Local department stores are finally getting a clue! A new range aimed at young women size 16 to 24 and Truecodes now offering fantastic savings with the latest Discount Code and Wonga Promo Code. This is HUGE (pun intended) as there is hardly a big range of plus size clothing available in this country, particularly for young women. Designers (or is the buyers? Or both?) seem to think that fat women want to look like they are draped in their Nana’s curtains rather than looking anything even slightly close to fashionable. Lets change everyone’s perception and not only this, cut costs with a discount code from Truecodes.co.uk! If only they made most of the ‘normal’ sized clothing in plus sizes, it would all be good. There is no reason why they couldn’t do that, most of the styles would look fine on bigger women so that isn’t an excuse. The simple fact is that they don’t want fat women to look good because, gods forbid, that might encourage us fatties to think that it is OK to be fat and we can’t have that! Get the latest Discount Codes from http://www.techcomplex.co.uk.
10 month old Becky has been offered a modelling contract. Not surprising considering how darn cute she is…
Yes, yes – just because she has been signed doesn’t guarantee any jobs and childhood modelling can be a questionable concept in itself but still…
Of course, despite even the height and weight charts confirming that Becky is of average weight for her age, people still seem to think she is “too fat” (judging by the inane and sanity point eating comments responding to today’s online article). I don’t usually put much weight (no pun intended) on the government issued charts but when even they say the child is average weight (she is lower than average for height) then for goodness sakes, can’t people lay off with the “oh she is too fat” comments? And then there are the commenters who say Becky must be bottle-fed as breastfed babies are always thinner. I have one thing to say to that…
I have breastfed both my children (one for 12 months and one for 2 years +). My son was always below average on weight and average on height. Not surprising since his father and his father’s family are all slim to very slim. My daughter on the other hand, has always been average height and until she was 18 months old, she was above average for weight. Again, not surprising since her father is built like a Samoan rugby player and she has me as her mother. I have friends who have also nursed their babies for 2+ years and those children have also been above average weight. And no, ‘above average’ does not mean this children are/were total butterballs. And even if they were, who cares? Baby fat is there for a reason. It protects children during the inevitable falls that come with learning to walk etc and also when illness strikes. If my daughter had not been carrying an extra kilogram or two earlier this year, she would have faded away to nothing during the period of chronic ear infections, asthma and chest infections that she endured between March and September. She didn’t gain any weight between her first and second birthdays but since being well for a few months, she has gained some and is now happily on the 50th percentile for age and weight.
Even so, it is worth remembering that as far as these ‘weight for age’ charts are concerned, there are ALWAYS going to be kids who are classed as underweight and kids who are classed as overweight. These charts are based on an average which is formulated by taking the number of children in a control group, adding all their weights and dividing it by the number of children. Consequently, if the majority of the group are on the slim side, even if other children in the group are ‘average’ size, they will be classed as ‘above average’ for weight simply because of the number of slim children. If you were to calculate the average weight for age in say, Somalia, you would find that the average weight for 2 year olds is a lot less than the average weight for 2 year olds in the western world. And it is this concept of ‘average’ (which is entirely relative) that skews the classification of those who are outside of the realm of ‘average’ (be it underaverage or overaverage). This only reinforces the importance of considering each individual on their own merits and as a whole rather than isolating one particular characteristic such as weight and labelling someone as deviant based on that alone.
Today I thought I would point you towards this post about the appearance of female bodybuilders. While you might not find the physique of female bodybuilders to be your cup of tea, consider how you feel when someone calls a fat body “disgusting” or “ugly”. While we respect that person’s right not to be attracted to a fat body, we don’t condone descriptions such as “disgusting” and “ugly”. And that being the case, why should we condone labelling female body builder’s physiques as such? Simple answer – we shouldn’t.
So, get out your broken records: It doesn’t matter if you find those women attractive or not. They’re very likely not doing it for you. That you find body building “grotesque” is completely beside, behind, or even miles away from the point. Nobody cares that you find it disgusting. If you find it disgusting? Don’t do it. Nobody is trying to make you become or date a body builder.
