Not Feeling So Glee-riffic 12/02/2010
I am wondering if any of you watch the television program Glee. It is not one of my favorites, but my children like to watch it so I see it fairly regularly. There is one thing that I have always liked about Glee though,and that is the fact that the characters are ones with whom many people can identify. The Glee Club members are a diverse group of students that can put aside any physical, cultural, social, etc…differences each week and create
beautiful music together. Episodes have also taken on important issues such as bullying. In
a recent episode, the Glee Members manage to hurt the feelings of coach
Bieste, the not very feminine looking female football coach at the
school. The Glee-Clubbers were eventually shown how much they hurt
Coach Bieste’s feelings and ended up asking for her forgiveness and
even sang a song to her. Glee
has consistently shown us that despite our differences, we are all
humans with feelings and dreams and everyone deserves to be treated
with respect and dignity.
Perhaps that is why I was a little disappointed with this past week’s episode entitled ‘Special Education’. Since one of the characters had left for another school (Kurt), the Glee Club
needed a new member to meet the minimum membership number that is a
requirement for choir competitions. The new member was a girl named Lauren, a former wrestler at the school who also happens to be overweight. Lauren is not new to the show, she has appeared in several previous episodes. In a previous episode, one of the show’s characters (Rachel) hired Lauren to place hidden microphones in the Glee Club room. Lauren asked to be paid in snickers bars. In another episode, Lauren is revealed to be a member of the ‘Old Maids Club’. In this week’s Special Education episode, the character ‘Puck’ has a hard time finding a new member for the Glee Club. Puck eventually introduces Lauren as the new member telling the group that Lauren agreed to join Glee Club ‘if she can have 7 minutes in Heaven with Puck along with a box of candy.’ Then
later in the episode, when the Glee Club is about to perform at the
competition, we hear that Lauren refuses to perform with the group
until she is given the raisinets she demanded. Lauren eventually does perform with the group at the competition. And
while she does look great in her costume, and she is smiling
beautifully whenever you catch a glimpse of her during the performance,
we have no idea if she can really sing or not. All we learned about Lauren is that she can be bribed and manipulated with food.
I am not trying to sound overly sensitive, but it does bother me that
Lauren is consistently portrayed on the show as a stereotypical
overweight person. She is portrayed as interested more in food than
anything, including apparently being paid in MONEY! There are already a lot of people that believe that overweight people eat all the time and that they are motivated by food. In
my opinion, portraying overweight characters in this manner does
nothing but help promote and foster these negative stereotypes. Let’s
hope that in future episodes viewers can learn that there is more to
Lauren than what meets the eye.
What do you think?
Guilty Pleasures? 11/30/2010
The holiday season is upon us! It is a time for joy and celebration and of course eating! It seems that every where you go there is food, food and more food including sweets and treats galore! It is a time when people can ‘eat, drink and be merry’. A lot of people, including average size people, refer to some rich foods, especially ‘treats’, as guilty pleasures. And while they likely do feel a little remorse for eating something not-so-healthy, the enjoyment or ‘pleasure’ they derive from eating it
far outweighs any guilt. But for many overweight people, the opposite is true. Eating high calorie foods, such as desserts, can invoke tremendous feelings of guilt.
Why do some of us feel so guilty for eating a treat? Is it because we are overweight and know that it is not a healthy food
choice so we perceive ourselves as being ‘bad’ for eating it? Is it
because for years (or in some cases for our entire lives) we have
listened to people tell us what we should or shouldn’t eat, and sweets
have always topped the ‘forbidden’ food list? Is it that we feel that because we are overweight we just don’t deserve the treat? Maybe
you grew up in an environment where sweets were given as ‘reward’ and
taken away as a ‘punishment’ and you feel that you have not earned the
'treat'. Regardless of the reason, eating
‘treats’ can make some of us feel so much guilt that it far outweighs
any pleasure we might experience by eating it. By this time some of you
might be thinking that this sounds crazy- it is just food- either eat
it or don’t- who cares! For some of us this is easier said than done.
I want to challenge those of you that experience guilt when you eat
certain foods to give yourself permission to enjoy at least one treat
this holiday season. Pick a food that you really like, but normally would feel guilty eating. When you eat it, make sure that you will have the time to eat slowly and savor each and every bite. After you do this, please come back and share your experience with the rest of us. Remember, you are a wonderful person and what you eat does not change that. Enjoy!
Liar, Liar Pants on Fire 11/28/2010
When you were a kid, did anyone ever blame you for something that you knew you didn’t do? Did they manage to convince everyone else that you were
guilty and no matter how much you denied it, no one believed you? Did
you feel frustrated and upset because you knew that what people were
saying was not true yet no one would even listen to your side of the
story? How did you react? Did you try to take action and find
‘evidence’ to prove your innocence or did you just give up and accept
that no one would believe you?
