BlockedUnblock FollowFollowing The conversation is much more interesting when everyone has a voice. The shuffle originates from The Goonies movie where a chubby kid shakes his belly for the amusement of others. On that day, I was tired of it so I refused. The other kid got in my face, while other kids jeered, so I relented and shook my flab.
A minute later, I started crying like an oversized baby, letting tears drip down my face in shame. The kids in the locker room were horrified by my outburst, and they all offered sincere apologies. It was only one of many indignities in the life of a fatty.
As much as the conversation about body image has spread to men , society saves its most vicious scorn for women. I play along or stay silent or look at my shoes. To be a fat woman is to live in a constant state of cruelty, as the beginning and end of all ridicule. I have watched many wonderful women in my life suffer from this gender imbalance, even as those same women are the most kind and giving people I know.
My sister, Jen, is the perfect example. I worked out a couple hours a day six days a week. Criticism of fat people, in general, is couched in the outdated language of moral failings. That might be true, but fat people are no more flawed than anyone else in my experience. As much as America detests large women, they seem to worship fat guys. There are so many beloved fat men, half a dozen just named John — Goodman, Belushi, and Candy, for example.
Fat guys are allowed to be powerful and even sexy, like Tony Soprano, who was both. It should be a fat, blue collar, white slob on the face of the one dollar bill. When it comes to women, it all seems couched in sex.
Men seem to demand women meet standards of beauty that men are totally unwilling to meet themselves. Every love interest in a Kevin James movie is a supermodel , and few people find it odd, while large women who date thin men are the subject of endless commentary. My friend, Telaina, is a larger lady who is married to a rather skinny marathon runner. One day, as she was changing at the gym, a thin woman sought her out to express disbelief that Telaina managed to land such a fit husband.
Studies show there are some sickly skinny folks and some fit fat people. At one time, fat was a symbol of virility and power, when people were often emaciated by scarcity and poverty. In those days, fat was sexy. They have been told at every point in history that their worth is tied directly to sex appeal. And, the requirement is that women spend time and energy primping for men. Some of the cruelest criticisms come from other women.
I hate to give her any more attention, but Nicole Arbour has parlayed a willingness to be an asshole into some kind of Internet fame. She puts down women and all fat people , and at the same time harms the cause of women by flaunting her own appearance as her greatest, and perhaps only, asset. I always cheer when I read about women pushing back in essays against this acceptable form of bigotry.
I also think that large fellows like me have a duty to point out the disparity in treatment between fat men and women. This article originally appeared in Role Reboot.