I watched the “F*** Off, I’m Fat” show on BBC Three this evening, and I’m seething at the thought that the Beebs has produced such a pile of tosh.
Now, as a disclaimer before I start, I’m not a wee little girl. Well, I’m only 5’2″, but I AM a UK size 14, so while I don’t need to be quite as concerned as some in terms of which shops will stock my size, I do know where they come from.
Ricky Grover, that’s the tosser who wasted an hour of my life talking about fat people as poor victims of society, made some statements that were just mind boggling. I didn’t want to post about this when I first started watching the show, since I know it’s an awfully dangerous can of worms to open, but now I just can’t help it.
First, Ricky sends two teenage girls – UK size 20 and 22 – shopping on the high street for clothes they liked. As expected, they can’t find anything in the trendy shops, which either stop at sizes 16 or 18. Knowing absolutely nothing of fashion, he asks the two girls to choose an item of clothing they liked (which both girls pick in size 10) and he gets the items scaled up and recreated for them. Big no-no – the two girls look like they’re wearing potato sacks!
While he does make a point that losing weight isn’t just about cutting a bit on how much you eat and doing a little bit of exercise, he talks about weight loss as a total impossibility. Yes, it is a lifestyle change. But it’s a lifestyle change that will add YEARS onto your life.
So while it’s funny for him to build a fat people’s toilet in the middle of Basildon, his questions to designers of trains, planes and toilets on why trains/planes/toilets aren’t made to suit fat people’s needs, he entirely ignores the fact that the owners of said trains/planes/toilets are looking to cram as many t/p/t in a limited space to make as much revenue as possible. “Why don’t they make all plane seats bigger?” Well, darling, if you’re willing to pay for two seats every time you travel, I’m sure they can accomodate you. But fat people are like the rest of us, they’re cheap! And until it’s an absolute necessity, airlines, train companies and toilet fitters will try to fit as many butts as possible within a given space to make more money from us.
And as for going to a theme park and complaining that as a group of adults between 20 and 30 stone (that’s 280lbs to 420lbs to non-Brits), they’re unable to go on more than 10% of the rides? Please, think of your argument first, Ricky. I’m no amusement ride designer (unless playing Rollercoaster Tycoon 2), but it’s only common sense that no one wants to be responsible for putting extremely overweight people in high-speed, high-heart-rate, high-G-force situations. While fitting seats of a size that can suit bigger people may be possible, it still sounds like a bad idea to me and a huge insurance risk. Plus, the “more butts in any given space means more money” argument applies again.
So are larger people disabled? I would say yes. I’m sure I’ll have tomatoes chucked at my head for saying this, but it’s the bare truth. Struggling to get in and out of a car, being unable to go up into the loft, having difficulties keeping up with your 3 y/o child? Yes, it’s a disability.
While I don’t support employers choosing not to hire a fat person over a slimmer one, I understand their reasons. Slimmer, healthier employees take less sick days, are less exhausted by physical labour and generally are in a more positive frame of mind. (The first two have been heavily researched, the last statement is my personal observation)
I won’t get into arguments for weight loss, because I, along with everyone else, have heard them often enough. We know there is a basic math in more energy spent than ingested, as well as a personal lifestyle decision.
All in all, a terribly biased and lazily researched show, incredibly frustrating to see someone take the “We can’t help being fat! We’re victims” attitude.