if i can’t be skinny, please let all my friends be fat
The other day I was searching around on Made It for a housewarming gift for friends of mine. In amongst the pages and pages of prints, cushions and homewares, I came across some tiles and fridge magnets with sayings on them. One of the sayings was: “If I can’t be skinny, please let all my friends be fat”.
This is a sentence I’ve heard plenty of times. It’s not exactly original. It’s like those ones with the retro looking women and the words Queen Bitch on them. But, while most of them make me eye roll, this one has always made me sad. It’s saying the worst possible thing to happen to a person would be to be or become fat. Not have a loved one die, not have a life-threatening disease themselves, but to be or become fat.
Sadly, for some people, being fat is the worst possible thing they could conceive of being. They look at fat people and say stuff like, “I’d kill myself if I got that fat. If I let myself go.” It brings to mind sentient adipose tissue escaping from a person’s body and splurting out everywhere. Some people may actually mean what they’re saying and aren’t being hyperbolic. That saddens me.
These people, these acquaintances, friends, family members, strangers, talk about fat people with you, the fat friend/family member/acquaintance, like you yourself aren’t fat. If you dare to bring it up, they say not to take it personally and that you’re not like THOSE fat people. You know the ones with the same body types as you or the same body type of your other friends/family members/acquaintances. They mean the “sloppy” fat people. The ones who have “let themselves go”. I even know some people who have admitted to keeping around fat friends to feel better about themselves. Or feeling secret (or not so secret) glee if a friend gains a kilo or two.
I feel sad. These people, the types of people that would buy something like that, I don’t hate. I don’t even really dislike. I am aware they are buying into the dominant paradigm of girl-on-girl hate. That people can get too big for their boots and they need to be taken down a peg or ten. That it (life? work? society?) is a competition and whoever comes out on top is the winner (of: life? work? society?). That in order to build themselves up, they have to knock someone down. And what easier target?
This is why I have a problem with this tile. This is why I’d side-eye someone who would display something like that in their home. It’s not funny, it’s not cute. It’s further perpetuating the myth that women can’t be friends with one another without there being some agenda, some hidden reason as to why they are hanging around with a person. That everything is based on looks and body, not personality, or how others treat one another. I don’t want to buy into this. I’d encourage everyone else not to either.