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Old 12-14-2005, 03:54 PM   #1
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Default Society catching on in a bad way?

I'm sure the following has been discussed before, but I had to mention it as it's something happening a lot this week.

Have you noticed people uncomfortable with the use of the word fat around you, as a fat person?

First, as I was leaving the library with my husband on Monday, a little girl skipping up the walk with her mom was talking about Santa and him being fat. When the mother looked up and saw me, she quickly shushed her daughter. I thought it was pretty funny, since I'm not offended by openness about fat, especially in conjunction with Santa!

Second, as I was sitting at Bible study this morning (don't attend the church, just going for the study), one of the women quoted a guest speaker at the church using the phrase "big fat lie". Everyone chuckled, remembering the speech, but then quickly turned to look at me to make sure I wasn't offended.

I'm glad people aren't being as insensitive to fat people these days, at least in my world, but now I feel like they've just shut up about the topic publicly rather than having open and honest dialogue. I know I'm fat. It simply is a part of me. Ignoring it doesn't seem to honor me much more than being nasty about it.

Who else has similar stories?
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Old 12-14-2005, 04:29 PM   #2
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Great post.

I experience this all the time. I have no problem with the word "fat" and it really irritates me when people act like it's a dirty word of some sort. It's just an adjective, describing a physical state of being - nothing more, nothing less.

I actually wrote an essay about it, so it seems appropriate to share it here. Hope nobody minds!


Big Beautiful Euphemisms


somerandomdumbass: hi
Carrie : Hello.
somerandomdumbass: sup cutie
Carrie : Not much. How are you?
somerandomdumbass: good ur cute and i know ur a bbw but really cute


Somewhere, a high school English teacher sobs quietly into her desk.

I am what's known in the world of the internet a "BBW". This is an acronym, of course, for "Big Beautiful Woman". I'm a fat girl. I dislike the term BBW for two reasons:

1). Let's be honest. Not all fat girls are beautiful. For some, using this term is somewhat akin to a dumb person wearing a tee-shirt that reads, "I am SO smart, sucka!".

2). No one physical attribute determines my beauty. I am fat and I am pretty, but attributing my beauty to my weight objectifies me. I become somebody's fetish.

However, I do use the term to describe myself here online, because it's easily recognizable, is a typical search term, and because so many people are uncomfortable with the word "fat". It never ceases to amaze me how many people in my life object when I drop the f-bomb in self-reference. "Oh, no, Carrie, you're not fat! You're rubenesque/full-figured/big-boned/insertfavoriteeuphemismhere." Yeah. And Michael Bolton doesn't suck. He "appeals to a certain audience."

I loathe euphemisms. I adore my boss, but he's fluent in Euphemism. Sometimes after suffering through ten minutes of his corporate euphemistic nonsense, I'm forced to gently break it to him that I have no idea what the eff he just said. I've picked up some of it, though. For instance, "We need to coach her on how to use the proper process to achieve that. We'll do some team-building exercises," really means, "I'm going to tell her to get off of her lazy ass and do some fricking work before the guy in the adjacent cubicle puts arsenic in her coffee."

So no euphemisms for me, thank you. I am a fat woman. The word doesn't hurt anymore -- it's just a word, after all. Letters floating in space, like "tall". Or "blonde". *I* decide how a word affects me.

And "fat" and I have reached an understanding.
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Old 12-14-2005, 04:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie
Yeah. And Michael Bolton doesn't suck. He "appeals to a certain audience."
Hey Michael Bolton rocks! Sure he is no David Hasselhoff mind you. But still.
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Old 12-14-2005, 04:48 PM   #4
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Hey Michael Bolton rocks! Sure he is no David Hasselhoff mind you. But still.
I think my head may explode trying to ubderstand that statement.
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Old 12-14-2005, 05:09 PM   #5
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Carrie, that was a great post.

I consider this the same gratuitous political correctness in regards to race that I can't stand (I have a very Carlos Mencia view on political correctness). I think that by avoiding the topic of fatness, it empowers it as a negative. I think it would be much better if it could be openly discussed, because then people would have to stop thinking of it as offensive and take it how it is.

By the way, Carrie. You're fat.
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Old 12-14-2005, 06:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie

It never ceases to amaze me how many people in my life object when I drop the f-bomb in self-reference. "Oh, no, Carrie, you're not fat! You're rubenesque/full-figured/big-boned/insertfavoriteeuphemismhere." Yeah. And Michael Bolton doesn't suck. He "appeals to a certain audience."

So no euphemisms for me, thank you. I am a fat woman. The word doesn't hurt anymore -- it's just a word, after all. Letters floating in space, like "tall". Or "blonde". *I* decide how a word affects me.

