Things people say to fat people

You can read about the project here, and you can read some of the things people say here. Clue – they’re not kind:

The hostility fat people experience is extreme. One woman spoke about being on an operating table for a C-section and having a surgeon mock her fat, suggesting they get rid of it while they’ve got her open. Another spoke of sitting in an ambulance while a police officer refused to believe she was raped. Others were told they should be happy to have been sexually assaulted.

8 thoughts on “Things people say to fat people

  1. The remarks made to fat people left me too angry to feel sad, thank goodness. It’s a pretty awful situation.

    I’d love to hear if anyone has written about the cruelty in ordinary life. The only really effective advice I’ve heard is to stay far away from people who indulge in petty cruelty, which can be hard when one has institutional connections with them.

  2. I am large, and probably my worst critic…even if I say things jokingly about myself.
    I believe acceptance of largeness begins with myself. This won’t necessarily keep other people from saying “things”, but the people who say stuff generally don’t feel good about themselves either…so, we can all begin to help each other by accepting ourselves, and being strong about accepting ourselves.

  3. What I wonder is why it’s fat, and only fat amongst all human shortcomings that generates this peculiar combination of self-righteousness and unapologetic cruelty and this level of intensity. The only other characteristic that’s even in the ballpark, smoking, doesn’t even come close. And skinney Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity, edifying as it may be, has made things even worse. Seems it’s a virulent mix of misogyny and class prejudice. You can’t admit to being contemptuous of people for being working class (which, well, you are) but you can self-righteously condemn people for eating junk food and not maintaining a healthy lifestyle even if that lot is extensionally equivalent (or at least heavily overlapping) with the working class.

  4. Yes. I’m 5’6″ and hormone changes during both of my pregnancies, and near-starvation during the worst times of my life have put me up to a size 20 and then down to a size 4 and halfway back again. People reacted strangely to whatever stereotypes they pushed on me, at both ends of the weight scale. When I was fat it was “You need a man instead of a twinkie.” When I was skinny it was “Stay away from my man, you crackwhore.” Blah blah blah…

    I found this story particulary shameful:
    http://www.wtrf.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=96699

    And all anybody wants to do is trash the fatman and his friends. Did anybody think that maybe the poor man was tired of hearing his legitimate health concerns met with ridicule to the tune of “Lose weight. Your health problems are all your fault”?

    And the landlord thinks his girlfriend should be doing a nurse’s job. The man needed professional care, for pity’s sake.

    You’re right, Dr. Baber. Landlords and employers can’t whine about how ‘those people’ are driving the property values down or making the workplace look yucky, driving insurance rates up, costing taxpayers money, etc., etc. anymore, unless they can find a way to assign blame for the classist/sexist/ableist and often racist appearance criteria that ‘those people’ (whoever ‘those people’ of the moment may be) are not meeting. Fat phobia is the last justifiable excuse for the privileged people to shit on the have-nots.

  5. I know, S. I’m thinking about Matt and Lego right now. Are you comfortable discussing him here? Or posting a clip?

  6. I’m re-reading _The Beauty Myth_, because I recently read a review on Amazon of a new book about porn culture…One reviewer (who probably hadn’t read the book) said that feminism exists so that old, ugly women can still feel good about themselves (*cough cough*)…

    At the time _The Beauty Myth_ was written, people still didn’t admit that they’d had plastic surgery (I’m looking at you, Demi Moore!). Now it’s pretty much de rigueur, no matter what your age (I’m looking at you, Heidi Montag)…The pressure to conform to an ever-tinier image of what a woman is “supposed” to be is terrifying.

    I’ve often wondered if the “obesity epidemic” is, in a lot of ways, a backlash against looks-ism in our culture. We get fat, not just because thumb-twiddling is the only exercise we get, but also because the standard is impossible for any woman to fit.

    Naomi Wolf points out that fear of women is the underlying cause of hostility toward women. The old boys’ club realizes that there’s more of “us” than there are of “them,” so they set crazy rules so we’ll stay anxious and self-doubting and self-loathing so we can’t mobilize.

    I’d say the same is true of “fat-shaming.” If the statistic that 65% of North Americans are overweight or obese, then that definitely means there are more of “us” than there are of “them.”

    Fear of a Fat Planet. YO!

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