This has been on my mind since Sunday.
As I was leaving the theatre, another woman who is on costume crew with me said “Im glad we dont have crew tomorrow, Im actually excited to walk to school again, I feel fat.”
Now, this seems like a normal cultural statement. I usually dont let comments like this fly. I grab at them and question them and make the person deconstruct them.
However, in this situation I let it go.
Because I was baffled myself. This woman happens to be a large woman. She is gorgeous and has a great sense of style. There is absolutely no reason I would think she should change, assuming she is healthy.
But how do you respond when the “fat girl” says she feels fat?
This has me thinking back to when that was me. Why would I have made a statement like that?
It seems that there is one predominant reason and that is that I wanted to fit into “thin society” and it was one of the only ways I knew how. It intrigues me that thin society is the dominant culture and “normal” is not. We have an entire society within a society defined by how much atmospheric pressure is put upon us at a time, and as if that atmospheric pressure isnt enough, we have social pressure, so called “medical pressure” and pressure that has NOTHING TO DO WITH FOOD OR WEIGHT heaped on us day after day, advertisement after advertisement, diet pill after diet pill.
So what do you say when the fat girl feels fat? Its clearly not about weight…. So, perhaps the tendency to deconstruct it is correct. Why would I treat anyone differently based on weight? Why wouldn’t I take the same approach that I would with anyone else? Why, in the here and now, do you feel fat? Feeling fat in the way that American society uses it is an established social construct. We all know what it is like to “feel fat.” It doesnt matter what our weight is.
Did my hidden internalized bias get the best of me? Is it possible that even after having been at extremes from 400 lbs to anorexic, I still have internalized hatred or misunderstanding? Is society that strong?