When you start talking about women’s bodies with terms like “disgusting” “grotesquerie” “disfiguring” or disturbing”, you’re engaging in exactly the kind of body shaming that a lot of us have been fighting against. So, thanks for that. A woman who can bench 450 lbs without breaking a sweat is no less deserving of respect than a woman who weighs 450 lbs. It’s one thing to question the social forces that lead us to view our bodies in various ways. It’s quite another to look at pictures of particular women and proclaim them gross.
And the conversation is almost exactly like the typical fat shaming thread.
Personally, I find this image quite offensive. What do you think?
Seeing this sentiment emblazoned upon a tshirt made me remember a time about 12 years ago when I was out at a local club (ok, the only local club) with my then flat mate. Over the course of the night my roomie and I sat back and watched a male friend and a friend of his (we’ll call him Mate) hook up with two young women. These two females were several years younger than we were at the time (we were all in our early 20s), one was what society would generally consider as attractive and the other young woman was what society would generally consider unattractive. One woman was thin and pretty in the traditional sense while the other was chubby and had plainer features. One had her hair and makeup done and was wearing trendy clothing and the other appeared to be wearing no makeup, had her hair hanging loose and was wearing plain jeans a tshirt. You can guess which girl was getting the most male attention that night.
The Mate of our male friend had managed to get Miss Slim’s attention but the deal breaker was that Miss Slim wasn’t about to leave her Fat Friend out in the cold and so put it to the Mate that if our male friend showed an interest in her Fat Friend, then she (Miss Slim) would be happy to hang out with the Mate. Because our male friend had a misguided sense of loyalty to Mate, and obviously entertained the ideology of the “wingman” (as illustrated in the tshirt image shown above), he did his duty and cosied up to the Fat Friend so that his Mate would have a better chance with Miss Slim.
It goes without saying that I was appalled. At the time I was a size 16, which while not hugely fat was still bigger than my friends and the majorit of other young women my age. The Fat Friend was probably around the same size as me, perhaps a little bigger. I was appalled when our male friend explained the lay of the land to me. I knew (and he confirmed it) that he was not interested in this girl at all. He was only feigning interest in the hope that it would get his Mate into bed with Miss Slim. As far as male friend was concerned, it was all about loyalty and mateship. As far as I was concerned it was all about betrayal and humiliation. I wondered how the Fat Friend would feel when (if) she found out what was going on: that the attractive guy she thought liked her was only pretending to give a shit because her friend had asked his friend for him to do so. In my mind, the whole situation was totally demeaning for them all but particularly for the Fat Friend. It certainly changed the way I thought about my male friend and I warned my flat mate that if she ever, ever considered asking a guy to get his mate to pretend to like me, I would end our friendship then and there. Our friendship came to an end a few years later anyway, ironically for reasons not totally unrelated to that night involving the Fat Friend but that is another story.
So you can see why the tshirt in question brought this memory back as vividly as if it had taken place yesterday. If I can say one thing to slim women with their own Fat Friend, it would be if you put so little value on your friendship that you could ask someone to pretend they like your Fat Friend just so you don’t feel bad because someone likes you – you aren’t worth being friends with in the first place.
Yes, I meant that to be “Doctor love” rather than “Doctor Love”! “Doctor love” as in I-Love-My-Doctor, something you don’t hear too often from a fatty! But I am seriously pleased with my medico man at the moment. Yesterday I dragged myself off to pay him a visit. My throat felt like I was trying to swallow razor blades, my chest felt like someone had punched me there repeatedly, I was hacking up chunks of my lungs… you get the idea. Was feeling rather crap-tastic. I get there, wait a bit, go into his office. He checks my temperature, yes I have a fever. Or a “real illness” as he put it. He was smiling at the time so I didn’t slap him. He then peered down my throat. Yes, you definitely have a “real illness”. He listens to my rattling chest and nods once more. Yep, real illness for sure. No more living alone for the Cold From Hell ™, it was now cohabiting with its new friends Bronchitis and the unwholesome tag-along Throat Infection. (The squatters have since been served notice in the form of antibiotics and the landlord is hoping they leave peacefully without further resistance).
