Thursday, 17 June 2010

A moment to pause...

This is not an outfit or fashion oriented post... so if you only love those - why not look here, otherwise - read on. xxx.

I was at a coffee shop today buying a "UK flat white". This is a regular thing for me, and a regular place I go to... as I was standing, pouring in my TWO sugars - brown and EXTRA yummy - I heard the following exchange:

Josie: Lisa, I'm looking at this cake and I really want it.
Lisa: No, Josie, you don't want to eat that and be the biggest girl there.
Josie: It's just a cake and the party isn't 'till tomorrow night.
Lisa: Well, don't do it - it will make you fatter.
Josie: But it looks really yummy.
Lisa: Well, don't spend all tomorrow night telling me you look fat.

I estimate Lisa was about a size ten, and Josie was a size 12 or a 14 - at most. Initially, I was a little outraged by this conversation. It took me back to highschool where one of my friends gave me a diet book for my 15th birthday... Awesome. I was never a girl at school to ask my friends if I looked fat. I was aware, from a very young age, that I WAS the chubby girl. The fat one. The "bigger friend". That, is one of my facts - always "chubby". I actually used to walk down the street and look at the bigger/curvier/chubbier/fat girls who I thought were fashionable and think, "I want to be like HER one day..." (I have, of course - like almost everyone, struggled with body issues and self acceptance, but that is not for this post... I am very aware that what I have just written is a very lucky thing to have started thinking as a young girl). Although I lifestyle changed about six years ago, I have never dieted. I have thought about it, but never wanted to - so haven't. As I looked at these girls, it got me thinking.

I was so outraged initially at Lisa. I thought she was being quite rude and bitchy - and, really - she was. But then I thought about her last comment... "Well, don't spend all tomorrow night telling me you look fat." And it made me think. Clearly Joise has body issues which she projects and clearly Lisa is not sensitive to how deep such issues can go. I actually had this strange sense as I left the coffee place that maybe Lisa, in her own special, insulting way - was trying to help Josie. PROBABLY - she was just being insensitive... but that last comment has given me pause...

Tonight, I was so happy to finally meet up with the AMAZING Vanessa Reece from (she took a pic and has posted details!) and we got chatting about it, all about perceptions and self awareness and feelings.

It was a good discussion (heck I LOVE thoughtful discussion).

BUT - I have not resolved this in my head. I would love opinions. As I said, my initial outraged reaction was that Lisa was being rude, and ultimately - she WAS being quite mean, negative, insulting... but I would love to know people's thoughts on that last line?

I once heard a daughter say, "Shit mum, you look like a fat pig"... and I was equally mortified. Thoughts?


PS - If you want to enter my comp for the GORGEOUS film earrings - you must leave a comment under this post and follow me on either twitter or google connect (full details in the post!).


  1. Oh God I hate overhearing things like that. It definately seems like Josie has some self-esteem issues, maybe because she is the 'bigger' friend?

    The worst thing I ever overheard was when I was in Dorothy Perkins last year, and looking at a dress that was full of sparkly and sequins - perfect for a night out. The most adorable little girl, aged about 7 at the very most with glasses, red hair and a little pot belly. She stroked the dress when I'd moved away, and called her mum over.
    "Mum, will I be able to wear this someday?" She asked, all smiles.
    "Oh God no, you're too fat!" Her mam replied indifferently.

    How appauling - for ANY age but especially a child? There's just something wrong with some people!

  2. Okay my grammar there was APPAULING! Don't hold it against me ;DD xxx

  3. Ugh, I think they are both a mess. One for being incredibly rude and insensitive, and the other for having a lot of issues she clearly has not worked out.

    All in all, just an incredibly SADDENING situation.

    - S

  4. Some kid at school today said "Miss, I don't want to be rude, but are you pregnant?" THANKS! I actually think the friend Lisa has probably been hearing the larger girl whining all day about wanting to get into this dress she's bought for the next night and is being a good friend telling her not to eat badly! xxx

  5. This post is so interesting, you really got me thinking. A couple of thoughts for you:

    Firstly, why do you care so much? Is it because you're wondering if you should have said something? As someone who embraces her curves, are you feeling guilty for not helping someone else to do that?

