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Old 05-04-2009, 06:33 PM   #1
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Default How does where we live impact how we experience being fat?

How our geographical location impacts our individual fat experience has long been something I've wondered about.I'll be honest and state that I've often felt that being fat,especially the times when I've been supersized, has been rather difficult in NYC.In many parts of my hometown, especially large swaths of Manhattan, the ruling aesthetic for female bodies is ultra thin.NYC after all is home to Madison avenue and much of the fashion industry, who promote the ideal female body as having nary an ounce of fat on it.Even during one period of my life when I somehow managed to diet down to small bbw status, I would go to certain areas of the city and still be the largest person around which was never fun for me.

My life as a fat woman in NYC hasn't been all negative experiences though.When you live in a city with as large and as diverse a population as I do you are much more likely to run into someone who finds larger women attractive.Also, I sometimes found that when I was in a part of the city that was especially chaotic and hetic,no one could be all that bothered to notice my size...even at my largest I could sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of the crowd.

Visting other parts of the United states (I've never been outside the u.s.) over the years, has also showed me that while fatness might not *truly* be accepted anywhere,there are definitely parts of this country that are a great deal more fat friendly than others.I'm curious as to how others feel on the area where they came from or currently live.Did or do you feel more accepted and part of the norm in some areas more than others? Do you find you're flirted with more in certain cities or states? Also do you find like I did, that what is considered "fat" in one location is considered barely fat or even average in another location? Just some stuff I've been pondering lately.
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:41 PM   #2
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Funny thing about the NYC is that you can often blend right in. Everyone is in their own universe
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:20 PM   #3
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I think location has quite a bit to do with it. Let's expand that concept a bit further into micro and macro environments. Your friends, family, coworkers all influence you in one way, and then there's the way you move in your environment. Car? Subway? Bike? lots of Green space or little green space? Work in an office or outdoors? Sit around at work or run around at work? I think all that stuff matters.

If I'm walking down the part of Madison avenue that goes thru the upper east side, then yeah there won't be too many fat people or people of color for that matter, but go above 97th street and it's a different picture. There will be more people of color and more fat people too. I've honestly never felt like the odd fat woman out in this city for the fact that I hang out in a lot of different neighborhoods from ritzy to artsy to working class, and each neighborhood has its own flavor you know. I admit, tho that I find myself consciously looking for fatties while in Park Slope or Williamsburg and I'm always delighted when I see one.

I do think living here means you have to do a lot of walking and I often wonder how much bigger I'd be if I didn't get that kind of exercise. I'm sure a lot of New Yorkers walk at least 2 miles a day. On the other hand, there isn't enough green space or enough playgrounds or B-ball or tennis courts, and some neighborhoods are too dangerous to hang out in for long, so you have to be creative about the way you get sustained exercise.

I have felt weird in suburban areas tho, so it could just be that I'm way more comfortable in the City where it's easier to be anonymous and where you don't live in your car, at the mall, or visit drive thrus and strip malls where all the fast food chains are on top of each other, and where a bagel or an eggroll isn't considered ethnic food. I find that rather strange, and every time I leave New York I'm reminded of how separated we are from the rest of the country and how good it is to be able to go to a restaurant that's not part of a large chain. So it's another thing I think about - How much fatter would I be if I had fewer food choices and the nearest restaurant or grocery store was a 20 minute drive away?

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Old 05-04-2009, 07:22 PM   #4
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Methinx the Midwest is the most fat friendly part of the US. Maybe it's comfort in numbers, because I'm from Ohio and we have plenty of fat people here. Maybe we Midwesterners are more pragmatic and care more about the daily business of living than we do about what the media tell us to think.

A positive attitude works wonders too. If we believe what the media tell us, nobody wants to flirt with an obese middle-aged woman, but I've rarely lacked for attention. In the past year I've made business trips to cities as far-flung as Philadelphia, Nashville and Reno, and I've found myself flirted with just about everywhere. Of course I'm just vain enough to think that we fat women overflowing with curves are irresistible.
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:50 PM   #5
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Methinx the Midwest is the most fat friendly part of the US. Maybe it's comfort in numbers, because I'm from Ohio and we have plenty of fat people here. Maybe we Midwesterners are more pragmatic and care more about the daily business of living than we do about what the media tell us to think.

A positive attitude works wonders too. If we believe what the media tell us, nobody wants to flirt with an obese middle-aged woman, but I've rarely lacked for attention. In the past year I've made business trips to cities as far-flung as Philadelphia, Nashville and Reno, and I've found myself flirted with just about everywhere. Of course I'm just vain enough to think that we fat women overflowing with curves are irresistible.
New York City is a great place for a fat woman since there are a lot of intelligent men who think for themselves there and have an appreciation for fat women. Women in New York tend to be rather stylish in order to be noticed and that goes for fat women too. It was a culture shock coming to Portland, Oregon after having lived in New York. There was not a high premium placed on glamour in Portland, Oregon as lot of tattoos on women was the order of the day.
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:29 PM   #6
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Sue: You'd be irresistible anywhere with a sense of humour like that.

