It is hard enough dealing with problems of image when you’re a woman. Everywhere you look there are air-brushed models, unrealistic representations, and judgment. As I’ve grown, I’ve realized the falsehood of those things and have moved on from comparing myself to Squirrel Poop actors and models.
As a plus-sized woman, however, I’m frequently annoyed with stereotypes and assumptions about us. It’s time us big women spoke up and were heard.
I recently was very disappointed when a well-known authors’ convention had the whistle blown on them (justifiably so) for deciding not to bring a staff member back with this year’s event because of her size. Weight or size discrimination occurs every day and it’s happened to me.
There are many different reasons someone could be overweight-which is why the stereotypes are so aggravating. Overweight women (and men) are no exception.
Below are the top 10 most offensive stereotypes I’ve experienced and I think it’s time to call them out.
We are always eating.
Consider the TV sitcom in which the token fat person is constantly shoving their face and has no self-control. This is partially a lazy method of writing for a cheap laugh. But it is a common stereotype and it’s annoying.
We are all lazy.
I am busy from the minute my feet hit the ground in the morning until my head hits the pillow at night. I am aware of many other overweight folks who are the same way. Just because we’re not hanging out in the gym like it’s a hobby does not mean we are sitting on our butts eating candy all day.
We are all sick as a result of our weight.
I realize that being overweight can increase the risk of a multitude of diseases and issues (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.). However, it’s not a GUARANTEE and you can not assume that an overweight person is suffering from these challenges.
I remember when I became pregnant with my son. I was 37 years old and obese. Do not think I didn’t notice the up-and-down eyeball assessments I was getting. I am aware I’m fat and you think I am as old as Methuselah to be giving birth, but I’m not stupid and I will take good care of myself and my child!”
See your doctor for that. I ate healthy and had great prenatal care. But I could have done with the judgment.
We’re jealous of thin people.
Not long ago, someone at work (who happens to be thin) made a huge point in talking to me to go on and on about how fat she thinks she is getting. It’s very clear that I am considerably heavier than her and she had been speaking ONLY to me at that moment. This is not the first time I’ve had this type of thing said to me.
When someone who is obviously quite thin says this to someone who is obviously heavier, the first thing that comes to mind is they want you to say”Oh, I wish I was as thin as you! You aren’t fat at all!” It’s an obvious fish for a compliment.
Here’s the thing, I don’t care about who is thinner than me. I am not comparing myself to them! And if they need a fat man to envy them to feel good about themselves, then I feel sorry for them.
We all have low self esteem and feel awful about ourselves.
I’m now almost at my highest weight (and I’m aging), I feel better about myself than I ever have.
The only person I truly care about being attracted to me is my husband, and he is not complaining.
I once had a health coordinator where I work condescendingly tell me”you are worth it” as if she assumed that just because I was fat, I didn’t think I needed to pursue whatever I felt was good for me.
We do not know we’re fat.
I have had more than one individual over my life feel the need to point out to me that I’m fat. We don’t need for people to make us aware of being overweight. We’re perfectly capable of knowing this on our own, and believe me we understand it.
We do not understand how to lose weight ourselves.
We don’t need to be enlightened with unsolicited advice as if we aren’t aware that you want to burn more calories than you eat to be able to lose weight. We are not all totally helpless in this capacity and for many of us, if want to drop weight bad enough, we’ll do it!
Sure, there are educated professionals that are very skillful and experienced in helping people reach their goals. Nutritionists, personal trainers, coaches, etc., I’m not at all saying they are not important or valuable. What I mean iswe don’t need the”stink eye” when we have been indulge in seconds or have a dessert.
Does not that look nice, colorful, and delicious with all of those vegetables?” She said this to me as if I was a child, like she was introducing the notion of eating veggies to me. I am sure of her patronizing schedule because of other things she’d said to me previously.
We’re all jolly slobs.
Is it really that funny for so many silly, bumbling TV, book, and film characters to be plump? Do they so often need to be represented as simple-minded, cute goofballs? Think of the chunky kid from the kid’s adventure movie who always needs to be rescued or the portly cartoon mouse that is constantly lagging behind… you understand.
Some people are now very educated, successful professionals. We are goal-oriented and have a lot to give an organization with our well-developed careers.
There’s a link to hygiene and obesity.
We also are no less inclined to look or dress professionally to present ourselves well. I once had a family member tell me about someone they believed seemed unhygienic (and happened to be overweight) by saying”Well, I know fat aromas…” My eyes about rolled out of my mind.
We know this is a common stereotype or we wouldn’t observe the slob character in a TV series or movie portrayed as fat. You’ve seen it-stains on their shirt, wrinkled clothes, general unkempt appearance.
That it’s anybody else’s business or that discrimination ought to be tolerated.
What I need to convey to these creators of these stereotypes is this-if it will not affect you, then do not judge. It is not really anyone else’s business what somebody weighs or what size they wear. It is not OK to transfer your own low self-esteem toward a fat man in order to make yourself feel better.
Stereotypes and assumptions are harmful. This is the area where discrimination is born. This is how we’re passed over for promotions and opportunity. It is not OK to discriminate against someone for any reason, and size is not an exception.
It’s out there, the challenge is real. It’s time we spoke out.