Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

February 20, 2008

The Big Question: Hey! Fat Girl! You’re Fat!

Filed under: The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 3:47 pm

I’m the first to admit that I have no idea what a holla back girl is. All I know is that it requires a majorette costume and a double-process bleach job. That being said, a friend of mine who could not be more alluring if she were a cupcake frosted in hundred dollar bills, recently got yelled at by a bunch of boys in a pick up truck who made comments about her weight. My girl managed to track their father down in the store and, with their dad by her side, give them a talking to.

Francesca and Plumcake want to know:

Have you ever been hollered at about your weight? Was it hurtful or did you just blow it off? What did you do? What would do in the future?

I know this is a touchy subject, but I’d like to get on my stylish soapbox for a second. I cannot recall a time as an adult that I’ve been taunted because of my size. Well, there was one time when someone yelled out “Fatface! Hey Fatface!” while I was walking my pooch but it turned out to be a guy who recognized me from the dog park and had a particular affection for my admittedly fat-faced Shar Pei, Dozer LeGrunt.

As much as I’d like to think that the citizens of the great Republic of Texas are just above that sort of thing, I’m not fooling myself. I don’t get taunted because I’m confident. I walk talk and proud and when I’m not as put together as I’d like…well, that’s when I serve it hotter and harder than ever! Should we HAVE to dress up and work harder just to avoid being hooted at by knuckledraggers? No. I shouldn’t have to wax and pluck my way out of mammal-dom just to get a date, either but I do. Life is rough, or at least stubbly, all over.


  1. i have never been more than 5 pounds or so above a healthy weight. however, i’ve gotten plenty of comments, usually from my family. for example, when i was 11, my mom said, “you’re starting to get a little bit of cellulite. you’d better start working out.” when i was 13, my grandma commented to my mom, “she’s getting a pretty big butt.” and during my teens, my mom would bring food home for dinner; she’d get my brother a burger and fries and a drink, and give me nothing but a grilled chicken sandwich. then there was the christmas when she bought me bags of candy then insisted that i throw them away so i wouldn’t eat them all.

    there was also the person working checkout in a coffee shop. i ordered a large bowl of soup and he said, “a large? are you sure?” and i just stared at him before saying, “um, yeah. i’m hungry.” another time, i was putting condiments on a burger and had a total stranger say, “wow, that’s a really big burger for you to be eating!” both of these people were men. i don’t know why anyone would think it’s appropriate to comment on the food a total stranger is eating.

    Comment by amy — February 23, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

  2. oo I remember one now.

    David and Goliath, went to the counter, asked if they had something in the next size up. She gave me a somewhat pitying look, and stated rudely that I was holding the biggest size.

    She asked if I still wanted the rest (socks, etc), and I left it on the desk and walked out.

    I tend to find that most shops have my size as a “end” size (18 here, 14 in the US), so I don’t usually have a problem: I can hit plus size stores and most normal stores.

    My first encounter with all this was when I was a size 12 (8 in the US), and I was cooly informed that I was a “Large” for jeans in a shop. Joy.

    Comment by leymoo — February 23, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

  3. Amy,

    Your mom pulled the classic. Mine used to do the same thing, cooking for my thin brother and not me. For my 41st birthday last week, she brought the birthday cake-COCUNUT-its the only thing Im allergic to! When feeding my 14 month old twin nieces, she feeds the larger one less and tries to overfeed the smaller one. And my formerly thin brother told his wife, on their wedding day, that the dress made her look fat.

    Oooyyyy. I fear that I’ll be in therapy through this lifetime.

    Comment by Peaches — February 23, 2008 @ 4:21 pm

  4. I’ve always been small, so I have never been made fun of for my weight; however, as a child I was constantly tormented about my appearance — hand-me-down or cheap, unfashionable clothes, Coke-bottle glasses, general “nerdy” appearance, etc. The kids at school were vicious to me until I finally began to “blossom” in my junior year of high school, but those years of torment are something one never fully gets over.

    More recently (yesterday, in fact), my boss was standing in front of my desk, talking to me, when she suddenly began to squint at my head. Then she said, “Did you know you have a lot of grey hair? It’s time to start coloring it.”

