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The Big Question: How Serious is Too Serious? | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: How Serious is Too Serious?

You know, I think it’s fair to say that I’m pretty oblivious to most fat biases, or if I notice them I don’t really care. It’s hard to get all worked up by a No Fat Chicks shirt since they guys who wear them are the same ones who put fake testicles on their trucks and are thus doing the world a favor by being clearly marked.

Yet when I noticed this printed out on a piece of copy paper and pasted on the wall of a sports bar I visited on Saturday, well, it stuck in my craw:


“Behold the Power of Beer”

And the more I think about it, the more it bothers me.

Like, maybe it wouldn’t bother me so much if it had been a big girl done up to look really comically ugly, and then magically turned into a skinny girl with some serious aftermarket headlights –because that’s what all guys want right?– but it was just sort of a generically pretty big girl, so the implication is you’d have to be drunk to want to have sex with a fat girl.

Really? REALLY? You’ll take my money AND insult me? Not on my watch, bucko. If I wanted that sort of treatment I’d have children or spend time with the federal government and frankly, neither of those sound all that appealing.

So what do you think? Am I being too serious? Should I have said something? Would you/do you go to places like that?

40 Responses to “The Big Question: How Serious is Too Serious?”

  1. Jezebella April 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Well, you know I’m the girl that always makes a fuss when something is offensive, so yeah, I would’ve said something. Something like “Well, I was going to spend a bunch of money here, but I’m leaving because this is offensive. I will tell my friends not to come here, and I won’t be back.”

  2. Cedar April 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Yeah, that’s bad, and the more you think about it, the worse it gets. I probably wouldn’t walk out, but I wouldn’t go back either.

  3. Monica April 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Depending on where it was in the sports bar and how busy/distracted the patrons were, I may well have come back with a bumper sticker advertising a local team, slapped it across the picture to as to obstruct the image, and then walked out. Hey, it’s a sports bar – the photo needed to have some sports in it!

  4. jane2 April 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Usually establishments with that type of picture have really bad beer on tap for the testicle-truck crowd…as you say, clearly marked.

  5. Sarah April 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    I’m with Jane. The type of beer that’s being served is probably not the kind I’d want to drink, anyway.

    I’m a gal who loves a good (and I mean GOOD) beer, and I would for sure speak up and say, “As long as that’s up, my wallet and I won’t be back.”

  6. Nariya April 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    That’s some bullsheeeit. I’d have felt really disturbed. I’m bad at confrontation, but I’d have left at the very least.

  7. Julie April 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Agree with Cedar on “the more you think about it, the worse it gets.” I think there’s nothing wrong with saying something about it, because there are a lot of people who could or would be hurt by something like this but would lack the courage to speak up.

  8. Nora April 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    I probably would have just asked them, “What does this mean?” with a completely innocent look on my fact and watched them squirm. And if they tried to backpedal, follow up repeatedly. “No, clearly this was funny or important enough that you thought your patrons should see it. But I don’t get its point or the joke. Can you explain it to me?” But I am a bitch.

  9. Jacquilynne April 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    I’d probably have said something. But then, I wrote a testy letter to my gym about the implications of the wording on the signs they posted asking us to use only 3 towels per visit, so I might not be a model of self-restraint when it comes to complaining about things.

  10. Thea April 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    I’m a believer in letting people know that their actions have consequences and in this case the consequence would be I’m not spending any more money until it’s gone AND I’d be telling people about it.

    If they try the “It’s just a joke” I stare them down until they squirm like the worms they are.

    I like the idea of slapping a bumper sticker over it too.

  11. Miss B April 20, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    I would also ask why it is funny and then throw this at the management:

    Would it still be funny if the person behind the beer glass were of color and the person in the beer glass were white? No? So why is it okay to be hateful to women and fat people? No really, explain that to me please…

    And yes, I know the standard rejoinders to that question – but if you don’t generally the number one answer is “Because a person of color can’t help being that way but a fat person can” (UGGHH)

    I still push the issue as to WHY it is okay to be HATEFUL to people? Why is that ok in any circumstance?

  12. Jessica April 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    I probably would have said something along the lines of:
    “Hey, that poster is extremely offensive and while it is up I won’t be back. But hey, since I won’t be back to check, I guess that means never. Which is too bad for you since I used to love coming in here and spend my money. Kiss my tips goodbye!” And then I would have sashayed my way out.

