Wednesday, July 05, 2006

On Not Being "Fat Enough"

"When Kathleen LeBesco gave a talk at an academic meeting last fall about how, as an overweight professor, she influenced her students' ideas about body size, there was only one problem: She wasn't fat."

Well. Fat's really a relative term, isn't it?

I mean, among a bunch of models and actresses I'd be considered a freakin' whale. I mean, Elizabeth Hurley has nightmares about being a size 14. And, you know, I'm a size 14. And according to the BMI, still fat, though it took a diabetic coma to get me here.

I'm currently reading a volume LeBesco edited called, Bodies Out of Bounds, which is mostly pretty good (after a stop-and-go iffy sort of start).

What interests me about this article is the assumption that because LeBesco doesn't currently have an obese BMI that she's suddenly not fit enough to talk about fat studies. Because suddenly all of her experiences as a fat woman in society are completely invalid?

Speaking as someone who can "pass" (for the moment, in some circles) I can tell you this: no matter what the scale says or what other people say, I still have an image of myself as a fat girl who takes up too much space.

You could argue here about what's more valid/important/real: society's perception of you, or your perception of yourself.

(via bfb)

2 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Roni said...

I say a good healthy mix of both. If you ask me on any given day how I feel about my body in my 31 years of living, 99% of the time I'd say that I was fat. Looking back at the not-so-fat me of HS, I just shake my head. Of course, I had bfs and others tell me that I looked great, but I didn't believe them. And still today, it's hard for me to believe it. But slowly, slowly I'm changing that to the fact that today, you have a 10% chance of me saying that I look good today. I say that's progress.

Queenikins said...

Ironically, when I was much thinner, I had a far worse self-image.

According to the BMI charts, I'm obese (not quite 5'3" and 175); yet now I routinely bike 20 miles a day, have more energy and endurance and like my looks than when I was 18 and weighed 130.

I think one issue that needs to be addressed though, is how the medical community fuels the fire--and whether the touted health risks truly relate to obesity or to a sedentary lifestyle. Does someone w/ the same BMI and family history as mine have exactly the same risks of Type II Diabetes or is mine less due to the amount of exercise I get?