04 December 2008

Beware, bitter rant ahead......

This is a picture of The Ninja and fellow travelers jumping off a boat into Halong Bay in Vietnam. I love jumping off things into water, it's one of my all time favorite things to do. I didn't jump off this boat, and every time I see these pictures I regret it. Why didn't I jump off the boat? Because I was embarrassed to be seen in my swimmers. I missed out on this magical experience not because I was fat, but because I felt like other people would judge me because of this. *Cue sad violin music*

The delightful SM does have a lot to do with this, but I am slowly realising other people around me that contribute to this feeling, it's mainly because Fat is the new Black. No longer is it tolerated to publicly deride people of other races as it once was, we can't talk crap about the Japs or the Chinks and definitely not the Niggers, and well we shouldn't. Some people still need a group to belittle in order to make themselves feel worthwhile and there is something out there that defines a group of people that's constantly in hunting season, the overweight, the obese, The Fatties.

Now you'd think I'd be a bit tougher when it comes to these remarks, having first been told I was a Fatty at the ripe young age of 9, but over the years I have become more and more sensitive. I no longer come home and cry and feel rejected, nowadays I get downright pissed off. What gives people the right to comment on someone else's weight? And what, pray tell, does someone's dress size have to do with their intelligence, ability in the workplace or their sexiness? And why do people think it's OK to talk like that in front of me? A fellow Fatty.

The comments aren't usually directed at the fat person in the room, they are discussions about "other people" that apparently aren't like you. Not unlike the talks had around one of the gorgeous Koori girls I went to school with, who wasn't like the "others" because her family didn't live on The Mission.

I have to say, after doing a retrospective observational study using my own experience as data (highly rigorous), that the majority of perpetrators of this socially permissible act are women. You do get men playing along like the incredible Endocrinologist I went to see, full of hope that he would have some answers for me about weight loss as a hypothyroid person, who told me I was just lazy, no questions, no proper assessment, you're fat that means you're lazy, that will be $300 please.

Women are increasingly insecure, we are bombarded with images of the perfect woman, who not only represents about 3% of the population in physical attributes but is airbrushed into a cartoon character that no human being could ever look like. Girls as young as 5 years old are reported to have body image issues and starting to diet, 5 years old people! There is something very wrong with this picture.

The magazines, movies and graphic artists are not all to blame, this problem starts in your own backyard. I've listened to may criticisms of the "fat people". Friends that giggle about how so-and-so has put on so much weight and looks so bad, a group of friends delighted in stripping down a teacher of ours who had put on a few kilos, proceeded to say they could never take anyone seriously giving out health advice that didn't look "the part", right there next to me, a rather zaftig lass who works in the healthcare industry.

It's not just the average Jo either, I was recently at a seminar for health professionals about weight loss techniques and the presenter herself kept making comments and rolling her eyes about the "fat clients" and how they are just lazy or have an excuse for everything. During a lecture on obesity the lecturer commented on how she hated fat clients because they just never did anything about it.

Don't even get me started on the mass emails sent around with a group of fat women in bikinis and some fat-est remark that's supposed to be funny, let's not forget that great bumper sticker that was so popular a while back "fat chicks go home".

What a state we are in when health professionals that are meant to help and support people to lose weight, have the opinion that every overweight person that walks through their door is stupid, lazy and a lost cause. What a state we are in when women are judged so harshly by our own, held down by the very people that should be holding us up and helping us along.

"People in glass houses have to answer the bell"
Bruce Patterson




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