(from Kara. And I'm probably as obsessed as she is with American Idol.)
so, if you are at all like me, you are obsessed with the american idol. my favorite was Mandisa, who got voted off this week. quite honestly, i think she got voted off because she was the fat girl. because the girl could outsing anyone else on that stage. she's gorgeous. she dresses well. she has always looked fantastic, even when they didn't have a stylist helping them out. she's just got a little extra junk in the trunk, and i guess america doesn't want to be faced with that. whatever.
now, i'm going to rant for a moment because this weight discrimination is a topic that gets me. honestly, if mandisa had been a white girl she wouldn't have made it as far as she did. had she been white, i doubt she would have made it to the america vote at all. because white folks as a group are generally not able to see someone who is fat as beautiful and talented. other culures/racial groups are more accepting of the differences in people, so the weight issue is virtually a non-issue when it comes to acceptance.
steve and dc were talking about this issue a couple weeks ago on their show, and i wrote down some of my thoughts then. i had intended to talk about it more here back then, but never got around to it. now it seems appropriate (again) to mention what i've learned from research.
Part of the issue that we (as fat folks - because i'm a chubby white girl) face is our culture and how we've been socialized. It's culturally acceptable in certain groups (i.e. the African-American and Hispanic communities) to be fat. Unfortunately, for the majority of us, being fat is not culturally acceptable. We've been socialized to think that you have to be thin to be accepted in society.
Also, there's the actual discrimination issue - prejudice against fat people is the last socially acceptable prejudice in society. One reason for that is because fat people, as a group, are not banding together to fight prejudice. In fact, we are more likely to have discriminatory attitudes towards other fat people - we're self-hating almost. In other groups that are discriminated against, they can look to other members of the group to gain social acceptance. Fat people really aren't able to do that - we aren't often accepted by other fat people as kindred spirits.
Personally, I spent many years learning to accept myself and my weight. It's a tough road because often your family says how much better you'd look thin, etc. So we're even getting messages from the people who are closest to us that we aren't good enough because we carry a few extra pounds."
i didn't even touch on the way fat people are often portrayed in movies and on tv. on friends, for example - i have a love/hate relationship with fat monica. i love that they portrayed monica even when she was thin as still having some of the "fat girl" thoughts (i.e. the "house of cheese" episode). on the other hand, when she was "fat monica" all decked out in the fat suit, there is not one scene where she wasn't eating. not. one. yeah, the food wasn't always the focus of the scene, but it was there all the same. it was very stereotypical of people's thoughts about fat people.
most of us are people whose lives don't revolve around food or our relationship with food. sure, there are some peole who have unhealthy relationships with food, but that's not everyone. there are thin people who have unhealthy realationships with food. we carry extra weight for a multitude of reasons - there are medical reasons, psychological reasons, heredity, and so much more. yes, food is a factor, but that's not the only factor. ever.
If you need to sound off, email your rant to firstname.lastname@example.org