I am a US size 0. I may be smaller than average, but I blend in quite well in NYC, SF, LA and Vegas. Any place where there is a significant number of slim alt/trendy women, or a sizeable Asian population. Being thin, busty and "exotic" I did get a quite a bit of male attention in those places. I felt so much more scrutinised in the suburbs, where strangers poked my ribs, called me names and threw sandwiches in my face. I also received a couple of dumb racist and homophobic (I had a reddish mohawk and was dressed androgynously) comments. Sure, there are more fat people around but people in general also seem more conservative and intolerant. For that reason I won't be surprised if there are more confident BBWs (and FAs) in big diverse cities, even though the pressure to conform to a narrow ideal is greater.

However, I am still considered fat in Asia, where I grew up. Most women there are smaller than me and BBWs are almost impossible to come by. As a young girl I was constantly picked on for my weight and put on diets by my parents and coaches. I had a hard time shopping for clothes. Most people snickered at me and assumed I was lazy, sloppy and unfeminine. A few people found me attractive, if only because I have large breasts which is rare for an Asian girl. It is close enough to The Fat Experience, even if it seems unrealistic in the West. It was much worse for my ex who weighed anything from 250 - 330lbs (thanks to crash diets). People gawked openly, demanded to know how anyone could get this big and thought that I must be a saint or a crazy fetishist. I suppose it is kind of like how SSBBWs probably get more hate than BBWs.

I live in London, England now. It is not too different from New York - cramped spaces, heavy reliance on public transport, plenty of walking and stairs everyday. There are plenty of Asians and thinner women around, so I fit in fine. Other parts of the UK are no different from the suburbs in the US. I did get to experience a bit of suburban Italy, Finland and Denmark. There aren't many fat people since people eat relatively healthily and bike everywhere, but it seems that everyone is so much more open-minded and could care less about how much one weighs. Travel and seating inconveniences aside, my fat travel companions didn't experience any issues at all.

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Old 05-04-2009, 11:36 PM   #7
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I live in southern BC Canada in a major city and being fat here is very very difficult especially as Vancouver is the "fittest" city in Canada
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:02 AM   #8
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I live in Southern california. It is very easy to be fat here. There is something bad to eat on every corner. No one walks here we get in our car and drive to every place. I can't remember the last time I walked to a store. Must be at least 20 years ago. People out here don't say much about weight so many of us are fat and we have bbw clubs.
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:18 AM   #9
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Default Sidestepping the sidewalk !?

According to Bill Bryson [ Notes from a large island ] and Monique, nobody walks anywhere in America......but some of the above posters, as big city dwellers, testify to pounding the pavements a fair bit. So what is the norm in the USA ??

Bill Bryson cites examples from New England of peeps driving to a dinner party in their same street and folks winding down car windows, even at the risk of letting some fresh air and natural daylight in, to beg him not to walk to his job/ library etc. One guy supposedly drove from shop to shop on a parade of shops and kept the motor running all the while.

I have a notion [ but stand to be corrected !] that there aren't even any sidewalks in some places and this then forces peeps into cars.

Is it true that Texas is ,what our media machine calls, the fattest state in America ? If so can anyone shed any light ?

Here in the UK there are known/perceived fat hotspots and they are linked to poverty/poor diet where we are told that peeps feed on nought but chip butties and deep fat fried Mars bars !!
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:36 AM   #10
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I live in Johannesburg, South Africa, and being the fat girl can get difficult. Most people who don't come from here have this perception of Africa and African men particulalry as loving fat and being accepting of women of all sizes when, actually, the more modern, younger, faster crowd, are very definitely not accepting of bigger people. Fat, as I'm sure it is for most of the world, is a class and education issue here. The people in my country who find fat appealing tend to come from the more rural areas of SA, tend to be less educated, not as wealthy as those who despise fat. I unfortunately do not live or work in those accepting circles - my world is populated by very weight conscious, thin obessesed men and women. Thin is in and young South Africans everywhere, of all races, are doing a lot of very stupid and dangerous things to get thin and stay that way. That said I believe that individual attitude can influence the experience you have where ever you live. I love Jozi and, I think its luck, but I'm blessed to always have been surrounded by people who care more about individuals than the size of your body. I'm flirted with, find employment easily, party hard and just have fun despite all the negative attitudes I know exist about my body. Fast food in SA is also very, very expensive. Most people here tend not to get fat on fast food. That said, I think it must be very uncomforatable living in a place where you're the only fattie wandering around. There's definite comfort in numbers
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:33 AM   #11
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According to Bill Bryson [ Notes from a large island ] and Monique, nobody walks anywhere in America......but some of the above posters, as big city dwellers, testify to pounding the pavements a fair bit. So what is the norm in the USA ??

