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Old 11-27-2008, 06:29 AM   #1
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Default Perceptions of Big women

I was talking to a staff member the of our organization the other day at work and the subject came up of my size. I said that throughout my life I have been judged by my size, and was treated differently when I was lighter than I am now, although I had always been fat. I was explaining to her some of the things that had happened to me as a large person when she interrupts and says this line. "But Ruth I have never seen you as a big woman. I walked in here for the first day of work and I encountered a beautiful lady whose hair and makeup is well done, dresses very stylishly, and is well groomed. Not very many big woman do that! So I have never seen your size, just a beautiful lady"

It got me to thinking, how many other people have this belief subconscious that big women don't take care of themselves/have let themselves go. Has anyone else ever encountered comments such as these?
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Old 11-27-2008, 06:57 AM   #2
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I've actually seen it - bigger women who don't look like they've brushed their hair and are dressed all frumpy. I think that they are women who have no confidence, though, and maybe just think, "Why bother?"
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:12 AM   #3
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I think we have all seen it. But what I don't get is how people lump everyone whether it be race, size, religion and such into one category and generalizations. People are people and should be judged on an individual basis on their own merit, not some stereotype.
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:29 AM   #4
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I, personally, find it rather ill mannered and insulting to view it that way. It suggests that many/most fat people either do not "care" enough about the way they look - the way they present themselves to other people and real situations - which is rubbish. As much as I don't find much interest in them, I have seen celebrity magazines (most popular of which was People). Pictures of celebrities without their hair done, without make up on, without dressing stylish, without the presented essence of a well-groomed or well-preserved body. Many people, not just fat people, choose not to take measures of modifying their natural beauty to become a final result that many people (in my opinion, this view is rather unfortunate) believe to be more beautiful and more presenting.
You're right, Ruffie - people should be based on individual merit, rather than others that have directly or indirectly swayed their view of that type of person.

Though, specific to fat women, I have never come across that statement, only through the women of this forum.
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Old 11-27-2008, 09:06 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by IDigHeavyGuys View Post
I've actually seen it - bigger women who don't look like they've brushed their hair and are dressed all frumpy. I think that they are women who have no confidence, though, and maybe just think, "Why bother?"
If you were to see me right at this moment or even at times when I'm running to the grocery store, I suppose I would appear to you as one of those "Why bother" types. I'm curious as to whether people think the same thing about a skinny girl out and about in sweats, make-up free, and with her hair in a messy bun. I don't think I have anything to make up for just because I'm fat and I'm not going to doll myself up just to run errands.

Monday through Friday I have to dress in business appropriate clothes and maintain a professional appearance. However, on the weekends and in my free time I'm going to do whatever is most comfortable for me. It has absolutely zero to do with self-confidence and is, in all actuality, just me being me. I can dress up like the rest of 'em, but at heart I'm a "jeans and t-shirt no makeup wearing messy bun" kind of gal and I'm perfectly happy with that.
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Old 11-27-2008, 09:37 AM   #6
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I think alot of women are down on themselves so they don't dress. I don't think it's just fat women either. I think some women hide behind the whole "I don't care", but I really think people do care...some might just be stuck in a rut. I believe we all need to change it up/revamp/spice it up every now and again. Some just might need a little help is all.

I used to think well, why can't women just get it together; put on some cute clothes, hair done, nails done, face beat...but, I try not to pass judgement anymore. Until you've been in a person's shoes...One of my best girlfriends battles with crippling depression and the last thing on her mind some days, most days is matching her purse to her outfit. It has sort of changed my perspective on things.

Now, I'm not saying it's a free pass to just look a HAM 24/7, but I do understand things...life...happens and women aren't always going to be glammed up. I just happen to be a woman who LOVES and ADORES clothing, shoes, etc. I love to dress and do it well, but I don't (or rather, I try) not to hold anyone else to *my* standard. I wouldn't want people doing that to me.
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Old 11-27-2008, 09:52 AM   #7
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Just to mention, a lot of women become fat, or fatter, either with pregnancy or when they have young children. Which is also times when looking pulled together may be way down on their priority list.

Iíve seen this effect at my sonís school, where over a number of years youíll see women starting kids in junior kindergarten, living in old jeans and worn t-shirts, or else have some other Ďmom uniformí that they can put on quickly each day without putting any substantial time or energy into choosing it. Hair is likewise usually in a low maintenance cut, and make up is apt to be minimal. After a few years, probably averaging grade two but it does vary, you seem to start seeing more make up, new hair styles, and slightly more styling clothes. Which of course is happening once the family has adapted to the kid being in school full time, and the kid is getting more independent.