But back to why I love my doctor (and no, it wasn’t just because he agreed that I was “really” sick). He pulled out his medical certificate pad while asking me if I was working at the moment. I told him no, I am at home with the little one and also studying. He asked me what I was studying and I explained what I am doing and why. When I said the letters P – h – D, his eyes lit up and I had his full attention (no, I am not doing my doctorate this year, I am doing some units to boost my application). He leaned forward and asked with interest what I was hoping to research. I took a deep breath (as deep as you can when you are wheezing and coughing like a 40-a-day smoker). My doctor has never harassed me about my weight. He has never brought it up in a negative regard. He is good that way. However I thought I might be pushing the friendship just a little too far by telling him what I planned to write my dissertation about. I exhaled. What the hell… It isn’t like there aren’t other thorough, humane, compassionate, understanding, open-minded doctors out there…right? (Actually, there isn’t but I didn’t want to think about that at the time…)
“I am hoping to research the experiences of fat women in a thin-centric society…or something in that general area…” I started boldly but trailed off, waiting for a reaction…
And I got a reaction. Wow, did I get a reaction! He nearly fell off his chair in excitement. He leaned even further forward and started telling me how wonderful that would be and how timely that sort of research is and he went on and on and on. I missed half of what he said because I was just so surprised that he was so enthused about the idea. Then he stopped mid-sentence and looked at me seriously.
“There is just one problem with this PhD idea” he said, peering over his glasses at me.
“And that would be…?” I asked more meekly than I would like to admit, peering back at him over my own glasses.
“That I am going to have to wait at least 4 1/2 years to read it!” he replied, leaning back in his chair with a grin on his face.
Female Two: “I just don’t get how parent’s can let their kids get that fat. Like, if that was my kid I would hire him a personal trainer or something. Or have him on lettuce all day (laugh). It’s not like they don’t know that it’s bad for you.”
Female Two: “I just reckon it’s abusive. If you want to get fat then go ahead. But you should know that that will kill your kid”
Female One: ”My friend (name) is a nurse and she said that she see’s kids every day with diabetes. But she said the parent’s are in denial. Like often they are so fat themselves they don’t care or they think it’s normal or something. It’s disgusting.”
Female Two: “Sometimes I feel like going up to parents and given them a piece of my mind”
Female One: “Really?”
Female Two: “Yeah, because someone needs to like tell them they are killing their kids, you know.”
Female Three: “It’s probably attitudes like those that are killing their kids actually.”
Female Two: “I’m sorry?”
Female Three: “Attitudes like yours. Probably causing more problems for kids like that, than the fat that they are carrying” (Nice friendly smile)
Female One and Two look a bit uncomfortable.
Female One: “We are just having a private conversation here.”
Female Three: “Yes I know, and I’m really sorry to interrupt you both, but I just think what your saying is crap to be honest. Do you know what one of the main health risk factors for kids who are that weight is?”
Female One and Two (silence)
Female Three: (Very reasonable tone) “It’s actually suicide. And do you know why that is? Because people like you, and probably your kids who pick up your attitudes towards kids like that, make fat kids like that feel so shit about themselves that they don’t want to live”.
Female One: “I’m not bullying anyone!”
Female Three: “No. But you just made a bunch of jokes about that kids weight didn’t you?”
Female One: “No I didn’t!”
Female Three: “Look I’m not looking for a fight. I just think sometimes we can get really critical of people who are overweight really for no good reason. That fat kid is probably no more disgusting or unhealthy than that skinny one swimming next to him.”
Female Two: “That is ridiculous. Of course the fat kid is going to be more unhealthy. Everyone knows that if you are too fat you are going to get diseases.”
Female Three: “Okay so what is it that makes you think that about that kid? I’m assuming your kids are in the pool too? So they are doing the same activities right? What’s to say that that kid is less active than yours? Or that his parent’s care less about him?”