Bill Bryson cites examples from New England of peeps driving to a dinner party in their same street and folks winding down car windows, even at the risk of letting some fresh air and natural daylight in, to beg him not to walk to his job/ library etc. One guy supposedly drove from shop to shop on a parade of shops and kept the motor running all the while.

I have a notion [ but stand to be corrected !] that there aren't even any sidewalks in some places and this then forces peeps into cars.
My wife and I each have friends who have moved from Canada down to suburbs of Boston, where they are now married and have kids.

One of them lives a few blocks from a “High Street” full of shops, to which they walk (along side walks) to do much of their groceries. There is a recreational (walk + bike) path that parallels the high street, which runs most of the way into the heart of the city, and along which it is a twenty minute walk to the end of the subway, and there are also several buses running through there that will take them to further shops, to the subway, or right into the city.

One of them lives on a loop of a street that only exits at one point. It has no sidewalk. The through street that it connects to is narrow, winding, with walls along both sides, and has no sidewalks at all. Even if you walked along it, it doesn’t really take you anywhere; at one end there is a tiny patch of a park, with dead grass, a swing-set with no swings, a slide so rusted you can’t slide down it, and a sand-box overgrown with grass. To play anywhere than their own back yard they get into the car (well actually SUV) and drive for ten to fifteen minutes to go to a park.

Both of those areas are well off suburbs, with roughly comparable costs of housing; although in the second you get a fair bit more yard and moderately more house for your money. Both are in the same metropolitan area. And they promote entirely different styles of living. That is just within one city, so you can imagine the variety within the broader country.

By the way, in the case of the first friends I’ve not noticed all that many fat folk on the street of their town. In the case of the second friends, errr, well because there is no place where you’d see a lot of people from right in that area, so I don’t really know if there are more fat folk there.

Up here in Canada, my general experience is that in the urban core of bigger cities you may see some plump folk, even the occasional super-sized person, but most people are fairly thin. Meanwhile when you go to smaller cities I seem to see more moderately fat folk and more common super-sized people. As for the suburbs of the bigger cities or really small places (villages, rural areas), I don’t spend enough time in them to have a view, and again they are places where it can be hard to see people from that area congregated together (barring local churches).

As for how it impacts people, I know that my wife began to really feel that she needed to turn around her weight gain and lose some right about the time relocating from a smaller city to the urban core of a bigger one. Now, she’d also been gaining steadily at that point, so may just have exceeded her comfort zone, but I think being around generally thinner people played a role in how strongly she felt that.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:49 AM   #12
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Last week I made a business trip to Nashville, Tennessee, and I had a premonition that it's somewhat fat friendly. I remember a program called "Club Dance" on The Nashville Network in the 1990s, which showed more than a few fat women strutting their stuff on the dance floor. That was refreshing.

Last week my focus was on business, but at our clients' company and some nearby restaurants I felt pretty accepted. Some people obviously didn't like fat women, but for the most part I was treated very well, at least after some of them got over the initial shock of seeing a tall fat Amazon in their midst. Some of their expressions were priceless.

My trip was supposed to be 2 only days but our clients wanted me to stay in Nashville an extra day (thank goodness I always pack an extra change of clothes!) to meet some key figures, which boded well. And to judge by their attention over drinks and dinner when they took me to a local steakhouse, at least some of them really like fat women, even at my age. Maybe it's "safe" for them to flirt with a married middle-aged obese woman, because nothing could come of it, but I loved it. Too bad there was no dance floor, or I could have had a little Club Dance going myself.

When you get right down to it, though, attitude is everything. Generally I walk tall with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step, and that probably transcends my size. Maybe that helps a few people think a bit more positively about fat women in general too.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:04 AM   #13
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Being in a small city in Tennessee is quiet diffrent and not so fat friendly.
I wish there were more things and places like dances and lunches for me to go to and get out of the house.I sometimes get depressed because there is nothing fun to do around here not even for thin people unless one travels to a larger city for a day trip or something.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:13 PM   #14
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I've always thought of the Northeast in general, but NYC in particular to be relatively fat friendly compared to a lot of the nation. I'm a big guy from upstate New York, and while there may be idiots everywhere, I've honestly run into very few issues with my weight that weren't coming entirely from my own hang ups. And whenever I do visit NYC, I always find it sort of refreshing to see just how many confident, stunning, and stylish bbw there are walking around. Sure, nowhere is perfect. But I've always found New York City to be extremely fat friendly compared to many of the other major cities that I have visited.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:30 PM   #15
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However, I am still considered fat in Asia, where I grew up. Most women there are smaller than me and BBWs are almost impossible to come by. As a young girl I was constantly picked on for my weight and put on diets by my parents and coaches. I had a hard time shopping for clothes. Most people snickered at me and assumed I was lazy, sloppy and unfeminine.
Cors, in the past few years, I've seen an explosion of fat people in SE Asia. When I first got married & visited Malaysia, it was an eye-opening experience for me. I did experience many astonished glances (and second glances, and outright stares, and snickers, and people who didn't even bother to pretend that the camera aimed in my direction wasn't trained on me). It was, at that time, horrific. I couldn't believe how rude people could be.

