There are many assumptions made about fat people. You know the ones: all fat people are lazy, they eat too much; they are all on benefits; they are a burden on the NHS etc. Some people may have that kind of opinion but generally keep it to themselves, whereas others have no problem in airing those opinions and take joy in publicly fat shaming people.
There are other beliefs out there too however and these are the ones that I want to discuss today; specifically in relation to fat women. The kind of beliefs I am talking about are the darker side of the fat hating culture; the kind that people, men in the most part but also women, do not admit exist. So what are they?
- Fat women are easy. Because you look the way you do, you will sleep with anyone. Indeed, you should be grateful for any attention, from whomever. You aren't allowed to have a type yourself, take whatever you can get.
- Fat women are filthier (yes in that way) than a woman of a smaller size.
- You will be perfectly comfortable, accepting and accustomed to being kept a secret. His family and most definitely his friends will never know about you.
- If you are touched in an inappropriate way, such as a man grabbing your breasts in a bar, it not ranked as important as if it had happened to someone who is thinner. There is either a denial of "As if I'd touch that" or again, the comment "You should be grateful". The incident is seen as humorous when in fact it is sexual assault.
Whenever I have objected to any of the above behaviours in the past (I have experienced them all, some on many occasions) I have often been greeted with surprise, shock and even sometimes anger that I did not fit into or would play the role that they wanted me to.
Whilst the first three points are assumptions about the way a fat woman may behave, that last one is significantly more worrying. When did the incidents involving fat people become less important than those of a smaller stature? If the goal posts of acceptability are being moved according to your size; then where is the line between right and wrong crossed?
Do my large breasts and fat body negate levels of common decency? The question then becomes: if sexual assault in a bar is not categorised as being unacceptable if you are fat, does this then mean that people think that being fat should not afford you to be safeguarded by the same rights and laws as others?
Taking that a step further, there are some who deny that a fat woman can be raped at all. As all fat women are presumed to be "always up for it" and desperate, they would never say no. The question is asked "Who would want to rape you?"
Where then does it end?
A fat woman is not sub human. She is not an "it" or a "that". She deserves to receive common decency and to be treated with respect. She is not beneath your notice and is not undeserving of your time. The laws of the land do not disappear when you gain 50 pounds.
When I look at myself in the mirror I don't see someone who deserves less respect than someone else.
We all deserve the same level of respect. Respect should be blind to race, colour, culture, size and sexual orientation. If you are not sure how to treat somebody always go back to the base line. Treat them as a human being.