Around that same time a lot seem to also lose some weight, whether it is that they have time for exercise routines, the energy to plan what they eating more, that their kids are big enough to walk farther and faster, I donít know.

Iíve seen the same pattern in enough women (including my wife) to think that it may be fairly common. Not every woman by far, but a good sized minority perhaps?
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ruffie View Post
I think we have all seen it. But what I don't get is how people lump everyone whether it be race, size, religion and such into one category and generalizations. People are people and should be judged on an individual basis on their own merit, not some stereotype.
Ruth
I agree -- once you know the person. But it takes time to get to know people on an individual basis, and you often have to have dealings with them before the acquaintance process is complete. Humans can be our best friends or our worst threats, and when you are approached by a stranger, you have to make an instant decision about which he is likely to be. This is why we generalize: it seems to be an automatic reaction to a new situation or person. Unfortunately, a lot of people hang onto their first impressions and don't allow later events and observations to change their opinions; they are called 'bigots'.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:29 AM   #9
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I encounter comments like this all time. Personally, I'd much rather have my entire appearance commented than to hear "Oh, you have such a pretty face!" because I know damn well that the rest of me is just as beautiful.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:51 AM   #10
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I'd never dream of going out without being clean, neat, and with my hair done nicely (or at least brushed and pulled into a ponytail). But I also don't wear any makeup on a regular basis except some lip gloss and on rare occasions nail polish.

My sense of style probably doesn't follow the fashion magazines too well, either, since I loathe business suits and generally don't like pants and go with what I prefer--skirts and dresses, a number of which I've made myself. But just because they're one of a kind fashions doesn't mean they're frumpy, I hope.

I dunno, I do try to look good--I've just never thought that (except on stage, where even guys require makeup to look "normal") makeup and glossy magazine fashions were necessary.

I do probably fail on the shoe front, mainly because I've not been willing to shell out hundreds on the rare internet shoes that are supposed to actually fit and instead just shop the guy's department for the least-ugly options. But seriously, who is paying attention to that when I've got awesome hair and a smile on my face?
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:43 AM   #11
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I was talking to a staff member the of our organization the other day at work and the subject came up of my size. I said that throughout my life I have been judged by my size, and was treated differently when I was lighter than I am now, although I had always been fat. I was explaining to her some of the things that had happened to me as a large person when she interrupts and says this line. "But Ruth I have never seen you as a big woman. I walked in here for the first day of work and I encountered a beautiful lady whose hair and makeup is well done, dresses very stylishly, and is well groomed. Not very many big woman do that! So I have never seen your size, just a beautiful lady"

It got me to thinking, how many other people have this belief subconscious that big women don't take care of themselves/have let themselves go. Has anyone else ever encountered comments such as these?
Ruth

I've encountered comments like that. What bothers me more is the "I don't see you as fat" part. It's like fat is something that has to be overlooked. It just irks me.
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:53 AM   #12
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I've actually seen it - bigger women who don't look like they've brushed their hair and are dressed all frumpy. I think that they are women who have no confidence, though, and maybe just think, "Why bother?"
You know, it could just be that some women who dress "frumpy" have a hard time finding clothes in their size that fits. It's not that they might not care, it could just be that they hate the clothes they wear and are frustrated by shopping, so they don't do it. I know that's how I felt about clothes for years. Plus money can be a factor too. Getting one's hair done, nails done, facials, waxes, buying makeup, etc can be expensive, and so can buying clothes if you have to do it online.

I also feel like it's a bit unfair for women to have to go to all the trouble and expense to look so good when men don't. All that girly stuff isn't some innate quality all women are born with. It's learned and it stinks.
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:13 PM   #13
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I talk to all the women in my life about this (Mom, sisters, Aunts, friends) and it makes me really happy and proud to be surrounded by such amazing women because when you love and or care for someone all you see is them. You don't see what society perceives as bad. And they've done more for my confidence than anyone (other than myself )

But I do pride myself on looking nice. Put together. That doesn't mean everything always co-ordinates to a magazine look or whatever, it means groomed. Clothes that fit. Haircuts and makeup etc. And I don't think you have to look 'done' to do that. It's basic care-taking, you know? It really does make a difference.

