Tag Archives: fat acceptance

People suck

So tonight my mom and I watched the Grammys. Adele, as predicted by many, pretty much took the whole show, winning every award she had been nominated for (I think). CNN.com posted an article about her sweeping success tonight and, unfortunately, opened the article up for comments.

Why “unfortunately”? Here are a few of said comments:

  • “Adele is such a fat pig. I hope she has a heart attack.”
  • “a fattie that hollers & screams and it’s accepted as music”
  • “Oh, dont get us wrong, her singing sucks too. We hate that as well.”
  • “its just the sounds of a hefty woman cackling & yelling”
  • “british singers used to be great… before you started exporting chubbies”
  • “she is hefty & homely hence the 2lbs of makeup caked on her mug”

We all know how I feel about size and sizeism, but putting all that aside—seriously, people? The woman has an amazing voice and you can’t get past her physical appearance? Chill the hell out and appreciate her talent, you jealous plebeians.

Holy freaking crap.

Come on, really?

This afternoon I was bored at home and with nothing else to do, I turned on the TV and watched The Doctors. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an hour-long show featuring a team of medical professionals who respond to themed health concerns such as diabetes or flu prevention or healthy foods.

Usually these guys are pretty reasonable and accurate with their advice (at least in my opinion). But today’s show, which was focused on weight loss (“Six Ways to Weigh Less;” I’ll critique this theme in a minute), opened with an overweight young man talking about how his partner always cooked for him. This wouldn’t be a bad thing, he said, except for the fact that the foods she cooked were always high in calories and fat and she made him feel like he “had” to eat everything she prepared for him. He felt like he had pressure to finish everything she made for him and therefore felt like she was pressuring him into being overweight.

Yeah, okay, I can respect his concerns. However, I did have issues with how the doctors interpreted the situation following the clip. They basically said that the sole reason a partner/spouse would “make” or “keep” their significant other overweight is due to insecurity. Basically, they make their significant other overweight and thus decrease their desirability to others, insuring the already existing relationship against possible outside threats.

Really?

Really?

I have several problems with this statement. Actually, I have several problems with this episode. Bullet point time!

  • The Doctors emphasize multiple times that the episode is focused on making people healthier, and yet it is explicitly titled and referred to as “Six Ways to Weigh Less.” Because we all know that weighing less = increased health. Always. Totally. Except it doesn’t. YES, for those people carrying about a significant amount of weight, the loss of this weight can improve overall health. But it has been shown in several studies (that just links to like a summary) that people who are slightly heavier than “average” using the BMI as a gauge (which is screwy anyway) actually live longer than those of low, average, or obesity-level weight. But since we’ve all been told that weighing less = being healthier no matter what, I guess that’s what we’ll have to believe.
  • I don’t like the implication that the woman who is supposedly over-feeding her partner is doing so deliberately. Maybe she’s of a background where food = caring. Maybe she is positively reinforced when her partner finishes the large meals and therefore continues to make them large. Maybe she just likes to cook. Who knows? I think it’s pretty bad to assume she has some sort of ulterior motive here.
  • Speaking of the idea of an ulterior motive, how about that idea that the motive is as sinister as keeping her partner “unattractive” to others in order to preserve their relationship? I think jumping to this conclusion puts every fat admirer (or anyone who just doesn’t have a problem with larger people) in a bad light. Most of us who like heavier people do not have this insecurity-driven reason for our preferences. If I had a partner, I wouldn’t want him to be heavy unless he wanted to be heavy or didn’t mind being heavy. Like, I’d be all on board with that if that’s what he wanted, but I certainly wouldn’t purposely try to make him fat with the intention of making him “unappealing” to others in order to preserve our relationship. I wouldn’t try to make him fat at all if that’s not what he wanted, because that’s manipulative and wrong. Saying that’s what’s going on in this case is super insulting to the woman and really just irks the hell out of me.
  • Oh, and one last point relating to the previous one: FAT =/= UNATTRACTIVE. STOP REINFORCING THE NONSENSE ASLDFJDLGKAVEAFIFJANDFAJGHH.

