Internalized Fat Hatred Right In Your Face

Number One Daughter had a doctor’s appointment today, with her specialist.  Dr. Specialist comes to the school and takes over the nurse’s office for the day and sees the patients there – all the parents have to do is come to school.  I tell you, this is a lot easier than having to keep a kid off of school and drag them all over hell’s creation for a 10-minute appointment!

So I get to the school (10 minutes early!  considering the school is waaaaaaaay across town, this is a record for me), and I wait in the parents’ room.  Dr. Specialist is running a little bit late, so as I’m waiting, two other mothers come in.  Both of them were fat.  Other Mother One is older than me – mid to late 40’s would be my guess.  Other Mother Two is exactly one year older than I am, 33.  Other Mother One and I were talking about the area I’m living in now (we just moved here a year ago), as she’s originally from here – she grew up not 10 houses down the street from me.  As Other Mother One and I are talking, Random Female School Employee comes in and says hello.  These two women obviously know each other.  After a series of “hi, how are you?” ‘s, Other Mother One immediately says “I’m on my new diet now!  I’ve lost 8 pounds!”

Me (in my head): and how are you going to feel when you gain it all back?


Random Female School Employee says something to the effect of “I can’t lose weight no matter what I do.  Even when I was going to Slimming World, I didn’t lose a pound.  It’s my thyroid.”

Me (in my head): or maybe you’re at your set-point!  (Note: I’m not discounting the fact that it could be the woman’s thyroid, but I know that some people just assume that because they can’t lose weight, there must be something wrong with them.  When in fact, there’s nothing wrong with THEM, there’s something wrong with society for making them feel like they HAVE to lose weight to become an acceptable human being.)

Part of me really wanted to go all FA on their asses.  But these are women I don’t know and probably will never see again, and I just wouldn’t feel right launching into a speech like that with somebody I don’t even know.  It’s times like this when I think having some business cards printed up with some web addresses – like Shapely Prose, for example – would be a GREAT idea.  I wouldn’t even have to say anything.  I could just give it to people and let them check it out for themselves.  Let them find the clue-by-four on their own.

The thing is, since I don’t interact with other people all that much, I honestly don’t see the Internalized Fat Hatred Diatribe all that often.  I know it happens, of course, but I just don’t see it.  So when something like this happens, it seriously makes me sad.  Sad for these women, that they can’t just try to love themselves the way they are.  Sad that they feel like they’ve got to put their entire life on hold until they live up to some arbitrary, unrealistic ideal.  Sad that they internalize all this shit to such an extent as this.

Because I know what that feels like.  I talk the talk, and I’m learning to walk the walk, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget what that feels like.  And I want to tell them how amazing it feels to wake up and not feel that hatred weighing me down every day.  I want to tell them what it feels like to be able to look in the mirror and not have those messages that are shoved down our throats by society-at-large running through my head every single time.  I want to tell them that internalizing that fat hatred is worse for them than any weight they might reach.  I want to tell them what it feels like to be free!

I just hate it when I see women looking so happy about hating themselves and their bodies.  Because there’s a 98% chance they’re going to be right back where they are now, if not heavier, and their self-hating is just going to get worse.

And that?  Is just sad.


8 Responses

  1. Why didn’t you say what was in your head? You’re not seeing them again anyway.
    A friend in facebook (the anal retentive kind of person who switches her relationship status to “it’s complicated” all the time) has “prolly efortlessly regained weight” in her status field. I feel like signing her wall with “riots not diets” or something like that, so she doesn’t bother doing the effort to lose it. Maybe then she would focus all her energies on not being an arse in her relationship?

  2. I feel like signing her wall with “riots not diets” or something like that, so she doesn’t bother doing the effort to lose it. Maybe then she would focus all her energies on not being an arse in her relationship?

    😆 I don’t know, but I’m enough of a bitch that I LOVE the sound of that!

    As for why I didn’t say what was in my head… well, to be honest, I have a hard time articulating my FA stance to FAMILY… let alone strangers. Hubby is about the only one who knows just how involved I am, and all he cares about is the fact that his wife is finally becoming more confident and accepting herself. We could all be planning the next invasion from Mars and he’d be happy. 😉

    I’m the kind of person who can easily strike up a conversation with people, but it’s all fluff, really. The REALLY important stuff? That’s hard.

  3. It’s times like this when I think having some business cards printed up with some web addresses – like Shapely Prose, for example – would be a GREAT idea.

    $3.99 for 250 at VistaPrint! 😉

  4. They won’t hear the message until they’re ready for it, and you can’t tell if a stranger is ready for it; or will simply be offended because you just don’t know them well enough. I think the most doable thing is that if they try to include you, to say that diets are a tool of the devil, and you’re happy the way you are. That or change the subject to how nice it is that the specialist comes to school.

  5. I think what makes me sad about this whole thing is how normal it is in our society to talk about losing weight all the time in such public arenas like this. Its almost like the women who said she had lost 8 pounds was trying to prove something to the others, like “I’m fat, and I know it and I’m trying to do something about it.” Preaching size acceptance is not easy, and people have to be willing to put behind the brainwashing and open their minds to new possibilities and thats the hard part. I share your sadness but I also have hope that with all of our efforts, things will change…

  6. I know I never know what to say in that kind of situation. Business cards do not sound like a bad idea.

  7. I finally did. She replied “what about riots and diets? down with weight, down with fat, down with petrol”. You know, because fat people always drive around their SUVs? I said something like “down with the fear industry and down with eugenetics. and down with homework”. the homework bit was a simpsons reference, just for a laugh. the other two i think belong to FA 202, so i think it was quite advanced for her. so i told her to check out Fat Rant, something more FA 101. I hope she is my new convert sooner or later. Mwahahaha. 😀

  8. Piffle, you’re right. I don’t think I would have been ready to accept the FA message when I was in the midst of my self-hating phase. I’ve actually said as much here before, I just didn’t think of it in that context when I was writing this piece.

    And actually, we did end up changing the subject… to my dress! 😀 I was wearing this dress that I’d bought months ago but never worn, and she complimented me on it. So then we started talking about how fun shopping can be when you find clearance racks FULL of gorgeous clothes in your size. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past few months. My wardrobe has literally doubled and I’m only spending like £20 a month on clothes! Hee! 😉

    tiffabee, I hope things change, too. If not for us, for the next generation. I don’t want my daughters and (potential) granddaughters to have to endure the same things we are.

    goodbyemyboy, you know, the more I think about it, the more I’m thinking I might actually do it. Hubby found an online store that will print up business cards for £9.99, and only charges something like £2 for shipping. I’m seriously giving this some thought.

    cyn, you know, that reference to fat people and petrol always makes me livid. Most of the fat people I personally know either don’t drive at all or, if they do, they have the tiniest, most fuel-efficient cars on the planet. Who do you see in the SUV’s? The well-to-do skinny as a rail soccer moms that have no bigger concerns other than what designer jeans they’re going to wear that day. (For one example.)

    Joy is a wonderful tool, though! 😀 (And now that I read that, that sounds bad, but it’s not meant to be.) I keep rotating her Fat Rants on my MySpace page. My subtle way of trying to get more people to think. 😉

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