And "fat" and I have reached an understanding.
Carrie, it's such a shame that so many women seem unable to reframe this word from a pejorative term to a harmless descriptive term. Fat is beautiful.
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Old 12-14-2005, 06:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonchild
Carrie, that was a great post.

I consider this the same gratuitous political correctness in regards to race that I can't stand (I have a very Carlos Mencia view on political correctness). I think that by avoiding the topic of fatness, it empowers it as a negative. I think it would be much better if it could be openly discussed, because then people would have to stop thinking of it as offensive and take it how it is.

By the way, Carrie. You're fat.
Avoiding the topic of fat is just like avoiding the topic of race. It's the proverbial white elephant in the room that people would rather ignore because it's threatening.

We as Americans need to get to a point where we can accept that it's good to be different. I could say a whole lot about the melting pot and its cultural implications, but I'll save that for another thread.
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Old 12-14-2005, 06:24 PM   #8
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A few months ago, I went on a teaching job interview, and I arrived just as students were boarding buses at the end of the day. One little girl--probably kindergarten or first grade, was staring at me as I walked into the office. She then asked me if I drank milk when I was a kid.

Of course I did! This is Wisconsin! And the school was in the county with the highest percentage of dairy farmers in the state. But in this day of fad diets, I knew she was referring to a recent rumor that milk makes you fat. I don't remember what I told her, but I do remember being a little put off by the question, especially since it appeared she had already picked up on society's fear of fat, and willingness to judge on body type.

I don't actually mind the word fat. As Carrie says, it is just an adjective. And just like any other issue, we need to be open and honest about it before people in general can learn to accept us as people, rather than pigeon-holing and labeling.

Thanks for sharing that essay. It says a lot and can be applied to so many areas.
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Old 12-14-2005, 07:14 PM   #9
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Best way to shut up fat-bashers:

Tell them you have an issue with your lipidic connective tissue that's inoperable and untreatable. That's medical for, "I'm fat, and I'm not having WLS or going on a diet, so STFU." It's not your fault if they can't translate what you just said.
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandie_Zitkus
I think my head may explode trying to ubderstand that statement.
You've obviously not heard Hasselhoff's vocal magnificence in such classics as Highway to your heart and Looking for Freedom. Words fail to describe such splendor.
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Old 12-15-2005, 09:28 AM   #11
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This is a huge topic... Where did the word "fat" get its negative connotation? Its a descriptive word, like big, short, or green. It's also a noun. Somewhere it gained the aura of an insult...

Probably connected with the old stereotype of fat people being lazy, gluttonous people... But aren't we past that yet?

Did the introduction of the word "phat" help this situation at all?

Of course its part of our society now, so it will take some time to undo, but I thought we were further along than that...

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Old 12-15-2005, 09:42 AM   #12
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Thank you all for the positive feedback. You're all pumpkins.
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Old 12-15-2005, 09:48 AM   #13
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I get the same reaction when someone asks where I purchased some item of clothing and I say, "The Fat Ladies' Store."

One friend gets it, though. He says, "If it's for Ladies, what are you doing there?"

Gotta love him.
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Old 12-15-2005, 05:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBW Betty
A few months ago, I went on a teaching job interview, and I arrived just as students were boarding buses at the end of the day. One little girl--probably kindergarten or first grade, was staring at me as I walked into the office. She then asked me if I drank milk when I was a kid.

Of course I did! This is Wisconsin! And the school was in the county with the highest percentage of dairy farmers in the state. But in this day of fad diets, I knew she was referring to a recent rumor that milk makes you fat. I don't remember what I told her, but I do remember being a little put off by the question, especially since it appeared she had already picked up on society's fear of fat, and willingness to judge on body type.

I don't actually mind the word fat. As Carrie says, it is just an adjective. And just like any other issue, we need to be open and honest about it before people in general can learn to accept us as people, rather than pigeon-holing and labeling.

Thanks for sharing that essay. It says a lot and can be applied to so many areas.
Well the commercial from the 1980s used to say, "Milk does a body good. Pass it on." LOL

Children are so perceptive and innocent. It's important to teach them about the importance of valuing everyone's human dignity while they are young. I am so thankful for my fat teachers. They were great ladies. Who would have known that 16 years after middle school, I would be an FA?
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Old 12-15-2005, 08:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatlane
Best way to shut up fat-bashers:

Tell them you have an issue with your lipidic connective tissue that's inoperable and untreatable. That's medical for, "I'm fat, and I'm not having WLS or going on a diet, so STFU." It's not your fault if they can't translate what you just said.
*dies laughing*
I'm gonna HAVE to remember to say that to my uncle... He seems to think that he has some weird right to determine what I do with my life.
He's a bastard. My mom (his sister) thinks he's a bastard.

