Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Let's get serious for a moment...weight in America

I was on Facebook recently and someone posted this "funny":

I have to admit I took offense and I'm not really easy to offend. The person in the picture is NOT offensive to me. Let me be really clear about that. I actually think he is brave as hell because he is out and about in spite of the weight. But it seemed to me that whoever initially posted the image and included this captioning - and I don't know where the image started cause Facebook images go viral pretty fast - but the first poster intended to make fun of the individual in the picture.

When I indicated my displeasure I was encouraged to "lighten up." It was just a joke. Just a funny. And if the person in the pic hadn't wanted to be made fun of maybe they shouldn't dress up like Batman. The poster also made some astute comments about being fat in America.  So there was an interesting dialog there. But I did respond.

This was my response (edited a bit to remove reference to personal info posted by the other person):

I don't disagree with you about weight in America. The only reason I lost weight was a VBG (vertical banded gastroplasty) in 1995. Otherwise I'd be dead now. My genetic makeup is such that with two fat parents I got both fat genes. I didn't (and don't) help myself with the way I eat. No doubt about it. But that's no reason to make fun of someone.

And why the hell shouldn't he dress up as batman if he wants to? What? Only skinny people can get dressed in costume without being made fun of? Bullshit.

Being fat is one of the few conditions/life situations that people still consider okay to make fun of people about but it's still bullying. I don't use the N word to talk about black people. I don't make fun of gay people cause they're gay. I don't use the R word to describe individuals with Downs, and I do not make fun of fat people cause they are fat. I've been there. I'm still there. It hurts. Lord and Lady, didn't it hurt YOU when people made fun of you when you were fat?

I know that if I hadn't had the VBG I never would have maintained a weight loss because I'd tried the diet thing before and lost a LOT of weight but didn't keep it off. Maybe there are some people that can do it with diet and exercise alone. More power to them.

But, back to my original point, being fat isn't funny. It's complex medical/genetic issue. People often say that fat people choose to be fat. Believe me, with the bullying I endured as a kid, I did not CHOOSE to be fat. If I could have sliced it off with a knife I would have. If I had money now, I'd go get lipo done to get rid of my excess weight.

I didn't choose to be fat any more than a person chooses to be gay. It's hard wired. To be something else requires consistent effort. You can do it but your body and soul fights you every step of the way. So no, I won't lighten up. Lighten up - interesting turn of phrase there. Bullying is bullying no matter who the victim is. But hey, I still like you and your posts. But this one didn't tickle my funny bone.

* * * * *

Too much bullying happens around body image and I'd like it to stop. Sure we could all diet madly, exercise insanely, and have surgery. Then yes, everyone could be thin.

But why should fat people have to do all of that to prevent bullying and ridicule. Why can't the bullies just shut the f*ck up? And why the hell is extreme obesity funny anyway? It's not.

And we talk about teen suicide a lot now. When I was a teen I considered suicide - because I was fat and bullied. Thank god I didn't. The old saw about sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me is crap. Calling people names does hurt them.

So what do you think? Was I too "sensitive" and should I "lighten up" or is weight a serious issue as I feel it is. 


  1. That is awful! And it's made worse by the fact that we don't know this man's story. We know nothing about him except his size and they're tring to humiliate him because of it. And humiliate him in such a public venue. Chances are he didn't post this meme (or is it mimi? I always forget) of himself. It's sad that some need to put people down to feel superior.

  2. I agree Chandra. I think this guy is very brave and cool and he probably can save Gotham.

  3. There will always be bullies and people poking fun at someone for some helps build to hide their own insecurities.
    As an overweight child, I don't recall being bullied...maybe I missed "fat" jokes made about me. Kids today are told to "have a voice", and they think that means it's okay to ridicule others.

  4. Francesca, I know you had weight-loss surgery, and I know you're still heavier than the "average" person, but damn, woman, you display such a joy in living that those bullies would do well to emulate you. Truly, you dance like no one's watching, and it's a pleasure to see your effervescent self enjoying life.

    Thin or fat, these are HUMAN BEINGS, people. No bullying allowed. Take the time to know the person behind the fat and you may be pleasantly surprised.

  5. Marianne - I agree it will be tough to prevent bullying. I hope that kids who are told to "have a voice" are also the ones being bullied, so they refuse to take it.

    Cris - thanks so much. I learned a bit of that joy of life from you. I watched the way you just let yourself be yourself and it gave me courage to do it too!

  6. Hi there! I am actually very interested in one thing, could you be so kind and please tell us your place of origin?