    I’m 37 years old. I started going grey at 20 (I later learned that women with autoimmune disorders often go prematurely grey — I have rheumatoid arthritis). I’ve been coloring my hair every five weeks without fail for years. Today was my usual five-week appointment, so yesterday my roots were showing. In any event, I was absolutely flabbergasted when she said that to me. I very nearly started to cry.

    Comment by Cat — February 23, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

  5. My culture isnt rigid regarding size. Women are expected to conform more in terms of attitudes. Submissive.
    I did however go to elementary school briefly in the US and I had to endure silly comments about my size. I just felt these kids were poorly brought up and spoilt and I didnt give them the time of day.
    Well I feel really bad reading about all the experiences here and can only say this. Enjoy who you are. You dont even need any witty comebacks… not responding does not change the fact that these hecklers are ill bred and pitiful.
    You owe no one any apologies for being a human being and you must be very choosy about where you expend your energy and emotions.

    Comment by pam — February 23, 2008 @ 5:51 pm

  6. im nigerian…

    and please dont bring up mo’nique’s “big girls” film

    Comment by pam — February 23, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

  7. whoa! peaches, if i was your sister-in-law, that might have been enough to keep me from walking down the aisle. i’ve gotten a lot more proactive about reminding my mom not to project her own body image issues onto me, and in return she’s been a lot more supportive. i can’t believe your mom tainted your own birthday cake. poor misguided parents!

    Comment by amy — February 23, 2008 @ 7:18 pm

  8. I used to get embarrassed, and/or humiliated. Now I just get steaming mad.

    I was in a restaurant that turns into a bar as it gets later with a few friends, and my husband. There was a group of three guys and three girls (early 20’s) sitting in a booth behind us, and as we were talking, a great song cane on, and one of my friends did an exuberant shimmy.

    You can guess what happened next. My friend was intoxicated, and had her back to them, so she didn’t see the gesturing and comments, but I did, and I hopped off my barstool and advanced to their table and just stood there.

    It was amazing. I didn’t even have to say anything. I am guessing that the Crazy Face was in full effect. They looked like they wanted to die. After about 30 seconds, I said, “Any further commentary?” The guys looked at the floor, and the ladies all looked like they wanted to die. I am willing to bet that nobody got laid that night!

    At that opportune moment, my 6’5″ husband walked in, still wearing his military uniform. He was fresh from a shift at work, and had offered us a sober drive home, but consented to stay for 20 minutes. I didn’t hear another peep out of the table the whole time we were there.

    Comment by Jenna — February 23, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  9. “I have never been more than 5 pounds or so above a healthy weight.”

    I just wanted to say that this comment made me sad…Like even here at Manolo there is a pre-defined “healthy” weight.

    Comment by kristin — February 23, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  10. With an out-and-out insult, a response I like is: going all quiet and in an ominous voice “you know… it’s not *safe* to make fun of me” as if some outside force is going to get them. Never had the guts to try it, though.

    Comment by Jennifer — February 24, 2008 @ 5:48 am

  11. It’s not true that men don’t want to f**k big girls. I have always been big and from the time I was 16 there has always been attraction and attention from the best of boys and men.

    You just need to give them time to discover how really wonderful you are :-).

    I figured it out in my 20s – my guys were almost always the ones other women wanted. They were not always good looking but we were always equals in mind, in thought and in spirit. I didn’t have to fake being perfect.

    A man who only sees your body, your size or your shape can’t go through a long term relationship. Because we’ll all grow old and won’t be as firm and round and plush as we are today – and neither will he.

    I don’t have much of a problem with men and fat insults, but women can be vicious. After my first taekwondo class, I overheard the minimal body fat gang loudly planning to switch to a different session, because this class had ‘fat cows’ – me in it, and my jiggling when I kicked was obscene. They knew I could hear them and at the time it hurt. I didn’t have a snappy comeback because I’d never viewed my body that way before. I wanted to howl and but cried in the shower instead. Being humiliated by mean bitches sucks!

    But I stuck with the class and a months later I was dating the instructor and we’re still together.

