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On reading this revoltingly offensive article by Dodo Boopsey Rachel Cooke from the Observer this week (I know, my fault for reading it), I was moved to write a repudiation. What was her article called again? Oh yes, "Is weight the new race?". Frankly, no. Racism is racism, Body fascism body fascism. But I won't get started on how annoying the article (which contains everything from a size 10/12 woman putting on a fatsuit to "experience fat" (gah!) to badmouthing the marvellous charlottecooper) is or we'll never get started on my

Life as a Fat Chick

A woman walks to her local corner shop. She walks slowly, stopping regularly to catch some rays or say hi to a friend. Her eyes are sharply on other passers by; as a size 30, she has to be careful not to infringe on some busy executive’s arrogant dash or yummy mummy’s Prada perambulator because, despite her size, to their eyes, she's invisible. Despite the voluminous green-and-blue patterned tunic (Evans), big and vivid as a royal marquee, and the long, fringed indigo gypsy skirt (M&S) that swirls like a waterfall with every sway of her grandiose hips, she can sweat, gasp, swear and still won't even raise an overplucked eyebrow. Not so the white van drivers, England flags flapping in the summer breeze, bored and looking for tits to ogle. A size 30, hers are massive. Especially since the visit to Bravissimo, and the unexpected discovery that she actually takes a G-cup. If she is lucky, he will merely hoot, honk, and zoom on by. But if they’re bored, or he has a mate with him, he’ll slow down and get chummy, and that could go on and on, with many a “phwoar” and a “you’re pretty hot for a fat chick”. Yeesh. Her day is busy enough. But, no need to rush. She needs bread and milk. And maybe a gossip and a copy of the Guardian.

In the shop, it’s a bit of a squeeze. It is a small shop, full of squeaking children and taxi drivers on errands. Her body fills the aisle, but she sways round the beans with panache and style; like most fat people, a lifetime of being called clumsy has left her light and elegant on her feet. Not that anyone notices. All too busy, except for the panicked mums who clutch their copies of Slimming Weekly or Weight Watchers Magazine and scoop their children out of the way with disapproving scowls, as if weight were a disease you could catch. She shrugs, philosophically, and adds a copy of New Scientist to her basket. Some recent studies do suggest a connection between infection with a virus and obesity, so they may have a point -- or not. At the checkout the brats stop whining about being taken to McDonalds long enough to demand a Bounty or a Mars or an Aero. She picks one up herself (a Crunchie Bar!) to reinforce their mother’s refusal; no, or you’ll end up like her. No matter. She can see what the children are thinking about that. So what? Is that so bad? Annoying. But never mind, here is the door, and she shimmies out into the evening sunshine, to slowly make her way home, fanning herself with the soon-to-be-discarded lifestyle section.

Front door safely closed behind her, she considers her day. She had planned on going shopping, but does she really need more clothes? The sale at Evans is pretty much tapped out now, but M&S will probably have something new in … and it’s a while since she’s checked out Debenhams. Wasn’t their 70% sale supposed to be happening sometime around now? Shopping needs planning, though, and then there’s the bus, hot in this weather, with the accessible seats choked with push-chairs. The pool will be just as crowded. She’s a regular swimmer, and summer brings in the amateurs who can’t stick to lanes or make fatuous complaints about your getting in the way. Then the telephone rings. It is her close friend, the editor of an embarrassingly fashionable underground magazine. Let us call him Dave. They talk for a while, and Dave suggests that they go out for dinner. He’s got an almost-certain booking at somewhere painfully trendy, god help us. Doubtless hot, overpriced, and full of fashionista twiglets. Not that that can’t be fun in context, but the thought of manoeuvring herself into a banquette while a dozen social X-rays gaze meanly on is just too irritating. Dave will love it, of course. But with a sudden blinding flash of inspiration she has a Much Better Idea. Tonight, then, they will go out to Hyde Park, and eat overpackaged ready-made picnic food from Selfridges in the cool downwind of the fountains. As she puts the phone down she’s already composing a group text to a dozen other people who might also fancy that as an idea.

Today is a bloody brilliant day.

Anyone fancy proofing it or suggesting corrections?

