it real. And, when I make comments about my fatness to others, it's okay, because they are my comments about my fatness, but when someone says it to you in a total surprising way, it throws you off a little bit.

What is it about fat girls, some, not all, that makes it okay for them to say fat things to other fat girls. It's one thing if it's your friend, but to a stranger, I don't know. And I'll admit it, I've done the same thing probably more than once, like the time I told Lindsey's friend Aimee some semi-retarded theory I once had about fat girls and tampons. I might have said something along the lines that most fat girls I knew wore maxi-pads instead of tampons and if there was some sort of connection. Neither Lindsey or I wear maxi-pads but that's besides the point. This girl looked at me like, "did you just classify me in your fat group?" I've felt a little bad about ever since, and this was over 4 years ago, but I digress.

I know there is a certain bond between fat girls that not one of you can deny. It's a bit of a sisterhood, a sorority of you'd like and sisters should be able to be open with their sisters, but there is a line that should not be crossed. If a woman fatter than me made a comment that put us in the same group, of course I would think, "Hey lady, I'm like, smaller...sort of...back off". But, should I feel this way? Should I embrace the fat sisterhood for all it's worth and not look back?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that fat girls feel it's okay to talk about their fatness with other fatties and I guess that I'm strangely for and against it all at once. Though, and I'd like to point out, I have yet to see a skinny girl go up to a skinny girl and lament or glorify aspects of their skinnydom...or have I just not been paying attention?

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Even though I know i'm fat it is so jarring when another fat girl comes around and basically says, hey your fat like me. I suppose they are looking for some sort of validation that they are not alone in the fat struggle but I always find it shocking and for some reason I always feel insulted and just feel like crying.

Canadienne said...

Nope, you didn't miss anything. Even the skinny girls think they're fat.

It's a minefield, talking about this subject. I used to be fat, then last year lost a ton of weight. Now, if I say things about how I used to be, or refer to my former fatness, some people get upset with me - one person even had the nerve to tell me "you shouldn't have told me you were fat, and then I never would have known." Clearly, this person thought I should make every effort to conceal how large I had been because it was shameful to them. They don't realize that my "inner fat girl" will always be there, no matter what the outside looks like now.

Because there are so many varying sizes and what "fat" looks like varies from person to person, it's always an awkward subject, I find.

mainja said...

i don't know if skinny people do, but short people do, and i bet tall people do. it's just a form of commiseration.

personally i try to avoid talking about fatness with other fat folks i don't know specifically because i'm afraid they'd be offended, but i am not at all offended when someone includes me in their 'fat' group.

i guess the thing is that for me part of accepting myself has been accepting my fatness, so i think of my being fat a bit like being short, just a thing, just an attribute. i can't fool anyone into thinking i'm not fat, unless perhaps they are blind and don't touch me. so i have no problem with someone else in the same situation acknowleding it.

Annieann77 said...

Super funny but yet true story! I absolutely hate it when other people include me in their comments especially strangers? What gives? I still like to think that I'm in a seperate class then the "fatty" class but I don't always think of things realistically! hehe Ok I admit it I'm part of the "fatty" club but only I can say it! LOL

Anonymous said...

It's not cool to assume the sisterhood on behalf of strangers, and make comments that imply you "get" someone's fatness and consider them to be in your league and that they automatically commiserate (or whatever). Nuh-uh.

Anonymous said...

Fricking Tucker Max is at it again...this has got to be the worst entry I've ever seen

http://www.tuckermax.com/archives/entries/tucker_fucks_fat_girl_hilarity_ensues.phtml

Anonymous said...

Weird. She is a "larger girl" and so are you. Why on earth be offended? It's a fact.

Do you think of yourself as not fat and so when someone classifies you as such it upsets your inner reality?

Haystacks said...

Sillyness. Perhaps she was doing something shocking, like speaking in a matter of fact way that did not, in fact, talk about fat as a negative.

It is rediculous how people tiptoe around fat. It is just fat, not a nuclear detonator.

Jeez.

suzy_q said...

It's a minefield, talking about this subject. I used to be fat, then last year lost a ton of weight. Now, if I say things about how I used to be, or refer to my former fatness, some people get upset with me - one person even had the nerve to tell me "you shouldn't have told me you were fat, and then I never would have known."

Canadienne - that's just bizarre. If you'd told me that you used to be fat, I'd congratulate you on losing so much weight. But then I'm a former fatty myself, so I "get it".

As for me, when someone who doesn't know I used to be fat makes a nasty remark about someone else's weight, I cringe. I feel as though they're insulting me.

As for the original question, yeah, when other strange women included me in their Fatty Club I was offended. But then I was also in denial about how fat I was. I felt like I'd been outed!

minka said...

The worst part is when the person is not heavy ... i am a good 250 and my collegue is maybe about 160 and she is always talking about ... us larger girls . I wear bright clothes and feel good about myself while she is constantly talking about her fatness and wears only black

Erin said...

Just to be picky, that is an OLD Tucker Max story, written a few years ago. But to be fair, he is always 'at it,' it being a different thing every day of the week.