And my fave teachers were BBWs. In the most literal of terms, mind. Very beautiful of spirit, and that has a LOT of influence over physical beauty in my book.
Fuck physical beauty. If they're ugly inside, FLEE! FLEE, FATASS, FLEE!!!!

Sorry... Jay moment.
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Old 12-15-2005, 09:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl
*dies laughing*
I'm gonna HAVE to remember to say that to my uncle... He seems to think that he has some weird right to determine what I do with my life.
He's a bastard. My mom (his sister) thinks he's a bastard.

And my fave teachers were BBWs. In the most literal of terms, mind. Very beautiful of spirit, and that has a LOT of influence over physical beauty in my book.
Fuck physical beauty. If they're ugly inside, FLEE! FLEE, FATASS, FLEE!!!!

Sorry... Jay moment.
PLEASE videotape or at least photograph the look on his face.
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:18 PM   #17
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I like words like "fat". I hate words and phrases like "fat fetish" or "obesity" or "overweight".
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Old 12-16-2005, 08:58 AM   #18
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I don't think the public "shhhing" is such a bad thing but it isn't so great either. At least people are attempting to be polite.

I'm taking an education/psychology class on learning and behavior. The professor lectured about some type of reinforcer and this guy in my class said "obesity" because of fat people and eating. My professor went on to say "obesity" isn't a behavior but a genetic disposition. Another pyschology professor of mine, a fat man himself, had a very large mom (who lived to her 90's!) and felt that fat people are abused way too often. I'm glad in these classes got to hear these messages from voices of authority so to speak. Although, I've had pretty good experiences at college regarding my size and most people not caring.
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Old 12-16-2005, 10:18 AM   #19
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By the way, Carrie. You're fat.
How the hell did I miss this? I'm laughing my (fat) ass off.
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissToodles
I don't think the public "shhhing" is such a bad thing but it isn't so great either. At least people are attempting to be polite.

I'm taking an education/psychology class on learning and behavior. The professor lectured about some type of reinforcer and this guy in my class said "obesity" because of fat people and eating. My professor went on to say "obesity" isn't a behavior but a genetic disposition. Another pyschology professor of mine, a fat man himself, had a very large mom (who lived to her 90's!) and felt that fat people are abused way too often. I'm glad in these classes got to hear these messages from voices of authority so to speak. Although, I've had pretty good experiences at college regarding my size and most people not caring.
Wow, I guess some things have changed. Way back in 1997/1988, when I was a freshman in college, and starting out as a nursing major, I had a really negative experience. At the time, I weighed about 265, and was required to have a physical before being admitted to the "school of nursing" on my campus. The dean of nursing called me in, and basically said that unless I were to stick to a diet plan, and lose weight on a schedule she would set, I could not continue in my coursework. Well, no weight came off during the next semester, but I wasn't doing so well with my science classes, anyway, so I switched majors, and went on to become a teacher instead.

I have enjoyed teaching, and I'm happy with the ending, but I do wish I'd been more aware of discrimination laws and things like that.
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Old 12-17-2005, 01:03 PM   #21
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And my fave teachers were BBWs. In the most literal of terms, mind. Very beautiful of spirit, and that has a LOT of influence over physical beauty in my book.
Fuck physical beauty. If they're ugly inside, FLEE! FLEE, FATASS, FLEE!!!!

Sorry... Jay moment.[/QUOTE]

Same here. And that has had a marked experience in my development as an FA.
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Old 12-17-2005, 01:04 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBW Betty
Wow, I guess some things have changed. Way back in 1997/1988, when I was a freshman in college, and starting out as a nursing major, I had a really negative experience. At the time, I weighed about 265, and was required to have a physical before being admitted to the "school of nursing" on my campus. The dean of nursing called me in, and basically said that unless I were to stick to a diet plan, and lose weight on a schedule she would set, I could not continue in my coursework. Well, no weight came off during the next semester, but I wasn't doing so well with my science classes, anyway, so I switched majors, and went on to become a teacher instead.

I have enjoyed teaching, and I'm happy with the ending, but I do wish I'd been more aware of discrimination laws and things like that.
That is such a shame. No one should be denied an educational opportunity because of weight.
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Old 12-20-2005, 12:17 AM   #23
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One of the great things about coming into this community was actually being able to call fat women by their real name and not have it be an instant reaction of dread and horror.

I guess my phase of "catching on in a bad way" in my initial months of involvement was illustrated by a date I went on at the time, where I was walking ahead of the woman I was dating through a parking lot and kept turning around to see if she was OK going between the cars.

She finally just glared at me and said, "IF I NEED HELP, I'LL TELL YOU!!!"
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