Of course we all have those days where we dress down. Lord knows I love Sundays where I can put my hair in a pony and not wear makeup. Haha. But when you look good, you feel good. Take a few minutes, it will make a world of difference.
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:41 PM   #14
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I talk to all the women in my life about this (Mom, sisters, Aunts, friends) and it makes me really happy and proud to be surrounded by such amazing women because when you love and or care for someone all you see is them. You don't see what society perceives as bad. And they've done more for my confidence than anyone (other than myself )

But I do pride myself on looking nice. Put together. That doesn't mean everything always co-ordinates to a magazine look or whatever, it means groomed. Clothes that fit. Haircuts and makeup etc. And I don't think you have to look 'done' to do that. It's basic care-taking, you know? It really does make a difference.

Of course we all have those days where we dress down. Lord knows I love Sundays where I can put my hair in a pony and not wear makeup. Haha. But when you look good, you feel good. Take a few minutes, it will make a world of difference.
So true. When I dress, when I get my locs and hair done, I really feel like I'm engaging in self-care. Sure, it takes money, but even if things are tight, going to Walgreen's or CVS to pick up some DIY products can be just as good.

I learned from my Mother, Grandmother and Aunts to look good and feel good. They are all jazzy women and really enjoy getting gussied up. For them, it's really just embracing femininity and "being a girl", and I have to admit...it's really fun.
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Old 11-27-2008, 01:00 PM   #15
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Why is it that fat women are invisible until you run out for a gallon of milk looking like crap?

Most people don't look at me twice,actually avoid looking at me,no matter how polite,nice or well dressed I am,but sweet jesus don't look bad.You have no self respect or self esteem.Is it any wonder?
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Old 11-27-2008, 01:07 PM   #16
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If you were to see me right at this moment or even at times when I'm running to the grocery store, I suppose I would appear to you as one of those "Why bother" types. I'm curious as to whether people think the same thing about a skinny girl out and about in sweats, make-up free, and with her hair in a messy bun. I don't think I have anything to make up for just because I'm fat and I'm not going to doll myself up just to run errands.

Monday through Friday I have to dress in business appropriate clothes and maintain a professional appearance. However, on the weekends and in my free time I'm going to do whatever is most comfortable for me. It has absolutely zero to do with self-confidence and is, in all actuality, just me being me. I can dress up like the rest of 'em, but at heart I'm a "jeans and t-shirt no makeup wearing messy bun" kind of gal and I'm perfectly happy with that.
Thank you, saves me typing.

While I will not go out in gross clothes and littered with stains or stinking, I'm very casual. That's me. I'm always presentable, usually "in style", but rarely "dolled up"... if there's judgment passed on that JUST because I'm FAT and handle myself that way, then screw the judge.
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Old 11-27-2008, 06:05 PM   #17
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For many of those who judge fat women they encounter, it's irrelevant what degree of care you take in appearance--neat, clean, fabulous hair, make-up, clothing, manicure, pedicure, etc.--they will see only your size and reach the conclusion (based on that singular observation alone)--that you are slovenly. If you don't visually measure up to the societal perception of fitness, none of the "peripherals" will matter. But, as AM said, screw the judges.
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Old 11-27-2008, 06:21 PM   #18
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I was explaining to her some of the things that had happened to me as a large person when she interrupts and says this line. "But Ruth I have never seen you as a big woman. I walked in here for the first day of work and I encountered a beautiful lady whose hair and makeup is well done, dresses very stylishly, and is well groomed. Not very many big woman do that!"
I think in those last two sentences she was merely showing her anti-fat prejudice, whether intentional or not.

She's wrong. It's not true. Many big women DO do that.

And what's more, big women look every bit as good (hell, I think they look damn better!) as any size when dressed casually.
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Old 11-27-2008, 06:42 PM   #19
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I am with AnnMarie about this subject. Sometimes I dress up and wear makeup (like when working or enjoying a nice nite out), but more often than not........I just blow dry my hair, wear jeans and casual things when I am not teaching, and maybe toss on a bit of lipstick!

Okay, I admit that I was a bit of a Tom boy as a girl. I FEEL more comfortable in jeans and tops. BUT now, and as I grow older, I am MORE confident and at ease in my own skin and personality. Honestly, ya get what ya see with me.

Looks fade with time, but we must discover who we are inside the soul and we always must feel good about what's on the inside more than the outside!

Living in Asheville has been great for me because there are a LOT of old hippys and new agers who are just more concerned with natural beauty and spiritual growth than just appearance.

I really do like the natural me!
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Old 11-27-2008, 06:49 PM   #20
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I really enjoyed living in Asheville for those exact same reasons.Most people are more concerned with other things than looks.I miss it.
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:14 PM   #21
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I live in a town of hippies and greenies that do not really care what others wear.
When I lived in the city it was a different story.

I have personal preferences in the types of clothing that I will wear in public, but that is me. I do not care what others wear.
I will not wear sneakers and sweat pants other than when I am exercising inside my home.
I just prefer cute pretty clothes as it makes me feel better about myself.