On topic, one time when I was heavier I was included in the 'fat sisterhood' by another woman and I was also offended - I agree with suzy_q when she says she felt like she was outed. Like I could hide my fatness or something! Now that I have lost weight/am losing weight, I would still be offended even though I am nowhere close to skinny. But my weight is always a sensitive topic. I also feel weird when someone notices I lost weight and says something about it. Part of me thinks it should be something to be proud of, but part of me freaks out inside a little bit as if they are noticing I lost weight because I NEEDED to lose weight in the first place. Again, as if nobody could see I was fat. Such a touchy and complicated subject!

Erica said...

For once, I disagree with most of the commenters. I think it's silly to be offended. It seems a little, ok a lot, hypocritical to be offended if someone identifies with you as fat and they're fatter than you are. like it's ok to be as fat as you are, but God forbid you be mistaken for being larger? wtf? I'm a big girl it's a fact like the sky is blue. why get offended if someone identifies with me?
it's not like she was putting you down. it's a human trait to want to fit in and identify with a peer group. don't be upset because she put you in her peer group. I'm sure she meant no offense.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, there's a need for fat girl solidarity. Of course, this could be extended to female, then human, then living being solidarity, etc. until it all just turns into one giant lovefest of the whole universe.

Oh, wait, I'm talking about Planet Earth, NOT the world that exists in my own head. So sorry. Maybe we'll all have a chance in hell at what I've described above in another millenium or so. ;-)

Tara said...

I did that once with my best friend. That was when I was a size 32 and she was like a size 12 or 14. I was just suggesting that we could go shopping at the Avenue because they have great clothing for us big beautiful women. You would have thought I punched her in the stomach. I stumbled around and tried to find the words to acknowledge that no, she was not fat.
I had come to think of fat as an attribute, and had manage to forget that to some people even the suggestion that they might be in the fat sisterhood was an insult, not something to bond over.

I still see it as something to bond over though I'm not as large anymore. I still see it as kind of a sisterhood thing, only now women who are bigger than I am get insulted that I consider myself fat, and know what they go through.

I've learned that fat is a HIGHLY personal thing and NO assumptions should be made because it can be hurtful. I keep that stuff to myself now, unless I know where the person stands and how they feel about themselves.

peace,
Tara

littlem said...

"I've learned that fat is a HIGHLY personal thing and NO assumptions should be made because it can be hurtful. I keep that stuff to myself now, unless I know where the person stands and how they feel about themselves."

Having been both "thinner than" and "fatter than" (sometimes simultaneously), all human necessity for peer group identification aside, given the bodily objectification built into Western society to make us all feel bad on the regular unless we consciously and vigorously resist -- IMO Tara @ 6:14 has had the wise thought of the day.

Stacia said...

I don't call other women fat or act like they're big like me, even if they are, until they broach the subject first.

However, I call myself fat. I am fat. Duh. I don't think the term is any more insulting than "tall" or "brunette", but others disagree. In fact, many thinner women have gotten *extremely* upset with me when I've called myself fat, and I've gotten into arguments with thin women about it. I suspect it's because they call me fat behind my back, as an insult, and it makes them feel guilty when I use the term myself.

As for thin girls comiserating about being thin, yeah, I've heard it. Co-workers, relatives, strangers... just the other day I heard two employees at Walgreen's talking about how "easy" it was to be thin and how if someone wants to lose weight they should "just do it", because it's so hard for them NOT to lose weight so it's obviously easy to do. Fat people were, they concluded, lazy for not doing something so easy.

(A large lady near me got so disgusted she put down her purchases and left the store. I stayed in the store but make it a point to avoid these two girls. Ironically, one of the girls has horrible, disfiguring acne... how would she feel if I said it was so easy to get rid of acne if you just wash your face and use Oxy? Heh.)

suzy_q said...

stacia - those coments by the shopgirls were not only unbelievably rude, but also highly unprofessional. Had I been there in one of my snarkier moods, I would have complained to the management.

Anonymous said...

I think if people are talking among themselves and it's not actually illegal you just have to accept that they are entitled to their opinion, however unenlightened they may be.

I am ashamed to admit this, but because I have a problem accepting my size I always shudder when anyone includes me in the fat club. In my head I am still the young dancer I was at 20, and my current weight is a temporary aberration. I take the shame for being deluded and self-hating, but I just can't bear the idea that this is how I'm going to be for the rest of my life. But I don't think that of other people. When I see larger women looking good I always wish I had their style and self-confidence, and I usually think their size suits them. It's just me I don't like.

K said...

Tricky one. I could well have said something about "us big girls" or "womanly figures" in general, meaning me, not my audience, and been misunderstood. But I probably wouldn't intentionally class someone else with me unless she'd brought it up specifically.

Interestingly, even when I was at my biggest, if I ever did refer to my size, thinner friends would tell me "not to be so hard on myself". Which I thought was odd. Medically speaking, I was obese, and I knew it. I thought I was being realistic, not self-flagellating.

