Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Voulez-vous the bus.

(h/t to Jezebel)

Let me tell you, when I read the "etiquette" column linked through Jez, I damn near died. I mean, seriously. First of all, just the title alone is ridonk: "Do the obese really deserve contempt?" Because it's a question that only has one answer, which is "DUH."

Now, of course, the douchebaggions of the internet/world would say "DUH, of course they deserve our contempt because they're smelly/awful/ugly/horrific/lazy/blah blee blah blah blah". I would wager the comments on said article are chock-full so, as always, dear readers, avoid. On Planet Jane, however, the "DUH" is followed by another question: "are you dumb?" Don't get me wrong, there are plenty who I think deserve my contempt in several areas of my daily life, but my contempt has nothing to do with the simple fact that they, you know, EXIST. I don't zero in on Joe Dude standing on the corner and toss him into the Contempt Column. If he opens his mouth and says something asinine, then it's time for him to be launched into Contempt Town.

I think the author of said article, Mary Mitchell from Seattle, means well...but I also think we all know how absolutely jacked shit gets when somebody "means well". She "means well" when she makes statements like:

"The fact is, most obese people are fundamentally just average-sized folks who have become trapped under layers of fat and can't seem to find a way out"

Or suggestions like:

"Be wary of activities that require a lot of walking or standing. You would do the same for anyone with a walker or wheelchair."

I've never, EVER been "average-sized". Ever. I used to joke that I sprang forth from my mother's birth canal a size 14 and never looked back. I wouldn't know what "average-sized" feels like because I've always been big. I didn't encounter a boy that was taller than me until I hit high school. I was never small enough to shop at Express or the Gap. So when the "well-meaning" get on a roll about how much pain I must be in from my fat, it's like they're talking about a Jane that exists on some other plane. I'm not in pain - well, I'm achy because I've been a walking stressball for the better part of the last nine months thanks to work, and I have a difficult time getting rid of tension. I'm not "trapped" under layers of fat. I'm not being "smothered" or "choking" or any other number of dramatic adjectives. I'm just fat, that's all. I've always been fat, fat is my default, and it's something that I am done fighting with.

Please don't assume that because I'm fat that ambulating or being upright is the bane of my existence. In fact, stop assuming that you can figure out by eyeballing me what I'm capable of doing or not doing. And that little nugget (cuz you dug it) bit of advice goes for EVERYONE you might encounter, not simply us folks who are "trapped" under layers of fat. Add that to your Mannerly To-Do List - stop fucking thinking you know precisely how healthy or unhealthy/capable or incapable someone is simply by clapping eyes upon them. Or what their lives "must be" like. Or how much they eat or don't eat.

You would think that would be common sense, but as we've learned over the years, and are reminded again and again and again pretty much every single freaking day, fatness and common sense rarely mingle in the cocktail party that is society.

2 comments:

Twistie said...

Yeah, I don't need your pity breaks from walking, nor do I spend my life in abject terror that I'm about to break everybody's furniture. I don't feel 'trapped' in 'layers of fat.' I just feel like a person who wants to be treated like, you know, a person.

Guess what? I can even sit perfectly comfortably in most folding chairs.

Jennifer Brindley said...

Amazing. An article that tries to empathize with fat people, and manages to belittle them instead. (shock.)