Giving in to pressure from our size-ist society?

Discussion in 'WeMITTS (We Mean It This Time)' started by westhills, 8 February 2007 Social URL.

  1. westhills

    westhills I STILL mean it!

    I meant to post this as a reply to Emma's post on the general WeMitt thread, but after I had typed it, realised I had clicked on "post new thread" so here it is.................... I agree whith what you said, Emma. I just got to the point where I was so TIRED of battling against predjudice, as well as all the physical issues.
    We DO live in a sizeist society. There is no legal protection from sizeist abuse is there? There is discrimination all over the place. Perhaps when you are younger, you can cope better with it all (I know I did), but now, I want life to be less of a struggle, I want to fit aircraft seats, I want to fit theatre seats, I want to go to restaurants knowing I'll be able to sit in them without doing a recce. I have avoided so many lovely places just because the chairs had arms on them. I want to walk in the countryside, and play games with my grandchildren. I am going to learn to horse ride in March, with my 8 year old grand daughter, and I would NEVER have done that at nearly 22 stone. In a way, you DO lose your identity - but it's up to you to create a new one, and then to try and make the world a better place for everyone - by speaking up for larger people whenever you get the chance, and, if they choose, by helping them to be slimmer. Choice, that's the important thing. I spent years feeling that I didn't have a choice, that this was my lot in life forever - I lost all hope. VLCD gave me hope, and I will always be gratefull for being given this chance.
    There is no way in the world that I would choose to be fat again, but I absolutely understand your point.
    Ann xxx
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  3. GoingToLoseWeight

    GoingToLoseWeight Full Member


    I read Emma's post too.

    To be honest, I don't agree that we necessarily live in a "size-ist" society in the context of unjust discrimination.

    Cards on the table - I'm fat. Have been for ages. But I don't think it's affected my life that badly; I play sports I want to, I've gone clubbing, travelling, I had a couple of great relationships as a (very fat ) teenager, I've been with my partner nearly 10 years. I'm 29 now.

    The difference between being obese and being black / disabled / old / female etc is that the latter are all fundamental. Whereas you can stop being obese, as I'm trying to do now.

    Being black / female etc isn't bad for you, or soceity. Being obese is. It costs a lot more for planes to carry me than someone who is a healthy BMI, for example.

    Mini likes this.
  4. Anne-Marie

    Anne-Marie Anne-Marie

    I read it with interest too!!!
    I'm sure it all comes down to self esteem. For some people being overwieght or obese is a major factor in how they live their lives - and that often comes from within THEMSELVES. If you feel less confident then you'll retreat into yourself and so the cycle continues.
    There's often lots of assumptions made about obese people - that they're lazy, lack willpower, greedy, unfit etc etc. However, how we take these on board is really down to how we REALLY feel about ourselves! That's what shapes us - excuse the pun!!
    However, we can't argue that obesity afeects health and life expectancy. people who aren't obese get sick too .... but being obese increases our chances of illness significantly. That was my motivation. Anything else is a bonus. I want to live to see my children marry and have kids, I want to enjoy my retirement (long way off but it's a dream!). Life is precious ... comes along once!
    Mini likes this.
  5. Aubergine

    Aubergine Member

    Respectfully, I disagree with a couple of parts of what you said. I think you've been lucky, and have confidence and a great attitude.

    There are plenty more who were brought up with parents saying "if you don't lose weight you'll never find a boyfriend/ get a job/ be happy" and have internalised that criticism and it's made them vulnerable. It does stop them from doing things they want to do.

    They don't necessarily have the strength to throw off the negative stereotypes of fat in the community at large (ho ho ho) -- which say that if you go on the beach in a swimsuit and you're bigger than a size 16, you are offensive to other people and they have the right to mock you. It's hard to say "s*d you lot, I will do precisely as I wish". Being fat makes you fair game for anyone who wants to exercise their "wit".

    I agree that prejudice against someone because of their size is different to suffering prejudice because of one's race, creed or sexuality. Weight isn't a fundamental characteristic and it can be changed.

