As we approach the first birthday of A Big Beautiful World, I thought I’d talk about why I began this journey in the first place.
About two years ago, I was talking with a colleague and we got onto the subject of clothes. She was young – about 25, pretty, vivacious and bright and we always got on very well. Half way through the discussion, I mentioned how difficult it was for me to find attractive, feminine clothes in a size that would fit me properly, without the clothes looking like a tent or in drab, hideous colours. Much to my surprise, she said,
“Well I don’t think you should be able to buy nice clothes.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because then you’d just be encouraged never to lose any weight. If you can’t find nice clothes to wear, then you’ll be motivated to go on a diet,” she replied lightly, utterly ignorant of the common and troubling assumptions she’d made about obesity, diets, motivation and the deep psychological connections between them.
Although I’d seen evidence of this belief before, this was the first time somebody had actually articulated it to me. To be honest, I was a little stunned by her response. I was shocked that anybody – especially a friend – could be so ignorant, judgemental and cruel all at the same time and yet remain blissfully unaware of it. And it made me angry.
Angry that anybody would think they had a right to decide whether I should look nice in my clothes or not. Angry that she should presume to know what motivated me or didn’t. Most of all, I was angry at the depths of prejudice aimed at segregating an entire (growing) selection of the community on the basis of what is, essentially, a physical difference.
She said she had that opinion because it just wasn’t healthy to be fat. I asked her if she knew the damage that her smoking did to her health. I also asked her if she knew the dangers of the drugs she took at nightclubs or the volume of alcohol she drank. Her response? “That’s different.”
I write this blog because I’m still angry – and the only antidote to prejudice and ignorance is information. For everyone.
No related posts.