COME OUT COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE!!

 fatshionista is full of genuises. 

on-reserve wrote this the other day…

Coming Out as Fat: Making it more convenient
I’ve been going to physical therapy for about four weeks now. Every session, I try to “come out” as fat. You know, when I let someone know that I’m about 99% ok with being fat. I usually do this by making neutral/funny statements such as, “You sure I’m not going to crack this BAPS Board? Can it handle 300 pounds of Awesome?”

Invariably I get:
“Oh, stop!”
“Oh, shush!”
“Don’t say that about yourself!”

I know what that they think I’m being self-depricating. But I’m not. I want to say, “hey it’s ok that you’ve noticed that I’m fat” — that is, I want to be fat-positive but more importantly I want people, especially medicalish people to feel “at home” with fat people, you know, like fat is a part of who we are and they don’t have to pretend it doesn’t exist. I am seriously considering crafting a handout to give to people I’ve recently come out to:

Congratulations! You know a fat person! Ok, you probably know *many* fat people since approximately 40% of all adults are considered fat by all sorts of measures, institutes and agencies depending on who you ask. So what makes me different than all the other fat people you’ve met or treated today? For starters, I like being fat. Yup. Read it again if you need to. Most days, I like being fat. It’s a part of who I am. Just like you might like your blonde hair or big feet or the gap between your front teeth, being fat is a part of my physical appearance that is both a part of me and something I don’t merely tolerate, I embrace. The only real difference is that while having blonde hair, big feet or having a gap between your teeth might make you a target of teasing, it is unlikely that you will be denied housing, a job, an airplane seat, the opportunity to foster or adopt a child, medical insurance or adequate medical care due to one of these aspects of your physical appearance.

Being fat is also not the only thing I like about myself; I’m just as complex as any non-fat people you know. It’s not the only thing I want to talk about but in a world that tries both to not see my fat while simultaneously shaming and discriminating against me for being fat, I like to stick up for myself, to make space where it’s “ok” to be fat. I’m not any better or more exemplary than other fat people and I’m not trying to set myself apart as “better than” other fat people. All fat people who pass through your doors are individuals and deserve an appreciation of their individual selves and medical needs regardless of how much they like or dislike being fat.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because when I make comments about my awesome fat body, you often shush me or try to tell me that I am “not that fat.” Well, I *am* that fat and it’s ok. I realize you are trying to be polite, sensitive and professional but until being fat is as value-neutral as any other physical state, in that it can be acknowledged without being despised, until medical professionals can *say* the word fat and have it just be an adjective, then no real progress can be made. We will always be dwelling on fat and never having a discussion beyond it. We will never research or develop technologies, medicines and surgical techniques that work on all sorts of bodies if we are dead-set on the idea that there is only one correct kind of body to have.

While I’m at it, I don’t really consider “not that fat,” a compliment but do feel free to say nice things about how smart I am, how funny I am, how much you enjoy the way I’ve complied with your course of treatment, how much you enjoy having me as a patient, how much improvement I’ve made or tell me how great I look today. Because, I do look pretty great.

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9 Responses to “COME OUT COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE!!”


  1. 1 vesta44 August 28, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Yes, yes, yes. This should be required reading for anyone who is fat-phobic.

  2. 2 The Rotund August 28, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    on_reserve is totally one of my fatshionista crushes. *grin*

  3. 3 Joy Nash August 28, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    I have to thank you for the heads up on this one Marianne 🙂 .. I’ve been out of the fatshionista loop for that past week or so 😉

  4. 4 RW August 29, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    This isn’t exactly on the same point – but perhaps closely related: I found that Hanne Blank’s letter to a GP has really stuck in my head (I read it a good few months ago). This is directed at medical professionals asking them to pay attention to the matter in hand and not her weight. It can be found here: http://www.cat-and-dragon.com/stef/fat/hanne.html
    (if the link doesn’t work go to cat-and-dragon.com and use the search box for Hanne Blank)

  5. 5 Helen August 30, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    This kinda reminds me of how I was rather pleased when I was talking to an old lady and she described someone as “plump, like you” and just meant it as a description.

  6. 6 Emily August 31, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    Hooray! I love it, Joy! I don’t want to hijack your comments section with anything emo but I just wanted to say “thank-you”. I enjoy your videos and your writing. I’m at a place in my life where I’m proud of who I am and have stopped asking…

    Do I look fat in this?

    The answer will always be…Yes, and I look great! 🙂

    It’s too bad that it took until I was 27 to realize that beauty comes in all shapes and (ass) sizes. But better late than never!

    Keep up the good work Joy! You rock!

  7. 7 Jane October 23, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Love it! So got to get around and hand these out…!

  8. 8 Beck February 5, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    OH, please, please, please-please-please can I use this? Pretty please?

    I know it’s an older post, but I just found out the fatosphere existed (where HAVE you been all my life?) and I’m suddenly very happy with myself!

  9. 9 Eva July 29, 2008 at 11:53 am

    That “Oh shush!” and “Don’t say that about yourself” makes me think of my 20 year high school reunion. I’d made a button to wear that I thought was hiLARious: It said “I Got Fat! Ask Me How…”. I sort of lost my nerve and didn’t wear it, but I told a couple of people about the button and they did that same “Oh Shush” thing. One person even rubbed my back, consolingly, for chrissake. I tried to explain that, um. It was supposed to be FUNNY, and that I was okay with being fat, but it didn’t go over. Meanwhile, many of the men in my class were making jokes about the weight they’d gained over the years, and people were eating that shit UP. Oh, Double Standard; will you EVER go away?


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