I have, very occasionally, had skinny friends lament their skinniness - one very thin girl said she got comments about eating disorders and had people trying to press food on her all the time, and another complained she had no curves and looked like a boy. I don't know if she felt she could say that to me because it was obviously NOT my problem, or whether she'd have said it to a similarly non-curvy girl to commiserate. Which is more of an insult? Saying "You're fat like me", or saying "You're flat-chested like me?"

(Personally, I don't think either one is - but other people will evidently disagree!)

hackdoll said...

...have yet to see a skinny girl go up to a skinny girl and lament or glorify aspects of their skinnydom...

Well "glorifying" would be kind of obnoxious, wouldn't it? Skinny just generally seems to be something you can't talk about without sounding like you're bragging. (and of course like it's been said before, very few women think they're actually "that thin".)

I've gotten into a few funny conversations. Once I was at a bar with a girl and she was describing a very curvaceous friend of hers; this friend and her acquaintances apparently greeted each-other by (I swear) playfully bumping their cleavage together. Some sort of variant on a hip-bump I suppose. At an rate this girl and I eventually started commiserating about how we would never be able to do such a thing -- it would be more "bumping ribcages" I think she said. I'm sure further words were exchanged about our mutual lack of cleavage as well.

Lifterbabe said...

Hi there McGee. First off I want to say how enjoyable your blog is. I'm a long time reader, first time commenter. Your writing and experiences truly does go beyond "fat" and really delves into what it's like being a woman who doesn't fit into the mainstream ideal of what female perfection is.

I'm a female bodybuilder and face many nasty remarks, wide eyed gawking and sneers on a daily basis. So I do feel an instant kinship when I see a man or a woman who is very muscular, there's even the eye contact and nod that says, "Hey! I know what you go through." Almost like Fight Club.

I agree with what the other posters who have said, that most women have body image issues no matter how skinny, fat or muscular they may be.

Forget finding bras, if anyone can tell me where to find jeans that caters to a size 24 waist and 21 inch thighs, I'll be grateful. :)

Obesio said...

Even though I am 70 pounds overweight and have not been in a gym in over 10 years, I hate being lumped in with fat guys.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm moderately fat, however, this reminded me of a co-worker who is 37 (I'm 32) who constantly says "She's our age" or "People in our age group." I get so offended because I am not 37 years old and don't want to be in her peer group. It's not just a fat thing...I'm just not as old as she is and you're not as fat as the stranger lady.

Anonymous said...

She's talking about people in their 30's, of which you belong. Get over the age thing, it ain't nothing but a number.

People are so touchy about everything, it's ridiculous. Anyone who engages in this really needs to grow up.

Anonymous said...

sorry, but someone saying you are fat, even if they are too is an insult, especially to a women. Obviously we shouldn't stop our life or hate ourselves if we are fat but being fat in our society is very shamefull and i am guessing the majority of overweight people are really embarresed by it, struggling with it and don't need someone else pointing out their flaws.

Bloomie said...

I totally don't mind the inclusion and I actually always include other people as well in it, and I never really think of it being rude - maybe now I'll have to rethink my words. But people also know that I think of fat as a descriptive like wears glasses and has curls. It's descriptive, not an insult. And so I see nothing wrong with saying someone is fat. Although these days at a smaller size (albeit not tiny) I sometimes wonder if I can still get away with the fat label that I love.

But people get freaked out by fat. I was once meeting a craigslist stranger to sell some Madonna tickets. In describing myself I called myself fat and she goes, "oh you're not fat." Dude, you've never met me, believe me I'm fat.

As for skinniness, yes I have heard friends complain. That they have a hard time shopping, that they can't put on weight, that people think they have an eating disorder, etc...And I just spent the weekend with a girl who had her heart broken who kept saying "If only I was prettier." I never think that, but sometimes I do think, if only I was thinner.

Anonymous said...

If you weren't in some level of serious denial, these comments would not bother you.

Miz Lilly said...

it is weird when people you don't know include you in their group based upon reasons such as weight. maybe part of it is that we don't want to be known only for how much fat we carry, but as people. when someone automatically assumes that we have something in common because we're fat, that insinuates that "fat" is our identity. people don't go up to other people with green eyes and assume they are part of the same social group.

oddly enough, even though i am still fat (228), the people who knew me when i was 400 or even 300 pounds refer to me as "skinny." it embarrasses me, because i equate it with calling the big guy "tiny," even though that is not what they intend. i also feel ostracized when they point out that i can no longer wear shirts from the big girl stores. maybe it's because of the fat-as-identity issue. if we can feel bonded to others because we're fat, does losing weight errode that bond?

Anonymous said...

skinny girls do talk about being skinny to other girls.

and the reason she said something to you is that, although there are variations of fat, it is still fat. The distinctions don't matter because even if you're smaller fat, you're still fat.

mandy said...

I completely agree; body size is a very touchy subject! For any size- all of us 'know' how big we are, but how others view us is a completely different ballpark. I'm average size, and I always am hyper aware on who 'size bonds' with me- I'm thrilled when a thin friend makes a comment about us being the 'same size' or of the same 'body type', but sort of depressed when a larger friend groups me in with her. I know it shouldn't be that way, but it just is!

