Chances are if you are Fat and you are a woman then you have probably been called a Dog in your time...I am not sure why this is so, you'd think people would straight out call you a pig, or a hippo, or an elephant, or even a walrus...but no, the combination of female and fat often results in us being described by ignorant men obssesed with our exterior as looking like a dog.
I guess the level of your upset at being called a dog will very much depend on how much you love and appreciate the dog species, and how thick your skin is. I am not really a dog person myself. To me dogs just require too much looking after, and can't even look after you financially in your retirement so I am not their biggest fans.
Recently for the purposes of my continued fight to prove that there is nothing wrong with being the size that I am the whole dog thing has come in a little handy, I mean it doesn't take a genious to propose the "If you were a dog, what dog would you be?" question to spark a huge debate about the similarities between characteristics and lifestyles of certain breeds and humans.
However a few months ago at a UK weight stigma conference I attended the key-note speaker Dr Deb Burgard gave a very interesting talk titled The War on Obesity makes me sick which included reference to dogs. At the time I listened with great interest at concepts that were kind of a bit new to me, and then I let the information simmer for a while so that I could process what I truley felt about it.
You see the process of writing my The Fat Girls Guide to Running blog over the past 4 years has forced me to stop and really look at my fat self and find some kind of solace and understanding about my personal situation with my oversized body, and the more I read up on fat acceptance and the whole Health at Every Size movement the more I realise that I have not got all these diets and exercise regimes wrong, there is no "miracle cure" to make me more normal, simply put my life is not going to get better if and when I get slimmer.
So what has this got to do with dogs?
Well after close to 20 years of yoyo dieting and believing that I was 100% to blame for my size this colourful american lady Dr Deb Burgard opened my mind with one simple slide, a collection of photographs depicting certain breeds of dogs.
Now as I have already mentioned I am not a dog person at all, I don't know much about different breeds and I have never owned one as a pet so maybe I am not the best person to make these analogies but shit I am never going to be a Greyhound, If anything I am a Great Dane...but my quest to become a Greyhound all these years has played havoc with my Great Dane make up and I am now this frustrated overweight Neopolitan Masstif (look it up) with one hell of an attitude.
This world would have you believe that there is only one breed of human being, one acceptable human form...the ones on the covers of magazines and the glamorous figures cast on tv, but this is simply not healthy. This quest that we have found ourselves on to become this thing that we just can not be is making us so sick and so unhappy and it has to stop.
If you starved a Pitbull Terrier by constantly feeding it the diet of a Chihuahua what would happen to it over time? Similarly if you forced a St Bernard to endure the life of a Basset Hound how miserable and broken would that poor dog become? So why is this concept so simple to see this when we are talking about dogs but impossible to accept when we speak about humans.
Whether you are fat or slim, tall or short, if you fit the accepted idea of normal or you do not you must see how damaging this worlds obsession with the perfect body is, and its not just women these days either. How much more of our lives are we going to waste in the pursuit of happiness a happiness that is never going to come, not if we keep fighting against what nature intended us to be.
You know how earlier I said I have never had a pet dog..well I realise that is kind of a little white lie. My dad in fact had a dog when we were little, a tawny brown Greyhound called Jans Vest (after my mums thermals). It wasn't our pet though as it was kept in kennels of course miles away from where we lived, it never won anything and I only ever visited it twice as my Dad got bored and got shot of it once it failed to make him his millions.
Thinking about it today, what a poor little sod Jans Vest was, born and raised purely for the entertainment and enterprise of others and then disregarded without a second thought. Who on earth would want to be a Greyhound anyway?