Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I'm doing a lot of reading of studies on obesity and stigma. I hate the term obesity, and it makes me furious that people who are writing cannot understand that part of the stigmatizing of being fat is having my size relegated to an "illness."

I don't feel sick. I've been fat for a long time and most of that time I've felt perfectly healthy. Some things are more difficult for me than for thinner people, but I would challenge you to do the activities I do with a backpack with at least 50 lbs extra weight every day.

I am strong. Brian and I wrestle sometimes. He tries to hold me down and keep me from going to the bathroom or some such thing. One morning, I wriggled out from under him and got my feet on the ground. He held on tight and I dragged his full-body weight down the hallway to the bathroom.

Now that I'm not eating gluten, I have energy. In the past 6 months, I feel like I am back to most of the things that I used to be able to do before the Lyme and before the gluten issues. I have allergies, but somehow I think that if I weighed 150, I'd have allergies, too.

I do not have an illness. I was amazed at one of the grocery mags showing Kirsty Allie and her struggle with self (because she's not struggling with weight so much as with who she is). They reported that, at 250 lbs, she collapsed, as though her weight were so huge that she could no longer support herself. Well, reader's, at 260, I am no where near collapse. And I never think of myself as "disgusting" (maybe that's what caused a collapse).

I know the things that fat correlates to...but I am growing increasingly aware that fat also is severly stigmatized, and a constant threat to self causes stress. Stress is also correlated with all those same illnesses. So how much is the fat and how much is the stigma of being fat causing fatness.

Sometimes, I just want to put up a billboard with lot's of happy fat people (women and men) with this title: "We are not the enemy!" Because it feels like there is a war against me and my fat going on out there.


Aravis said...

I agree that Kirstie Alley's struggle is with herself, and it's painful to watch what she puts herself through.

We all hurt ourselves when we don't love and accept ourselves for who we are.

Hippie Chick said...

Thanks for writing this, I agree wholeheartedly :)

ExecutiveDirector said...

Your comment about stress and its correlation to illness made me think of a fascinating video on high rates of infant mortality and prematurity among Black women in the U.S. The risk is consistent across education, socioeconomic status and other factors, so the theory being put forth (by some progressive thinkers) is that the stress of living in a racist society is somehow contributing to the problem. Very provocative. Could the same be true around weight? How many of the correlated illnesses for fat people would be reduced or even eliminated if suddenly society valued and respected them fully?