  13. Denise April 20, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Monica and Nora have great responses. I think, depending on the situation, I’d have said in my outdoor voice, “How fucking offensive,” and then left. Of course, never to return.

  14. Wendy April 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    I think the implication is supposed to be “everyone starts to look good after a few beers”, and I probably wouldn’t have given this a second thought if I’d seen it myself, but I agree that this could have been done better. I’d like to know if there’s an equivalent poster, for putting up in the ladies’ washroom, and what the two guys on that one look like.

  15. jojo.k April 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    I concur with all the ladies above.
    I might also consider asking, ‘Does this mean that you don’t want female patrons, fat patrons, or fat female patrons? Cause I’d be happy to round everyone up and head out to somewhere that wants our business.’

  16. Jezebella April 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    On top of the hostile-towards-fat-women thing, which is bad enough, it perpetuates the stigma in dude culture of dating a big woman. Which perpetuates the slimy “I’ll screw you but we can’t be seen in public” thing that some dudes try to pull on us because they’re not adult enough to let it be known they’re attracted to anti-waifs. Which I hate with a mighty…um…. HATE.

  17. Jezebella April 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Wendy, are you joking? You really think a sports bar is going to have an equivalent poster mocking fat guys or bald guys or short guys (or whatever dudes are made to feel crappy about)? Give me a break. You know better.

  18. Kerry April 20, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    This kind of thing says it’s not okay to be fat it’s not okay to be with someone who is fat. I get the “beer goggles” thing, but the picture isn’t of an unattractive girl — she’s just a big girl like me. It’s degrading.

  19. Erin April 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    It wouldn’t upset me, but I also would choose to spend my money elsewhere.

  20. emmme April 20, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    I don’t know, I usually cultivate a reputation for being sensitive (people bring me less bs that way), but I just don’t care about this poster. It wouldn’t have dampened my experience at the bar at all, if it was a place I usually frequented. But if it weighs on you for more than a minute, probably should speak up.

  21. Cat April 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    For those who might not be confrontational, why spend your money there if you are offended? And if you are there to meet with friends, they should be good enough friends to be able to be told that you are offended and why you are leaving. If they give you crap for leaving – and refusing to return – are they really friends? (And there’s a difference between an honest question of why you find it offensive….because they really might not understand….and a disbelieving ‘Are you nuts? That’s not offensive at all! It’s funny!’)

    For those who are confrontational – and I would count myself among this group – I have a single question. WHY? Why start something in a place like that, where it is HIGHLY likely that it is the testicle-truck crowd in the first place? You are no more going to be able to get someone like that to change his (or her — I’ve seen similar things in places owned by women….even larger women) mind. But hitting them in the pocketbook by boycotting them, and telling your friends, neighbors, Facebook friends, and anyone else the reason you are boycotting them is going to be far more useful.

    If they lose income, they lose their business. It’s that simple.

    Now, if I am in a place where bigotry and offensive things like this are frowned upon, or even better actively confronted and gotten rid of – then damned straight I’m going to get loud about it. Mostly because in that case, there is a likelihood of change – and a chance for someone to learn better.

    It’s one of the reasons I refuse to call myself a feminist as well. Stridency only makes you look like a nit-picking woman – and bitching about everything makes you look like you are just as bad. And most of the world – male and female alike – assumes they can simply discount anyone who even LOOKS like a nit-picker. There are 2 kinds of feminists I respect: 1) Those that work within the system to educate. This is a SLOW process, and likely not completed in one lifetime. This type of person knows that, and keeps slugging along. and 2) Those that work completely outside the system as a revolution. Again, hard and long work, and again may not happen in their lifetime.

    I see many of the women in the “fatosphere” doing and being one of the above 2 types. But some of them are doing the “nit-picking” thing, making the others have to work harder.

    Miss Plummie, to me, is Type 1 above. She sees what’s going on, and is working hard to educate – and looking FABULOUS while doing so. We all could do worse than to use her as a role model.

    So, for you fellow conflict willing fat chicks, tell me – are you one of those types above? Or are you the fat equivalent of a “Femi-Nazi” (something that is regularly ridiculed and discounted at least in my area of the US).