Female One: “I never said that!”
Female Two: “Well my kids won’t be getting out of the pool and drinking coke and eating chips. Bet that kid will be.”
Female Three: “What do you base that assumption on?”
Female Two: “Because parent’s of fat kids feed their kids shit, and then complain that it is someone elses problem when their kids get bullied at school or get diabetes or need to go to fat camp or something. I don’t see why taxes should pay for them being irresponsible parents.”
Female One: “Oh and when their teeth rot because they have been fed so much sugary food”
Female Three: “I think you might have been watching a bit much television to be honest. That really isn’t the case at all”
Female One: “Oh so you think you are some kind of expert or something do you?”
Female Three: “No, look, I’m just a mum. But I just think that we can unfairly judge people because of their size. And I think we probably give people who are fat a really hard time. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have a body that is made fun of all the time. And I just don’t know if that is all that helpful really. Maybe it just encourages people into withdrawing from activity? Surely we would want to really encourage and support all kids to be healthy and to be active no matter what their size. I would certainly want my kids to know that there are a range of different bodies with different shapes and sizes and that bodies can do amazing things even if they aren’t pencil thin…..”
Female Two: “Like be a sumo wrestler” (Laughs)
Female Three: “Well, I would hate them to think that society values one body type more than another, or that it is okay to pick on someone because he or she happens to be a bit heavier than everyone else.”
Female Two: “Oh don’t get me wrong, I think they should be exercising all the time.”
Female Three: “They…..?”
Female Two: “Like the fat kids.”
Female Three: “Riiiight…”
Female One: “Yeah, or like they could have Biggest Loser type things for them.”
Female Three. “Don’t you think that would be a bit dangerous for kids? And all the people on the Biggest Loser tend to put the weight back on. I’m not sure that would be good in the long term for them.”
Female One. “Yeah that’s true”
Female Two: “It’s coz they can’t be bothered.”
Female Three: “Anyway, look thanks for listening to my point of view. I know it isn’t all that fashionable to stick up for fat people, but they are people at the end of the day too. And I just reckon if we were a bit less judging and a bit more inclusive and supportive there might be a few more kids out there that felt a bit happier about themselves”.
Female Two: “Yeah I see what you are saying.You are probably right. But as long as they don’t think that it’s okay to be that weight though.”
There have been two people in my life who made it their personal mission to shame me because I am fat. Two people who have attempted, and at some times succeeded, to debase and belittle me because of my weight. Two people who wanted me to feel unworthy and unwanted and who did their very best to make me feel that way by using my weight against me.
I encountered the first of these people at primary (elementary) school. My first negative encounter with her was the very first day of school. While that initial meeting didn’t involve my weight, it did set the scene for the next 6 years of my life. That particular girl made it her mission to taunt me as much as she could and as often as she could, in any way that she could because she perceived me as being fat. The ridiculous thing is that at that point I wasn’t fat. I was 6 years old when I met this girl and I was not fat. I was a lot taller than most other girls my age but I was not fat. I was 6 years old and I wore a girl’s size 6. Perfectly normal. Average. Nothing out of the ordinary. But this girl was one of those petite little flowers who could be blown over by a good gust of wind. She was fine boned and ‘delicate’. And she deigned that I was fat. And so it began. I had never been maligned for my weight until I met that girl. Looking back I can now see that this girl was threatened by me. She was smart. But I was just as smart, smarter in some ways. She didn’t like that. She was being raised to believe that she had to be the best. She had to win at everything. She had to be the smartest, the prettiest, the most popular. And she was not going to let anyone get in her way, especially not a “fat” girl. For 6 years we competed against each other academically. Sport was no competition as I was terrible at it. But academically I gave her a run for her money at our small rural school and a lot of the time, I came out on top. Academically that is. Socially I was smeared all over the ground. She was the ringleader of the class. She said jump and the other children asked how high. She also just happened to be the principal’s daughter, which didn’t help matters. I hated her. I hated her with a passion. But back then in the late 70s and early 80s, schoolyard bullying wasn’t a big deal. It was all “sticks and stones”, suck it up, “ignore her and she will stop”. Of course ignoring her only made it worse. She just tried harder -every school day from Prep until the end of Grade 5. Every single day. It wasn’t in my nature to take her on: to bite back verbally or confront her physically. I just kept quiet, keeping to myself while at school and acting out when I got home. By the time she left to go to a private school we were 11 years old and I was fat. Somewhere between second grade and third grade I had ballooned. And when she left our school there was another girl to take over as ringleader and continue my hell for another year until we left for high school.