Also interesting: while most people try to stay away from commenting on someone's size, people seem to have no reservations with commenting on bust size! I have big boobs, and one people know me for about two months (the magic number for some reason), people bring it up ALL THE TIME. I sort of hate it, because I haven't decided whether having big boobs is a 'good thing'. Plus, once I was mortified when my grandmother said something about us being similar in that we have to dress a certain way for our 'large boobs'. I really do not want to have my boobs lumped in the same category as my grandma's! I mean really...

Leslie said...

About 15 years ago, I lost 75 pounds on Jenny Craig. Did not keep it off, but that's a whole 'nother story.

I was feeling pretty good about myself until....my next door neighbor offered me her all her old "fat" clothes because she'd lost a ton of weight and nothing fit. I was majorly insulted because frankly, she wasn't all THAT much smaller than me at the time, and her clothes would have STILL fit except she was rather trampish and wore everything skin tight.

To add insult to injury, I took everything that didn't have a plunging neckline or a slit up the side because I was broke and the clothes were mostly name brand and barely worn. True story.

Love your blog by the way!

Tara said...

Leslie,
I've offered my clothes to friends, both clothing that was too small and too big. In fact before I give anything away to goodwill I usually ask my friends if they want them first-particularly because I tend to bring things home and then barely where them. And my friends take the stuff they want and say no to the stuff they don't. It isn't meant to be a judgement about size, it is an act of thoughtfulness. I guess I'm not getting why that is insulting to you.
I wasn't there so maybe there were vibes going on that I'm not aware of, but is it possible that your friend was not trying to insult you by suggesting that you might fit larger clothes? If you've lost a lot of weight then you know how expensive it can be buying new clothes for each season, it's cost me a fortune. My friends, who are also on this weightloss odyssey exchange clothes all the time, so we won't go broke.

peace,
Tara

Anonymous said...

i completelt agree its like one time my friend said to me 'hey i dont care if WE'RE fat' i was like :O what ? i wasn't even that big i was ripped

Anonymous said...

It takes a lot of effort to accept your "fatness" yourself, be able to talk about it with other people and not be in denial; basically see fat, even your fat objectively and not take everything personally.
What seems odd to me in your situation, McGee, is that you are obviously not in denial about your fat, because you are comfortable enough to do this blog and open yourself to discussion of all "fattist" issues explored here with practically anyone; but when it comes to talking about it in person with someone on the street, you are uncomfortable about it.

Personally, I find it the same as talking about not being able to find decent clothes that don't look like bags. Anyone over UK size 12-14-16 will have this problem, regardless of their actual size; fatness is a political and social issue and may be viewed and discussed objectively by fat and thin people alike.

Jenn said...

Hi everyone
I think the rule of thumb here, would be to not bring up someone else's fat if you don't know them. The truth is, if you comment about it to a stranger, you will run the risk of unintentionally insulting them. People can be uncomfortable speaking about their weight for various reasons, and we should never assume that just because a person is overweight they will want to have it commented on.
If you know the person and they are comfortable with it, then by all means!
We just never know who is sensitive about this topic. Fat is a descriptive word, yes, but it has been turned into an insult because of the negative stigma surrounding it. It is a very sad thing, because I personally don't believe there's anything wrong with being fat.

another_troll said...

What seems odd to me in your situation, McGee, is that you are obviously not in denial about your fat, because you are comfortable enough to do this blog and open yourself to discussion of all "fattist" issues explored here with practically anyone; but when it comes to talking about it in person with someone on the street, you are uncomfortable about it.

Excellent point!

E said...

PEOPLE. The reason everyone gets so offended is because it it BAD to be fat, or old, or short, or tall. It is UGLY to be fat, or old, or short, or tall. You get offended by being lumped in with the "fatties" because, then, you are confronted with your fatness and your UGLINESS.

I say this as a 237lbs 26yo. And the BAD and UGLY parts aren't opinions I have chosen, or you have chosen, but they are opinions that we all have inside of us, whether we're fat or not. I got these opinions from my parents, the TV, the newspaper, whatever you want.

We all need to face the facts, as PEOPLE, that anyone, ANYONE, with ANY characteristic that is not within a certain beauty norm, dislikes having that characteristic pointed out because it implies difference and therefore UGLINESS. And as long as we tacitly accept the deal that being fat, short, tall, skinny, wrinkly, freckly, pale, dark, close-set eyes, far-set eyes, big ears, hairy, bald, big nose, anything, anything, anything that makes us "different" makes us ugly, we will continue to be offended by being lumped into those categories.

You're OK with you and your friends lumping yourselves into those categories because it's a defense mechanism.

Anonymous said...

Lame, McGee. Very lame.

You ARE fat. In every post of this blog, you tell us so. Unless said woman was 500-plus pounds, you need to stop stunting like you were somehow lessened because of what she said. Trust - if you and she were put side by side, you'd both likely be called "fat." Maybe there would be some differentiation in points of fatness, but the "fat" would be there.

Skinnies do lament their skinnydom. My sister is a size zero and has tried everything to gain weight to no avail. One of our cousins is the same way. Frankly, neither of them look that great; both have builds of little boys, and they are NOT happy about it.

