Equal parts hurt, humiliated, and pissed off last week, I’ve been struggling to process something that you, Grown Man Who Called Me Fat While I Was Running, have probably already forgotten. As I ran my first lap around the park, something that I’ve been doing on a regular basis since September, I ran past your yard as I’ve done hundreds of times before. This time, however, as I rounded the turn and started to make my way past the playground full of families on a sunny, warm Sunday afternoon, I heard your voice loud and clear over the shouts and cries of the playground.
Earlier, an interesting tweet came through my Twitter stream: “If Chris Christie were a woman, would we be talking about weight?” This touched a nerve with me, so I clicked the link to the article, all the while thinking to myself that of course we would be talking about weight.
As it turned out, the article bested my thought. In short, the argument was that, no, we wouldn’t be talking about weight. Why? Because a fat woman would never have been elected governor, much less encouraged to run for President. I think that if Christie runs, his weight will inevitably be a passing topic of discussion. There will be physical comparisons made to William Howard Taft. Then everyone will go on his merry way.
Fat is not cause for rejection or alienation when it comes to men. Gender politics are interesting that way.
What makes me sad is that a woman can be one hundred percent evil or stupid, but if she’s attractive, personality is merely a side issue that can be ignored. Similar behavior in a heavier woman would cause her to be shunned. It’s a double standard that society will unfortunately likely maintain forever. Unless Renaissance figures come back into vogue.
Body image has been grinding the gears of my brain for the past few days now, and recent Hollywood happenings have me thinking about my own struggle. Maybe I hadn’t been paying incredibly close attention, but it seemed as though fame-whores Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt weren’t being quite as obnoxious with their Twitter accounts, used primarily to promote Heidi’s 650-times-downloaded album, themselves, and God. Then suddenly an altered Heidi-face was showing up all over the place and magazines and television “insider” shows were talking about her 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day. Her face barely moves. I saw a clip of a television interview where Heidi said that “real beauty comes from within.” She says it again in a video embedded in this article.
My point here isn’t to really discuss Heidi Montag, per se. I’ve been stewing over this and similar issues for the past few days. What kind of messed up message is this sending out to little girls (and all women, for that matter)? Here they have someone saying that real beauty comes from within, which would imply that it doesn’t matter what someone looks like. Sure, it’s best that you practice good hygiene and take care of yourself, but what makes someone beautiful is what’s on the inside. (Just ask Dove. Their Campaign for Real Beauty renews my faith in corporate America.) Then, the same person promoting this message has multiple plastic surgeries to make herself be the “best” she can be and to make herself feel better about how she looks. I can’t understand this because if you look back at older pictures of Heidi, she’s not bad-looking.
The entire time I was growing up, I always felt like the ugly duckling. For a while, I was a lot taller than the other girls in my grade, and then I was a lot shorter than them. Most importantly, I was the fat kid. I learned to hate the way I looked as early as first grade, which is when kids started calling me fat to my face (and behind my back). As a result, I was never very social or outgoing, and when boys started noticing girls, they weren’t noticing me (unless they wanted to make friends with me in order to get to one of my friends). I started to have a really hard time trusting people because I never knew who was just making fun of me and pretending to be nice. For a while, I really tried to wear the same clothes that the other girls were wearing, but eventually I just gave up and tried to hide behind really big clothes. It never mattered how smart I was (I was – and am – smart), what kind of diet I was on, what sports I played (softball was my sport of choice for 11 years, though I tried my hand at basketball in 5th grade and threw for the track team in 8th grade), what activities I was involved in (numerous – they got me a $25,000 scholarship in college) or what I was trying to do, all that mattered to those kids was that I was fat, so I wasn’t pretty, and I could never be one of them. Continue reading