Fatso. Part 2. Saying it

Definition: fat = overweight or obese as per the official medical definition. The rest is my usual acidic idiocy.

               I’ve got a theory there. If you’re a bit biased like me, you won’t like it. I don’t like it either, but it works. There’s a christian thing I’ve learned from me gran – before you look at others and criticize, look upon yourself. Well, I’ve done that, I find myself faulty in soo many ways – ergo I’m free to criticize, now. The problem I recognize but hate is the fact we’re educating our children worse than we were educated. I really think we make the social stigmas worse by learning to identify them for purposes of combating discrimination. You see that fat kid there? It’s not nice (or politically correct) to call him fat. We’re teaching people it’s ok to think bad things as long as they’re not voiced in public – but we’re pointing out exactly what it is that’s bad and one shouldn’t do – which has the exact consequence of telling our brains what to think by means of analogy (if that’s bad to say or point out in public, then that thing you were shown is bad). Same with fat, same with racism, same with… you name it. Politically correct my arse. But we’re doing it.

               Is it ok if you’re fat? Sure, it’s your health. I have no problem with you being fat. I don’t want to see you naked or in yoga pants, that’s something else. What it’s not ok is to force consensus on a matter of taste. If you think I shouldn’t care how you look in skin-tight stuff because I’m making you upset, let me tell you you’re probably upset because you already care about how you look (and hate it). You can’t be blaze and not compare. You can’t empathize there if you can’t put yourself in his/her shoes. The whole not-caring thing is for people who don’t care, incidentally those who are satisfied on how they look (and there’s few of them). Even supermodels throw up just thinking of a pizza – should we ban them? Everybody has something they’d improve about themselves – and that means we’re comparing ourselves with those around us. We’re labeling, even unconsciously, us vs them. Sort of what happens if you put two women wearing the same dress at a classy party. One’s bound to leave early and/or anger her companion. And the other one’s got a “couldn’t care less” attitude. Those who think others shun them for being fat should really get into CBT. I’ve had abusive co-workers, I’ve had fat ones, I’ve had beautiful ones, I’ve had some who were exactly what you wanted them to be. Who was socially sought in this work-related office soap opera? Those who had exactly 3 skills – they knew their job, they knew their worth and they wouldn’t take shit from nobody. Most of those were in the “abusive” group. But everybody looks the other way when they snap at the intern because coffee cold and me Tarzan.

               Some people just want to be accepted. Others want to have power. A few even want to be submissive. Everybody wants something. But accepting things we can change – for those of us who can – even if we don’t understand that we actually are able to change them – for fear of what others think is not a good thing. And neither is generalising because we don’t want to be singled out. I don’t like losing in games, so we abolish winning for everybody. I don’t like being called fat – so we demand nobody calls anybody fat. Is that a good thing? I mean, hiding behind groups – is it good? It’s like covering your ears, closing your eyes and yelling “memememememememee” for hours to drown even your own thoughts.

               I think it’s not a good sign. Again, being fat is not normal or healthy – no matter how much you’d like that statement to be true. Saying it’s night when the sun’s up isn’t correct, even if we make it a law (unless we change the meaning of the word, but that’s another issue. Please don’t change the meaning of the word fat). But not saying something sometimes is just as bad as saying it. We know it’s there, everybody does, but we just don’t talk about it.

               If you’re mildly overweight and healthy, I’m not interested. If you’re really overweight and healthy, I don’t care. But teaching my kids it’s ok to be fat because reasons – I can’t agree there. I was fat and healthy – look where it’s got me, pack full of meds for my heart and needling my fingers every morning and afternoon (I have to, to see what foods bring me up or down on blood sugar – can’t risk a seizure in the middle of nowhere where the ambulance can’t reach me, especially if I’m eating low-carb). Our bodies change with age, our metabolism changes – if we’re fat, it’s easier to gain weight than to lose it. If we’re fat, in time we get fatter even if we don’t change what or how much we eat. Each tiny bit of fat makes it a tiny bit worse for our body. Like the chinese water drop torture – until the body can’t take it anymore and becomes sick.