That girl is now a lawyer. Although she didn’t get accepted to the prestigous university that I was accepted into so I had the last laugh academically. She is still thin. I am still fat. I imagine she would still look down on who I am and what I have done with my life this far. After all, I still live in the rural town we grew up in. I don’t have a high powered job and I haven’t travelled the world. But the difference between us now at 35 and the way we were at 11 is that I no longer care what she thinks of me. Not one iota. I love my life. I love what I have. I love what I have done and what I am going to do. I have a great husband and two awesome children. I have a career I value and I have achieved a lot academically. Of course I am still fat and she would probably see that as a failure, as a character flaw. But it isn’t. It is just who I am. It doesn’t make me any less of a person of her. Her being thin didn’t prevent her father from dying the same year my mother died. Just as my being fat doesn’t make me less of a wife, mother, student, employee, lover or anything else. No matter what she or anyone else thinks. I am me. I am fat. And I am really happy.
This week I watched the Australian show The Circle for the first time. The Circle is a bit like The View – except everyone’s opinions are more or less the same. They are a happy bunch at The Circle – besties. They love each other. And we love them too. This week Magda Szubanski was on to talk about her weight loss journey. Magda and The Circle’s Chrissie Swan are the public faces of a weight loss company here in Australia. They are a weight loss marketers dream, because:
a) They are really fat; and
b) We absolutely love them.
They are obviously earning some good $$’s for promoting this particular diet, and to be honest, good on ‘em.
Many people, at some time or another, will want to lose weight. I am not saying that that is a good or bad thing. For me it is a very individualistic set of choices that a person makes about his or her own body. There are dozens of reasons why an individual might choose to embark on a weight loss journey. However, most simply, individuals perceive that being thin (or thinner) will somehow improve:
1) Their self esteem, self worth, beauty and acceptance in society;
2) Their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The marketing of the diet industry directly seeks to exploit these two factors, not only to make you hate yourself, but to then blame yourself when the diet fails. But the marketing of these diets has also become more subtle. Because of the evidence about the long term ineffectiveness of commercial diets, companies have repackaged their product so that they are now promoting ‘lifestyle changes’. Clever, because you are no longer failing at their product. Rather you are failing at a more generic set of ‘lifestyle’ issues which can only be your own fault.
I wanted to share a few snippets of the weight loss conversation that happened on The Circle.
The intro was about how Magda had lost 25 kilos in a “bid to get fit” that she was “determined to keep it off” that she had a “new lease on life” and had “strutted her stuff on the catwalk”. So here we see messages which constantly reinforce how bad it is to be fat. That you can’t be fit and fat. That really you have no right to be a happy and vibrant person if you are fat. And that fat people certainly don’t belong on magazine covers and catwalks – which of course are supposed to show off ‘real’ beauty.
Chrissie: “Please welcome my (weight loss company name) buddy Magda Szubanski! HIGH FIVE (audience cheering and applause) Happy Birthday!!! A year you have kept it off!”
OMG! We can have a weight loss birthday!!!! Do we get presents? And do we finally get to EAT SOME CAKE! To be honest I would be celebrating too, given that most people will drop out of these diets after a few days or weeks – let alone a year.
Magda: “Amazing. Because that’s the thing. We all know you can lose the weight, but then you have that tragic despairing thing of the weight creeping back on. I’ve never been able to do this my whole life….”
Commercial diets are repeatedly shown to be ineffective for 95% of the population. Most people will gain back the weight. With interest. This is because food restriction diets do not work in the long run. Short term of course. But when you are on a calorie restricted diet, at some point, like holding your breath for as long as you can, you have to breathe out.