If you don't want random - and seemingly nice - fat women coming up to you and starting a conversation, either shit or get off the pot. Lose weight or stop whining about stupid stuff like that. I'm a fat girl with huge tits and I don't get bent out of shape when a girl who is a DDD comes up to me and gripes about not being able to find cute bras. It doesn't matter that I'm "only" a D-cup - both me and DDD girl are shit out of luck shopping for filmy, cutesy demi-cup bras at Victoria's Secret. You and anonymous fat girl are still considered fat. Geez, girl. GET OVER YOURSELF!

Dana

Anonymous said...

Dana--

That was fucking awesome.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who say there are no gradations, fat is fat and fat is bad and everyone should get rid of all the fat:

So, for you, there's no point in a person who could stand to lose 100 pounds losing 50? Or a person who could lose 200 losing 100? All that effort was just meaningless? The health benefits just don't count"? Because, after all, such a person is still "fat." So, tell me: why should the overweight even bother, unless they know they can get down to whatever size isn't "fat" for you?

Moreover, while I'm a pretty normal size 10 these days, after working off about 40 pounds of thyroid weight, I'm still about 15 pounds over my ideal weight. I'm sure the size-2 eighteen-year-olds at the gym think I look like a whale. Does that make me "fat"? Are there no gradations between where I was and where I am? Do I get some say in defining my own body type, or do I have to spend my life trying to conform to the shallow perceptions of those eighteen-year-olds who can't imagine that they'll ever be forty? Who gets to decide what "fat" is? And why does it always seem to be you? Just wondering!

Tara said...

Hi Anon 7:14,

I don't think the point is that there are not gradations, because clearly there are. But there seems to be this hierarchy of fatness. Mcgee and those who agree with her seem to be saying "I'm superior to you because I'm smaller, how dare you think you can relate to me in any way".
I think that is a horrible destructive attititude, but at the same time, it is a painful subject to some so I try to refrain from trying to relate any more unless someone indicates it's ok.

I think this attitude (my body is better than yours so don't try to relate) is kind of like those skinny girls you are talking about, thinking that they are superior to you because they are smaller and you are a healthy size.

I understand where you are coming from though. It's frustrating to do a lot of stressful sometimes painful work losing weight, just to have self rigteous asswipes continue to look down on you because your are "still obese". Geez!

peace,
Tara

Anonymous said...

anon at 7:14am: I dare you to point out a single person who claims both that there are no gradations and that fat is bad.

It's the HAES folk who say that ANY size can be healthy. For the rest of us (slightly more sane) people, the health differences between someone 30lbs overweight and 300lbs overweight are fairly obvious.

Anonymous said...

My sister is a size zero and has tried everything to gain weight to no avail. One of our cousins is the same way.

I love how society at large generally accepts this as true, but the opposite end of the spectrum (as in a fat person who does eat healthily and does exercise just "isn't trying the right way" or "isn't trying hard enough."

You do sometimes hear that somebody must be anorexic, but not with the venom directed at those who "must be a secret eater."

Anonymous said...

"I love how society at large generally accepts this as true, but the opposite end of the spectrum (as in a fat person who does eat healthily and does exercise just "isn't trying the right way" or "isn't trying hard enough."

Anon at 1235: AMEN!

Anonymous said...

anon at 12:35 - don't know if that's entirely arbitrary.

If you are overweight and you cut calories, you lose weight. Laws of physics. If you are underweight but you don't process food efficiently, you're not going to gain weight. Not that that's a good thing - in my experience the ones who eat like pigs and don't gain an ounce are the ones that wind up diabetic later in life.

Or in other words, just because I can make my car burn twice as much fuel by playing around with adjustments doesn't mean it's as easy to make it burn half as much..

tara said...

anon 5:50

Losing weight really isn't that simple. It is possible to cut too many calories and not lose weight at all, because your body is holding on to everything it takes in. I've seen this happen to many people who are dieting or simply don't eat enough. I've had situations where I ate 1200 calories and didn't loose any weight at all, and when I bumped it up to 1500 calories, the pounds melted off. So it really isn't always true that if you eat less you lose weight.

Tara

Anonymous said...

Yes but, Tara, you weren't eating 3,000 calories. And most people who claim their fat is created by a faulty metabolism, a virus, an unhappy childhood, evil food manufacturers, yo-yo dieting, the patriarchy, the government or the medical and scientific establishment, really are - if not more. They are just embarrassed to admit it.

A typical fat person saying is "I don't eat all the time - I only eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full". But that's the trouble - when you're used to eating far more than you actually need to use up as energy, your perceptions of "hungry" and "full" are going to be distorted. Of course it's hard to break a bad habit (bad because we no longer need stores of fat in order to survive, and without a purpose it just becomes a hindrance and a health hazard). Our lifestyles no longer provide the automatic regulation of short supply and a lot of physical exertion, so the only answer is self-control. And that's why so many people disapprove of us - they know perfectly well that we have chosen to be this way and they don't understand why we would settle for looking and feeling like this.