    The key is how acceptable it is to discriminate against someone because of that prejudice. If you were to yell out a racial epithet at someone on the street, you would rightly be reviled by anyone with a lick of sense and you might face court proceedings. But the set of automatic assumptions that come with being fat (that you're lazy, stupid, greedy etc) mean that anyone, anywhere can take a pot shot at you and you "deserve it". As if anyone deserves to have "fat b*tch" yelled at them by a random stranger as they're walking down the street.

    Because apparently they also think all fat people are deaf. And Evans think they're bloody colour-blind too judging by their latest range of clothes. Feh.

    The world of people who have always been thin have no idea how difficult it is to change it when you've been using food as both medicine and solace for years.

    I'm almost halfway there to my goal now and for the past couple of weeks I have been unfocused and messing about, and I think the reason is this. I've just reached the point where I blend in, and it's made me a bit cocky. I'm fat now, but in the normal everyday way, not the way that provokes stares and giggles and "what has she done to herself?" remarks. I never realised how much of that there was until it stopped.

    It's only getting worse now that the government has started on this whole "the obesity epidemic is going to start costing the NHS *money*, oh my god, send them all to fat camps immediately!!" campaign. Never mind that a lot of it is genetics and luck and there are plenty of people who are very overweight according to BMI who will not trouble the NHS because they're built on that scale naturally.

    Now we're all fat and stupid and greedy and lazy *and* a burden on the taxpayer, which allows people to be as insulting about us as they like, apparently.

    My friend is a scientific researcher whose work may be part of the key to understanding a number of childhood diseases. She's an amazing woman. But apparently because she is rather overweight, she's a lazy, greedy burden on society. Look around this board. How many other fabulous women do you know who are being judged on this single worthless criteria? How many fat people do you know who work twice as hard as anyone else, just to fit in?

    I'm not saying that we shouldn't want to change or want to be as healthy as we can, but the level of prejudice fat people face is ridiculous. It makes it harder to change, not easier.

    The way that fat children are being stigmatised by our society now makes me furious. There was a survey a year or two ago in which (I think) 10 year olds said they would rather be dead than fat. What sort of a stupid, thoughtless, empathy-deficient society makes children think that way?

    Anyway. Sorry. This topic turns me into Mrs Bitchy McRantpants.

    GoingToLoseWeight likes this.
  6. SP30

    SP30 Back on the wagon :-)

    But don't you think though that there has become a kind of polarity about this?

    On the one hand we have all these negative messages about being fat - from "it's terribly bad for your health" to going for a job interview, doing well then not getting the job - then realising that the younger thinner blond girl got it.

    On the other hand as a nation we have never been so fat. You can spend an hour in Tescos looking at all the goodies then take them home and stuff your face. Like you say Aubergine blending in means being (in my case) 3 stone overweight. You might think that being fat will become the smoking of the 21 Century if you read a magazine or watch the news but if you look at the people around you it is never going to happen.

    < /rant>
  7. Gen

    Gen Normal

    Hey there... that is exactly where I was when the slippery slope got hold of me and I haven't regained my ice boots yet... I will... but it is hard once it goes from under ya...

    I might just rob ur quote for another thread if that is ok....


    Gen xxx
  8. westhills

    westhills I STILL mean it!

    What an interesting post, Aubergine, you articulated a lot of my thought - thanks.
    Ann x
  9. cah-ching

    cah-ching Gold Member

  10. GoingToLoseWeight

    GoingToLoseWeight Full Member

    Hi Aubergine - I never mind being disagreed with, I do it for a living!

    I take your point - absolutely, abuse on the basis of size is not acceptable. It's cruel, degrading (to the person saying it as much an anything!) and unnecessary.

    I may be lucky - I've acheived what I want to in my career so far, and don't feel that being overweight (hell, obese!) has stopped me doing that. And no-one has ever yelled at me in the street or on the beach or whatever. If they did, I'd be suprised, but would yell something suitable back LOL ("I may be fat, but you are ugly and I can always diet"?)

    There is this strange dichotemy, in that being fat is ever more common and ever less acceptable, it appears.

  11. westhills

    westhills I STILL mean it!