    Comment by shiloh — February 24, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  12. sorry kristin – wrong choice of words, probably. i’ve never been more than 5 pounds above a BMI defined “healthy” weight, but i’m woefully out of shape. i just wanted to give some context for the comments.

    i went out to eat with some relatives last night and, while enjoying a delicious meal, had the two other women present loudly declare that they would need to exercise today to work off all the calories. way to ruin a nice dining experience.

    Comment by amy — February 24, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

  13. I have been yelled at by kids in a schoolbus, and barked at like a dog by college boys driving by. I was angry at the time, especially since the drive-bys were so quick that I couldn’t respond. But now I’m a little bit glad for them only because they give me ammunition when I’m talking about size acceptance to friends. Those who see me in the “but you’re not REALLY fat” category (meaning that they choose to like me, therefore choose not to apply fat stereotypes to ME, but might to other fat people) are horrified when I tell them that strangers have barked at me. I know these friends love me, and stories like this can help to sensitize them to all of the crap that we face, in a way that reasoned discussion might not.

    Comment by Judy — February 24, 2008 @ 1:18 pm

  14. I’ve been called every name in the fat harassment book. The pain never really goes away – which might explain why I have to take anti-anxiety medication just to show my face in public.

    Comment by Sarah — February 25, 2008 @ 1:47 am

  15. Recently while waiting at the gate to board my flight, I was seated near several women in their 50s who were evidently returning from a group vacation. Their conversation was loud and rather insipid, but I tried my best to tune them out and concentrate on my knitting. Roughly 20 feet away was a large, well-dressed lady standing alone. To my amazement, one of the women seated near me gestured at the large woman and said in a not-very-quiet voice, “If I ever get that big please shoot me.”

    I don’t think that the subject of senseless disdain heard the comment, but everyone seated near the empty-headed biddies certainly did. I was disgusted, of course, and pointedly stood up, gathered my things and moved far away from the group after throwing a rather unfriendly glance in their direction.

    I wish now that I had said what initially popped into my head: “Honey, you ain’t pretty enough to be that shallow.”

    Comment by Cecilia — February 25, 2008 @ 2:39 am

  16. As a teenager in the Midwest, I was bullied and hollered at almost constantly. I was stick-thin (read: anorexic), but I was too pale, too freckled, too red-headed, too fond of science, too ambitious, too awkward, what have you. The teachers weren’t just in on it, they were sometimes the ringleaders – there seemed to be something about me that genuinely disgusted them, and they did not want me near them. And God, it hurt. Every night I’d imagine the worst, and steel myself for it, and every day it was worse than what I’d prepared for. It took a long time to come to terms with that, and I’m still angry with the adults. However, I hope I’m stronger and kinder because of it.

    A couple decades later, I made the excellent decision to move to New Orleans. I’ve never heard anyone here, of any of our multiple genders, criticized for being too heavy, or too flamboyant, or too anything at all. This is a city of appetites, and women are expected to have them, too. It’s not really a “respectful” culture, it’s basically (ok, literally) a bunch of genial drunks, who just want to make sure everyone’s enjoying themselves.

    I highly recommend New Orleans as a vacation jaunt for big girls in need of a boost – that’s how I met my sweetie and ended up moving here. Important caveat: avoid the cheap bars in the French Quarter – you’ll just end up surrounded by the same drunk frat boys you tried to leave behind.

    Comment by Tachina — February 25, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

  17. I haven’t been publicly harrassed in more than a decade, when I lived in a heavily Latino neighborhood and the guys on the street corners would hang out and make a game of calling dirty things out to the ladies. I once had a guy say “Mamacita! Nice big melons!” and hold his hands out in front of his chest when I walked by. I said “Tiny little cucumber!” and held my fingers out about 3 inches apart and his friends all laughed at him. Every time I saw him after that his friends would make the teeny weenie handsignal at him. Advantage: Me.

    The hurtful one I remember happened about a year and a half ago. I went to a party given by a friend-with-benefits and his douchebag yuppie housemates. The party wound down and FWB and I retired to his room for some private time. An hour later, his housemates banged on the door trying to get him to come out and drink more with them. He/we ignored them, and one of them said “Come on, let us know when you’re done fucking that fat chick” to wild laughter from the peanut gallery. FWB pretended to be asleep, as did I. I wanted to leave really badly but I didn’t want to walk out there with all of them or acknowledge it in any way. The next morning I snuck out of his room to use the bathroom before getting on my way. One of the housemates walked in on me when I was peeing and went out into the room and said to the others “My eyes! My eyes! I just saw a fat chick peeing!”