Magda: “The unhealthy and the healthy parts of me were neck and neck. I had my good days and bad days. But eventually the healthy part of me got stronger. It’s training. And you’ve just got to persist. Forty years of bad eating, you are not going to turn that around in a short space of time.”
So again here we see those very subtle messages. That fat people are somehow weak, lazy, individuals, with gluttonous eating habits. And if they just tried hard enough and had some inner strength, they would be able to overcome their moral weaknesses and lose weight. But also there is that message of the ‘healthy potential’. That somewhere deep inside, is the good, healthy, skinny you. You will also notice a shift away from ‘quick fix’, towards long term stickability – obviously the key to success with lifestyle changes!
Magda: “(being the face of a weight loss company) in a way gives you no way out….we are in a contract, we have kinda gotta stay there…but you get through it and it’s fine. So everyone else has to learn to do that without the contract. Or make a contract with your friends. Announce it to your friends. Paint yourself into a corner. Blab so you have got no way out.”
Denise: “Oh that’s a good thing, because the more people you tell, the more you have to do it.”
I think at this point I actually started to cry. Because what sort of message is this giving to people about improving their health and wellbeing? Or about why they should or shouldn’t be okay with themselves for who they are? Or what the role of friends are, and the shame you should feel in front of them. About the pressures individuals should put themselves under to lose weight. Mothers and daughters have been making diet pacts with each other for decades. So have teenagers.
It is one of the most destructive, disturbing recommendations that I think you could be making to a generation of women (and men) who should be loving their bodies and doing things to improve their health and wellbeing for pleasure rather than punishment.
And what sort of terrible impact does it have on an individual when this ‘lifestyle change’ doesn’t work? What then? Let’s just amplify the potential for shame and embarrassment shall we by putting ourselves out there to our friends and families?
Yumi: “I feel like there is a fat person in me waiting to come out. Did you feel like there was a skinny person waiting to come out?”
Magda: “There is a fat lady in my head that wants fat old habits. And there is another part of me that wants vitality. To live life more. I’m going to be 50 next year and I feel younger than I ever have before.”
What … younger than when you were 5? 10? 20? Shame on you fatties for ever thinking that you were allowed to live life to the fullest. To be full of energy and enthusiasm. Because you must all be sitting on the couch, stuffing your face with cream cakes, and feeling like you need to go into an aged care facility. And for those skinny’s out there – beware. Because if you don’t behave yourself, a big fatty will jump out of you! But also it reinforces that if you are a fatty, that evil fatty will always be in there ready to pounce. So you NEED to make a long term committment to the ‘lifestyle change’ company. Which of course means more money for them.
Magda then gave a whole bunch of tips for weight loss, which ended with…
“It’s like training a dog, you have just got to keep doing it”
Followed a couple of minutes later with this gem from Yumi:
“Of course there is nothing wrong with being fat. We are totally up for that… ”
Really? Why have you just spent the last 6 minutes saying how horrible it is?
Magda: “Oh I’m fat! I’m not not fat. It’s about setting a real goal where you can be your best self. And fit and healthy”
OHHHH NOOOOO. Because you can’t be overweight and healthy. And you definitely can’t be your best self, and REALLY FAT. Rather you are an animal that needs to be trained.
You know I could go on and on with the analysis of this segment (and the horrid fact that there were two other segments in the show which meant that the Panel tucked into Kit Kat’s and Chef Toby’s frittata thingo while Chrissie just sat there eating nothing – even though she had a portion in front of her).
But I guess the point of this post is that when you break down what might seem to be a really helpful or innocent chit chat session about weight/weight loss/health, you can uncover an absolute minefield of rhetoric that serves only to make us feel terrible about ourselves. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that many people who are fat would actually agree with Magda. Buy into what she is saying. And hate themselves and their lives.
That has to stop. And I for one am not prepared to accept that this is a reasonable way to talk about ourselves or other peoples bodies anymore.