               How about we educate well instead? No more idiots on TV ramming walls with their heads and calling it entertainment.. By example, I think. But not by banning that, either. You can’t will something out of existence by making it illegal – or we’d have no drug lords left. Drugs, just like idiotic entertainment, must be eradicated by making sure people won’t want them – I kind of like the idea of opposing drugs and hallucinogenics with virtual reality, sort of like what Joe Haldeman described in his Forever Peace novel. Fight fire with fire, but at least make ‘em wear fire-proof underwear.

               But first, a word of warning. You can’t educate if you’re using the standard way of teaching. Self-discipline, self-esteem, pride, good morals (what are those anyway?), you can’t teach them. You have to show them. If I’m an introvert with low self-esteem who is afraid of social interactions, what’s my boy or daughter going to learn from me? If I shy away from work, if I’m constantly being put down by those around me, if I’m afraid of speaking up or refuse to take responsibility for what I do – what’s the lesson there? Who would we have teaching our children? Us? Others? Who’s more dysfunctional?

               I’ve been bullied. I know, I know, that’s not the issue. The hell it’s not. We’re vilifying words and not the people. If I tell you you’re fat and I think you’re ugly, it’s because I’m saying it to make you feel bad. You are fat, and to me you are probably ugly. That doesn’t make it ok to say it like that. That’s bullying. However, it’s also part constructive criticism. Let’s rephrase it. If I tell you body fat is making you ill, and as a side-effect it will make you aesthetically repulsive to some people, are you prepared to take it as constructive? I sure as hell wasn’t, even from my loved ones. But I’ve been taught to think that way.

               No kids, we should say fat is not healthy. That anything in excess is not healthy. We should offer help to correct it (if it’s possible) and should teach people how to accept that help (or when). However, we should kick the shit out of the morons who think being fat is a reason to be mocked, demeaned or otherwise verbally molested. We can’t hide and we shouldn’t. We say it, we adress it head-on, we prevent abusive behavior. That’s how you stop discrimination. On this, unfortunately, we need to educate those who are fat, first. Regardless of what I think, believe or know, if I’ve got not idea how to identify a constructive feed-back, if we perceive everything as an insult, as a mockery, we can’t change. One other thing, this works for adults. If you want to educate the children, start with their parents.

               I’ve said something about teaching by example. As all parents know, young kids mimic everything, from behavior to speech. That’s how they learn. So what are we teaching them? That it’s ok for dad to sit on the couch every afternoon drinking beer and eating crap, going from healthy to sick and then dying, but if little Gerry’s doing it then it’s bad? Or that it’s not ok to call it for what it is or to want to change it? Who bullies more now, those like me who don’t like to see fat people in shorts or those “fat acceptance” folks who think everybody else fat is their own personal battle zone? You won’t see me going to the beach, stalking a fat chick yelling at her to cover up but you see all these folks on TV arguing about discrimination and how I’m to blame – and how things have to change, for everybody instead of just punishing the abusers… Accept it, place the blame where it is – to those who discriminate – not make a horse out of it. It’s like punishing the whole country for a few politicians taking bribes. Bloody jail them then, innit? Hell, I’d rather stay home and learn C++ or finally make that transition to loop quantum gravity. It’ll make me feel better and it’ll be one less think I don’t know about. But me son wants us to go to the park again. Gotta lose a few more pounds until summer, shucks.

 Post scriptum:

               I’m all about personal responsibility – in education and everything else. If I want my kid to learn to eat healthy then first I have to eat healthy. Be the person I want my child to be. Show him why that’s right, what good consequences that has, make him understand his choices and then respect his decisions. That’s it. I’m only responsible for him until he’s responsible for himself.

There was a good joke about it when I was younger:

               Dad take Georgie, his teenage son, to the local striptease pub. The kid’s eyes bulge, his breathing increases, and after alternating through several shades of pink and crimson, the visibly interested kid asks:

  • Wow, dad, those are some super sexy girls… Who gets to be with girls who look like that?
  • Those with good grades, Georgie boy… Those ones..
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