    This is SUCH and intersting topic. I never felt that my weight held be back in my career, but in any situation when meeting people for the first time, obesity is a disadvantage. People are said to make their minds up about their opinion of someone new in the first 5 seconds of seeing them. Us fatties have to work hard to make sure our personality overcomes any prejudice. It's like we have to say " I may be fat, but I'm also intelligent, clever, witty, well groomed etc....... to make people see past the fat.
    There is still an element though of "if she can't look after herself, I don't want her working for me" from potential employers.
    I like this discussion - more comments and opinons please.
    Ann x
  12. SP30

    SP30 Back on the wagon :-)

    Being fat never really affected my performance at work but it is exactly as you say - you meet people and the first thing they see is a fat person and you have to overcome all the baggage that comes with that image.

    It's slightly more of a girl thing perhaps. In his blog, Icemoose says that when he was at his top weight he never felt threatened in a football crowd and never had any problems when he took things back to the shops :D :D Women might struggle to recall any positive experience about being fat.
  13. Anne-Marie

    Anne-Marie Anne-Marie

    Being fat never affected me in my career. I guess i've been lucky because I've never been abused verbally (unless you count school kids who'd be just as likely to call me a bossy ***** etc - so i don't count them!)
    I don't know if being fat has affected my life to any great extent - will re-evaluate that once I'm slim.
    Abuse or discrimination is WRONG ... whatever the reason, and we have to teach our kids that. But we also have to strive to teach them about health and, unfortunately, that includes obesity as well as drugs, smoking etc. We are becoming more aware of these things, thanks to the media. That's a good thing BUT we also have to remember the importance of tolerance - a fine balance there.
    Anyway - I don't think that trying to lose weight will work if the motivation is 'society's attitudes' because the desire has to come from within yourself. It also has to be about more than 'fitting in' I think.
  14. kandy

    kandy Silver Member

    Hi all,
    This is a very interesting topic, i have always been fat and i have always viewed it as a disability .
    I was bullied at school and at home by my uber skinny sister who made me feel worthless and i never overcame it.
    i feel ashamed when i meet new people and that is my main reason for not attending any of the 'meets' which i know is silly as many of the people on this forum are in the same position .
    It's very ingrained with me i am afraid and i dont even like to visit family which is silly, for fear they are judging me .

    It's amazing how my weight has affected me when i look back at my bullied school years by todays standards i wasn't that overweight anyway !

    It's interesting because i can see now that its not so much what other people think of me and my extra poundage its what i really think of it !
    I convince myself that people are making comments about how i look etc but are they ?

    Bit deep bit rambly many apologies a small leak from the floodgates methinks must close them now ;) :D xxx
  15. Anne-Marie

    Anne-Marie Anne-Marie

    Summed that up Julie - it's about you and how you feel! sounds like you are definitely moving forward though!!!!!!!! And i bet it's made you a really lovely person!
  16. EmMUK

    EmMUK Trying Hard!

    wow, who would have thought one post would lead to this. it's so fascinating.

    reading all your posts makes me realise how lucky I am that I have made it through the last 30 years of overweight life (that would be all of it) pretty much unscathed. It makes me so angry that society has made so many people so unhappy and that no one is held responsible or even tries to understand.

    Ann, was it you who mentioned about needing to work harder to get past people's initial perceptions? I agree so much with this. I have always worked hard to make sure that my personality and confidence and intelligence come through and always assumed that first impressions weren't great. How awful is that! And now that will be a thing of the past, or will it? does society just find something else to judge us on?

    and who said about internalising issues? I am the queen of this. my mum and dad constantly put me down for being fat. my god, they had me on their first diet (egg and grapefruit) at 5!!!! YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT!! I was bullied awfully and of course got no sympathy at home. and I was always told that I might be bright but no one would employ me. but somehow, by some miracle; I was blessed with this obstinate nature which refused to conform and refused to let life beat me. of course now I know (following 5 years therapy) that all I did was use food in a negative way on the opposing end of the anorexic spectrum - instead of removing food as a way of bringing power, I added food.

    sorry, I am rambling. But I feel so strongly that yes, being overweight has health issues; but no it is not something that anyone has the right to comment on for any other reason.

