Thursday, January 28, 2010

Are You Fat or Obese?

Last night, I read yesterday’s post to Dee before I posted it.  When I finished she said, “I’m glad you wrote something positive.”  I asked her if I had been overly negative recently and she mentioned that she didn’t like the part in Monday's post where I called the ladies on the plane “fat.”

Of course, this launched a spirited bedtime debate.

Dee thought I was being mean and was disappointed that I had stooped to fat jokes.  She’s right; I was being mean.  I don’t know that stooped to fat jokes, though.  I did make snap judgements based on brief interactions.  Most people will assume that I made a fat joke but if it was simply a joke about how the ladies were fat I would have avoided it.  However, the fact that these two ladies were fat was relevant to my misery on the flight.  Plus, the joke wasn’t really about their fatness.  It was about my own hypocrisy at being outraged that she hadn’t actually learned anything about me when I made even less effort to learn about her.  Anyway…

Explaining jokes is boring.

I’d rather talk about the word ‘fat’.  ‘Fat’ is one of those words that people aren’t allowed to use anymore because it’s insensitive.  I think that’s bullshit.  Somehow it would have been kinder if I had called those ladies ‘obese’ or ‘overweight’?  Everyone knows that those words really mean ‘fat’.  Pretending that we are not really calling someone fat when we are calling them fat is more insulting than actually calling them fat.  It assumes that fat people are also dumb.  Do we really think that fat people don’t know what ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ mean?  If so, we’re the idiots.

Let’s just use simple words with clear definitions and stop pretending that we’re offended by every little thing.

Oh yeah, if you think I’m a jackass for using the word ‘fat’, going to isn’t much better.

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