Okay I’m done.

30-Day Meme – Day 13: How do you think others view you?
Haha, who knows after reading the above rant. I think other people think I’m weird, I really do. I’m short, I wear weird stuff, I’m quiet unless you get me all riled up about something (see above), I like stats, and I’m a band geek. Weirdness is my forte.
Though I could be completely wrong.

The “F” Word

What “F” word, you ask?

Fat.

Last Monday Maura Kelly, a writer for Marie Claire magazine, posted this controversial blog in which she openly stated her opinion regarding fat people showing public affection (both on TV and in real life). She has since augmented the post with a somewhat lacking apology, but not before hundreds of comments were posted calling her, among other things, shallow, rude, and bigoted. There are now thousands of comments to this article, with a surprising number of  individuals stating in so many words how “sizeism” like that displayed in the article should not be tolerated.

Now if you know anything about me (which you may or may not, depending on how you’ve stumbled across this particular entry), you know I have something to say about this. In brief, I like fat. I think fat is sexy. This is not to be confused with the idea that I support people getting/staying fat for cosmetic reasons. Saying to a loved one “you’d look so much better if you gained weight” is equivalently as bad as saying “you’d look so much better if you lost 5/10/25 pounds,” especially if it’s just for vanity reasons.

When I say “I like fat” I mean that if someone is overweight and they are comfortable with it (and the possible health risks associated with it), then I fully support it and have no issues with how they look.

So after hearing that, it may come as a surprise that, in a weird way, this article made me happy. I guess I was surprised at the number of people who came forward who openly admitted to being angered by Kelly’s words. It made me happy to see so many people as upset by her article as I was.

That being said, of course there was the number of posts that, while not necessarily agreeing with her, cited the ever-popular argument that “being fat is a drain on government money because of the associated health risks” and therefore being fat is bad.

Here’s where I feel I should comment. I understand this concern (and I’ll address it momentarily), but what I don’t see is why these people are making that comment on Kelly’s blog. Nowhere does she discuss the “health drain” that being fat supposedly is; she simply discusses how grossed out she gets by two heavier people making out in public. How is that related to health issues? It’s like trying to argue that because smoking causes high health costs, two smokers making out should therefore be viewed as bad.

Anyway, that was just an aside.

What I really want to address is this idea that being fat is “bad” because it causes higher health costs (at least in the States, where there is a super high percentage of overweight and obese individuals). I can understand this logic insofar as the general reasoning, but I think a lot of people who make this argument fail to see the other important sides of it.

What do I mean? Well, let’s look at it this way. In the extreme version of this argument, people “choose” to be fat by eating too much and exercising to little. Therefore, they choose to become overweight, and this choice, when chosen by a large amount of people, leads to higher healthcare costs. Let’s ignore arguments that take into account genetic contributions or other illnesses that lead to people gaining weight and just focus on this extreme version.

Obviously, such an extreme argument can be applied loosely to other choices that also can lead to higher healthcare costs. A small example: drug consumption. People “choose” to begin to consume, say, prescription drugs that they don’t need, a select number develop an addiction that is often followed by a myriad number of health conditions that, if enough people exhibit these symptoms, can raise healthcare costs.

I’m not equating obesity to prescription drug abuse (‘cause that would be dumb), but I AM trying to make the following point: people seem to place a large amount of the “this is why healthcare costs are increasing” blame on overweight and obese people while, if things were broken down a different way, I think we would see that there are enough instances of OTHER risky health-related behaviors (that are unregulated by the government) that can be seen as raising healthcare costs just as much as the obesity epidemic.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: obesity is probably chosen as the scapegoat health issue because 1) it IS becoming an epidemic if it isn’t one already, and 2) it’s a very obvious issue, “obvious” meaning that it’s something others can simply look around themselves to see. You can’t just look around to pick out the people that may be drinking too much or abusing drugs or doing any number of other risky health-related things, but you CAN do that with obesity, and I think that’s why a lot of people are so hard on individuals who happen to be carrying extra weight.