I'm no longer fat by Western standards, but certainly am quite heavy in comparison with the typical Asian (5'6", 160 pounds). I still *felt* like an Amazon in Malaysia, as I had a difficult time finding clothes/jewelry/shoes to fit me. But last year, I noticed a trend: More plus-sized clothing in department stores, a LOT more moderately to very heavy women (not so many men), and an explosion of fast-food restaurants. Hell, I had McDonalds *delivered* to my door anytime I wanted it. I also noticed less hostility directed towards me, and even when I had my very large mother with me, she wasn't subjected to near the "circus sideshow freak" treatment that I'd been through. We're spreading around the globe ... I'm thinking that soon, thin will no longer be 'in', anywhere
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Old 05-05-2009, 02:47 PM   #16
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I do think living here means you have to do a lot of walking and I often wonder how much bigger I'd be if I didn't get that kind of exercise. I'm sure a lot of New Yorkers walk at least 2 miles a day.
That's one of the things I like so much about New York, all the walking, I love walking around Canal Street with the vendors.

Can't wait to make another trip out there.
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:17 PM   #17
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I live in San Francisco. This city is suppose to be really open to different types of people, but I personally feel like that is true unless you're fat. I feel like I actually know most of the fat girls in this city at least by face. It seems like most people around my age here are 5 feet tall and weight 100 pounds (pocket hipsters). Also, the set up of restaurants and some stores makes it difficult to ever really relax. I am usually checking to see if I am in someone's way or taking up too much room. Strange thing though, I don't get harrassed here by strangers as much as I did when I lived in Oklahoma or Las Vegas. Random note.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:44 PM   #18
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So far, Maine is wicked good about it. There are chunkies everywhere around here, though. Overall, my best luck has been here, and in Eastern Mass. When I went to the Jersey bash I was shocked that people were rude enough to say things aloud. In the civilized world, we know to mind our own

(NOTE: I know all Jersey people aren't bad. But still.)
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Old 05-15-2009, 03:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lina View Post
Strange thing though, I don't get harrassed here by strangers as much as I did when I lived in Oklahoma or Las Vegas. Random note.
Those Okies were probably trying to hit on you; subtlety isn't our long suit. On the other hand, BBW's here seem to get as much favorable attention from guys as their thinner sisters (sometimes more). Perhaps Jeff Foxworthy was right when he said, "If your wife weighs more than your pickup truck, you might be a redneck."
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:44 PM   #20
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Up here in Canada, my general experience is that in the urban core of bigger cities you may see some plump folk, even the occasional super-sized person, but most people are fairly thin. Meanwhile when you go to smaller cities I seem to see more moderately fat folk and more common super-sized people. As for the suburbs of the bigger cities or really small places (villages, rural areas), I don’t spend enough time in them to have a view, and again they are places where it can be hard to see people from that area congregated together (barring local churches).
Hey Edx, you're right. I travel all around Eastern Ontario/Quebec for work, and there is definitely a noticeable increase in larger folk in the smaller cities/suburbs than in the urban areas. Kingston and Belleville immediately spring to mind...I definitely think that activity level in big cities, especially walking distances, has to play a factor. Stress probably factors in too. I find the more laid back the city (like K'town) I tend to see more bigger people...

I live in the 'burbs and I feel my fiancee and I get stared at...but it could just be the contrast between us rather than solely about fat. (I'm a 6'0 tall, burly white guy and she's a 5'0 asian BBW...needless to say we don't blend in...)

I like to think Canada is pretty chill for the most part towards fat, after all we spend more than half the year covered up because of the weather...(I'm sure some here have had and will have bad experiences, there are jerks everywhere...)
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:05 AM   #21
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Here in Kentucky there is a mix of every body type you could imagine.
No one really gives a hoot if you are fat or skinny.
Its a very accepting place and people are so friendly.Lots of chubby eye candy around here.
I travel a lot on business and notice a lot of BBW's and BHM's in Ohio and Indiana.

Last edited by Tracii; 05-16-2009 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:15 PM   #22
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NYC is my hometown and never really had a problem in terms of weight. True there are idiots that made comments but that was far and between. Now I am in Oklahoma and I find its the most fat friendly place I have lived so far. I like seeing bbws and not feeling like I am the only one.
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