I am overweight. I know this, am well aware of this, would like to change this, but can’t seem to find the energy or time to do the FIRM like I used to. In fact, as I type this, I should be writing a paper on film sound and “Mulholland Drive” but I’m not. I should also be editing my final film, but I’m not. I should also be thinking about my final paper in my Film & Literature class, but I’m not (there’s a pattern here) and I should be thinking about this art installation/runway show project I, and two other classmates, have on Wednesday, but I’m not. So, if I can’t even get going on my film sound paper that’s due in less than six hours, how am I supposed to find the energy (especially since I’m battling, and apparently losing, a nasty cold/bronchial thing- I sound like a barking seal when I cough) to get my fat ass up and moving? The sad thing is, I used to love to exercise. It’s empowering- there are very few things in this world that make you feel as accomplished and good about yourself, as finishing an intense workout, but yet again, I have digressed. This post is not about my stress levels which just make me gain more weight, my money worries and problems, my papers and class projects stacking up etc. but rather about perception.
Because I’m fat, somewhere, somehow, people (including instructors) have started think differently of me: as if my ability to be fashionable, or creative is genuinely inhibited by my weight (which isn’t that horrible- its not great, but I’m definitely not in danger of needing to buy an extra airplane seat). I am speaking about a comment made in passing about a current project I am working on. Several comments, actually. But first, let me clear a few things up- I am a fashionable woman. Just because I show up to class in jeans and button down shirts does not change this- it just means that A. I’m going to class, and B. I am well aware that spandex is a privilege not a right, and therefore I do not wear the same clothes I would have five years ago. Also, I’m 27, so regardless of weight issues, I still would be wearing more grown up attire- which often includes slacks and button down shirts. My weight does not change the fact that I know what is attractive, it just means that I maybe can’t/shouldn’t wear it. Case closed. I also never have enough time to do my makeup, and sometimes- a lot of times, I don’t feel like wasting fantastic UD eyeshadow on my fellow students, or instructors. But none of these things change the fact that I have taste and style. My weight, apparently, tells otherwise.
I am currently working on several creative projects, one of which includes fashion. Now maybe it’s because I’m often wearing purple converse and jeans rather than stilettos and skirts like I used to, but I have a sneaking feeling that it’s because I’m fat, that quite a few people who I’ve talked about this project to, automatically assume that I’ve had zero creative input in the fashion involved. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. They all assume that it must be my partner, who is very petit, and fashionable. I’m not knocking her, or her creative input by any means, but the automatic assumption, and the look I see in these people’s eyes when I talk about this project is frustrating to say the least. Especially since if I know that if I were to wear the exact same things I wear now, but with a size 2 label, no-one would second guess my creative input in this project. Five years ago I would wander around town in converse and band t-shirts, outrageous eye makeup and (gasp) button down shirts- nothing that different from now, and I would be complimented on my creativity. Conversations would spring from a Smiths or Strokes t-shirt. Now granted, I realize that music played a big part in that, but what I’m getting at is that because I was thin- it was okay. It could be considered stylish; now because I’m overweight, it’s considered unimaginative, as if there are only a few clothes for us fat women to choose from (which is to a certain degree true, I mean, I’m not gonna wear a backless dress, and four inch stilettos) and we couldn’t possibly be interested in fashion, because well, we’re fat.
This is horrifying to me. To think that my abilities as an artist, as a visionary (of a certain kind and to a certain degree) could be (and probably, most certainly are) dismissed and overlooked because I’m fat. This constant evaluation of women, based on charm and looks, rather than talent or intelligence is heartbreakingly ridiculous. I’ve always known that if you want to make it in Hollywood you have to be thin, I just always thought (or hoped) it only pertained to being in front of the camera, not behind. If even in academia I find these brick walls built with stupid assumptions, will I always?
Now, this would be the part in the movie where I get a personal trainer, lose a shit-ton of weight, get my revenge, and the sexy guy I’ve not so secretly been pining over to my size 2 sister (one of my sisters really is a size 2) or best friend etc. falls in love (gasp) with me for me. Yet somehow, this doesn’t occur until he sees my smoking hot new bod. -Gross. The thing is, I have a happy, committed relationship with a guy who thinks/knows I’m beautiful, and although I may look at old clothes wistfully, my weight has never kept me up at night, until now. Don’t get me wrong, I, like every other woman in America, get upset/depressed in the dressing room and wish I had gone to the gym or put down the piece of cake, BUT, I get over it, and know my worth is not wrapped up in how I look. In fact, there have been times when I’ve kinda liked not being a size 2: girls aren’t as bitchy or mean as they used to be, guys don’t harass me like they used to. People (or so I thought) actually listen to what I have to say. HOWEVER, it seems as though I’ve discovered that all bets are off in a creative field- Image is everything.
So instead, I guess this is the part in the movie where I maybe lose weight and I tell the guy impressed by surface rather than substance to “fuck off.” But either way, not until I’ve had my revenge.