    It was hard to walk out of there with my head held high. I don’t hate many people but if an asteroid or a zombie infestation hits earth I wouldn’t mind if that house and all its inhabitants were cleansed from the face of the earth.

    Comment by Hulk — February 26, 2008 @ 12:56 am

  18. I get the usual name-calling (yes, often by people who want me to give them money and who proceed to comment on my figure when they don’t get any), being given the cold shoulder by the thin gals, being mobbed etc. The most hurtful (which got me so mad I was actually foaming at the mouth) was from the owner of an employment agency who who told me flat out that nobody wanted to hire me because I was fat and “employers have a problem with that”. Since none of the would-be employers had ever seen me, it was obvious that she herself had a problem with my size and never even tried to get me a job….
    One day, however, I was walking down the street and two little boys (first-graders, I’d say) passed me. Then I heard one of them exclaim “WHAT an ass” in such tones of awe that instead of being hurt by the comment I had to giggle – made my day. As they say: c’est le ton qui fait la musique, and it all depends on *how* something is said…..

    Comment by dinazad — February 26, 2008 @ 10:23 am

  19. Wow, you guys. What a thread. Some of the experiences recounted here are simply appalling, and certainly reinforce for me the idea that the human capacity for scuminess is inexhaustible. I’m pretty average looking, I think, and I’ve been a pretty average weight for most of my life. I’m about 5’4.5″ and my weight has fluctuated b/w about 125-145 lbs since high school. But simply being a woman who chooses to out in public from time to time I would say probably ensures that one is going to receive at least a few rude, unsolicited comments from strangers throughout one’s lifetime. I’ve had a guy stick his head right in my face as he walked past me and bark loudly before I began tweezing my bushy eyebrows and got more fashionable spectacles. I’ve had children and adults comment on my acne to the effect of, “what’s wrong with your face?!” The one that tends to get me, though, is when complete strangers tell me to smile as they walk past. I don’t know if they’re trying to cheer me up or what, but my neutral expression just doesn’t look happy enough for them, I guess. I mean, if I was walking past them sobbing and in hysterics because my whole family was just killed in some horrific bus accident, would they still tell me to put on a happy face? I’m usually in a perfectly fine mood, just minding my own business, but when I hear, “How about a smile, honey?” I just want to wring the comment-maker’s neck.

    Comment by Arlene — March 2, 2008 @ 8:48 pm

  20. Hi, I missed this thread earlier but came back to it after the link was posted in a later entry. I just wanted to say that while a lot of this behavior is about prejudice and stereotypes about fat people, I think it’s a larger trend of just saying inappropriate things in public.

    I’m 5’3″, very petite and have a baby face, so even though I am 19 years old, people often think I’m 16 or younger. I am constantly asked how old I am and make other age-related comments, which are wildly inappropriate. I have been asked my age on multiple occasions by gas station/convenience store workers, notwithstanding that I wasn’t buying any kind of age restricted item, and that I had driven up in my car during school hours and paid with a debit card. At work, I am often asked (by older men) if I am old enough to be working, if I get paid, etc. I work in public service for my city! Do people honestly think that I am working in a government job illegally? No, they just want to make a comment about how young I seem to be.

    That said, I know that being yelled at on the street for being fat is not the same; my mom is fat and I have been with her and seen people ask, “Are you pregnant?” when she is clearly not, or call her Mama Cass (which she loves, as she is a Mamas and Papas fan!!) and make choking motions. I just thought it was worth pointing out that this behavior is part of a larger trend of asking inappropriate and personal questions of strangers in public.

