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Why All The Fuss?

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.┬áMuch 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.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Kylie Cole says:

    Mackenzie

    I LOVE IT! As a person who has always struggled with weight gain, I am so happy to see someone righting about REAl issues and REAL problems. Well done girl. If you ever need stories, I can certainly give you a few. I used to weigh 105Kg on a 167cm frame. I lost that weight and got down to 64kg and am currently sitting at 70kg. I flutuate all the time and it is a daily issue that I cope with. I hope we can stay in touch. Kylie Cole

    1. Mackenzie says:

      Thanks, Kylie! I know there’s a lot of people out there with similar feelings and there aren’t many places where this kind of information is available in a sympathetic venue.

      And I’d be delighted if you’d contact me with any stories you have. That’s what this blog is all about – real stories.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Mackenzie

  2. Deb Roberts says:

    Hi Mackenzie,
    Great topic and this very much resonates with me too! Unfortunately our world is so focussed on things at face value that we are labelled before we often open our mouths – very frustrating!
    I have been on the weight loss/gain/loss rollercoaster over the years and its not a pleasant journey!
    Looking forward to ready more!
    Deb

    1. Mackenzie says:

      Thanks, Deb.

      Alas, society is very attached to the idea of the perfect image – and has been for centuries; it’s not a new idea. But these days we can measure and understand the damage such prejudices do to people, and the sad truth is, it can destroy lives.

      I hope your journey gets a little easier going forward.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Mackenzie

  3. Kylie Cole says:

    It is amazing how differently I have been treated over the years. When I was a big girl I did not receive any advances from men in clubs etc. I was not helped on the side of road when my car broken down and I was given a pig as a kris kindle present one year that really hurt my feelings.

    When I lost my weight and got down to 64 kilos, I recieved bucket loads of attention from men and received lots of assistance. It really is amazing how people judge you by what you look like.

    I teach dance it is is incredible to watch the men dodge the bigger ladies and go and dance with the slim girls. I hate it and have made a system in class where the men have to dnace with everyone now. Having been in those shoes once myself, I hate it when I witness that kind of behaviour.

    1. Mackenzie says:

      It’s very telling that you noticed such a big difference in how people treated you depending on your size. I have other friends who’ve noticed the same problems – not just women but men too. A male friend of mine who lost 40kg noticed that people treated him with a lot more respect afterwards – but that didn’t make him feel any better.

      The biggest problem with this alteration in behaviour is that it has such a negative affect on the overweight person. That negative affect often helps drive the poor eating behaviour and only makes the weight problem worse. But if we’re treated well, we’re encouraged to keep up the good behaviour. People with kids know this as positive reinforcement – but it works just as well with adults.

      Thanks for sharing, Kylie.