Friday, November 23, 2007

No Fat Chicks - Terry Poulton

Why did I spend so long fighting fat? Um, duh.... it was because the world taught me to!

With the advent of Weight Watchers, ours was a diet, body conscious household. Worse, during my vulnerable adolescent years, I yo-yoed and enjoyed the favourable endorsements of my "slimage".

The battle against myself continued because I was shamed into it and felt I didn't measure up if I didn't meet the measure. I'm so angry, yet so relieved that I don't look through someone else's lens on life anymore.

Women like Terry Poulton, who write about the truth, are my inspiration.

An excerpt from her most amazing book, "No fat chicks" is below (which, by the way, is available for borrowing through the Toronto Public Library.

Terry Poulton
No Fat Chicks

“The other side of the coin, in terms of what the “billion-dollar brain-wash” has wrought, is the intense anger so many people feel towards Fat Chicks. Certainly, other minorities face deplorable prejudice. But, when you’re overweight, the hostility feels more personally directed. After all, nobody is told flat-out to switch religions, or to change the colour of her skin or the shape of her facial features. The disabled aren’t ordered to walk, and those with diseases aren’t told simply to snap out of it. Society has finally evolved to a point where alcoholics, drug addicts, and the mentally ill are treated with compassion instead of contempt. But the overweight are still regarded as deserving of abuse and exclusion.

The fact is that we have been deliberately conditioned to be repelled by the very sight of a fat woman. And this knee-jerk reaction is constantly reinforced in the media – both information and entertainment – by means of the hundreds of images that surround us during an average day. Yet a stroll through any traditional art gallery will confirm that this is a conditioned, rather than a primary response, and that it is of very recent vintage.

Oddly enough, however, appearance per se isn’t the most significant element of the taboo against obesity, according to many psychological authorities. Rather, the hostility has more to do with the presumed breaking of rules that others feel compelled to obey. Given that most women are not naturally skinny, especially as they age, achieving this body image takes prodigious effort and self-denial. Yet only rarely do we hear such women characterize this as the extreme sacrifice it is. And when they do hint at it, they blame themselves instead of the ruthless pressure to accomplish the impossible. In fact, it’s often as if a societal ventriloquist is at work when they alternately apologize for eating and concoct absurd rationalizations for consuming even innocuous amounts (as Fat Chicks also often feel compelled to do).”

pp. 115-6

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