Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You need to walk more.

Anna and I were out at a plant nursery outside of Philly near Chester. This wasn't any sort of "boutique nursery" but a place where people go to buy plants. As we were selecting our purchases the woman working there tapped my stomach and said "you're eating well." I said Anna was cooking well and thinking it was just a conversation starter--an odd one, but still. She then told me to walk more and that I was too young. I said I would and moved on. Anna spent the rest of the time there worried she'd say something to her, but she never did. Instead she said it again as we were checking out and then as we were leaving. I don't know why, but she wouldn't let it go. I told her I rode a bike to work and that seemed to appease her a bit.

It's not the first time an elderly person has told me to loose a few. Still, it struck me that she never would have said that to me were I still a woman. To a woman, Fat is a dirty, shameful word. To a man it's a beer belly, a spare tire, something to take care of but not something to be ashamed of--though this isn't always how it feels. Still, I didn't get that same feeling of all the blood rushing to my face that I used to get when someone even seemed to reference my weight as a woman. I didn't trip over my words or feel like crying. Over the past 5 years some of the shame had left.
I don't know what all of this means, but I do know that fat is definitely a feminist issue. Women's clothing is Plus Size, men's suits are Executive Cut. The tone, the shame, the descriptors, they all change from woman to man.

I don't have any answers, but maybe these folks will. Check out Front Street on May 5 where they will talk about the question "Is Fat a Feminist Issue." They include some pretty smart folk so there will probably be some really good questions. I can't guarantee any answers.



Front Street is a talk show showcasing current culture and politics in Chicago, hosted by Sara McCool. Guests will include local artists and social critics.

Episode "Is Fat a Feminist Issue?" This Thursday 5/5 at 7:30 -8:30pm CST.

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