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Old 07-10-2009, 03:19 PM   #1
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Default The "What Do We Have in Common?" Thread

We talk about pears and apples, BBWs and SSBBWs, gay and straight, single and attached. Differences are often more obvious than commonalities.

Let's talk about what we all have in common as fat women--the stuff that we can *all* identify with.

I'll start:

I've found that I share with a lot of fat girls I've known a sense of having felt awkward and unfeminine during puberty. Maybe it's true that most adolescents share in a sense of awkwardness about their bodies, but for me as a growing fat girl it was accompanied by a growing alarm at opening those magazines for women and realizing slowly that I did not look like I was "supposed" to look.

I remember once reading that you should not be able to hold more than a pencil in the crease under the breasts. Well, my boobs were so large (they grew in very rapidly when I was twelve and had stretch marks, too), that I could hold a stapler under there if I really tried! It was strangely shameful.

At the same time, I remember that I'd look at my body, even early on, and secretly admired it, especially the parts that seemed to want to grow unhindered, to exceed their boundaries. I liked the way it all looked, though I knew I was supposed to want my body to look different.

Does any of that ring a bell with anyone here?
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Old 07-10-2009, 03:37 PM   #2
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This.

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Originally Posted by Fascinita View Post
I've found that I share with a lot of fat girls I've known a sense of having felt awkward and unfeminine during puberty. Maybe it's true that most adolescents share in a sense of awkwardness about their bodies, but for me as a growing fat girl it was accompanied by a growing alarm at opening those magazines for women and realizing slowly that I did not look like I was "supposed" to look.
It's kinda funny thinking about my adolescent self now, especially since I was so much smaller back then (5'6" and 170 lbs). I've always been bigger than my brothers and sisters, all six of them. They usually attribute my big size to being the only one in my family to have the fat Hawaiian genes. Everyone else got the smaller Filipino genes. Because I was fatter than my sisters, I didn't allow myself to dress girly like they did because I felt awkward at the differences in our body types (not to mention all the other body image issues I had because of the sexual abuse).
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:43 PM   #3
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My experiences growing up were: "my you have such a lovely face" and unspoken was "but your body needs work." My mother was ashamed of my weight though I wasn't ashamed (it did hurt my feelings terribly though.) Oh, and I did hear a couple of times "I'd date you if you were thinner."

Fascinita, I felt the same way as you did about secretly admiring our bodies. I loved the way I looked but knew I was supposed to be different physically to fit in with my peers.

Kayrae, I also identify with being seen as fat even though the numbers on the scale were what I consider to be reasonable (170 pounds was what I, too, weighed then.) Now, I weigh over 300. Looking back at pictures, I was not that fat.
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:00 PM   #4
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Fascinita: I still feel awkward and unfeminine, and I'm almost 25.

Okay, okay, trying to be positive... startiiinnnnggg.... now.

This may be a little silly, but I get compliments regarding being a good hugger. I knew a girl last year who would always tell me that I gave "the best hugs" and would insist on at least one or two when we hung out. I always thought it was a little strange because I don't really encourage physical contact with people I don't know well. I was thinking about it this morning, and I realized that she's very petite, and her boyfriend is thin-- so I probably felt nice and soft and squishy in comparison! Of course she liked hugging me. I can only assume that you ladies get similar comments from time to time.
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Theresa48 View Post
My experiences growing up were: "my you have such a lovely face" and unspoken was "but your body needs work." My mother was ashamed of my weight though I wasn't ashamed (it did hurt my feelings terribly though.) Oh, and I did hear a couple of times "I'd date you if you were thinner."

Fascinita, I felt the same way as you did about secretly admiring our bodies. I loved the way I looked but knew I was supposed to be different physically to fit in with my peers.

Kayrae, I also identify with being seen as fat even though the numbers on the scale were what I consider to be reasonable (170 pounds was what I, too, weighed then.) Now, I weigh over 300. Looking back at pictures, I was not that fat.
I don't know if every woman has that in common or not but it seems to be so. I look at pictures of myself at a size 22-24 and at the time thought I was just enormous, huge, horribly unattractive and now I think, you really looked pretty good. What makes us distort what we see in the mirror?

As an adolescent, I was tall 5' 10" at 13. I wore a size 10 shoe. I was looking at pictures of the girl I was and thought, I wasn't fat at all. I was just big, big hands, big head, big feet. I started to gain weight around then and by the time I was 15 I was in a size 24.

I wish someone would've told me what I couldn't see for myself. I let everyone tell me I was fat and I believed them.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fascinita View Post
We talk about pears and apples, BBWs and SSBBWs, gay and straight, single and attached. Differences are often more obvious than commonalities.