And before anyone accuses me of self-hatred, save it. I don't hate myself, I just won't accept victim status - I'd rather be thought of as bad than sad.

Anonymous said...

well said, anon at 5:06!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear god, Anon 5:06 actually telling it like it is?! That's not allowed around here!

gina said...

Skinny girls do bitch about their own bodies to one another, but it's in a very one-up kind of way. During my brief modelling career, when I was much younger, I had lots of those conversations about who had the narrowest hips, the smallest bottom, the tiniest waist (22 inches was the norm) and what a burden it was to be so much skinnier than average. And yes, we were all naturally very thin then, though I and nearly all the girls I'm still in touch with are UK size 8-10 now.

But I don't remember us ever being nasty about larger girls - we probably just didn't think about anyone other than ourselves.

As for me, being thin and being a model was no consolation for having grown too tall to be a ballet dancer. No one gets to have it all.

Stacia said...

Anon 5:06, you make a good point, however there are plenty of fat people who don't eat 3K calories a day. Most people on this blog don't claim that they don't eat much, though.

I say this because a few months ago I mentioned twice that many fat people eat 2K calories or less, and I personally average about 1825 calories a day, per my food journal logs. I was roundly called out by many members here who let me know in no uncertain terms that *I* was the oddity, that they ate a lot of calories, binged, ate fast food, etc. That left quite an impression on me.

I believe many here feel that it's simply not some anonymous stranger's business what they eat, and that there is no reason for them to justify themselves to people who come to fat blogs just to make fun of fat people. Or to tell us that *your* version of reality is the only version and we're all delusional, pathetic liars.

I find it interesting that you post anonymously and pre-emptively tell us to not accuse you of self-hatred. Project, much?

anymouse said...

Just an aside: what's wrong with posting anonymously? We're all anonymous here, name or no name. How does making up a fake name legitimise anyone's comments?

Anonymous said...

stacia, eating under 3000 calories a day in the US only happens if you're VERY careful and you keep a detailed food log. For 99% of us, it just ain't gonna happen on a long term basis. Even worse, in a world of high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar "eat until you're not hungry" just doesn't work. In study after study, people consistently underestimate the number of calories they are eating, so when someone says they eat under 2K a day, you have to wonder how precise they are being with their measurements, and also if that's on their "good" days or also on Thanksgiving weekend and the 4th of July?

Inverarity said...

It isn't that hard to stay under 3000 calories a day. You have to learn to avoid the foods that are in high in transfat and HFCS. Yes, that means giving up junk food and soda. If you can't do that, then you probably will be consuming vastly more calories than you need, but it's not that hard to break the soda and McD's habit.

Anonymous said...

Anyone still reading? :-)

Anonymous at 8:07, I'm anonymous at 7:14, the one you dared to find someone who said there weren't any gradations. I referred to Dana, who said that while there might "points of differentiation" between the more-fat and the less-fat, "fat is fat." I.e., all the fat are created equal; those fifty pounds overweight are in the same ballpark as those a hundred pounds overweight, and so on. This implies to me what I see in other arenas: fat, like race, gender, and sexuality, is a construct which is largely though not entirely in the eye of the beholder (my students no doubt think I'm fat, but my heavier colleagues call me skinny.) But because we're an either/or culture, we try to make it an absolute. You're black OR white, gay OR straight, male OR female, fat OR thin, one or zero.

So dare away: I think we all hear this fat-absolutism is implied on a daily basis and actually articulated on a weekly to monthly basis. And that makes me wonder why we try. I know the answer's heatlh, and health is a beautiful, beautiful thing worth every bit of the work. But when it comes to image, there are about a thousand "wrong" ways to look for every "right" way, and about a thousand people to judge any given body as inferior for every one who says it's about how we define it. And that's sad.

I go by Cat, by the way.

Leslie said...

Tara said...

Leslie,
I've offered my clothes to friends, both clothing that was too small and too big. In fact before I give anything away to goodwill I usually ask my friends if they want them first-particularly because I tend to bring things home and then barely where them. And my friends take the stuff they want and say no to the stuff they don't. It isn't meant to be a judgement about size, it is an act of thoughtfulness. I guess I'm not getting why that is insulting to you.
I wasn't there so maybe there were vibes going on that I'm not aware of, but is it possible that your friend was not trying to insult you by suggesting that you might fit larger clothes? If you've lost a lot of weight then you know how expensive it can be buying new clothes for each season, it's cost me a fortune. My friends, who are also on this weightloss odyssey exchange clothes all the time, so we won't go broke.

peace,
Tara

11:03 AM

Hi Tara,

My neighbor, not a bad gal, was the sort who was only fooling herself because she managed to squeeze into a smaller size. Even if she really, really, needed the bigger size.

To me, it wasn't so much about size as comfort. Clothes look better and are much more comfortable if they fit properly, no matter what size you are. To me, my neighbor looked uncomfortable in too tight jeans that muffin topped her, shirts that didn't cover what they should,and underwear that was constantly riding up because it was way too small. If I needed a size 26, then that's what I bought. I was grateful for the clothes I could use, but thought she was crazy for giving them away because she could've used them herself.

cherree said...

stacia, eating under 3000 calories a day in the US only happens if you're VERY careful and you keep a detailed food log. For 99% of us, it just ain't gonna happen on a long term basis.