This kind of frustration is one I am sure most people have experienced at
some time in their lives, but it is something that many overweight
people deal with all the time. This is because
so many people believe that people are overweight simply because they
lack the self discipline needed to stop overeating and go out and
exercise. I am sure there are people out there
that are overweight for these reasons and they can lose weight by
cutting back and getting some exercise. But I
believe there are many more overweight people out there that each and
every day try to eat healthy as well as exercise, yet they still are
overweight. Sure, you can go to your doctor and
they will test your thyroid and a few other things, but if all looks
normal the verdict will be that you just need to get some self
discipline and stop eating so much and exercise more!! Once again you
are the kid in the school yard being blamed, and no one believes you.
Let’s go back again to your childhood and try to recall a time when you were
wrongly accused and someone spoke up on your behalf and suggested you
might not be guilty after all. Do you remember feeling an overwhelming sense of relief that FINALLLY someone believed you? Well
I had that feeling today as I read about research being done by Dr.
Allison and his team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (click
on the link on the Fat in the News Tab at www.crazyfatchick.com to read the article from www.myfoxal.com ). According to the article, “Obesity
researcher David B. Allison, Ph.D., says the usual answer of too much
eating and too little exercise may be a drastic oversimplification of
the true causes of obesity. The true cause of obesity, he says, may be
much more complicated than the conventional wisdom.” Dr.
Allison and his team are conducting research on several species of
animals trying to determine why some animals gain weight while others
don’t, even when subjected to the same diet and exercise conditions.
I want to thank Dr. Allison and his team for this important work. Although it may be years before people avoid weight gain as a result of this
research, it is encouraging to know that there are researchers out
there that don’t believe that all overweight people are guilty as
accused. What do you think?
It is Thanksgiving, a day set aside for us to reflect and give thanks for all that we have. This has been a difficult year for many. The economy has been bad. Many people are unemployed. Many
of us have lost loved ones over the past year. Sometimes it can be
challenging to look beyond the negative and be thankful. I thought I would share with you what I am thankful for today.
This year, as always, I am thankful for my family and all that we have been
blessed with in our lives. But this year I have to add a few more
things to the list of things for which I am thankful. I
am thankful for all of the ‘fat haters’ out there who have posted mean
spirited comments about overweight people on news blogs. You have inspired me to start this blog in an effort to give a voice to the overweight people you love to ridicule. I
am thankful to my husband and children for listening to me ramble on
incessantly about this blog and for giving me support and feedback. I
am also thankful to them for serving as my editors. I am thankful for all my current and future readers. I believe that together we can show the world that there is more to overweight people than what meets the eye!
What about you, what are you thankful for today?
As we’ve discussed previously, overweight people are judged first on their size, rather than on their abilities. This applies to the workplace as well as to personal encounters. The internet age has made many innovations widely available. Among these innovations are those that make it easier and less costly for people to
connect and work together from remote locations communicating by phone,
email and web meetings. An increasing number of people are
‘telecommuting’ and working from home without ever setting foot in an
office. This can create cost savings for businesses since they do not
have to provide office space for all of their employees. Web meetings also help employers reduce travel and meeting expenses. People can work closely with each other for years without ever meeting in person.
Some may view telecommuting as impersonal because you don’t have the face- to-face interaction with people. However
I see this aspect of telecommuting as a plus because overweight people
have the opportunity to be judged solely on their abilities rather than
their appearance. Think about it, the people
that you interact with have to base their opinions about you on what
they hear, if you communicate by phone, and what they see, in your work
products. Appearance is taken completely out of the equation! Even
if you do eventually meet in person, a relationship has been
established and you are known for what you have already done and what
you can accomplish.
Now I am not
in any way suggesting that overweight people should stay at home and
not go out to work. I am only trying to describe what I believe to be
an unexpected benefit of telecommuting. But as always I am interested in hearing from you. What do you think?
Physicists in Scotland are getting closer to developing a fabric that could be used to make clothing that will make the wearer invisible to other
people (read the article at discovery.com)
Many people are probably excited about the prospect of one day being able to don an outfit and roam around without being seen. But overweight people don’t have to wait for the scientists to finish their research. We already have the ability to experience invisibility every day! Yes folks, for those of you that don’t know, excess weight doubles as an ‘invisibility cloak’! I have noticed this phenomenon for several years now. I have also heard from others, such as “Invisible in the Midwest”, who also feel that their weight renders them ‘invisible’. It is truly amazing. You can stand at a customer service counter in a store and be INVISIBLE. You can sit in a restaurant with a group of people and the waitress will
come and refill drinks for everyone but you, because you are INVISIBLE.
It happens time and time again. I usually say something when it happens like ‘Hello- standing here- big and fat-hard to miss!’. This doesn’t change people’s behavior, but it does make me feel better.
I think that overweight people are often invisible. What do you think?
Formerly Obsese Cardiologist Speaks Out 11/20/2010
I read an interesting article on philly.com about a formerly overweight cardiologist who has written an article entitled "Memoirs of an Obese
Physician" for the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine . (November 16, 2010 153:686-687) You can find the link to the article about Dr. Majdan from the philly.com website on the ‘Fat in the News” tab of my website www.crazyfatchick.com Dr.