  22. Kristen April 21, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    I would have taken the photo off the wall and taken it to the manager. I would have told him that I was a regular paying customer like every one else and that this photo wasn’t cute or funny. I would have told him it puts off the message that big women aren’t wanted there because they are somehow worth less than the slender gals. If my *big girl* money is worth less then I suppose I’ll take it elsewhere, too.

    I’m tired of the Beer Goggles joke. It’s just not funny. Women can still be respected without tearing down the precious American Sports Bar culture. Besides, maybe there are guys in the bar with fat girlfriends, fat wives, maybe they just love BBW’s. Why push your own narrow standard of beauty on everyone?

    There is no female beer goggle joke, seriously. I think boycotting is a fine response but, it doesn’t really mean anything unless they know why. Sure, some won’t get it and they’ll defend their dumb “joke,” but at least you’ll have stood up and said something.

    Cat FWIW, I proudly call myself a feminist -someone who believes in the equality of all. The LGBTQ community, POC, fat, thin, all religions, atheists etc. People who quote Rush Limbaugh and resort to name calling “Feminazi” do not command my attention (or respect for that matter). As the meme goes, “FEMINAZI ….because wanting to be treated like a human being is just like invading Poland.”

  23. Leah April 21, 2011 at 2:33 am #

    I’m partially with Sarah & Jane2. I am a beer snob & that would be a flashing neon sign saying “JERKS DRINK HERE, they WILL be insufferable, leave now”.
    However, as my introverted, quiet husband points out… I might possibly be a teensy bit confrontational & he would likely be gently & delicately pulling me out of there before he got punched trying to protect me against some idiot while I was trying to get free & muttering NOT so under my breath about how my extra weight would help me kick some troglodyte ass that much more easily & boy was this gonna be fun… Though as mentioned, I get riled up “pret durn quick”. Most people think I have excellent manners as I do control my temper, but after alcohol? I don’t know. I might get testy. (Can you see why this smart, southern, type-A extrovert married a shy yankee engineer??? Balance is everything…)
    I like Denise’s route, it is appropriate for the situation & I would want them to know why they wouldn’t be getting my business. Without knowing there was a problem/offense, there would definitely be no change.

  24. Jen Anderson April 21, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    The fact that you’re not easily offended means that when you are offended, it’s bad enough to comment on. Just a word to the manager about insulting customers.

  25. Lisa from SoCal April 21, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Oh, misogyny! Gnarly.

    See, the crap thing about misogyny and fat bias is that you can confront it, and the moron doing it can simply go “Wow that person is sooooo strident/nitpicky/difficult/high maintenance that she just can’t take a joke” instead of “Wow, I’m acting like a entitled creep. I should stop it and apologize.”

    I don’t give my money or my time to people who don’t treat me or other people with respect. It’s not my job to educate the world’s losers who have to run other people down in order to feel good about themselves, so no, I wouldn’t say anything. But it’s also not my job to censor myself when I’m feeling stepped on to somehow make life easier for people who want to portray feminism as “moderate” or “appealing” or “not strident.” We wouldn’t want to upset anybody, now would we? Let’s fold our hands and be quiet so that people acting like jerks aren’t made accountable.

    You know why I don’t worry about being strident? Because I really don’t think it’s THAT HARD to treat people with respect.

    The first rule of humor: afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. If your supposed jokes are at the expense of somebody or a group of people already treated badly in the world…not funny. So it’s not that I “can’t take a joke”. It’s that people like this can’t make a joke.

  26. coffeeaddict April 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    I wouldn’t be offended personally but I find it in extremely poor taste and frankly inappropriate on many levels.
    A photo like that has no business hanging on a wall in a public space.

  27. daisyj April 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    I wouldn’t argue with someone who wanted to give the bar’s owners a piece of their mind, but personally I would fall into the category of “just leave and don’t come back.” Because, as a couple of people have already said, the person who thought this was funny is never going to change his mind because you tell him, he’s just going to write you off as sensitive and “too PC” (that favorite excuse for people who don’t care to respect the views of others). In my mind, the best reaction would be to be caught openly looking at the picture by the bartender, who begins to get uncomfortable, then give him a sharp, silent nod and walk briskly out of the establishment. But those sort of things never seem to work out exactly right at the time.

  28. Thea April 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Is this thing posted where it can be easily accessed by a patron? If so, perhaps a new piece of copy paper with a photo of some giant throbbing ehem ‘manhood’should be pasted over it….