    And secondly, your closing comment, "I once heard a daughter say, "Shit mum, you look like a fat pig"... and I was equally mortified" actually gave me more pause for thought. Is advising someone not to eat a luxury food because it'll make them fatter on the same level as calling someone a name like 'fat pig'?

    Actually yes, I think it probably is. In fact, it might even be worse. An insult doesn't reflect on the person being insulted, and many of us can recognise it for what it is; not worth worrying about. But those kinds of conversations slip by unnoticed as the Status Quo, they are part of a culture of Fat is Bad, and they are far more harmful than name-calling.

    So I don't necessarily think Lisa was being mean, I think she was behaving like most members of society.

    To Lisa, helping someone to not be fat is a Good Deed. Josie may even have been thinking what a good friend Lisa was for supporting her desire to not gain weight (or to lose weight)!

    I doubt Lisa or Josie know about fatshion or fat acceptance, they probably don't even know a fat person that is happy the way they are. I feel kind of sorry for both of them but it also makes me think we have more to do about the general ignorance of society.

    So maybe the question here isn't whether or not Lisa is a bitch, but how we could educate her to be otherwise?

  6. Messy Carla - I didn't even notice! LOL! As for the comment - I agree that that was an appalling comment. So much of our self-worth etc. starts from when we are young and all those impressions made upon us. WOW.

    Sarah - I agree. Just kind of sad. They were laughing and friendly, but there is so much more there. Blargh, really.

    Fushball - That was exactly the same take that one of my buddies had on this. As for being asked if you're pregnant - I have been there! I remember smiling and saying to someone once - not pregnant, just fat is all. I think THEY were more horrified by what they said, after that.

    Hayley - It is funny - I guess I cared as it pulled me back to my youth. To that moment at 15 and my reaction to it when I got the diet book. Also - as I had not heard an exchange like this for a while - I was mighty interested when I heard it. I agree that a re-education of sorts needs to happen. As I was writing to MessyCarla, I think a lot of this needs to happen from the very earliest stages of life. That sounds whimsical, I know - but men and women or girls and boys need to be taught EARLY that their differences, bodies, emotions etc. are okay. How will that help Lisa now, well - not much. BUT I think both her and Josie probably need a little help on this. A lot of help on this. Just telling people they are okay isn't enough, when it is already ingrained in them that they are not okay - or the things about them (ie. being fat) are not okay. How on Earth that is easily done... well, you've given me more to think about. x.


  7. If I were you, I'd have totally bought a piece of that cake and offered it to the woman. ;) A few years ago I was kinda mortified when I was eating something sweet and people would look at me. There is this whole: "Oh look the fat girl is eating cake!" Now I just don't care. It's not because you eat one piece of cake that you're gonna be fat. That's what saddens me. That some women can't enjoy food anymore. They see calories, weight watchers points, etc It's not healthy at all. The worst I have heard is in a dressing room in a store. I was trying on clothes and I could hear women chatting: "Oh this makes me look fat, I am too fat for this, etc" I went out of the dressing room to check myself in the mirror when the lady came out at the same time. She was tiny! Like a size 4/6 but was squeezing herself in way too small clothes! lol

  8. Sorry I'm going to ramble on about myself here, but this is a great post!

    It annoys me too, though I'm kind of immune to it. Most of my best friends are absolutely fine with their bodies, however a lot feel no problem at all having exactly those conversations in front of me. I usually just roll my eyes and let them get on with it, although sometimes I do get annoyed and confront them - because basically, their fear of getting fat means they're afraid of looking like me. When I say this they're usually horrified.

    You just have to remember with people like this, it's a completely internal form of fat hatred. It's really sad they feel this way about their own bodies - but remember we're all taught to be this way. Women (and increasingly, men) are under constant pressure to be always aware of "health", to be vigilant and virtuous at all times, and to apologise for their bodies. It's something they do without ever really questioning why. The difference with us is that we've stepped outside the box and then rejected the attitude - which is why a lot of people find us incredulous, but hopefully they will find their own way to a more balanced attitude.

    Soz, rant of doom, there! This was an excellent post though. So cool you got to meet Vanessa! Are you both coming to the London meet up? x


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