Every day the word “fat” shows up and it is always uninvited. When I was last home from school in June, I brought up Kim Kardashian during a family dinner. I hadn’t even completed my thought about how disgusting I found the media’s emphasis on her weight gain during her pregnancy, before my mother interrupted me: “Yeah. She got really fat.” I paused and looked at my father, hoping that he would start a riot on my behalf; he just mumbled his medical opinion under his breath, saying, “You know, it’s very unhealthy for the baby to gain that much weight. Could be Eclampsia, which is very serious.”
“Damn, heifer…” As I exit an upscale supermarket last week, my body size is apparently so remarkable that it is mentioned, if barely audibly, by the store’s security guard.
I should be horribly offended. Right? That’s what my friends say when I recount the incident to them later. “What did you DO?” they ask, wide-eyed and furious by proxy. And though I appreciate their outrage, the truth is that I did nothing. But my lack of response, contrary to what one might think, didn’t stem from feeling intimidated or embarrassed. Actually, I felt little at all, and I consider my indifference the proud result of therapy, practice at loving myself, and ironically, weight gain.
I can honestly say I’m sick of hearing about, talking about and thinking about fat. And yet it’s everywhere – whether it’s the fear-mongering headlines that claim our country has been consumed by an obesity epidemic or if it’s the innumerable magazine articles written on the newest get-thin-quick scheme, it’s undeniable that over the years, our society has become obsessed with fat. But despite the often one-sided, overwhelmingly negative attitude our country has towards fat, the question remains: what is the true nature of fat as an issue of health?