What the hell are you eating, Anon at 12:46? Even if you eat 500 kcals for breakfast and 1000 for each lunch and dinner, you're still under 3000.
If you eat 3000 kcals a day, and you require, say, 2000 (as a woman) you will eat an excess of 365000 kcal per year. Since they say a pound lost/gained is equivalent to 3500kcal, that would mean that you would gain more than 100 lbs per year. Do most poeple?

Anonymous said...

I've got to agree with Cherree - I think I would be physically ill if I ate 3000. I often have a hard time keeping my calories high enough (I try to eat 1400-1600 a day). I can see how you could eat a lot of calories if all you ate was fast food and chocolate bars all day long... which is pretty disgusting (I hate fast food). It would take a lot of effort for those who try to eat a balanced diet (ie - including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) to eat 3000 calories. And really, it's not that difficult. Just stop eating cheeseburgers and drinking pop and start munching on some veggies.

suzy_q said...

You guys are making a good point. I count every calorie, every day - not that I'm obssessive or anything! - and often have trouble meeting my target. But then I don't eat any processed foods, or any form of sugar.

Anonymous said...

Now I have to call bullshit on a couple posts regarding how hard it is to eat 3000 calories a day, even if you're eating whole foods. When I am eating healthfully (staying awway from sugar, eating home-cooked whole foods), I find it difficult to stay under 2000 calories a day. And yes, that is from whole grains, lean meats and lots of veggies. All I would need to do is add a Starbucks coffee and bagel (about 1K total) and I'm in the 3K range. Most of the fat people I know have no idea what proper portion size is, and so they delude themselves into thinking that they have eaten a 400-calorie meal when often it was twice that due to portion size, or the sauces/dressing/condiments/sodas they ordered with it. It never fails that if I keep my calories under 2K a day, I lose weight. Period. No mystery about it. And I suspect it works that way for the majority of fat people, otherwise gastic bypass would not work initially for 90% of the people who undergo it. And all that surgery does is limit your food intake.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:23 - I have to keep my calories pretty low if i want to lose weight - whenever I go above about 1600 I maintain, and anything over 2000 and I start gaining again. That being said, the point I made earlier about it being difficult to reach 3000 is that it's difficult if you eat healthy food - sorry, but a starbucks drink and a bagel isn't healthy. And yes, I should know that it's difficult, since I track every bit of food I put in my mouth (measured, of course - so portion size distortion isn't a problem for me). Maybe some people can eat more, but if I ate that much I'd probably throw up.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 11.23 - whenever I eat less than 2000 I lose weight too. It's like the body can't wait to get rid of excess baggage, given half a chance.

One of the comments on another thread said she thought a hot dog was about 300 calories, but the real count is at least 500 - and she was eating 3 a day, plus a pastry or two, because she didn't have time to cook. I think many people seriously underestimate values, and package labelling with its "portion" figure doesn't help. If they just said per ounce it would be easier.

Anonymous said...

Actually, that's precisely why I used the Starbucks and bagel example--lots of people think coffee and coffee drinks do not have a high calorie count, and they think a bagel is a "healthy" breakfast as opposed to sugary cereal. Even a "healthy" version of that meal--a bagel (no cream cheese) with black coffee--will still set you back about 500 calories because the bagel is so calorie dense. I still stand by my statement that most fat people truly underestimate how much they eat, and how healthy what they eat is. Sure you can consume less calories, but if you skimp out on things like protien omega3 fatty acids, dark green veggies or good sources of fiber in order to stay below a certain number of calories, you're going to compromise your ability to lose weight effectively. I eat six small (250-400 cal) meals a day, and I found that if I eat less than this, I don't lose as much.

Anonymous said...

Back to the original topic of this post, I think it's a crock that there is some taboo against fat people acknowledging that they are fat, even to each other. Personally I have no problem telling people that I am fat (duh, like they didn't notice my five foot one, 320-pound ass!) and talking about the challenges of being fat to thin and fat alike. I have had to learn the hard way, however, that some fat people can't deal. I know one girl who is the same size as me (I know because we've gone shopping together), but because I weigh 50 pounds more than she does (I carry a lot more muscle than she does) she calls herself "voluptous" and gets offended when I refer to the both of us as fat. It makes no sense, and I really think people (including the mcgee girls) should just get over themselves and just deal.

another_troll said...

It makes no sense, and I really think people (including the mcgee girls) should just get over themselves and just deal.

Um, yeah. If you call yourself Fatty McGee, and run a blog called Fatty McBlog where you regularly write about your pannus, you've gotta be pretty fat, right? In what universe does that give you the right to be offended when some well-meaning fellow fattie strikes up a conversation with you about your joint fatness?

Anonymous said...

How about you lazy heifers put down the twinkies and update your blog? :)

Anonymous said...

anon at 11:44am - "sorry, but a starbucks drink and a bagel isn't healthy."