Comments

( 63 worms — Feed the birds )
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buddleia
11th Jul, 2006 11:54 (UTC)
Wonderful! And so much less bitchy than mine would have been, I'm impressed.
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 12:53 (UTC)
Oh, I don't know. "Fashionista twiglets" is kinda skinnybashish.
bluete
11th Jul, 2006 11:56 (UTC)
haha, you rule!

re proofing , no comma in "disease, you could catch"
McDonalds not MacDonalds
i'm sure that's more proofing than they do anyway..

Send it, send it!!
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 12:56 (UTC)
cheers -- corrected
I always think of "Old MacDonald had a farm", you know?
Re: cheers -- corrected - bluete - 11th Jul, 2006 13:00 (UTC) - Expand
interesting point - cleanskies - 11th Jul, 2006 13:35 (UTC) - Expand
bopeepsheep
11th Jul, 2006 12:02 (UTC)
My only comment would be that at size 26-28 I never once stopped to catch my breath. I was fit (swimming will do that), just large. Oh, and I fitted on Oxford bus seats, dunno about London.

(I'm an 18 right now, with fits of up to 24 depending on individual stores' cut.)

Send it, send it!
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 12:58 (UTC)
noted and corrected
-- and I agree about the bus seats, that just made no sense at all. Maybe it's an artifact of the fat suit.
Re: noted and corrected - uitlander - 11th Jul, 2006 15:02 (UTC) - Expand
Re: noted and corrected - cleanskies - 11th Jul, 2006 16:43 (UTC) - Expand
Re: noted and corrected - lnr - 12th Jul, 2006 09:29 (UTC) - Expand
sdn
11th Jul, 2006 12:05 (UTC)
i would like to tie that woman down and forcefeed her until she explodes. what an idiot.

isn't it Weight Watchers? at least it is here.
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 12:59 (UTC)
yes it is
And I forgot to italicize the magazine titles. Sorted.
ultraruby
11th Jul, 2006 12:23 (UTC)
What also did me in about that article was the assumption of thinness in the audience. It was all 'ooh, imagine what it must be like to be FAT!' as if there was no way someone reading the Observer (and presumably existing on pure lifestyle, organic poussin and expensive brightly coloured wellington boots) could be anything other than proper-sized.

Your writing is ace. Send it in!
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 13:03 (UTC)
My image of the Guardian reading lady is kind of tall and robust. About size 20-22, I'd say.
jinty
11th Jul, 2006 12:27 (UTC)
yes, send it in! It's great.
crunchcandy
11th Jul, 2006 12:27 (UTC)
When I first read that article on Sunday I was really excited- I thought maybe some of the fat chicks I know and respect had been asked to comment on something that mattered to me. Didn't take too long to realise that I had got it horribly wrong. I couldn't really bring myself to make a coherant argument against it- i'm obviously too depressed from being so fat to string words together, and as I never leave the house I have no social skills that I can use to help publicise your response to it. Guess I better just go and eat some more chocolate or something.
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 13:03 (UTC)
I recommend a curly-wurly
It is the most absurd of snacks.
Re: I recommend a curly-wurly - crunchcandy - 11th Jul, 2006 13:05 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cleanskies - 11th Jul, 2006 13:36 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sdn - 11th Jul, 2006 13:47 (UTC) - Expand
celestialweasel
11th Jul, 2006 12:39 (UTC)
The Observer has long seemed to me to specialise in the offensive (it seems to particularly major in prurient and somewhat unsavoury dwelling on the sexuality of young / pre-teens). Whilst I have abandoned Teh Grauniad for The Indy, I am surprised that Guardian Media Group has not taken more of a 'year-zero' approach to the vile collection of writers on it.
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 13:06 (UTC)
I don't read it usually. Just when they have cool wallcharts.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 13:11 (UTC)
depends on the shop
-- but it's more of a sideways wiggle than a squeeze, anyway. Which most people are pretty adept at, we do it every time we're moving through a crowd. I use the word shimmy ... 30's pretty big, but so what? People get used to the size they are.

