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Fat Objectification: Stop Quantifying my body.

July 12, 2009

I think when we think about objectification in tends to be about women who fit a defined norm of what it means to be beautiful. I’m not going to claim that larger women are more objectified, but I wanted to point out some specific forms of objectification those deemed “fat” face. More on fat objectfication

When I was making an effort to lose weight there were so many numbers to keep track of:

80 calories in an apple
6 small meals a day
3 ounces of meat per serving
8 glasses of water a day
45g of protein is ideal
20 minutes minimum of aerobic exercise to be cardio
Weightlifting 3 times a week (with 1 days rest in between)
3 sets of 20, with 30 seconds rest
1200-1500 calories a day, and you can lose 1-2 pounds a week.

This is how you keep healthy. Put it all together and you’ve quantified health. The numbers are static, they apply to everyone. If you’re like me, you can memorize them, measure yourself against them, live your life by them. You can write down everything you eat, every calorie you burned. You can know exactly how you “did” that day. Maybe even give yourself a grade.

This is what’s expected of fat people. You must quantify your life because your other numbers just don’t add up right. Because your weight divided by your height squared times 703 is above 25. Because we haven’t just quantified food and exercise; we’ve turned our bodies into numbers. And if I can look at you and see that you’re belly is protruding past your jeans, that means we have to check whether you measure up. We have to make sure you’re count right:

Your BMI should be between 18.5 and 25
Which means at 5’3 I should weigh between 105 and 140
(Although according to our friends at “Happy Body” I really should be 113. exactly.)
You should wear a size between 2 and 12, at least if you want to buy normal clothes.
And keep the body fat percentage under 31% in order to be Acceptable. (no, for real)

Now, while we hold all bodies to this standard, it’s those who don’t fit into the right range that are told they have to live by them. Because these aren’t just numbers, they are values, and the larger they are, the less your body is worth.

And if you believe the numbers, you’re going to have to measure up. You’re going to have to start attaching numbers to everything in your life, because these numbers are already attached to you. Because we forget that you do see larger women in magazines. We see them in the weight loss sections, and we see their “stats”. See, because if you’re going to be a fat girl in a magazine, you got to tell them how you’re going change, you have to be a weight loss journey. Because giving a fattie a head is promoting obesity, so you gotta tell them your numbers, or else someone might start believing you have value without them. Even if you’re Kate Harding, queen of the fatosphere, you’re still attached to your numbers, and you can’t shed them until you’ve shed the weight.

This has to stop.

Fat people have value beyond their weight. They are worth more than their BMI. They count, even if they don’t count calories.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    July 12, 2009 10:35 PM

    This was an amazing post, Becky. I’ve been thinking about this numbers thing a lot lately, specifically in terms of working out. I have trouble working out consistently because it has turned into a sort of math for me: number of calories in, number of calories burned. When all it is is an equation to be balanced, I take no pleasure in it.

  2. July 14, 2009 5:19 AM

    Becky, That was a great post. I really agree. It’s whats on the inside that matters.

    Way to many people get chaught up in our modern society’s way of looking at people.

    We really need to teach our kids that everyone has the right to respect. No matter how they look like on the outside.

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