Hmph! She’s Just in Denial

Published October 12, 2009 by Fat Heffalump

Let’s continue on the subject of End Fat Talk shall we? End Fat Talk week starts on the 19th of October and I think it’s a great movement, so I’m going to keep up with this one through October.

One of the biggest challenges I face with ending fat talk at the moment are not those that are openly nasty or rude, nor those that loathe their own bodies and are finding it hard to let go of the self-fat talk, but those that are patronising. You’ve probably all experienced them, the ones who go quiet in a conversation about body image and fat talk, only because they’re thinking “Listen to the poor fatty, deluding herself that she can be healthy like that.” One is tempted to write it off as paranoia or self consciousness when one gets that feeling, but unfortunately I’ve caught a few people out on it, either talking to others when they think I’m not there, or others have told me that they’ve done so after I’ve left. I’ve also heard other fat friends talking about experiencing the same thing.
I’m not entirely sure how to work with people who believe that those of us who follow fat acceptance and health at any size are deluding ourselves. That we’re in denial about our weight.
Sometimes just being really open and reminding them that I know that I am fat helps. A lot of people who are trying to be polite are very confronted by the word fat. I’ve referred to myself as a fat woman and seen people blink in shock, as if I’ve just said “Fuck” or called myself the N-word. To so many people, “fat” is the ultimate insult, so to hear someone call themselves that openly and unashamedly they find it confronting.
I’ve even found myself censoring the word fat when referring to myself, not because I’m ashamed of it, but just because I’ve seen some pretty intense reactions to it. I try not to, because I consider it MY word and I want to remove the negative power from it, but it’s very hard when good people react so intensely to it.
Often I find myself letting it go when someone is clearly of the opinion that I am in denial about my fat. This still doesn’t sit comfortably with me because I am trying to actively challenge any shame and stigma about fatness in my life, no matter who it be from. But there are times when it does hurt when someone assumes that I haven’t armed myself with as much information as possible and haven’t made an informed decision about fat acceptance.
I guess each situation is different and I’m still really learning how to challenge the attitude that fat = unhealthy/morally wrong. Sometimes I’m successful, other times, not so much.
What are your thoughts on ending fat talk from those who believe that fat people are in denial about their bodies? Have you had any successful experiences? Are you someone who used to have this belief about fat people, but have changed that?
Please share in the comments and let’s work on this together.

4 comments on “Hmph! She’s Just in Denial

  • What people don't seem to realise is that people who are fat are acutely aware of their bodies. They seem to think that because we don't allow it to affect our everyday lives, ie hide a dark room wearing a circus tent to disguise our corpulent selves, that we're in denial. I'm yet to work out what to say to those who believe we suffer from a form of body blindness. I would love for them to turn their criticism to the thin people in this world who STILL have no idea or better yet, take it out on those who are crappy people. If you're going to criticise, make it worth it!

  • You know Amber, I think you are right. I have a girlfriend who is Torres Strait Islander and she always says to me "People think I don't know I'm black." I think the same goes for fatties. Perhaps they think we're completely oblivious?

  • I really think they do. I think those nasty horrible judgmental people out there think that because we carry the extra weight or our skin is a different colour or we're disabled in some way, that we're ignorant and hopeless. I think THEY are the ones who suffer blindness, they don't have eyes to see who people are, they only see what they perceive them as.

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