I’d rather be fat than a twat.

Last week on a blogging group, the question of the day read thusly:
“‘Bubbly’ bloggers are more popular. Discuss”

It was more of a direction than a question but you get the drift.
Within minutes, a few of us responded along the similar lines

“When you say bubbly do you mean fat?”

Then others chimed in with

“I’ve never heard of bubbly meaning fat”

It’s fair to say that the group of us who questioned the meaning of ‘bubbly’ in the question were…’less slim’ than those who hadn’t ever heard the term.

Though it was all tongue in cheek it did lead me to procrastinate ponder a while.

As a fat person I have heard back handed compliments along the lines of
But you’re funny”
You have a great personality”
“You look…well”
and
“But your face is so pretty”
I must confess the last one has never been said to me, that was contributed by Jenny at Accidental Hipster Mum.

I particularly like the last one, it’s like
Your face is so pretty, what happened to the rest of you? Was it some kind of accident”

“Ummm yeah, I accidentally used a creme egg or six to plug the emotional black hole I was sinking into”.

I digress.
What I wonder is why people feel the need to do this?
Essentially, people who do this are saying

“Hi, you’re fat but I don’t want to be so crass as to point that out (and you might not have realised)  so lemme find a positive”

Why?

I don’t come up to you and say

Hi, you’re so skinny”

to deflect from the fact I think you’re ugly with no personality (though I’m sure you, dear reader, are just swell).
I just don’t mention anything about your physical appearance because, well, there’s no bloody need to!

I will ask you how you are and what you’ve been up to as that’s what I feel is important.

A little after this, Giles Coren, a food blogger restaurant critic and columnist wrote a piece for Esquire entitled

“I don’t care what my son becomes…as long as he isn’t overweight”

It looks like someone’s been to the Katie Hopkins school of controversial writing doesn’t it?

I have linked the piece up there, in case you can be bothered to read it.
If not then let me paraphrase in bullet points.

  • My son is fat, it’s probably puppy fat but what if it isn’t? What if it never goes?
  • If he is a fat adult, how will that reflect on me? Let’s make this all about me. People won’t remember I’m famous for whatever it is I do.
  • All fat people were bought up badly, are greedy and should be killed.
  • They cost the NHS a fortune by accidentally sitting on people and killing them.
  • My son can be whatever he wants but not fat.
  • I’m not bothered if my daughter becomes fat, there are uses for fat women.
  • If he’s fat he won’t be popular but at least he’ll be clever. Skinny people aren’t clever.
  • On a positive note, if he is a fat adult, I may get over myself and realise fat people are legit people too.
  • Probably not.

I appreciate that the piece was probably intended to be a humourous take on one of the many, many things that us parents worry about regarding our kids.
Instead it accidentally made him look like a bit of a pompous prick and like he was fat shaming his child.
Not cool Giles.

BUT
Why does he hate fat people so much?
Why is OK to vocalise this hatred?
It wouldn’t be OK to say these very same things about any other groups of people.
Why are fat people an easy target? (pun intended).

I am fat.
I am not cuddly, chunky, big boned or festively plump.
I am fat, I make no bones about it.
I have eyes, I am clever (and popular enough thank you very much Giles) I can see me for what I am.

Like most overweight people I don’t like being fat and I’d like to change things but that’s my cross to bear and mine alone.
It’s up to me to make it happen.

Why does that make me hateable?
Why does it bother people like Giles Coren so much?
Growing up overweight means I have had people call me names and saying mean things.

It’s like it’s OK to call out fat people.
We’re fair game.

We might not have realised we’re fat, thank goodness you yelled it from a passing car.
We’re trying to jog and do something about it? That’s still not good enough, hurl more abuse!
Fat people don’t have feelings, we’re so surrounded in fat we don’t hear you (or can’t run fast enough to chase you down and eat you).

Ultimately I wonder why you let us bother you so much?
Do you secretly want to be like us?
Like the mean girl who picks on people because she is  jealous?
Is it because we look like we enjoyed cake?

I am not suggesting that you start wandering around calling fat people fat.
Trust me, we beat ourselves up enough about it without you joining in. But don’t try and ‘find’ a pleasant quality like a sympathetic pat on the head.
Being fat is just one (not so) tiny part of us.
We are so much more than what you see.

Don’t define people or make assumptions based on their physical appearance.
Don’t get so bloody angry and hateful about things that really don’t concern you.

Besides, I’d rather be fat than a twat.

 

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