Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fat Stuff

I've had a few moments-of-fat lately. Some positive and some not.
The not list begins with a local news/entertainment show on which I saw a doctor who works with the AIDS ride. She was telling a story about a woman who went to her doctor reporting sudden and extreme weight loss. The doctor asked why she was worried because everyone wanted weight loss. She had the good sense to go to another doctor and was diagnosed HIV positive. When weight is used as a metric for health the bias for less weight causes problems for all of us.
A friend asked me if I'd heard about the new guide lines for obesity. I had not. She told me by those guidelines she was fat. She is not. Not at all. Not by any standard.
There's a commercial in which two women are in a laundromat. One asks the other for quarters because she's trying to shrink some jeans. She explains that she's been eating whole grain cereal and she's lost weight. I have so many problems with it. I eat whole grain cereal. Fat people eat whole grain cereal. The part that really bugs me is the actress playing the part of she who has lost weight is extremely thin. I don't like to make negative comments or assumptions about extremely thin people but if she's lost weight she's lost too much. She is bone thin. The other woman does not look like someone who needs to lose any weight at all. There is an idea of healthy weight being communicated that looks extreme. Weight bias is not useful in any discussion of health. It should go without saying but clearly it needs to be said over and over. The culture seems to be moving from fat phobic to pro ana.
However, I stumbled upon a new to me show on TV: Drop Dead Diva. I found it on Hulu. It's sad how much anxiety I feel when I see a fat person on a television show. The show is about a thin model who dies but is returned to earth in the body of a fat lawyer. She retains the memories of her thin life and the IQ of her fat life. Convoluted way to set up a thin person learning what it's like to be a fat person.
In the first episode she is sitting in a meeting with a client and can't take her eyes off a plate of doughnuts. I was reminded of the first episode of The Practice on which Camryn Manheim was supposed to eat a doughnut. She didn't want to be the fat girl eating so she (the actress) shoved the doughnut into the mouth of her boss (the character). Apparently it worked so well they decided to keep it. Drop Dead Diva eats the doughnut. It is kind of cute though because the thin girl inside the fat body hasn't eaten doughnuts and her enjoyment is the joy of discovering taste. That theme is repeated. Food, flavor is a revelation.
In the first episodes her disgust about her fat body is annoying. But in each show she is confronted with unfairness. Bartenders who bought her drinks when she was thin ignore her when she's fat. People don't take her seriously. Former friends shun her. She reacts with outrage and is always coming to levels of acceptance about who she is now.
It's not perfect but I've watched almost all of the first season and it's pretty great. She delivers one diatribe in a court room that could have been written by the fiercest fat activist. I'm pretty hooked.
Better that that is Fat Dinosty. Wonderful, wonderful! SO good! Such a soul reviving, joy inducing, belly laughing, great, good thing.