Belenen (belenen) wrote,

on fat-phobic assumptions and fat-hate: what fat does not mean.

There are all these assumptions people put on you when you have a fat body. Fat is culturally assigned meanings such as lazy, gluttonous, unproductive, unhealthy, unclean, smelly, monomaniacal, obsessed with food, undesired, second-rate, clumsy, ashamed or stupid, unworthy of life. I know well that I am none of those things yet I feel the presence of those assumptions, because I hear people state them flat out. Upon seeing someone running a 10k while fat, someone told me "look at that fat slob!" and said that the person ought to face facts and walk instead (WTF?!???). So many times I hear people criticize fat people for wearing clothes that do not hide their fatness, because while being fat is a social crime, being unashamedly fat is so much worse.

I am not lazy. I don't exercise, but I'm active -- I use the stairs and I park at the far end to get a walk in when I go to school. I like swimming and dancing and carrying my lover around on my back. I'm strong and flexible. If I were on the thin side of average, this would be considered enough. But I am fat, and my socially-required penance for this is to work out every day or at least be ashamed of my lack of workouts. I'm certainly not unproductive. I create continuously, I gift my labor, I work for my employer, I work for school; I produce art and growth and service and thought.

I am not gluttonous. I do not overeat and rarely eat things that are bad for me. I don't eat (or drink) high fructose corn syrup, white flour, white sugar, hydrogenated oils, or meat. I drink at least 64oz of water a day. I usually have three meals a day -- an apple and a food bar in the morning (I choose my food bars based on them having at least 8 grams of protein and an equal or lesser amount of sugar), and a full meal later with fresh vegetables and/or fruits, and near the end of the day I have a small meal that is more of a snack. I almost never eat things like cake or cookies, and if I have candy it is usually one 2oz bar of dark chocolate for the day. I also never refuse myself food that I want, and food does not hold any glamour for me.

I am not unhealthy. I have average blood pressure for my age and quite good cholesterol levels and I can accomplish everything I want to do without getting winded or feeling pain. I am not unclean. I wash myself with gentle eco-friendly soap (Dr. Bronners') and use mineral salts instead of deodorant -- I don't hide my scent in any way and I don't smell bad (people compliment me on how I smell).

I know that I am not undesired. I have lovers who have caressed this body and expressed their desire for me in it. I know that I am not ashamed and that I don't lack shame because I lack the intelligence to realize that I should be ashamed. Yet if I am doing something that society tells me is a "stupid" level of not-hiding (like showing my fat belly), I feel worried half of the time (the other half of the time I feel like a fucking bad-ass). I know that I am not clumsy or oafish, but I feel absolutely full of dread at the idea of ever stumbling around someone who is fatphobic because I know they will attribute it to my fat and not to a single moment of gracelessness. This keeps me from dancing -- or even moving very much -- around many people because dancing increases the likelihood that I will have a moment of gracelessness and become "that poor clumsy fat person." Instead I dance when I get drunk enough to not give a shit about haters, or when I am around only trustworthy people, or when I am alone.

So many people have told me that I am not worthy of life because I am fat. They have plainly and literally told me to get thinner or kill myself. This part is easier for me to reject because I can see outright hate as being all about the hater, but that is an unusual stroke of luck for me. I know that most people told this do not have the shield against it that I do, and I know that people have literally obeyed those orders.

What being fat actually means for me is pretty much exclusively that society will judge me and mistreat me. It means nothing for my life apart from that opprobrium.
Tags: body image, lookism, social justice / feminism

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