Monday, January 11, 2010

Fat Like Us

I realized something today that I'm not sure I fully understand my feelings on yet.  It came after reading Andrea's post about the role of genetics in obesity. Although... I didn't even read the whole post yet (got distracted) I only got as far as the second sentence before this occured to me.  Those first two sentences...

"Some skinny people think that fat people are lazy. That we sit around all day and shovel food into our mouths like gluttonous pigs while we complain about being fat at the same time."

She said "WE" -- meaning she's identifying herself as a fat person.  And I suddently realized that I also say "WE" when referring to fat people (or more politcally correct and clinical, "morbidly obese people").  I'm not actually morbidly obese any longer.  Yes, I'm overweight according to the BMI scales, but technically I'm a pretty normal sized person.  But I still say "WE" and I still think of myself as part of the obese category of people.

So what does this mean?  (Any psychologists in the house?)  How long will I identify with obesity?  Will I always be obese in my mind?  What happens next time I'm talking to an obese person who didn't know me as obese and say something that would identify myself with them -- would I be at risk of offending them in some way?  Will I grow out of this mindset?  Is it a good thing or a bad thing? 

Something else to ponder, I suppose.



  1. That is very astute of you to ponder! We can change our bodies but what about our minds? I think we need to do what Michael Jackson said in that song and start with ourselves. Like, when we see a thin person, a skinny-pretty, do we assume that their lives are easy?? The stereotypes and assumptions work (don't work) both ways. We need a kinder understanding that goes beyond what we see with our eyes and what society says we should be. Thanks for a great blog!

  2. Oh, I definitely think this way, and I intend to continue doing so. Having been fat all my life, it's such a formative part of my identity and how I see the world that it's much bigger than the number on the scale for me. I honestly view my obesity as an identity, just as much as being black or a woman. It's even political for me at this point.

  3. I think it is the "fat mind." We never really let go of it. Even though our bodies have changed, in our heads, we still identify more with the fat person than the skinny one.

    Where you enter problems is when your friends no longer identify you that way and you become "one of those" people. Which is the stage I have entered. Joy!


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