Let's talk about what we all have in common as fat women--the stuff that we can *all* identify with.

I'll start:

I've found that I share with a lot of fat girls I've known a sense of having felt awkward and unfeminine during puberty. Maybe it's true that most adolescents share in a sense of awkwardness about their bodies, but for me as a growing fat girl it was accompanied by a growing alarm at opening those magazines for women and realizing slowly that I did not look like I was "supposed" to look.

I remember once reading that you should not be able to hold more than a pencil in the crease under the breasts. Well, my boobs were so large (they grew in very rapidly when I was twelve and had stretch marks, too), that I could hold a stapler under there if I really tried! It was strangely shameful.

At the same time, I remember that I'd look at my body, even early on, and secretly admired it, especially the parts that seemed to want to grow unhindered, to exceed their boundaries. I liked the way it all looked, though I knew I was supposed to want my body to look different.

Does any of that ring a bell with anyone here?
I've felt unfeminine pretty much all of my life, until just this past year or so. I finally started wearing skirts and dresses, locked my hair so it will grow long (my short hair was a major part of that feeling too), and keep up with the nails and eyebrows and whatnot. Fat can be defeminizing to most of the world, but it certainly doesn't have to be.

I've never heard that about the pencil, but that just sounds whacky to me. I admit to reading nothing but novels and science magazines instead of fashion magazines as a kid tho so there's probably a lot of stuff like that I've never heard.

I liked my body when I was that age too. But I do remember being mortified about having to wear a regular bra when everyone else was wearing training bras. The bra shopping trips with my mother were just so unpleasant. Those sales ladies were mean, and my mother shook her head a lot. Ugh.
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:33 PM   #7
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I may not have had as much in common with some of you. I have been fat/chubby most of my life. I started getting fat around the fifth grade, up till that point, I was just shorter than all the girls my age. I never felt un-feminine - quite the opposite since I developed curves and breasts before the rest of the girls in my age group. I even remember some of my step-sisters friends spreading a rumor around school that my breasts were falsies because when I was younger, I had to have breast surgery! That rumor was dispelled in the girl's locker room at the gym!

Yet, I was uncomfortable around most girls my age and tended to hang out with my Mom and her friends. My Mom and I were always on a diet. Mom had always leaned towards being fat (all her siblings and both her parents were fat, with the exception of her two brothers), so I come by my fat genetically. I did, however, feel down because it was rare that I could find cute girls clothes in my size. My Mom made most of my outfits (this was back in the late 60's and 70's) because girls and teens clothes did not come in my size. I never dated in High School and I finally lost down to within 15 pounds of my goal weight (115 pounds) in college. It wasn't until the summer of my sophomore year that I had my first date and the summer before my Senior year I met my future husband. So, when I married, I was the thinnest I'd ever been in my adult life. It didn't take long before the weight came back on and I spent most of my life on some kind of diet or weight-loss endeavor, but I've not been under 200 pounds for almost 22 years.

I still deal with friends and family that are concerned about my weight and the concerns for mobility issues. I don't have any BBW friends that I can hang out with and this has been a source of frustration for me for a long time.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:29 PM   #8
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I think what we have in common is that were are all women going through the same shit just on different days...We have all had the "damn I am fat and no one is going to like me,let alone me liking myself"..We have all had the assholes that thought it was their mission in life to inform us that we are fat and we are truly ______ add what ever word you want to there..I would surmise we have all had the people that treat us like idiots because of our weight..The men(not man bashing just making an observation) that think we are easy and are just after the sex..

We have all had the struggles with finding nice clothing to really fit..Sales people treating us like shit because we are bigger then what is considered average..

I would say we have all had people watch what we put on our plates to eat..Some "concerned" friend asking if we really "need" that dessert,or seconds or what ever..

Dr.s that treated us like we have a death sentence hanging over our head..Dr.s that don't really listen to what we say to them because it all has to be weight related..Female issues that no one really wants to hear because they can't blame it on the fat..

