Five minutes and 58 seconds into her amazing first Fat Rant video, Joy Nash points out that sometimes, we blame things on our fat that are really not about our fat, but about others of our flaws (we all have them), or about factors that have nothing to do with us at all.
And, when we finally admit that not everything revolves around our fat, it can be quite liberating. Paradoxically, admitting that we’re flawed and make mistakes and turn people off for reasons like, say, our bitchiness, is actually quite freeing and empowering . . . more empowering than blaming everything on being fat, just to avoid the pain of examining what else might be “wrong” with ourselves.
Here is Manheim’s take on this idea, from her book “Wake Up, I’m Fat!” (a.k.a. The Best Fat Girl Book Ever):
What if I stopped blaming [my anthropomorphized fat] for everything? What if I stopped using him as an excuse? What if I stopped hiding behind him and entered into a covenant with myself that if I failed as an actor or a lover, it was my fault, my responsibility? It wouldn’t be easy. I would have so much more at stake, which meant I was going to have to work harder, prepare more thoroughly, and redouble my commitment to my art. From that point forward I wouldn’t let myself off the hook so easily with a simple “They didn’t choose me because I’m fat.” No, if they didn’t choose me, it was because I didn’t wow them. I stopped relying on my ever-present alibi and put all my energies into wowing them. These were my first baby steps on the journey of self-acceptance. And a funny thing happened on the way to the self-love forum: I learned that confidence, courage, and a little bit of sass can be very seductive.
Francesca has mixed feelings about this idea.
On the one hand, it ignores the fact that there are many, many people who — consciously or subconsciously — do indeed deny jobs or service or love to fat people, no matter how confident, talented, and giving the fat person may be.
On the other hand, there’s no denying that confidence, talent, and generosity of spirit go a long way, and that sometimes, the reasons people deny us what we want are not about our fat. They are about something else entirely, like our messiness or lateness or our having blonde hair when the guy likes brunettes.
Or they are about the frown we put on, the negative vibes we emit, when we worry and fret about how much our fat might stand in our way, instead of focusing with a smile on our gifts.