Joseph Majdan discusses the negative comments and treatment he received
over the years from colleagues as a result of his weight. One
of the points in the article that I found most interesting is the
statement that some physicians would not refer patients to Dr. Majdan
because he was overweight. Dr. Majdan is a successful doctor and professor of medicine who has been practicing medicine for many years. Why wouldn’t these doctors refer patients to him? Was he viewed as less competent because of his weight? Do
these other physicians think that Dr. Majdan wasn’t capable of
providing adequate care to their patients because Dr. Majdan couldn’t
‘practice what physicians preach’ and lose the excess weight?
I personally think that a physician, such as Dr. Majdan, that struggles
with his own weight would be a better physician. I don’t think that
being overweight makes one less competent. Moreover, I think that
physicians that struggle with their own weight can better understand
the challenges their overweight patients face and are better able to
look beyond stereotypes and avoid making rush judgments about their
I am proud of Dr. Majdan for having the courage to write his article and speak out about how he was treated. If even one physician becomes a little more understanding of his
overweight patients Dr. Majdan will have made a huge difference in
these patients’ lives. Thank you Dr. Majdan!
Fat First, Everything Else Second 11/19/2010
Have you ever noticed that if someone is overweight, that weight is generally the first thing that anyone notices about them? Think of when you have heard someone describe someone that happens to be overweight. Did they mention hair color or eye color or if they wear glasses? Did they describe their age or job or what car they drive? Or was the first descriptor something about their size? Maybe they said something like
“He’s the heavyset guy……” or “she’s the chunky lady….”. Have you ever watched any of the singing competitions on TV? There have been some very talented singers that were overweight. While they may be some of the strongest in the field, they are competing against more than the other contestants. An
average vocal talent with a very commercial (physically attractive)
look gets feedback on how to showcase and improve for the next
opportunity. While the vocal wonder lacking what
society has determined as physical beauty is shunned even discouraged
by comments made under breath or behind the scenes. Sometimes hearing that while you are very talented vocally, “you are just not what this competition is looking for”.
It seems that even talking to another overweight person doesn’t alter people’s tendency to point out size first. I was waiting in my kid’s classroom before a field trip and the teacher told me we were waiting for “Joey’s” mom to get there. I replied that I wasn’t sure who that was and the teacher replied “oh, she’s the big lady, the REALLY big lady”. That was it. It was as if that was the only thing that needed to be said to describe her. When I saw her I realized that she was the mom that always sent in supplies
for the class and treats for the kids at Halloween and Christmas, but
she wasn’t remembered for that. She was the lady that worked full time but used her vacation time to help the class or the school whenever they needed her. But she wasn’t remembered for that. No, she was just the ‘big lady, The REALLY big lady’.
I wonder how many overweight people that have something valuable to
contribute to the world are never heard from because people cannot see
beyond their size. I think that overweight people are seen as fat first. What do you think?
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words….. 11/17/2010
And there are certainly a lot of words being said recently about the pictures displayed by the airport security scanners! A lot of people are upset about the scanners revealing too much and leaving little to the imagination. However, I am not sure yet whether or not I need to add these scanners to my list of ‘fat fears’.
First of all, the person viewing the image is going to be in another area
where they can’t see you, which means that you don’t have to face them.
Also, in all of the pictures I have seen so far, the place where you
must stand to have the scan done looks quite roomy, so there should be
no ‘space issues’ for overweight people. Another
plus is that in most cases, the scan will eliminate the need for a more
invasive ‘pat down’ screen (which I have experienced and trust me- it
was not fun!).
I think over the next few months we’re going to be hearing more about this topic and I might have to re-assess my position. But at this point, I am not afraid of being scanned. But as always I am interested in hearing what you have to say. Are you afraid of being ‘scanned’? Have you been through the scanners? What do you think?
This saying does not just apply to objects. Society also has a place for overweight people, and thinks overweight people should stay in their
place! Why do I believe this is true? Let me explain by sharing a story about a girl in my class in high school. Let’s call her ‘Kelly’. Kelly was about the same size I was at the time, probably about 25 pounds overweight. Kelly was in the marching band and played the trombone. One night I was on the phone helping another trombone player with math and he referred to Kelly as “Kelly Cafeteria”. Now Kelly’s name did start with a “C” and end with an “A”, but I didn’t understand why he would call her that. So I asked him. He told me a lot of people in the band called her that name because she was ‘fat’. I replied that she was not any larger than I was. His reply to me was “Yes, you may be a little overweight but you don’t ACT like she does”.
This got me thinking. What did he mean I didn’t ‘act’ like she did? How did Kelly behave? So I started observing Kelly. I was a very shy and reserved person. Kelly was outgoing. I tried not to be noticed. Kelly laughed often and very loudly. Kelly did not let her weight inhibit her at all. In other words, Kelly acted like a confident, normal person! What was the message I took away from this experience? The message I took away was that ‘average sized people’ think it is wrong
for someone that is overweight to act like they are ‘equal’ to the thin
people. How many overweight cheerleaders have you ever seen? When you do see an overweight cheerleader, do people comment about her weight before anything else? What about overweight actors, how often are they cast in lead roles? When they are, how does society react? Consider the Mike and Molly controversy and all the ‘fat haters’ that spoke out.
I believe that society wants overweight people to stay in their place. What do you think?