Finally I think what we all have in common is that we are women and in some walks of life we are not treated as we should be..We still are not really heard for our opinions and our opinions do not really matter to some people..
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fascinita View Post
I've found that I share with a lot of fat girls I've known a sense of having felt awkward and unfeminine during puberty. Maybe it's true that most adolescents share in a sense of awkwardness about their bodies, but for me as a growing fat girl it was accompanied by a growing alarm at opening those magazines for women and realizing slowly that I did not look like I was "supposed" to look.
I know that feeling well. Didn't help that I had tubular breasts. I hated them for a long, long time. I'm still not thrilled with them at the "deflated" times of the month, but I'm trying...
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:06 AM   #10
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I remember hating shopping at the ''pretty plus'' section of Sears when I was young. It mortified me. Then moving onto women's sizes in grade school, because I was ''tall for my height''. That's what my mom told me. She was trying to spear me, but I hated not dressing like other kids.

to the op, I do remember thoughts at the age of 14. I was wearing a very form fitting polyester housedress, and I liked how it accented my curves. At that moment, in the mirror I didn't feel shame or disgust.
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:33 AM   #11
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It's really interesting that so many of us kind of grew up feeling somehow unfeminine, and later in life figured out how to remedy that. I'm the same way; I never really felt feminine until I started accepting my body. And, like Steely, I had/have the added challenge of being quite tall (I distinctly remember feeling almost asexual through high school and college, while towering over all the boys!), so I was ultimately forced to find a way to feel sexy and pretty and feminine while recognizing that I would never, ever, ever feel dainty.

Most of my feelings of femininity are internal, based on loving my plushness, my roundness, my curves, but I definitely do cling to a number of the typical (and fun!) external girly trappings, e.g. loving pink, jewelry and makeup, dresses, and my long hair and such. And flirting makes me feel girly, too! Which is why I think bashes always feel like a great big inoculation of rejuvenating girliness to me.
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleButtBabe View Post
I think what we have in common is that were are all women going through the same shit just on different days...We have all had the "damn I am fat and no one is going to like me,let alone me liking myself"..We have all had the assholes that thought it was their mission in life to inform us that we are fat and we are truly ______ add what ever word you want to there..I would surmise we have all had the people that treat us like idiots because of our weight..The men(not man bashing just making an observation) that think we are easy and are just after the sex..

We have all had the struggles with finding nice clothing to really fit..Sales people treating us like shit because we are bigger then what is considered average..

I would say we have all had people watch what we put on our plates to eat..Some "concerned" friend asking if we really "need" that dessert,or seconds or what ever..

Dr.s that treated us like we have a death sentence hanging over our head..Dr.s that don't really listen to what we say to them because it all has to be weight related..Female issues that no one really wants to hear because they can't blame it on the fat..

Finally I think what we all have in common is that we are women and in some walks of life we are not treated as we should be..We still are not really heard for our opinions and our opinions do not really matter to some people..
The only thing I would add to the above is that many of us have been denied jobs because of our weight. We don't "look" the part even though qualified for a position, and sometimes within the job we get pressure to lose weight from coworkers and superiors that is subtile yet pervasive.
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:52 AM   #13
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My body scared me, and having guys notice scared me too. I would have guys honking at me, when I would be walking down the street - I looked like I was 16, and not 12. In 6th grade, I wore a size 5, and had big boobs, and of course was bigger than every other girl in my grade, but to all the older people, I wasn't fat then - I just looked older. And I dont know, but it scared me, and I think that also played into my gaining weight around that age, and truly getting fat. And being called fat daily by my sisters did not help either.

So I didn't feel unfeminine, I felt TOO feminine. I remember looking at my breasts in 8th grade (they were a C then) and thinking they looked too much like the women in the showtime soft porn we'd watch and laugh at then. And that scared me too - I didn't want to look like those women. sigh, what I wouldn't do for perky c cup breasts, instead of these deflated bags I'm sporting now.

Quote:
I let everyone tell me I was fat and I believed them
Yes. I did that too and listened when they all called me ugly too. ugh. Glad I no longer feel that way most of the time. I still have my moments, but I'm learning to really love me, my body, and dont think I'm the ugliest person ever anymore. I no longer envy my sister, who was the 'pretty one' as she has a bunch of issues she has to deal with, and I'm happy with my life.
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Old 07-11-2009, 09:10 AM   #14
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My body scared me, and having guys notice scared me too. I would have guys honking at me, when I would be walking down the street - I looked like I was 16, and not 12. In 6th grade, I wore a size 5, and had big boobs, and of course was bigger than every other girl in my grade, but to all the older people, I wasn't fat then - I just looked older. And I dont know, but it scared me, and I think that also played into my gaining weight around that age, and truly getting fat. And being called fat daily by my sisters did not help either.

So I didn't feel unfeminine, I felt TOO feminine. I remember looking at my breasts in 8th grade (they were a C then) and thinking they looked too much like the women in the showtime soft porn we'd watch and laugh at then. And that scared me too - I didn't want to look like those women. sigh, what I wouldn't do for perky c cup breasts, instead of these deflated bags I'm sporting now.
Yes, this was my experience too. I can remember being nervous about walking home from the park by myself because I didn't want the male attention I received. And mind you, I grew up in the 'burbs, in a really safe neighborhood, but as an adolescent (around 11 or 12), I wasn't keen on 16 or 17 year old boys driving by and whistling, etc. It really made me uncomfortable. I just wasn't into boys at that point (and later in highschool, realized I wasn't into them at all! ).