I don’t know. This may be total BS, but that’s what Ms. Kelly’s blog reminded me of. It also got me quite upset because of the nature of her tone, but I decided not to blog about that to save my blood pressure from spiking.

Anyway.

 

 

Today’s song: Heat of the Moment by Asia

Underwear Phobia (not really, but interesting titles are important)

So I found this article today…I liked it.

“Women who love fat men”

Soft and strong: Bigger men have their admirers.

It’s a common assumption that women like their men with chiseled cheekbones and a taut stomach. Studies of male physical attractiveness tend to support this idea, with research by University College London finding that women like their men muscular (we’re talking athletic, not Arnie) and with a narrow waist and wide shoulders. 

Of course, there are always exceptions. David Beckham’s rippled torso might make most girls go weak at the knees but, for some, fleshy wobbles are a huge turn-on.

Take 29-year-old Heidi – her ideal man would weigh 158kg [that’s about 348 lbs.]. ‘Ideally, he would have some muscle and plenty of soft fat covering his body,’ she explains. ‘He’d have to have good facial features, particularly nice eyes and, to seal the deal, a wide bum and thick legs to carry him around.’

Heidi says it is the dichotomy of soft and strong she finds so titillating. ‘Fat men are big compared to me and yet there’s a vulnerability to them because they’re not falling in line with societal standards. I’m very turned on by the contrast in our bodies and find the “giving in to temptation” element – to food and sex – to be exciting. And I simply like the look of a fat, round, soft belly.’

Grace, 35, is a retired plus-size model and, like Heidi, she also admits to being a chubby chaser. ‘On a purely sexual level, I don’t find slender bodies very inviting. As a little girl I always found fat people attractive and always had a compulsion to want to hug them.’


Tough and cuddly

Dr Viren Swami, co-author of The Psychology of Physical Attraction, has researched admirers of fat people. ‘We know about men who like fat women but we haven’t done any research into women who like bigger men simply because they’re not as common – but we do know they are out there. The non-scientific research we have done found fat men are described as “bears” because they are both tough and cuddly.’

In other circles, namely online dating websites and in the fat acceptance movement, these men are also referred to as Big Handsome Men. But, according to Grace, there is a big difference between a fat man and a big, handsome one. ‘I’ve only ever dated big men who were happy with themselves but that’s getting harder to find nowadays. If I suspect a man has a “woe is me, I’m fat” attitude, I wouldn’t get involved. But if he considered himself a Big Handsome Man, then I would be interested. Nobody wants to date someone who hates their body.’

Heidi says her problem is getting men to take her seriously. ‘I’ve had to work pretty hard to get guys to ask me out. There’s no playing hard to get with many fat guys – they just don’t chase women the way athletic types are prone to.’

Both women have had to justify their taste in the opposite sex. ‘I often get asked the age-old “Don’t you worry about their health?” question,’ says Grace. ‘I tell them eating a healthy, balanced diet and being active should be to achieve health and not weight loss. I do not advocate a man being sedentary and eating junk food.’


Feeding a fetish

But, aside from simply enjoying the company of an upbeat, overweight, yet active, fruit-scoffing man, Dr Swami says it’s likely female fat admirers may have dominance issues.

‘In developed countries, fat is associated with laziness and bigger people are often denigrated in society. This makes these women the stronger, more accepted ones and challenges typical gender assumptions. When men date fat women, they are called “feeders” and get pleasure from feeding her and being dominant. This could also be the case here. Another explanation could be they have a fetish for fat flaps or “pannus”, which are hanging flaps of adipose tissue.’

Whatever the explanation, these women are at least challenging the idea that thin is the epitome of attraction (although most men admit a fleshy, imperfect handful is far sexier than a boney, veiny limb).

Dr Swami says we’re told women should be slim yet busty and that men should look like Brad Pitt. ‘In many cases, most people disagree about what is sexy and what isn’t. Lots of women fancy Brad but some don’t.’ It’s nice to know that while most of us fear the flab, there are some who embrace, hug and hold the bulge.

Just a good perspective on the whole thing. Not exactly my perspective, but close enough.

Protected: Why do these people even exist?

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