Do you have any idea what people in mid America actually eat? Not downtown Manhattan, but in Omaha or St. Louis?

I stayed with one of my friends and his family a couple of weeks ago in St. Louis. Typical day for him:

Breakfast about 6am - scrambled eggs, bowl of oatmeal with sugar and butter, toast with butter, and coffee with sugar.
Lunch - 2 BLT sandwiches at work, 1 16oz Gatorade
Snack before kid's soccer practice - peanut butter and jelly sandwich and apple.
Dinner at 8:30 - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes with butter, beans, some hot chocolate.

Now that's not gluttonous by any means in St. Louis, it's not even unusual. It's what people eat on a day to day basis. On, say, Thanksgiving which is day after tomorrow, you're probably not going to see a whole lot of tofurkey being consumed at his house.

I'm sorry, but if you think it's obvious to everyone that they should start the day with a no-sugar bran muffin, organic orange juice and tofu omelet, you are completely off your rocker.

Anonymous said...

Okay - my point was that if you eat healthy, calorie-dense foods, it's extremely difficult to eat as many as 3000 calories in a day. In my point, I was simply stating that, while it would be easy to reach that amount by drinking some full-cream whipped chocolate whatever from Starbucks with a bagel, those foods aren't what I would consider healthy foods. Did I say everyone should eat tofu? Absolutely not. I eat treats now and then, but in moderation. And I've made the effort to look at the nutritional information on foods, and to learn about portion sizes. Maybe it's not obvious to everyone that some of the foods we eat regularly aren't healthy, but these people are capable of reading nutrition labels and figuring it out for themselves, and I don't accept ignorance as an argument for being overweight.

By the way, I happen to think tofurky is rather disgusting.

Anonymous said...

anon at 1:14pm - you're just chasing your tail here. Anything that doesn't cause you to gain weight is "healthy", and if you eat those "healthy" foods, you won't gain weight.

Exactly what is your definition of healthy? If it's low calorie, then why are you advocating "calorie-dense" foods? And how are you defining "moderation"? What's a treat? Does a treat have to be healthy? What about if my treat is a bagel and a Starbucks coffee?

My point is simply that it takes a LOT of effort to eat under 3000 calories on a normal American diet without doing a lot of calculations. By your own admission, you're looking at nutritional labels, measuring portions, and taking time out to eat FIVE to SIX meals a day. That's not exactly what normal people do.

Let's compare this with rural India where I spent a few years. If you just eat normally - what everyone else is eating - you're very unlikely to eat over 3000 calories per day. That's with eating 3 meals a day, not reading any nutritional labels, not worrying about HFCS or transfats, etc. My point is that the American diet is intrinsically bad, and must be heavily modified to make it useful, whereas other cultures have diets that are reasonable to start with.

Inverarity said...

[i]My point is simply that it takes a LOT of effort to eat under 3000 calories on a normal American diet without doing a lot of calculations.[/i]

No, it takes very little effort. Unless you are in the habit of eating fast food for most of your meals. Yes, if you start the morning with a frappucino and a bagel, hit McD's for lunch, pick up a KFC Famous Bowl for dinner on the way home, then have some Haagen Daaz for dessert before you go to bed... maybe add a few alcoholic beverages in there somewhere... well, yeah, you'll have trouble staying under 3000 calories.

That may be the "American diet," but it's not that hard to decide you're going to have a non-sugary cereal or oatmeal, fruit, and some coffee for breakfast, a chicken breast or turkey sandwich for lunch, a nice meat-and-vegetable entree for dinner, and you'll be well under 3000 calories for the day (under 2000 unless your portion sizes are large, in fact). That's without even trying to do the 5-6 meals a day routine (which is better for you).

You people claiming it takes major effort not to consume 3000 calories act like soda and junk food jumps down your throat if you are not constantly on your guard. Without even being all that into health and fitness, it does not take that much effort to make a choice to eat foods that are at least reasonably healthy and nutritious -- i.e. milk and fruit juice instead of soda and beer, fruits and vegetables instead of french fries and apple danishes, fish and chicken instead of cheeseburgers.

Claiming otherwise is just making excuses.

JJ said...

I have the same insecurities. I am 170 pounds, and when someone twice my size groups me into her fat group, I DO get offended and I think rightly so. Yeah, if someone were to stand us both together they would say we were both fat, but I think they would recognize I'm substantially less so than the woman twice my size. Hell, even someone 220 pounds looks a lot larger than I do, but that doesn't mean I'm not fat. I'm just a different fat than her.

Case in point, at my boyfriend's house, his roommate's girlfriend looked at my shoes and went, "You know, if you wore pointy heels you'd look thinner. They're a God-send for us curvy girls." I smiled and said "thanks for the tip" but inside I was pissed. This girl is 270 pounds...100 pounds heavier than myself. I didn't like being grouped in with her. So I can totally see where McGee is coming from.

Anonymous said...

Why be offended? This woman shares the same struggles as you! You're a fat girl being judgemental about other fat girls.
Though admittedly, unsolicited advice and comments are annoying and tend to create negative feelings towards the advice giver :)