I didn't grow up fat; but I was never skinny. I was always voluptuous/curvy. I never felt like I was ugly or unattractive though. Besides normal teenage angst, I never disliked my body; I would stand in the mirror and admire my big legs and when my hips started to spread I kinda got excited about that. Maybe it had something to do with always liking Jessica Rabbit; I thought she was the epitome of feminine then.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:33 AM   #15
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The only thing I would add to the above is that many of us have been denied jobs because of our weight. We don't "look" the part even though qualified for a position, and sometimes within the job we get pressure to lose weight from coworkers and superiors that is subtile yet pervasive.
I don't know if this has ever happened to me. If somehow I found out that it had at any stage I would burn the fucking building down

A lot of these memories that people have shared have stirred up so much hurt I remember feeling as a child. I remember not so much feeling unfeminine as feeling like I was some kind of disgusting other form of life. I was always being told how dark and funny and fat I looked. I had rolls on my neck and on my arms and my inner thighs and arms were darker than everywhere else - and I was huge and breathed hard when I climbed the stairs. I just remember often wandering if anybody would ever want to touch me - like I was the slimy toad in the midst of all these golden lab puppies. I get moment like that sometimes still. When I'll catch a horrified stare at my giant thighs or somebody wrinkling their nose as I walk by. The feeling always reminds me of that line in Shrek, where the short wanna-be king, Farquad or some such says to Shrek, "Its rude enough being alive when no-one wants you!" I still feel a faint kind of horror that the child I was felt that so intensly. Reading that others went through the same just makes it worse somehow - really makes me question the kind of society we live in
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:09 AM   #16
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Am I the only one that never really felt unfeminine? I've always been very stereotypically girly. Hm.
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:29 AM   #17
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You aren't the only one. I've always felt feminine. Thought the curves and fullness added to that feeling.
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:41 PM   #18
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It took me a really long time to realize that my fat was feminine. It's not exactly that I did not feel feminine to begin with, but that the overpowering sense of knowing I was too large to rate as a dainty girlie girl--according to accepted wisdom I heard and read everywhere--sort of tended to eclipse my authentic, internal feelings of budding femininity.

As well, I grew up being chided by women in my family (and by their women friends) for being too large. That sort of created a sense that I was rejected from womanhood by the women who might've welcomed me into it. When your mom thinks you're not pretty by virtue of being too large, it does something to your ideas of femininity.

The irony is, of course, that I was too feminine. Too much boobage, too many curves, too suddenly.

I think that all growing girls have to contend with their bodies at puberty. It's little studied, maybe, but I wonder if there is a kind of syndrome that describes the kind of containment that mothers and other female relatives try to exert on girl's bodies. To what extent are budding curves on a pubescent body regarded as something that must be controlled or kept from getting out of control?
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:08 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=Fascinita;1225841As well, I grew up being chided by women in my family (and by their women friends) for being too large. That sort of created a sense that I was rejected from womanhood by the women who might've welcomed me into it.[/QUOTE]

Wow, you said it there! I got big early (I come from a long line of fat people) and I started to hear the "you've got such a pretty face" line by 7 or so. The weird thing was, that my mom was a little chunky, and she was always chanting that at me. Add to that the fact that my father was a totally sick man who abused us girls, and my mom didn't protect us. I got to the point where I didn't trust women! I didn't want to be feminine because it seemed that women were weak and men got away with murder.

The first truly healing moment for me happened when I went to a Bette Midler show when I was 16. There she stood, loud, brassy, plump and amazing and I realized that being a woman could be very fun and bawdy. That was the beginning for me. I now cherish my women friends, and continue to work on feeling feminine - which I like. It also didn't help that I had EEE wide feet so forget girly shoes when I was growing up. Now, with the better shoe and clothing stores I'm moving towards feeling very pretty.

