Huge Again and My Family

Or at least part of my family. I decided to watch Huge on the television this week. Since I’m home with my family, this means publicly viewing this show rather than hiding away in my room and waiting a few hours for it to appear on Hulu. I decided it shouldn’t be something I’m ashamed to watch, and not a bad thing to introduce to my mother if she were to watch some with me. It looked like I was going to have the TV room to myself as I was squatting the TV and watching the end of Cake Boss. Then my mother and brother pretty much both come in at the same time right for the beginning of the show. My mother to zone out and watch whatever I’m watching and my brother to be on his laptop.

Mother dearest asks what I’m watching when she sees a bunch of fat people on the TV and I tell her “Huge”. She asks if that’s really what it’s called and then says shows like this are what give people eating disorders. Last I checked, she still thought of “The Biggest Loser” as an inspiring watch, so I’m really not sure what she meant by that. My brother responds that eating disorders are caused by “dumb bitches”. I really want to tell my brother to shut up and start respecting people like a decent human being, but I don’t because we have an incredibly good sibling relationship and warring with someone in your own house never seemed like fun to me.

My brother continued to make fun of the fatness while my mother decided the show was “actually pretty good.” In fact, she asked if the previous episodes were on On Demand so she can catch up. Score one for team Huge. The show today was pretty awesome as always. I love how Poppy identifies as asexual. I do have a nitpick in that she’s also aromantic which isn’t always tied to asexualness but I still give major props to the show.

A little background on my family is that my brother grew up as a chubby kid and then turned around and now is just big as in muscular. My mother pointed out that she was about as fat as Becky until some random dude did a drive-by shout and called her a fat-ass and then she lost weight and is now one of the 5% of people who have managed to lose weight and keep it off. Not just for over five years but for over something like twenty. Maybe that means genetics should be in favour of me also having a transformation story like that, but I’ve yet to see any evidence. I also think it’s safe to say I’m no longer looking.

July 27, 2010. Tags: , , , . Current. Leave a comment.

Class

There are a lot of things I would like to write about right now, but I think the most prominent has to do with my identification as fat. Anyone who has been paying attention to FA or even just the obesity epidemic (the wording of which I’m going to ignore) is that fat is a class issue. Basically the argument is that poor people are fat because they do not have the time, money and/or access to gym memberships and fresh, healthy food. I’m not arguing that this isn’t true. It probably is, but I have no experience and haven’t done the research to really argue that.

See, there’s another side to this. I grew up in a pretty well-off area. While I was relatively poor compared to some of my classmates, they had the kind of houses that rival those on cribs and would be allowed to bring a few friends for a week in Paris for their birthday. So, relative is the key word there. I have access to good, fresh food. I have a gym membership (or maybe two). Thing is, I’m still fat. Or at least, I’m still what I would consider fat.

I’ve mentioned before, when I was in high school, playing fattest person in the room would generally mean me or a handful of other people. I went to a large high school. I can think of about four other fat girls out of my graduating class of hundreds. My idea of fat is different than a lot of people’s idea of fat. The problem is, all but a few media images reaffirmed the idea that the average woman was tall, blonde and thin. I had some sort of idea that the rest of the world wasn’t as blonde as I was experiencing but not about how they weren’t as tall or as thin.

When I got to college I noticed that while I did have a lot of friends who were taller and thinner than me and a few who were fairer there were large masses of short, dark, fat girls running around. I’d sit and people watch and marvel at the body type that represented the average sorority girl. Most were thinner than me, but I didn’t count a lot of them as thin. Maybe the freshman five/ten/fifteen (take your pick) played into this, but I think that wasn’t the case. I think I didn’t make the best social impression because the first two years were spent trying to figure out where my body fell on this spectrum. I’m still not sure, but I care less now.

When I hear things about my size being a small fat or an in-between, I don’t see it that way. I grew up being on the end of a spectrum, not the middle, and I don’t know if I will ever be able to deprogram myself from that. I was able to readjust my mental classification of others when I’m in that environment but put me back where I spent the first seventeen years of my life or ask me to evaluate myself and I’m still going to see things the way I was taught to see them by my environment that was then reinforced by the media. (The media is its whole separate rant.) Further when the idea of people getting fatter is framed in as a socio-economic argument, I’ve found that it is presented that the fat rich person is clearly an inferior human being because (s)he has no excuse.

This is a hard post to write because I do acknowledge that I have a privilege that comes with my family’s socio-economic status. Even in being fat. But the privilege doesn’t extend far enough to make me immune. I don’t want this to sound to FA like the “what about the menz” argument is to feminism. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded, but this is my experience.

July 15, 2010. Tags: , , , . Reflection. Leave a comment.

They’re Saying It’s Okay to Be Fat

So, I watched Huge I think this show is going to be good for me. It’s certainly a way to reflect on my transformation as an outsider. When I watched it, the smaller fat Amber* has a lot of problematic views and habits. Problematic as in indicative of an eating disorder. She chews her food 30 times, she has thinspiration. I’ve visited pro-anorexic communities in the past. I didn’t like their thinspiration, but I did pay attention to their advice. I followed some of their advice. I still want to try some of the things they suggested. So I found myself relating to Amber. A lot and not just with her potential eating disorder. But I also found myself rooting for Will. Even and especially when Will was facing off against Amber.

But that’s not the point of this ramble. The point of this is that I was listening to the latest Fatcast, a review of the show. Also, a review of the show’s reviews. I know words have power, but something they said really struck me. I’m down with fat acceptance and body acceptance and size acceptance and the word fat and the obesity! crisis!, but when they said reviewers were saying “This show is saying it’s okay to be fat!” as if it were a bad thing, I found myself agreeing with the reviewer and then going “Wait! No, no, it is okay to be fat!”

I can’t figure out why I am fine with someone calling me fat (as an insult) but not if they were to ask me “So you’re saying it’s okay to be fat?” (in disdain, not interest). I don’t know where this little voice comes from in my head saying “How could you possibly think it’s okay to be fat?” I’m not sure where that breakdown in logic is, but I want to find it.

*Go watch the show, this whole thing might not make that much sense if you don’t.

July 2, 2010. Tags: , , , . Current. Leave a comment.