    Comment by Hester — March 3, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

  21. Sorry guys, I meant to say “and people make other age-related comments.” College educated my ass!

    Comment by Hester — March 3, 2008 @ 7:17 pm

  22. Hester, I was in the same boat at your age. I once went to see an R-rated movie when I was 20 or so, and the ticket window attendant, rather than simply asking to see my ID, said haughtily, “I’m afraid I can’t let you see that one. You have to be at least 17 years old.” If I was dining out, shopping, etc., during the day, I’d often be asked, “What, no school today?” At 37, I still occasionally get carded, only now I take it as a compliment. :)

    Comment by Cat — March 4, 2008 @ 5:00 pm

  23. I felt the need to post in this thread after an incident on my evening commute today. I take a commuter train to the city and back to the ‘burbs where there are three seats abreast, aisle, two seats. Normally people leave the middle seat empty on the three seater side. If the train is especially busy, people kindly ask to sit and are of course obliged. Tonight, the train was not especially full. We left the city and I was sitting on the three seats side, closest to the aisle. We make a couple of stops and a man gets on (after several others have disembarked) and he storms up and down the aisle (this man is short, bald and looks as if he’s swallowed a lemon). After reaching the end of the car, he’s marching back up and as he passes me (this is a coincidence as he never looked directly at me) he mutters (loudly!) “SO many fat people…” There were several larger people sitting on the three seat side, but certainly by no means ALL of them. And even so, the seats are rather generous and no one was so large as to have prevented his stunted-self to have had a seat. He was just too much of a toad to ask anyone. I thought I’d share with all of you lovely, superfantastic ladies.

    Comment by teteatete — March 7, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

  24. I am just stunned reading about the number of so called “men” who think it is cool to insult/pick on women. What a bunch of spineless sissies!

    Comment by Lilly Munster — March 12, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

  25. I realise this post has not been added to in a while, however I feel the need to add the following:
    I’ve always been big. My martial arts instructor once commented how surprised he was that I, as a fat woman, was faster and fitter than many of my fellow (leaner) students.
    It has been sometime since the last time I was publicly taunted by a stranger. Probably not at all since I lost 80lbs. But something even more hurtful than been yelled at by a stranger happened yesterday.
    About a year ago I began dating a very lovely man who has a large extended family (40+ members). They all gathered yesterday to celebrate his birthday. With everyone in the room his 83 year old grandmother turns and asks me “I’ve always wanted to know how do fat people manage to wipe themselves after they go to the toilet?” She continued to look at me expectantly awaiting my reply. The room was deadly silent. I was crushed. Being that she was the elderly matriarch of the family and I was the latest edition, I felt could not put her in her place. It took all I could muster to ignore her and redirect the conversation. My wonderful boyfriend shortly thereafter decided that it was time for us to leave.
    I managed to hold myself together long enough to say my good-byes and get into the car. I was so devastated that I cried all the way home. This has really shaken my confidence.

    Comment by Lexie — April 14, 2008 @ 1:57 am

  26. What a fantastic thread! So many stories of both wonderful comebacks and horrible past experiences. I thought I’d throw in a little something.

    In high school, I was taking a Marine Biology class that was so tough, only honor students usually took it. The Blonde Fake-Tanned Head Cheerleader was also in it for some reason, but had crap attendance, zero work turned in, and generally talked to her friend through the entire class. For our final project, we had to give a class presentation on an animal drawn from a hat. Ironically, mine was the orca whale. Part of my presentation was demonstrating how whales used echolocation to hunt, via a game of Marco Polo. Head Cheerleader raised her hand when I asked who wanted to be it, and after I told her to come up and let me blindfold her, she responded with the following gem:

    HC: “Are you crazy? It will mess up my hair!”

    (You cannot make this shit up)

    Me: (classroom laughing) “Well God forbid we mess up your hair.”

    HC: “Well, god forbid you know how long it takes to do my hair, bitch.”

    Me: “Well, not all of have the time to waste on our hair like you do since some of us, you know study. However if we all sucked cock for our A’s like some peo-”

    And that’s when the teacher yelled at both of us, sent me to the office, and gave me an automatic C on my project. About two days later, I was walking in the hall and ran across HC and one of her cronies. She noticed me immediatly and as I passed, she loudly called out “Fat bitch!” I glided past her, turning around to flip her off and reply with “Bleach blonde twat” to her very surprised face. She and I would continue to glare at each other occasionally, but we never exchanged another word again.

