for yourself
May 27, 2003 05:24 PM

Fat & Feisty made a great post last weekend about the notion of acceptable size, and how much cultural norms influence even what we think we're doing for ourselves.

Where do you think you got your standard from??? Were you born knowing that size 10 (or 4, or 20) was ok but size 14 (or 6 or 26) wasn't? If any of us grew up in a bubble, or on a deserted island, or in a world where size was not a measure of worth, do you really think we'd all come to these precise conclusions on our own? I don't think we would.

I know, for instance, a woman who feels "healthier" on a carb-free diet that leaves her so de-energized she no longer works out. She's losing weight at the cost of hours of varied, exciting exercise each week. I don't think this is a sign that she's listening carefully to her body's feeling of health; I think it's a sign that she bought someone else's definition of "healthy" as "thin", and I hate that I can't talk her out of it.

I find myself doing the same thing, wondering if it might be easier if I just got the fat sucked out of me with a magic vacuum like all those sad people on that Extreme Makeovers show who are so convinced there's a beautiful, living person inside their shells. Then I think - how sad is it that we live in a world that could cause someone to believe a different-looking shell was reason enough to avoid living the life he wanted?

And then this, from the comments on F&F's post, made me want to fly out to Tish's or Paul's or somewhere for a good cry and some cheering up:

Well, it is one thing to not like your size because you are comparing it to an image of ideal beauty your are indoctrinated to hold as truth, and another thing to not like your size because you choose to fit into clothes/chairs/theatre seats/those tight fast food booths better.

Granted, these things are all made in those sizes because of the same "average" or "ideal' size image which may or may not be a good thing, but since you or I are not going to change the way the powers that be build these things in our lifetime, the options are either to stop going to the theatre, shopping in "regular" stores, and so on, or to compromise by losing some weight.

As if losing weight is a compromise with a world that says you're the wrong size. I don't have a deep empathy for this idea, but I understand. Even as fat as I am (the fitting in theater seats and planes and such sort of fat), I feel constantly radicalized by my difference from the norm. Simply having to consider whether a store is worth bothering with, worth looking for a few clothes your size, makes you painfully aware that you don't fit. To encounter this sort of thing with every little daily act has to wear down your sould.

But I don't think the answer is to fold. Quite the contrary. The answer is to stand up, march your folding stool into the movie theater, and get comfy. To demand that the powers that be (who are all ultimately accountable to you via your dollar or your vote) change the way they build things. Not just in our lifetime - tomorrow.

This is what keeps me fat - beyond the simple fact that I won't allow even my own brainwashed ideals of size to prevent me from living - this need to expand normal, to call the world on its bullshit, basically.

What that means is this - because I am in many respects, one self-righteous crazed person, I'm not just refusing to lose weight for myself. I'm doing it for you.

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your wicked thoughts

Oh yes. You are one self righteous crazed grrrl. And it makes me wanna say halleluiah.

these are the thoughts of Tish on May 28, 2003 09:44 PM

Huzzah for the crazed and the self-righteous! Finding myself quoted on other people's blogs is something I am still getting used to (this isn't the first time) but it's wonderful to think the things I'm saying are useful, are good food for thought to others. This makes me very happy, thank you!! By the way, that same comment you quoted above was the most irksome of the group to me as well-- very sad way to live...!

these are the thoughts of fatandfeisty on May 29, 2003 11:58 AM

The next version of Big Fat Blog will include a special "fly to visit the owner" option.

Great post.

these are the thoughts of Paul on June 1, 2003 11:44 AM

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