Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Everyone is fat now

I've suddenly realised that the whole country got fat last year and nobody bothered to announce it until now. I blame the "fashion" for not tucking in shirts - an act which I immediately associated with laziness and untidiness - and you know what - I was right! It was just an excuse so that people could add on an extra 6 inches to their waistline and nobody would notice. An advert for a new type of Pringles has just come out. Once you pop - you just can't stop... (stop what? Eating, eating, eating). These new Pringles are based on the notion of the duck-billed platypus - they have a little in-built trough so are ideal for shovelling in more of your high-fat cheese/salsa dip. One of my cousins has just had her stomach stapled. My sister is on a diet. I have been wrestling with having a carefrontation with my father after his weight has gone up to 18 stone. In the changing room yesterday I was amazed at the number of obese men around me - guts ballooning out. Is anyone counting the calories? It seems McDonalds are - they have just announced they're going to stock Quorn-burgers, fruit and salads. They've also got rid of their huge portion options and are reducing the amount of salt in their fries. I haven't been able to go into a McDonalds for years - the smell - of poverty and fatty food always sends me reeling. The food disgusts me - a couple of times I've been stuck on a long journey and it's been the only option. The pores in my face immediately start to sweat it all out leaving the vile smell around me until I find a facial wipe. ITV have Celebrity Fit Club, Channel 4 have a similar reality show. Even Trevor McDonald (who is usually the last person to surf the fashion wave) had a couple of fatty families being sent off to do laps by Daley Thompson Personal Trainer to the Stars.

But at the same time - the discourse of "fat is bad" appears alongside a discourse of non-discrimination and acceptance. "Be yourself" - accept your fatness as part of you. Embrace and love it. Eat chocolate. Look at Dawn French - she doesn't give a shit. People who don't like fat people are shallow because all they care about are surfaces and appearances. They want everyone to look like Barbie dolls, and anyway, all the fashion designers are gay men who design clothes for women while thinking about chickens with 26 inch waists. And look at what dieting does for you: anyone heard of Calista-Stick Flockheart?. Forget sticks and stones will break my bones. Sticks and stones WERE her bones. Do you really want to be an anorexic?

The constant push and pull of these conflicting ideologies have resulted in a society which doesn't know what it wants or where it stands on the fat/thin issue. And the answer is so simple - moderation. Unfortunately moderation doesn't sell newspapers or get tv ratings. So hideously fat people being air-lifted onto the Jerry Springer show, or hideously thin people revealing their shocking xylophone bodies are always going to result in spectacle, comment and ultimately emulation.

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