    It makes me kind of sad that I was this bold in high school, but ended up becoming a lot less self confident after leaving high-school. In fact the only time I can recall ever standing up for myself was when I was at a bar about two years ago when one of the cute but obvious douche-bags of the group I used to hang with got sloppy drunk. He made the offhand comment about how fat girls “took up to much space in bed and were only good at blowjobs ’cause they’re used to swallowing.” I was not the only large girl in the group that night, and the moment the words were out of his mouth, I stood up, threw my wonderfully delicious cosmo into his face and told him he could go “fuck himself gently with a chainsaw using a sandpaper condom”, grabbed my coat, and walked out the door. One of my guy friends chased after me, apologizing and saying that the guy was just drunk. “No,” I replied, “he’s just an asshole.” I walked the thirty-minute walk home, in winter, in a gorgeous (if impractical) dress-and-heels combo at two in the morning. I passed a couple of drunks, but I must have had my Crazy Face on since they didn’t hassle me. It also helps that my guy friend followed me home and he is 300lbs of muscle at 6’4.

    Comment by Katilane — April 21, 2008 @ 6:53 am

  27. ok i admit i have been over weight for a while now i haven`t been skinny since i was about 5 or 6.but i had my share of dumb people saying i was fat and i would always say and your point being i know i`m fat and so wat i`m happy with a trunk fulla junk helps my jeans stay up better in stead o wearing a belt[lol].a really funny story is there was this boy i had a huge crush on in like 7th grade metioning i weighed about 201 and i was just 12.but i asked him out and he said uh no i only date skinny girls and his gf who i didn`t even know he had was thinner then a rail.well anyway that made me really madd so on the last day of school i went up to him and said ohh u`ll see he didn`t know wat i was talkin about cause it was about 5 months after the incedent but i was over the next 3 months of summer i went so crazy i ate exstremly healthy no treats or anything i was jogging a mile everyday and all my close fit better after just a week of doing this so when school started i hopped on the scale a week before it did start and it said i was weighing 173 29 lb`s less then wen i started i was thrilled to death and i looked so much anyway right when i walked through the doors everyone in the hall was lookin at me like they were amazed.after a couple of classes the exact same boy came up to me and he asked me out i was stunned and flat out i said no and added i don`t date skinny boys and walked away he was left whitefaced in the middle of the hall and everyone was stareing wide eyed at him it was the greatest moment of my life.

    Comment by kristen — September 7, 2008 @ 12:55 am

  28. I stayed relatively slim until my mid-30s when a series of injuries and prescription medication side effects sent my weight way up. At my heaviest (around age 40), I was a size 22 and weighed more than 240 pounds. I don’t know how much more because I was too scared to weigh myself after I saw that number.

    At my heaviest, I had two incidents, both with young women.

    In the first, I was visiting my parents in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving. It was the first morning there, and I’d gone out to breakfast with my mother. When I went to the ladies’ room, the girl who was primping at the mirror changed the conversation she was having with a girl in one of the stalls to “how horrible it was that fat people left the house.” There was more about didn’t fat people know how much they disgusted others, and the girl in the stall, who, in fairness, couldn’t see me, kept agreeing and embellishing. I got out as quickly as I could. I was nearly in tears when I joined my mother in the parking lot.

    The second one came during a yoga class. I’d been attending it for several months and was slimming down a little. The stretching felt really good.

    Two new girls came in and started commenting on how embarrassing it was to be in a class with a fat girl who probably couldn’t do any of the moves and why did the fattie have to be in the front row (the answer to that was I couldn’t do yoga with glasses on.). I kept to my mat and tried to let the words wash over me without registering.

    The teacher overheard. Rather than call them out, she began the class with a fairly complicated (for Level 1) series of hip openers. She knew me; she knew that I had very open hips and rarely had any trouble with those poses. The two misses who thought I couldn’t keep up, however, were panting and sweating and finally had to rest in child’s pose through the end of the series.

    They came back to class, but never commented on the appearance or technique of anyone else again.

    I thanked the teacher quietly after the class.

    Comment by Fabrisse — September 7, 2008 @ 11:39 am

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