We live in a society that is very appearance driven. Look at our advertising, our movies, and our relationships if you need confirmation. Chances are, if you’re a fellow fat girl, this doesn’t come as a surprise to you at all.
5 Truths About Growing Up Fat
Everyone wants to be their most beautiful self at all times. If you refuse to conform, you are shunned or openly mocked. Somewhere along the line, we got the message that being overweight in any way was not beautiful. In fact, society tells us it is something to be ashamed of.
This message has been passed along to generations of women and internalized as shame that has kept them from enjoying their childhoods, their careers, and coloring their romantic decisions. After all, when you consider yourself less than from the beginning it is hard not to accept whatever scraps of love your partner might throw at you. It all begins in childhood, where children believe that they are allowed to say the cruelest things to you in order to shame you for daring not to worship at the altar of thin. This is the truth about growing up a “fat girl”.
You will learn to pretend to not hear/see/feel in order to insulate yourself from jokes.
Fat girls don’t have feelings, right? That means that people will not try to hide their contempt for you by being subtle. They will speak about you as if you aren’t there, as if you aren’t capable of being insulted, or better yet, that they don’t care if you are being insulted.
Feeling that it would be unwise to push back against a crowd of people, you will likely learn to pretend not to hear them. If they write notes or draw pictures, you will pretend to be blind in order not to see them.
Boys, in particular, are to be avoided.
When boys are friends with boys, they occasionally tease a friend for their weight, but it is good natured ribbing. When a young girl is fat, they are seen as ugly. Young boys are particularly cruel about this. They will set their friends up by pretending to ask you on dates while their friend furiously waves in the background that they aren’t really interested. Your humiliation at this will not even be a consideration. If they are class clowns, your body will be offered up as a note of derision, a byline in their joke.
People will assume your ultimate goal is to shrink.
Above everything, besides being kind, besides being smart, besides being beautiful, people will assume your one true goal is to be skinny. They will offer you all sorts of “helpful” advice. They will ask intimate questions about how you got so fat in the first place, “are you an emotional eater?” If you become insulted, you should be humble – remember, fat girls don’t have feelings.
You will learn to see your body as a source of pain.
Your body – the wonder that it is- will be disregarded for what it is not: skinny. When people shame you and accost you, and openly mock you for this one attribute, you will learn to blame it on your body. In some weird dissociative manner, you will learn to see your body as a prison from which you are trying to free yourself, instead of a beautifully functioning organism.
Weight loss methods? We know them all!
Fat girls know how to lose weight. Or at least, we know how we SHOULD be able to lose weight. You just put more energy out than you take in, right? Simple science. There are a ton of environmental factors we don’t take into account, but that’s another story. The point is by the time we graduate from high school, a fat girl will have tried every crash diet on the market in an attempt to lose weight. If she succeeds, she will talk about the regretful time that she spent as a fat girl as if she survived a terminal illness. If not, she will continue to try to remain invisible in order to avoid being shamed. I’ve even written about ADHD and being overweight.
Growing up fat.
Growing up isn’t easy for anyone, we all face our challenges in life. However, growing up as a fat person brings an additional level of shame into your life that simply isn’t needed. It is hard, and it is painful. You can’t love yourself and hate your body. Learning how to let go of that shame is a process, but it is a worthwhile one.
Until next time,