    Would be an interesting soc 101 experiment to see how long that stayed on the wall before some trog felt ‘personally empowered’ enough to rip it down….probably with the comment of ‘that’s gross!’ and without any concern about the bar owner or anybody else’s feelings on the matter

  29. La Petite Acadienne April 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    I would pull Nora’s trick…play dumb, make ’em squirm, and once they’re properly backed into a corner, let them know that you knew what was up all along, toss your hair, and stride out with your head held high.

  30. Kimks April 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    This is just wrong. It is offensive and wrong. I am a firm believer in speaking my mind and I would vote with my feet, my wallet and my mouth- I’d tell the manager, leave and make for darn sure everyone in my “sphere of influence” knew that this place had offended me. My Husband, who travels a lot and occasionally has to be a patron of the truck testicle places, said he would totally say something, walk out order a pizza and sit in his hotel room and watch bad TV instead of staying there. I love that man- mostly because he is damn sexy and pretty frigging amazing, but also because he is only intolerant of ignorance, bias, and any words that that end in isim…

  31. ChaChaheels April 22, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Lisa from SoCal is my heroine, and I will be putting the “it’s not that I “can’t take a joke”, it’s that people like this can’t make a joke” phrase to work in appropriate situations as they arise in my own life. There’s nothing wrong with a sense of humour that fails to find ignorant hatred hilarious.

    I think that, as a patron in any business, you have a choice: you can speak your mind about being offended, and take your business elsewhere. But where woman hating is concerned, speaking your mind will only get you more woman hating–and far worse, it’s like giving the proprietor marketing tips on how to increase his business, for free. He doesn’t deserve that.

    Instead, take your money and walk but don’t stop there. Even in the past, word of mouth could make or break a business effortlessly. Let everybody know what your experience was like. Social media magnifies your influence more than ever before! Plain old economics will take care of the rest.

  32. harri p. April 22, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Oh, I would damn well tell them. In a loud, strident, feminist kind of way, and fuck them if they don’t like it or their balls shrivel up at my tone. In fact, GOOD.

    And women who quiver because heaven forfend some jackass calls you a feminazi don’t deserve to call themselves feminists.

  33. Catherine April 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    It’s a message that is demeaning and wrong. No one should be discriminated against because they are heavy or a little overweight. What you should do is to tell everyone you know not to spend their hard earned money at that establishment. Vote with your dollars!

  34. Madame Suggia April 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    harri p. said, “And women who quiver because heaven forfend some jackass calls you a feminazi don’t deserve to call themselves feminists.”

    harri p, you are about as right as it is possible to be.

  35. Violet April 23, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    I would post about it on the internet, and I would name the bar.

  36. Allison April 24, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    I definitely do not think you’re being too serious. This is offensive. It’s such a shame how strong the belief is in this country that fat = ugly.
    However, unless it’s a place that you’re really attached to, I wouldn’t bother saying anything – it’s like the No Fat Chicks shirts – it just identifies the bigots more easily. That being said, I would try to find a new place to go – I wouldn’t want my money to contribute to purchasing more bigoted artwork.

  37. schmemily April 24, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    If this happened in my local bar, I’d raise holy hell. If it was on the wall of someplace I don’t frequent, I’d take it down and throw it away–the same approach I’d use for any other kind of hate speech.

  38. Bree April 24, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    I’d simply ask “So, this place doesn’t like fat women coming in here?” or “What’s the matter, are you afraid of fat women?” and watch and listen for a reaction.

    That’s the thing with fat hate or making jokes at a fat person’s expense—it is such a part of our society to talk about us and not to us that society forgets we read papers, surf the Internet, watch TV, and patronize public establishments. We are treated like we don’t exist and/or we would never stand up for ourselves.

  39. Constance April 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    I would say something AND I would leave AND I wouldn’t come back. But I don’t generally frequent sports bars anyway so it wouldn’t be a loss to anyone.

  40. Thea April 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    and on a final note. Lisa from SoCal is my heroine too.

    And I hope any woman who ‘refuses to call herself a feminist’ has the good grace to realize that she can only vote, drive, attend college, own their own property and bank account, be treated with respect if she is raped and/or beaten and be paid the same as men because some OTHER woman, was willing to be, heaven forfend!!! – a strident, humorless feminist