Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fat Discrimination, or How to Not Quite Fool Yourself

In Tuesay's entry, I touched on something at the end that I wanted to return to. The idea that hip retail clothing stores only carry smaller sizes on purpose. Obviously this is a perfect example of fat discrimination. The horribly embarrassing part is that it actually happened to me. Let's try to put the whole chubby thing into context.

There is something out there in the world called the Fat Acceptance Movement, a movement born of discrimination and injustice towards fat people of all walks of life. You might have heard of it by one of its other names, such as the "Size Acceptance Movement," or the "Fat Liberation Frontier," or simply "FAT POWER!"

These organizations are designed to eliminate the injustice and discrimination suffered by fat people every single day of their/our fat lives. Anything from seat sizes on airlines and in stadiums (Lambeau Field and NASCAR events excluded) to weight restrictions on playground equipment and bathroom scales. The discrimination is without end, and must be stopped!

It's said that fat decreases human productivity and efficiency. It's said that fat creates health risks and puts a strain on the country’s healthcare system. It's even said that fat people can develop psychiatric problems due to the strain of the injustices in their fat lives. It's never said, though, that fat is fucking delicious, is it? No. But I'm here to say that, dammit, it is. It tastes so good in bacon. It tastes so good on our chili cheese fries. And, by GOD ALMIGHTY, it tastes so damn good on those jumbo corn dogs they have at Disneyland.

Let it be known though that we have suffered discrimination as well! Who are these people to tell us that we shouldn't eat an entire box of Boston Creme donuts!? Who are these people to tell us that we shouldn't eat an entire frozen pizza and still feel hungry!? This is America (and parts of Canada) dammit. We'll eat till we sweat, and there's nothing any of you can do about it. Well, nothing that is, except make our clothes too small and our buttons too weak. Oh, and also those airplane seats again. Not to mention the stretch marks and chafing. We also think Type 2 Diabetes is a conspiracy created by The Man to keep the fat people suppressed. It almost seems like once you go fat you never go... uh, unfat.

Of course, this next one I experienced directly. Certain trendy clothing stores are making the purchase of anything above XXL an online only situation. The paraphrased dialogue below reflects my experience not as it actually happened, but how I perceived it at the time.

(at Gap, trying to find clothes that fit after being laughed at by my wife)

Fattest Me Ever: "Um... do you have any pants that are bigger than these?"
Skinny, Hip, Gap Lady: "You want size 40" waist?"
Fattest Me Ever: "Er... yeah, well, no, but I'm just looking for..."
Skinny, Hip, Gap Lady: "I'm sorry fatass but you've reached the in-store fat limit."
Fattest Me Ever:
"In-Store fat limit?"

Skinny, Hip, Gap Lady: "That's correct you fat bastard. We don't carry sizes that fat in the store, as it might encourage fatty's to shop here. Now kindly get the fuck out."
Fattest Me Ever: "All I want to do is give you money for clothes."
Skinny, Hip, Gap Lady:
"I'm afraid you're going to have to leave now fatty. Feel free to visit our online store where the plus sizes will be available to you."

Fattest Me Ever: "Plus sizes? I don't want to shop for clothes online. I can't even try them on."
Skinny, Hip, Gap Lady (calling security):
"Yeah, this is Skinny, Hip, Gap Lady, we've got a Code Fat situation here."

I'm guessing that the security guy on the other end said something like: "Code Fat!? Sounds serious, we'll be right over with the cattle prods and soft batch cookies!"

You see, they don't want to damage their skinny brand image by having fatty in the store, but they'll still take fatty’s money from the comfort of his reinforced chair at home via the internet. Despite my experience, I can honestly say they did the right thing. What business wants to have their brand image destroyed by mountains of lard? It helped me reach my own personal rock bottom.

Fat doesn't really bounce though, so once I hit rock bottom, I just sorta stayed there looking for M&M's that people dropped.

It is because of this that fat people have invented their own vernacular, a jargon to confuse the non-fat folks. A language of their own to take away the chubby edges from the words Fat, Huge, and Obese. A woman isn't fat, she's "Full Figured." A man isn't obese, he's simply "Stocky."

We are strong advocates of the truth though. We know we're fat. We can see it in the mirror. We call it what it is, and we're not proud. We know we're not "Rotund," we're 50-70 pounds fatter than we should be. We know we're not "Big Boned," we're huge. We're not "portly gentlemen," we're fat-asses. We know this. We accept this. However, that doesn't mean that we've deluded ourselves into believing that we're happy with it. Perhaps that's the divide. Plus, the word “portly” just sounds hilarious.

You find me a fat person who doesn't want to weigh less, and I'll find you a good tasting non-fat box of Ho-Ho's. In other words: impossible. It's probably a scientific fact that every single fat person ever doesn't actually want to be fat. Lifestyle change isn't simple though. In fact, aside from tying our shoes, it's one of the most difficult things in the world to accomplish when you're portly. It's so much easier just to wear flip flops and forget about not being able to see your feet. It's also probably a scientific fact that while our shoelaces are still within reach, flip flops don't leave you oxygen deprived and gasping for breath.


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  2. It's not discrimination to call a fat person fat. We did't make you fat, and we're not saying you're less worthy, just that you're fat. And noone tells you you shouldn't showe an entire pizza down your throat, we're just telling you that it's a slow suicide. And why should a store promote your sick lifestyle? Eat normally, buy clothes normally. Destroy your body and health at your own risk, but don't make the rest of the world look at it, and don't be so self-obsessed and narcissistic to tell me not only that I have to accept your fat, but glorify it. Yes, I accept your fat. I still find it disgusting, and medicine still finds it sick.