Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Great Debate

I keep pondering this debate that I have been seeing more and more in blogosphere. The debate about ownership of the "fat experience" for lack of a better description. In other words, do those of us who are a siz 12/14/16 have as much right to label ourselves as "fat" and subject to certain kinds of discrimination as those who are size 26/28/32. I don't think it is just a semantics debate going on, but rather a debate about whether or not the same type of discrimination is at work and whether it is even possible to understand the societal marginalization involved if you are a size 28 as opposed to a size 12. I've seen it pointed out a lot recently that if you are my size (size 12), you can shop in mainstream retail stores, fit in normal size seats, and are unlikely to get the same kind of looks as larger people. Well, I've been a size 12 and I have been a size 24/26 and I was a size 24/26 for a lot longer than I have been a size 12. Does that establish my street cred here? I don't know, but it is where I come from in my own head. I still think of myself as fat, still see the extra weight that I spend my free time trying to lose, still struggle with food. But I don't think I get the same looks in public that I used to get, and I don't worry about where I can shop and whether the airplane seat will be comfortable. Pain is pain regardless of size though, and I wonder what it says that size 12 women think they are really fat and about the fact that as a society we continue to idolize really underweight women as opposed to healthy people. I don't think my personal perception has anything to do with my weight now, I think it has everything to do with what I used to weigh. Keeping weight off is really hard for me, really hard even with lots of exercise and the mind trips are pretty rough too. Still, I absolutely know that I am lucky to be able to avoid all the trauma of never being able to find my size and always getting stared at in public. Where that leaves us in all of this I don't know, but I keep pondering the issue and maybe that is what is important.

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