Wednesday, October 27, 2010

FAT... and not the Ph(at) Kind

I am a size zero which means I only exist in your imagination.
- Sally, from the web series, In the Can

Last night I was perusing the Internet and found this article: Plus-sized article spurs heavy debate on CNN. Basically, CNN writer, Lisa Respers France writes about maireclaire.com's response to a blog she had written about the significance of having plus-sized people on television. Apparently, the writer for marieclaire.com created a whole skinny-vs.-plus sized sensation where, among other things, she said the following: “To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.”

I'm sure you won't be surprised when I mention that there was a huge uproar in response to the blog. So much so, that both the writer of the blog and the editor-in-chief at Marie Claire have apologized. Thank goodness for that! To be clear, I am no skinny-minnie... in fact, by Hollywood standards I would be considered plus-sized. By next-door-neighbor standards however, you'd likely think I was average. I like to call it voluptuous(!). Though I am not obese and have not struggled with obesity, I have never related to any of the standard actresses on television or in typical fashion magazines. Plus-sized models would be way more up my alley.

What I find so fascinating about the uproar is how hipprocritical we all are (frankly, me included). Why is it that we live in one of the fattest countries in the world and yet still think that having a fat person on television means that everything about that character needs to relate to him or her being fat? Are we saying to the average (overweight) viewer that the only way that they should view themselves is through their size?

I know what you're thinking - these questions are all fine and good but how in the world do they relate to Best Laid Plans? Well...

I have struggled with keeping my weight down all of my life. I enjoy a burger. I enjoy ice cream and I don't enjoy waking up early to exercise. Thus, I have struggled with my weight my whole life. It used to make me not want to go out. Sometimes when I was out, it used to make me wish I could disappear into the crowd. If I had to walk across a room, I used to wonder whether everyone noticed how heavy I looked that day. I tell you this not because I enjoy blog confessionals, but simply because I feel sad about how willing people seem to be to only look at overweight people as one-dimensional fat people. I am cute. I am funny. I am smart. And I am overweight. I felt like, by the marieclaire.com's writer's standards - I was right to not leave my house. I was right to want to disappear into the crowd. My weight was all everyone would see. Frankly, in our society, whether you're slightly overweight, chubby or obese it doesn't seem to matter... simply... you are not THIN.

We all outwardly gasp at celebrities losing too much weight and yet, inwardly I think many of us wonder: how did they do that? Could I do that? Even if just for one week or one month? In truth, I wondered that all the time.

Now... and here comes the Best Laid Plans tie in... I wonder that less and less. I'm no liar - so I'm certainly not going to say that I'm never self-conscious about my weight. But it's less so now. Why? Because now I am much too busy living my life. If someone sees me walking my dog and needs to think "that's an overweight woman walking her dog" as opposed to, "that's a woman walking her dog," fine. I'm still out there. I'm still walking. I'm still enjoying my dog.

Though I'll admit, a part of me hopes that that someone walks into a tree while watching my size-whatever-tush walking away.