It’s been a couple of months since I last posted. Mum and I are still trying to wrangle everything to do with Dad’s estate to varying degrees of success.
But that’s not what this post is about. Today a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook that really got me thinking. I was going to comment on it on FB but as I started to write I realised that this was a much bigger issue and I was going to need some space to vent my spleen.
So here I go…
The article was called A call to action: your fat friend is going it alone.
This is one subject I am ACUTELY aware of and have the permanent bite indentations in my lower lip from how often I have buried my experiences. A person who overeats, feels shit about themselves and then forces themselves to throw up has a mental illness. A FAT PERSON who overeats feels the same guilt and self loathing has no Will Power.
The article highlights many points and concerns this young woman had over the treatment of those of us who are obviously FAT. Including that ever present Doom of Damocles dangling over our heads, neatly stowed in the overhead compartment – the kick off, or double airfare ticket.
I admit, this is one that does frighten me every time I fly. I am waiting for that day when someone from the airline just looks at me and says, you need to buy another seat. and DAMN ME! if they try it, then I am going to be demanding that I have double the luggage allowance! As of yet is has not happened, but I have do admit that I have taken somewhat of a sadistic amount of joy walking to the airline gate and watching the faces of the people go ashen as they ponder their impending doom under the rolls of my flab.
No… my body shape will never have people clambering for equality…
Since the 1960’s every new generation has had a previously taboo subject that has been given the spotlight.
60’s Civil Rights
70’s Women’s Rights
80’s Aids and Sexuality
90’s Environmental Issues
00’s The 1%
and now in the Teens we are talking about LGBTI
Yet for all that time, my entire life time, STUFF ALL has ever been done about ensuring that people who are fat are treated as equals or even treated with any form of dignity.
Eat less exercise more… True… that’s fine if you have the correct hormones and genetic markers that allows your body to work that way. Scientist are FINALLY acknowledging that like a St Bernard and a Chihuahua are both Dogs, genetics mean they don’t look a like… much like humans. But until they crack that code, us Fatties have to live with events like the 4 year old in stage whisper yelling “Mummy that Lady is SO FAT” in the middle of a shopping centre. And instead of Mummy correcting the child, she just smiles and says to the fatty… “Out of the mouths of babes” before moving on.
The list of Fat Shaming events in my life would boggle more than a few of you reading this I’m sure. I’ve seen it all. From the glorious “Yoli Poly Puddin and pie, rolled over the boys and made them DIE!” in Primary School, to “Yo! Landmass” at High School there isn’t a weight related barb or jibe I haven’t experienced, all under the watchful eye of bystanders and ‘friends’.
Our media obsession does little to assist this blossoming culture, as very rarely are men and women of size (and I’m talking size 20+) are held up in shows to be anything other than comic relief or victim. When you look at TV juggernauts like Game of Thrones, Three of the four plus sized characters that spring to mind are either feeble-minded (Hodor), insipid (Walda Frey) or timid (Sam Tarly). The fourth and ONLY character who shows any grace, mettle, or real strength of character is Varys – though I will admit that Sam is starting to come into his own!
And it doesn’t end there. If you REALLY think hard, there are very few fat characters who are held out as “Hero” TV stereotypes. Camryn Manheim (Ellenor Frutt) in the Practice showed that plus sized lawyers could win cases, while NBC thought it would be funny to show uber neat-freak-Friend Monica’s ‘awkward fat phase’.
While I applaud someone like Kathy Kinney for playing Mimi Bobeck (Drew Carey Show) with such gusto and obvious disregard to people’s opinions, the show still managed to denigrate and belittle the character by making her so clownish in her wardrobe. Could they not have had the character without making her ridiculous?
Even in the world of cartoons, Fat = Dumb/sub human. Homer Simpon, Barney Gumble, Chief Wiggum in The Simpsons. Peter & Chris Griffin from Family Guy… a show made worse by the fact that the female character of Meg gets a nice side of backhand with her “Fatness”, in casting Mila Kunis as her voice. Seth McFarlane has said that it was the ‘joke’ to get someone as lovely as Mila to do the voice of such a reviled and mocked character.
The only cartoon character who seems to break the stereotype was Fat Albert. But even then, despite the fact that he was a caring, understanding, intelligent character, they still had to give him the Monika of “Fat”.
Where do we go from here? I don’t know… I think I will be dead and buried a long time before we see a us Fatty’s get the same attention of the other causes I mentioned. And until we start getting a generation of culture makers (Film, TV, Books) who are willing to stand up and write/create positive plus sized role models for the next generation to look up to, the fat kid at school will always been the butt of the joke… every mouthful of food a fatty puts in their gob will be analysed and tsked over… every airline passenger will look at the blubbery overflow and not the person quietly dying inside.