Well folks, Happy New Year. Did you make a resolution to lose weight this year? I bet you did. I did too. I want to lose weight every year, because I’m a fat woman in America.
The media talks about the “obesity epidemic.” They throw around that term, obese. A term that when I was a child evoked images of someone too fat to get out of bed. It certainly didn’t apply to the beautiful plump women I knew. Today it does, because they changed the definition. Gee, I wonder why the medical community would start using such a negative, vicious word to define overweight people?
In the last few decades this fear of obesity has really ramped up in America. And why not, I mean we do have an epidemic on our hands, right? Epidemic, a word that actually means “a widespread infectious disease.” Being fat is now contagious. And my god you guys, even the little kids are fat!
Except that they’re not.
The obesity epidemic is a lie. Are Americans getting fatter? Yep, but as my aunt (a nurse) said, “It’s not an epidemic. Obesity is a regional problem.” A bunch of fat people in Houston does not an epidemic make.
For me 2015 started off with a resolution to take better care of myself. A full physical in January revealed completely healthy blood work/blood pressure despite my giant fat ass. Hmmmmm? How very strange. I signed up for a writing workshop and set out to publish a blog. I vowed to travel more.
Last year brought us three vacations and I launched my blog in August.
Things were plugging along smoothly. Oh yeah, except for one little thing. Something that years ago would have hounded me from the moment I opened my eyes until my head hit the pillow at night. Something that clung to my back like a monkey and whispered acidic insults into my ear.
Most women are intimately familiar with this battle, unless they’re NBF (never been fat). If you’ve never had to battle your weight, even just a little, you’re a freaking cultural anomaly.
For overweight people, every day is filled with a multitude of tiny humiliations.
It’s the time I mentioned how I’d love to get back into rock climbing and a friend actually had to stifle a giggle. The time I tried a martial arts class and someone laughed and said, “I CANNOT picture this!” The way a well meaning friend makes comments about how they’ll be the one to teach my kids certain outdoor activities. As if my size precludes me from teaching my own children how to mountain bike or ski.
It’s the fact that if I ever tell a story about getting hit on I have to preface it with, “Well, obviously this was back when I was thin.” Or the way a friend was relieved to learn her husband’s new coworker was overweight, because apparently fat women are a different species. A different, un-fuckable species.
It’s knowing that most major clothing retailers make “plus-sized” clothing but don’t sell it in the store. They only sell it online because they don’t want your fat ass in there, wandering around, ruining their aesthetic.
Or how about the time when I lost twenty-five pounds and the Weight Watchers meeting leader commented, “WoooHooo! Your husband must be LOVING that!” And I wanted to say, “Oh yeah, because he hated my fat ass before.”
Nowadays people refer to these “unintended” slights as micro-aggressions. They talk about “fat shaming.” It’s not fat shaming, it’s not a micro-aggression. It’s called being an asshole.
It’s discriminating against the very thing you’re terrified of being. It’s akin to homophobia.
It’s also just good ‘ol fashion sexism.
In America we hate all fat people, but we vilify the fat woman.
We find fat women unappealing sexually and that makes us angry. It’s as if an entire culture decided to say, “If no one wants to fuck you, then you’re useless.” Because really, that’s all women are good for anyway, right? Sex.
Well America, on behalf of all fat bottomed girls I’d like to let you in on a little secret.
We don’t want to fuck you either.
You like your women small and feminine, they shouldn’t take up too much space. You want us to be easily pushed aside, easily overpowered, easily raped. You make bumper stickers that say “No Fat Chicks.”
There are humorous T-shirts that read, “Fat People Are Harder to Kidnap,” but damn if that isn’t true. I don’t fear for my life walking to my car in the dark at a size eighteen the way I do when I’m a size eight. What does that tell you about the reality of being female in America?
I know you’ve heard this diatribe before, how the fashion industry has ruined women’s self confidence. But do you actually know why fashion models are stick thin?
Originally designers wanted people to see the clothes walking down the runway, not the models. A model’s job is to be a human clothes hanger. We were never supposed to notice their bodies to begin with, but we still saw their bodies. We always notice bodies. Overtime this seeped into our unconscious, and so here we are, adult women, trying to look like fourteen-year-old girls. We decided that the body of the pubescent girl child is the sexual ideal.
We strive to look like teenagers and in doing so we breed more pedophilia.
Well, I’m not buying it, and I’m asking you not to buy it either.
The way we do that is by standing in our bodies without disappointment. By realizing that we look like everyone else actually looks. We start by wearing a swimsuit at the pool. We do it by refusing to apologize for having tits and ass. We stop saying asinine things like, “Oh, that’s too much bread for us girls,” or “She has no business wearing those shorts with legs like that.”
Maybe we stop and realize that men don’t spend a significant amount of time wasting their brain space thinking about their bodies.
We accomplish this by shutting up about the connection between weight and health, by shutting up about heart disease and diabetes. (Unless of course, you actually work for the CDC) Maybe we realize that a person’s health issues are their own damn business. That people might smoke, drink, spend too much time in the sun or have a genetic predisposition to cancer. Maybe they were born with a heart condition. There are lots of reasons why a person could have health problems, so stop using health as the cover for your hatred of women’s bodies.
If you want to lose weight this year do it because you’re getting winded taking the stairs, because your back hurts or you want more energy, because you want to run faster, jump higher, be stronger, because your doctor told you to. But please spare me the details of how this is the year you’re going to get your bikini body back.
Because there are no bikini bodies.
Just bodies, in all different shades, fat, thin, short and tall.
All of them carrying beautiful souls.