I have mates that wear jeans and a t shirt etc and that is fine.
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:20 PM   #22
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Ruffie i get that comment a lot too. when i talk to my thin friends about acceptance they often say they never really thought of me as being fat. i think mainly because i do everything that they do pretty much and i really don't have much to complain about in general. they feel my concerns are the same as theirs. and they have also said i don't come across as a "fat" woman because i take care of myself well. i answer that by showing them all of the pix i have of my beautiful friends who are fat that i often take at events. usually they say "WOW! but i never see these women on the street, or when i go out".

i wouldn't say the stereotye society has is totally unfair. people have to see it a lot or it wouldn't be a stereotype. but the problem is they don't know whats behind it. they don't understand that a lot of people they are looking at are probably depressed or they don't have access to stylish cothing etc...unfortunately people have only so long to get an impression of you. not everyone will have the chance to know you in depth. so how a person dresses or carries themselves is an opprtunity to express who they are to the world. it doesn't make a person shallow to take care of themselves. it doesn't take identity away to show people exactly who you are inside and what you think of yourself.

i have a friend who is an FA and he said something interesting. he really loves fat girls and thinks they are beautiful but, he gets embarrassed by how they dress and carry themselves in public sometimes. he adores BBWs. he likes girls who dress well and feel that they are worth it. if he went out with a BBW and was embarrassed it would never be because she was fat. it would be because she didn't take care of herself or represent herself well. he said that when he goes out with his buddies he wants his girl to look good too--and that doesn't mean thin. he wants to be proud of how well she represents herself especially when society is against her for the most part. the very fact that she has that kind of self awareness and personal strength makes him feel even more attracted. but if he was with someone who didn't take care of herself and got a bit embarrassed he'd be blamed for being a closet FA which isn't the case at all.

i think its true that when people face a lot of difficulties they sometimes give up. but its important to understand how giving up is a vicious cycle that contributes to the difficulties that can make you feel even more like giving up in the first place. its also not just about what other people think. its about the fact that everyone feels better when they feel taken care of. i just think its important to take care of yourself when your big because there is more of you to see. if your sloppy its a lot of sloppy. if your neat its a lot of neat. so people tend to over-react to us a lot. either they're digusted or happily surprised and there isn't much in the middle. its just another reality of being fat.

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Old 11-27-2008, 11:57 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Ruffie View Post
I think we have all seen it. But what I don't get is how people lump everyone whether it be race, size, religion and such into one category and generalizations. People are people and should be judged on an individual basis on their own merit, not some stereotype.
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evaluating people individually in the truest sense is far too complicated for most people. it would require going against a natural instinct to categorize things, which is generally advantageous. it should be done nonetheless but i just don't see the masses of people (especially in my country, the US) being able to see the value in not stereotyping people. its too easy the other way, especially when you're in the status quo group.
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:36 AM   #24
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I was talking to a staff member the of our organization the other day at work and the subject came up of my size. I said that throughout my life I have been judged by my size, and was treated differently when I was lighter than I am now, although I had always been fat. I was explaining to her some of the things that had happened to me as a large person when she interrupts and says this line. "But Ruth I have never seen you as a big woman. I walked in here for the first day of work and I encountered a beautiful lady whose hair and makeup is well done, dresses very stylishly, and is well groomed. Not very many big woman do that! So I have never seen your size, just a beautiful lady"

It got me to thinking, how many other people have this belief subconscious that big women don't take care of themselves/have let themselves go. Has anyone else ever encountered comments such as these?
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Oh indeed I have heard that before...fat people are (place stereotype here) but you are not like that, or you are not that fat (hello I am 350+) etc etc
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Old 11-28-2008, 01:17 AM   #25
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Fat women take up more space...you notice us. Smaller women can go around in very...very...casual clothing, cuticles looking ragged, no makeup...and most people do not tend to jump to conclusions of depression...she lost a job...she doesn't ' care '. They just...don't. Who gives a rats arse how a person likes to dress...or if they wear makeup...or how many spa days they have every year......really. I might be thinking whatever I might be thinking, as I gaze upon a person...but I really do not ' profile '.

And, yeah, men are not judged this way...generally speaking. I see plenty of ' dad uniforms ' being worn...and it ain't always pretty...to me...but I would not diagnose the guy.

blah

I have seen plenty of people who do all the ' right ' things in terms of how they groom themseves...dress...etc.....and they can be hiding a lot of crap, under all of it. But, our society does tend to focus on the superficial...no doubt about it.
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