This is an amazing thread, by the way, I love that moment when you read something and realize that you are not alone. It used to bum me out seeing the ugly side of humans, the men and women who made fun of a fat kid. But my sister made a good point about growing up an outsider: "The good thing about being a bull in the china shop, you get to see the other bulls coming at you." I might add that the bulls are a hell of a lot more interesting.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:12 PM   #20
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Cinderella did not wear a size 10 shoe. I knew there was something wrong with me when they went on and on about her dainty feet. I've never felt dainty about any part of me ever. Another image of beauty, I just didn't fit into.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:59 PM   #21
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The only thing I would add to the above is that many of us have been denied jobs because of our weight. We don't "look" the part even though qualified for a position, and sometimes within the job we get pressure to lose weight from coworkers and superiors that is subtile yet pervasive.
I don't think this has ever happened to me. Sometimes I wonder if its really weight that keeps us from getting jobs or if its just too hurtful to admit we don't have the skill set, experience or education that would make us strong candidates for the position. Dunno. I just think it would be sort of difficult to tell if someone was discriminating solely based on weight.

And to be honest, I really do think we should "look the part", but that really doesn't have anything to do with fatness. You need to be neat, well spoken, etc. to be considered employable, I'd think.

As far as pressure from superiors/peers to lose weight - couldn't HR be contacted? To me that is up there with harassment of some type. I can't see myself going for the okey-doke at all, especially with my colleagues. They know when they start the diet talk and going on and on about pound for pound, Ash will proceed to exit the area. I don't have time for the foolery during my work day; there are much more productive things to do with my time.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:15 PM   #22
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Am I the only one that never really felt unfeminine? I've always been very stereotypically girly. Hm.
Nope. I was thinking the same thing. I've never really felt that way.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:23 PM   #23
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Nope. I was thinking the same thing. I've never really felt that way.
Did people in your family praise your fat girliness, Steph? I'm curious about the experiences of those for whom being fat did not mean having to feel unwieldy or unfeminine. That is, was fat seen as more or less normal in your family? Was it an issue at all that you were a growing fat girl?

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:31 PM   #24
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Did people in your family praise your fat girliness, Steph? I'm curious about the experiences of those for whom being fat did not mean having to feel unwieldy or unfeminine. That is, was fat seen as more or less normal in your family? Was it an issue at all that you were a growing fat girl?

Thanks for sharing.
My Mom is a BBW and my Dad a BHM so you could say so

It wasn't seen as positive per se, but it wasn't a negative thing. I was encouraged to diet if I wanted to, but never pushed into it.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:57 PM   #25
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I don't think this has ever happened to me. Sometimes I wonder if its really weight that keeps us from getting jobs or if its just too hurtful to admit we don't have the skill set, experience or education that would make us strong candidates for the position. Dunno. I just think it would be sort of difficult to tell if someone was discriminating solely based on weight.

And to be honest, I really do think we should "look the part", but that really doesn't have anything to do with fatness. You need to be neat, well spoken, etc. to be considered employable, I'd think.

As far as pressure from superiors/peers to lose weight - couldn't HR be contacted? To me that is up there with harassment of some type. I can't see myself going for the okey-doke at all, especially with my colleagues. They know when they start the diet talk and going on and on about pound for pound, Ash will proceed to exit the area. I don't have time for the foolery during my work day; there are much more productive things to do with my time.
Ash, I personally have experienced this. Where the interviewer assumed I had diabetes (when I don't) and said she couldn't hire me if I had to take a lot of days off. I'm like wtf? She didn't believe me when I said I didn't have diabetes. I had to remind this lady she couldn't ask me about my health status during an interview and it was for an administrative position (for which I was well qualified) in the wellness center at a college. She was the director of the freaking progam. She had already decided before I even opened my mouth that she wasn't going to hire me. I now work at the college, thankfully not for her. My only regret is not going to the president's office to file a complaint. Luckily I haven't run into her since.

Unfortunately, this is a reality for all fat folks now, especially with these debates about what to do about healthcare and employers possibly seeing a fat person as a drain on their healthcare budget. It's one of those things that frankly scares me. I wish the only worry was about being neat and presentable. Problem is tho that even if you are wearing a crisp suit, makeup, hair and nails impeccable, some people are just gonna make up their mind from the get go to not hire you. It's depressing.

And what if you are in a job where they've instituted one of those stupid weight loss incentive programs to try to get healthcosts down. It's likely that some who don't participate would get fired or reprimanded somehow. My job also requires occassional travel, and with the cost of airfare (having to now buy two seats) I dread these trips. I really do worry that not doing my fair share of these trips would make me seem like I'm not a team player. I've not yet figured out how to tell my boss why I don't want to fly, and I'm the only fat person there. Now I only volunteer to go if it's not more than 10 hours away by train. The only saving grace is we're doing fewer conferences because of the economy. Gah, I'm rambling. The point is job discrimination is very real for fat folks.

I'm honestly glad you haven't experienced it tho. Knowing that makes job hunting as a fat person seem a little less stressful.
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