    I honestly am thankful for the years I have spent as a sidelined, maginalised obese woman. I have hated the whispers and the taunts and the comments and the out and out teenage bullies on the street (last time just 2 months ago) and everything else negative (including lack of clothing choices). BUT it has made me stronger, it has helped me appreciate life and everything there is in it. It has broken me out of the typical pattern my parents follow where what you look like is everything; I know that everyone is an individual and has something great to offer me if I look hard enough. I am better for having suffered, I would never wish it on anyone else but I will do all I can to make sure that our society understands that what is inside counts and as long as whats on the outside is healthy and happy then acceptance is key.

    hope that makes sense.
    GoingToLoseWeight likes this.
  17. westhills

    westhills I STILL mean it!

    It makes perfect sense Emma - I LOVE this discussion - more views please WeMitts....
    Ann x
  18. GoingToLoseWeight

    GoingToLoseWeight Full Member

    Hi emma,

    I agree with you that eating can be a similar thing to anorexia.

    In my case, I was a plump child, but had no hang-ups or issues about it. I was very lucky in that my family didn't give me a complex about it!

    Then, at the age of 11, I went to boarding school. Which I hated. And one of their big things was weighing us all the time, and going on about how I was 1/2 stone overweight.

    So eating became a rebellion for me, even way after I left that school and went to a lovely day school! That was the time I stopped being a bit chubby and became fat.

  19. jane

    jane Opinionated

    Oh boy, have I been there! You work so hard, then one day realise that you'e done a great job. I'm no longer a gorgon, no longer laughable or remarkable.I blend in ,just a 'normal' fattie. Then something happens & I find I'm standing on a GLASS FLOOR, a bouncy glass floor(I know,contradiction in terms) from which the only way is back up.
    2 weeks ago I had no idea that so many others fight my exact fight evey day too.then my CDC wrote ' on a stic-it note for me.
    Last edited: 15 February 2007
  20. jane

    jane Opinionated

    I think all the above arguements are right, & this is why obesity is such a prickly problem. To a certain extent (& in some people to a much larger degree, in others not really at all) the tendancy to obecity IS a fundamental .Unfortunatly unlike being black or jewish or red haired it is bad for you.
    It is,again to a variable degree part of the braod eating-disorder spectrum & thus can be considered as if not a true illness, then at least a disorder that responds to therapeutic intevention.
    It is also a legitimate political issue, because of the many social/ medical ramifications discussed above.
    It has also many facets that put it under the umbrella of antisocial/addictive habits like smoking & xs-drinking,other drug misuse.. It is Self destructive. It fulfills many of the criteria needed to qualify as an adiction. It also, like living with a drunk,junkie or smoker, has a knock-on detrimental effects on those around you.(New Term 'Passive Obesity')
    Basically Obesity can't be slotted in anywhere because it slots in every where.(Just thought of a joke. The problem with obesity Is that it is too wide to fit into any normal category)
    I think that this goes a long way to explaining societies seemingly inconsistant attitudes/reactions to it.
    The increasing presence of a sort of puritanical back-lash is also understandable in this context.
    Just read this through-sorry if it sounds pompous.not meant to. I was just trying to get my thoughts out in some sort of order.
  21. bakerfa

    bakerfa Silver Member


    I was going to start a new thread but decided to weigh in here anyway as it's sort of linked.

    I have been lucky enough not to be called names - apart from the odd stupid kid on the street when I've told them off for grafitti-ing or whatever. However it's my own attitude that's been putting me down all these years. I thought I was hugely fat all through school when in fact I was never larger than a 12/14. I have had the opposite of anorexia ever since; I look in the mirror and I'm thinner than I am. I never saw the car crash that I became until the occasional photo showed me... the mirror never did. I have always been able to stand in front of a mirror nude, semi clad whatever and never had a problem, (which according to part of this site is rare) HOWEVER I am sizist myself. I always was to some point without including myself in the category I was judging. Controversial as this sounds I would look at people and think how can you look like that, if only you would put on makeup/dress better/wear a proper bra etc... without always applying those rules to myself BUT here's where the problem begins. It means I hate myself as I struggle to lose my weight, 1) for being judgemental, 2) because I am struggling and my weight varies a lot, glass ceiling no, glass trampoline! and 3) because the flaws I see in my character will still be there when I'm slim (if I get there in the end, which depresses me leading to comfort eating!)

    Okay - that's set the cat among the pigeons. I await your response.

    jane likes this.

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