2nd person problems. Hm, I'll see what I can do about that.
tenderhooligan
11th Jul, 2006 12:58 (UTC)
Excellent. Do it.
badasstronaut
11th Jul, 2006 12:59 (UTC)
People who write those kinds of articles must look back on them a decade or so later and feel all embarrassed I reckon. OTOH, I never even noticed I was a fat chick until some unkempt, unappealing, spotty lout informed me of the fact. After I got over feeling indignant, I realised it was pretty funny.

cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 13:51 (UTC)
Shame she couldn't look back on it as soon as she'd written it, get all embarassed, and then makes some serious revisions, really. As crunchcandy pointed out, it had the potential to be an interesting article.
crazycrone
11th Jul, 2006 13:23 (UTC)
.A Size 30 Heard From...
Haw! Oh yessssss! You done good. Do send it in.
Did you see Charlotte's 'ticking time bomb of obesity' post? I'm still chortling at the thought of a costumed 'gang' terrorising People Like That.
BTW, there was a TV show a year or so ago where Anita Roddick(!)went out in a fat suit and was shocked by all the hatred and inconvenience she encountered. Welcome to mah world, stoopid rich lady...
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 13:50 (UTC)
nah
for some reason, Charlotte's not on my friends list. Weird. Remedied that now.

I've read an article about some annoying skinny American woman doing the same thing, too -- around the time Shallow Hal came out, I think. Stupid bloody idea, anyway.
motodraconis
11th Jul, 2006 14:26 (UTC)
What world does this Cooke live in? I get shouted at by White van man all the bloody time, usually for such ludicrous freakishness on my part of wearing a raincoat in the rain.
Life is sooo hard sometimes, perhaps I should stay indoor crying at my freakishness.

Good riposte... may I link your piece into the ladiesloos post on this? This Cooke article is kicking up a storm over there.
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 14:32 (UTC)
oooh,
Or for wearing a hat! I've had that!

To the link, yes, of course -- it's a public post. Please do!
Re: oooh, - motodraconis - 11th Jul, 2006 14:45 (UTC) - Expand
cabbagemedley
11th Jul, 2006 15:06 (UTC)
Hehhh. Bayootiful!
potatoprint
11th Jul, 2006 15:25 (UTC)
Wonderful!
cleosilver
11th Jul, 2006 15:26 (UTC)
Does the Observer have a letters page? Could be amusing sending it to them if so.
dyddgu
11th Jul, 2006 15:39 (UTC)
*applause*
(Deleted comment)
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 16:13 (UTC)
hope that's a good wow
-- I caught up with the fact you'd been nastily misrepresented on your LJ. Given the (lack of) accuracy of the rest of the article, it didn't come as a surprise ...
(Deleted comment)
kristenlou
11th Jul, 2006 16:03 (UTC)
Really nicely written!

And my daughter always called McDonald's "Old MacDonald's" when she was little.
ophelia_machina
11th Jul, 2006 16:12 (UTC)
Got sent here from theladiesloos, and this is FANTASTIC!
And i sat and guilt free ate my packet of chocolate fingers :-D
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 16:52 (UTC)
eat one for me! tahnks!
(no subject) - ophelia_machina - 11th Jul, 2006 20:45 (UTC) - Expand
thefluffyfae
11th Jul, 2006 16:27 (UTC)
Absolutely brilliant! Thank you!
ms_siobhan
11th Jul, 2006 16:34 (UTC)
Marvelous - send it in somewhere, Mslexia is a magazine for women who write and they often have a list of places to submit work too.
cleanskies
11th Jul, 2006 16:52 (UTC)
meh, I'm not sure its stands up on its own, without the original piece.
mrsrev
11th Jul, 2006 19:29 (UTC)
Please send it in - it's fantastic!
Stupid woman, of course wearing a fat suit isn't comfortable. But I didn't go from a size 14 to 24 overnight and I wouldn't suddenly work out with big weights at the gym unless I'd worked up to it gradually. Do journalists have their common sense removed or something?
mrsrev
12th Jul, 2006 09:11 (UTC)
Re: Please send it in - it's fantastic!
Oh, and my boobs are nothing like bags of lentils!
(Anonymous)
11th Jul, 2006 23:24 (UTC)
Do I count as a fat chick?
I probably do, I haven't been a 'normal size 10/12' since I was age 14/16. I also found it a revoltingly offensive article, but really couldn't think of anything intelligent yet un-pompous to say about it... but I believe here you have done the whole of womankind (skinny and unskinny) a favour. I fear the longer term lesson is 'never read Observer Woman, it's a shit magazine full of space fillers from low-to-middle talented journos who can't sell articles to real women's magazines'. I did already know this, but I feel it doubly so now. jo x
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( 63 worms — Feed the birds )

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