It is hard enough dealing with issues of image when you’re a woman. Everywhere you look there are air-brushed versions, unrealistic representations, and judgment. As I’ve grown, I have realized Squirrel Poop the falsehood of these things and have moved on from comparing myself to models and actors.
As a plus-sized girl, however, I’m frequently annoyed with stereotypes and assumptions about us. It’s time us big women spoke up and have been heard.
I recently was very disappointed when a well-known writers’ conference had the whistle blown on them (justifiably so) for deciding not to bring a staff member back for this year’s event because of her size. Weight or size discrimination happens every day and it has happened to me.
There are many distinct reasons someone could be overweight-which is why the stereotypes are so aggravating. Overweight women (and men) are no exception.
Below are the top 10 most offensive stereotypes I have experienced and I think it’s time to call them out.
We are always eating.
Consider the TV sitcom where the token fat person is constantly shoving their face and does not have any self-control. This is partly a lazy method of writing for a cheap laugh. But it’s a common stereotype and it is annoying. And is it really all that funny? Hasn’t this joke been run into the ground enough already?
We’re all lazy.
I am busy from the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning before my head hits the pillow at night. I am aware of many other overweight folks who are the same way. Just because we are not hanging out at the gym like it is a hobby does not mean we’re sitting on our butts eating candy all day.
We’re all sick because of our weight.
I realize that being obese can increase the possibility of a multitude of diseases and issues (heart disease, diabetes, etc.). But it is not a GUARANTEE and you can’t assume that an overweight person is suffering from these challenges.
I recall when I first became pregnant with my son. I was 37 years old and obese. Don’t think I didn’t notice the up-and-down eyeball evaluations I was getting. I wanted to tell them “Yes! I am aware I’m fat and you believe I am as old as Methuselah to be giving birth, but I’m not dumb and I will take good care of myself and my child!”
I’m not giving advice on this in any way, shape, or form. See your doctor for it. But I had a healthy pregnancy and child. I ate healthy and had great prenatal care. But I could have done with the judgment.
We are jealous of thin people.
Not long ago, someone at work (who happens to be thin) made a big point in speaking for me to go on and on about how fat she thinks she is getting. It’s very clear that I am considerably heavier than her and she had been speaking ONLY to me at that moment. This is not the first time I’ve had this sort of thing said to me.
When someone who is obviously quite thin says this to somebody who’s obviously heavier, the first thing comes to mind is that they want you to say”Oh, I wish I was as thin as you! You aren’t fat in any way!” It is an obvious fish for a compliment.
Here is the thing, I don’t care about who’s thinner than me. I’m not comparing myself to them!
I’m currently almost at my highest weight (and I am aging), I feel better about myself than I ever have.
I realize that what people find attractive can vary dramatically. The only person I really care about being attracted to me is my husband, and he is not complaining.
I once had a health coordinator where I work condescendingly tell me”you’re worth it” as if she assumed that just because I was fat, that I didn’t believe I needed to pursue anything I felt was good for me.
We do not know we’re fat.
I’ve had more than 1 individual over my life feel the need to point out to me that I am fat. We do not need for people to make us aware of being overweight. We are perfectly capable of knowing this on our own, and believe me we understand it.
We don’t understand how to eliminate weight ourselves.
We don’t have to be enlightened with unsolicited advice as if we aren’t aware that you need to burn more calories than you eat in order to drop weight. We aren’t all totally helpless in this capacity and for lots of us, if want to lose weight bad enough, we will do it!
Sure, there are educated professionals who are extremely skillful and experienced in helping people reach their goals. Nutritionists, personal trainers, coaches, etc., I’m not at all saying they’re not valuable or important. What I mean is, we don’t need the”stink eye” when we have been indulge in seconds or have a dessert.
Does not that look nice, colorful, and delicious with all of those vegetables?” She explained this to me like I was a kid, like she was introducing the notion of eating vegetables to me. I am sure of her patronizing agenda because of other things she’d said to me in the past.
We’re all jolly slobs.
Do they so often need to be represented as simple-minded, adorable goofballs? Consider the chunky kid from the kid’s adventure movie who always has to be rescued or the portly cartoon mouse that is constantly lagging behind… you get the picture.
Some people are now very educated, successful professionals. We’re goal-oriented and also have a lot to give an organization with our well-developed careers.
There’s a link to obesity and hygiene.
We also are not any less inclined to look or dress professionally to present ourselves well. I once had a family member tell me about somebody they believed seemed unhygienic (and happened to be overweight) by saying”Well, I understand fat smells…” My eyes about rolled out of my head.
We all know this is a frequent stereotype or we wouldn’t observe the slob character in a TV series or film portrayed as fat. You’ve seen it-stains in their shirt, wrinkled clothes, general unkempt appearance.
That it is anybody else’s business or that discrimination should be tolerated.
What I want to say about these creators of the stereotypes is this-if it doesn’t affect you, then don’t judge. It’s not really anyone else’s business what someone weighs or what size they wear. It’s not OK to transfer your very own low self-esteem toward a fat person so as to make yourself feel better.
Stereotypes and assumptions are destructive. This is the area where discrimination is born. This is how we are passed over for promotions and opportunity. It is not OK to discriminate against someone for any reason, and size isn’t an exception.
It’s time we spoke out.