5/28/2014

You are fat.

After I saw this scene from Louie last week, I had a few thoughts about being a fat girl. And just for the record: I do not agree with the sentence "The worst thing you can say to a fat girl is to say 'You're not fat!'", but I still think that Louie C.K. is a brilliant human being for even mentioning the double standards that exist for men and women. And also, he is brilliant because he is. No discussion about this. 

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You have no idea what it is to be a fat girl. Unless you have been a fat girl.

You have no idea what it is to walk around and be silently judged. To be rejected or teased because of the fat tissue that you carry around your waist or on your belly or around your upper arms. To have a boy actually say the words "I think you're pretty. And I can help you lose weight if you want" right into your face.

Describing a girl as fat is like shooting her in the face. "Fat" is not a description, it's an insult, it's a weapon. You could silence any woman - no matter her actual size - with these three little words: "You are fat!". I have seen thin women looking doubtful when someone insinuated that they were "fat". I have seen teenage girls fight entire wars with the word "fat". I have seen my skinny friend cry, after her asshole boyfriend told her she had a fat arse.

When I see a chubby 14-year-old girl on the bus, I always smile at her. Because I know what it is to be her. I know what it feels like, when you go to H&M with all your girlfriends, and you're the only one who doesn't fit into the skinny skinny jeans shorts. So all your other friends get them, and you buy yourself a hoodie in the boys section.

And I'd like to tell the 14-year-old on the bus that it will get better, that she will make it through school and afterwards go out into a world where it doesn't matter how much she weighs. Because she is smart and funny and strong and has a beautiful smile. But I guess we all know that would be a fat, fat lie.

I have a friend who never eats anything but salad in public. She doesn't want anyone to look at her and go "Yes, of course she has a massive belly, look at her eating a burger!". I have friends who worry about the calorie intake in a glass of lemonade. I have friends who say stuff like "Oh, I already had a sandwich for breakfast and pasta for lunch, but it's okay to have a salad now, because I am going to zumba class later!" They say these sentences without anyone even commenting on their order. Just to make it very clear that they have discipline, that they have it under control.

It took me years to not do that. It took me years to get away from other women who obsessively talk about food and eating and "being healthy" - which is the worst possible way to say "diet". And still: You could wake me in the middle of the night and ask me what I had to eat during the day. I could name every single item. I know how many calories are in a glass of cola, I dab the fat off my pizza with a napkin, and I have counted calories and Weight Watcher points on-and-off since I was 12.

I am not skinny, I will never be. But I have legs that are strong and have never been broken. I have arms that can lift heavy objects. I have a belly that is soft and warm and gets tiny freckles in the summer. I do not love these body parts, but I am trying. I really am. Because they are mine and they are healthy, and that is all I could ever ask of them.

I have girl friends of all sizes, in all shapes and forms. And I love them all very much. But those who never had to ride their bikes home from school and have a shithead boy yell "Yo, you're fat!" at them, who never had to blink away the tears when someone said "I don't fuck fat chicks!", who never got stuck in an item of clothing in a tiny changing room and had to endure the horrors of hearing the ripping sound of cloth while they were struggling to get free - they simply don't get this particular part of the human experience.

And that is good. I am happy for them. It is not a reason for me not to hang out with these girls and women. But it's a watershed, a parting of ways. I won't be joining in on your laughter, as you watch a fat woman stuck in a chair struggle to get free. I won't like it when you describe some woman as "the fat one". And I most certainly will not accept to be called "fat" myself. I get to call myself that, you don't.

You have no right to call me that. Because you have no idea what it is to be a fat girl. Unless you have been a fat girl.




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