Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fat Apartheid

178.4 lbs. Well, hello old friend. I see the sugar-free Jell-O shots didn’t disturb you. (Yes, I was doing Jell-O shots at a party yesterday. I’m 50, not dead).

By the way, I saw the Fucktard, star of yesterday’s blog, at the gym this morning as I was waiting for Pilates class. (He does NOT have a mustache. He also does NOT have any idea of how to dress). I was extremely surprised to see him simultaneously walking and chewing gum. He stopped and stared for a moment, then continued on his way, wherever the hell that may be. That was the extent. He’s still a sorry-ass motherfucker.

I am going to get retro and preachy in this space. I found something I’d written in 2007 and it ties into yesterday’s “fatty” encounter. (Look it’s a holiday weekend and nothing extraordinary happened today in the weight department, nobody cut the cheese in Pilates class although I was clenched the whole time – all the core work seems to get the intestines stimulated and the most interesting thing today was that I woke up from nodding off with an intense craving for coconut. Not worth a lot of blog space).

I give you “Fat Apartheid” (from November 2007)

I just got my nails done which, if you don't speak Vietnamese (and I think I'm learning "My God, this woman has big feet! Make sure you charge by the acre!"), you spend your time leafing through old and new magazines, mostly of the gossip/celebrity news variety, with the occasional Time or Newsweek from 6 months ago. A letter to the People editor regarding Queen Latifah caught my eye. After two other letters that praised her for accepting her body as is and showing "the cardboard cutouts" of Hollywood that you don't need to be size 0 to be successful, the third letter said that with obesity being epidemic in America, it was Latifah's duty as a role model to promote "a healthy body" - shorthand for "lose weight."

A short essay in Time was devoted to "inter-facial marriage," that is marriage between one homely spouse and one "hot" spouse (what makes someone hot? Nobody has the rules). Whereas, it stated that an unattractive man marries a gorgeous woman, it is likely he's rich or a rock star. If an unattractive woman marries a handsome man, though, the whisper is that he must be gay or have some terrible deformity hidden by clothing. I read Vogue. After the Jennifer Hudson cover (which surprised me because I had doubted Anna Wintour would put someone on the cover who isn't built like her), among the letters lauding Vogue for putting a plus-sized woman on the cover, there was one complaining about it.

In a previous blog, I related an incident where another Myspacer didn't like what I posted and referred to me as a "fat fucking whore." What I find interesting about that particular insult is that it goes to the body type first; one would presume because the first cut should be the deepest. Also, I have related the Trader Joe’s parking lot incident where, after a woman nearly hit me head on in the parking lot of Trader Joe's in Studio City (the one on Riverside) and I did my Boston "Lean On the Horn" thing to express dissatisfaction, she told me that I was excessively angry because I was "big and always would be." Direct quote. Granted, this came out of the mouth of someone whose voice sounded like a stereotype for a dumb, self-absorbed woman.

We live in a society that hyphenates race and ethnicity (African-American, Italian-American. Can't we just be Americans together?). Various states have statutes punishing hate crimes (with which I don't agree. Very un-American to attempt to regulate thought). Within the past 2 years, various Hollywood figures have been pilloried for using racial and homophobic slurs. Yet there are not repercussions for taunting or abusing someone who's overweight. Fat is not a protected class.

And yet, most Americans are overweight by scientific body mass index standards, damned near none of us can fit into designer clothes (let alone afford them) and we criticize (including me) Britney Spears for wearing an outfit to the VMAs that showed a soft (but not convex) belly. "Curvy" in Hollywood terms means a 5' 9" woman who weighs 125 lbs. One of the pictures I’ve shown here is me with George Clooney. One of my first thoughts on meeting him was "My God, he needs a good meal." And when I displayed the picture at work, a thimbo asked me "How come you got your picture taken with the handsome man?" (I kid you not) We have been trained to worship sticks with bumps; big head/slender body for men, big head/slender body/relatively big boobs for women.

Most of us don't look like that. Go to a clothing store like Old Navy and head for the jeans/slacks section. Okay, you'll see that there are far more 2s and 4s hanging or folded than the 14s, 16s and 18s. Why? There are more double-digit people buying clothes than low single-digit.

We the people are being dominated and controlled by an underweight minority and it's a very small minority. We the people have been trained to feel inferior for our size, that we have no compensating factors for excess weight. I write, I have a law degree, I've always been able to get and keep work "from the neck up" and earn a good living. I'm known for my wit, my intelligence and (usually) my kindness. I have naturally blonde hair, blue eyes and a nice, even smile, but I've had blind dates turn and leave me at a restaurant because I was overweight (even though I'd been honest about it). Luckily, my grandmother is gone because I got sick of hearing "You have such a pretty face, you need to lose..." coupled with a sigh. I've had a long-term membership at 24 Hour Fitness and gone 4-5 times a week (when I could. Travelling job makes it difficult), toning up legs, arms, strengthening my back, but the belly never moved (turns out I have a thyroid in need of a swift kick. It's getting it). I'm part of the majority and yet, we're barraged with ads for weight-loss programs, the only "plus sized" woman on TV was Roseanne and she was portrayed as borderline white trash paired with John Goodman as a husband (John, you kept me tuned in, but they didn't pair Rosie up with Jimmy Smits or the aforementioned Clooney). And neither of the characters had college degrees or white-collar jobs. There's no problem with spongy blue-collar guys having hot wives on TV (Jim Belushi, Kevin James, Jackie Gleason, even), but we don't see the reverse. Where are the large lawyers and doctors? We know they exist in the real world.

"Shallow Hal" dealt with seeing past a person's exterior but coming from the Farrelly brothers, the message was mostly lost. Thin people are beautiful (doesn't matter what the face looks like) and beautiful people are automatically good. Anybody remember Ted Bundy? Dead serial killer? He was able to lure in his victims because he was considered "handsome." OJ Simpson? Considered a handsome, attractive man until he was accused of murdering two people. And let us not forget: Angelina Jolie, the blood-wearing, brother-sucking, home-wrecking tattooed freak show. Skinny body, big boobs, she's hot and nothing else matters (the humanitarian work came after the blood-wearing and brother-sucking, probably at the behest of her desperate publicist).

Interspersed with the weight-loss programs and pills are ads for deals on extra-large pizza, carbohydrate-laden snacks and instant family-togetherness dinners that consist of fats, sodium and starch (That's you, KFC, Hamburger Helper and Betty Crocker). Not a green vegetable within a mile. High-fructose corn syrup permeates processed foods, damned near everything from ketchup to soda, Doritos, Wheat Thins and soup (Campbell's). Read "Fast Food Nation," folks, especially the part about the companies in New Jersey that manufacture flavoring. This is how the skinny minority maintains oppression over the heavier majority, by lulling us into carbohydrate-induced energy crashes. And, oh yeah, there's a pill for that. Or a Red Bull.

It's not youth we're obsessed with, it's appearance. The high-school dropout with the hot body stands a better chance of landing a successful man than the size 12 Harvard summa cum laude.

I have an idea for a TV show that will probably never fly: it's called "What Does He See in Her?" about a hot-looking guy, local TV anchor, married to a not-as-attractive college professor/successful author. The laughs come from bimbettes mistaking hubby's lumpy best friend for the college professor's spouse and people refusing to believe that two such people could have a happy/successful marriage.

As long as fat apartheid continues, it'll never be aired

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it civil.