I got out of bed to write this.
I haven’t written here in a while, my life has been upside down in all kinds of ways and I just have not had it in me to write about anything lately. There has been something that’s been eating at me all the while, though. I’m sure, by the title of this, you know what I’ll be discussing.
On the rare occasion media attention is given to anything weight-neutral (or even, dare I say, size-positive?), one will, without fail, encounter a comment from a reader/viewer that expresses “worry” that anything less than staggeringly negative protrayal of fat people in the media will lead the unwashed masses to believe that it’s okay to be fat. If this sentiment does not come from a reader/viewer, it will most likely come from the article/news clip/media bit itself. If it’s not TLC’s BRITAIN’S FATTEST MAN in which we witness an impossibly large person simpering and sobbing for their very life, somehow this will lead the sheep that we all are into donut-plaqued oblivion. Fat kills, I’m sure you’ve noticed. How anyone above 300 pounds has not yet dropped dead is beyond our entire medical profession, it seems. If we have a show like Mike and Molly (which I do not care for), eventually we’ll wake up to our five-year-olds in scooters.
Naturally, when it is spelled out in such a fashion, these notions look ridiculous. They are ridiculous. The reality is that having a fat person or two on television might actually be an okay thing, and it might not have an effect on our society. Ultimately though, this is not my point. My point is this whole validity of being fat thing.
I don’t care if being fat is okay or not.
I’m sure this is not what you expected me to say. “This girl blogs about size psitivity and size acceptance! How can she say she doesn’t care if it’s okay to be fat?!” It’s a simple thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s okay to be fat or not. The reality is, people are fat, just like people are gay, straight, and are of various races and ethnicities. It is foolish not to accept reality. It doesn’t matter what you think of a fat person– be they the “good” fatty, who can fit into pants at Lane Bryant and eats according to the food pyramid or be they the “bad” fatty, who has to use a scooter because they chose to gain weight to the point of impaired mobility. These people exist. Are we really a society that will shun people based on something like this? I ask this, but I’m not sure I want to know the answer. Once upon a time, women could not vote. Once upon a time, black people had to use separate water fountains. Once upon a time, an interracial couple could not get married. We’re still working out the whole gay thing.
You don’t hear people say “it’s not okay to be Hispanic.” Well, maybe you do, but I surely do not spend my time talking to racists. I’d like to think that, for the most part, people who would say that are considered the dregs of society now. So, if people who would say that are on the lower rungs of our lot, then why on God’s green Earth would it be okay to tell someone it’s not okay that they are fat? It’s not any less hateful than discrediting someone due to the color of their skin. If you sit back and think about it, how many people would put themselves through this scrutiny willingly, if all these oh-so-great diet plans work? Man, if the only thing standing between me and acceptance was a few months at Jenny Craig, don’t you think I’d have done that by now?
When I worked for the Census Bureau in Maine, our local office mantra was “it is what it is.” Reality might not always be a savory thing to come to terms with, but it is what it is. Fat people are here, just as we always have been and always will be, barring some kind of government-sanctioned mandatory barriatric surgery.
If that happens, I’m buying an island and making the sovereign nation of Joeyonia with my cat.
Disclaimer: I’m somewhat groggy, so if my point is muddled, please excuse. This has been ping-ponging around in my head for what has probably been months now.