A Visit from Aunt Fattie

We were thrilled when Shapeling A Sarah posted this poem as a rejoinder to a grossly fat-shaming one that is making its way around via email forwards. Thank you, A Sarah, for sharing your brilliant wit with all of us!

About A Sarah: “I write song parodies as a way to deal with stress (and got one published once, but under my real name), I’m married with two small kids, and I once had a paid acting role in a radio drama for truckers.”

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A Visit from Aunt Fattie

‘Twas the month after Christmas and all through my body,
I was quite unconcerned with being a hottie.
The legs from my mom’s side, the shoulders from dad,
The cells made from holiday meals I’d had…
All parts were happy, contented, and warm,
Joyful and useful and causing no harm.
I grabbed my down comforter, kicked off my shoes,
And settled in bed for a long winter’s snooze.
When from the bathroom there arose such a clatter!
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the loo I flew like a flash!
(But my stomach felt fine, so I threw up no sash.)
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the talking scale which I’d thrown out last year!
More rapid than eagles his insults they came.
He whistled, he shouted, he called me a name:
“Now, Failure! Now, Ugly! Now, Sloppy and Lumpy!
Unloved, Unlovable, Loathsome and Dumpy!
Count points, log your food, and get ‘healthy,’ you cow.
Waste away! Waste away! Waste away now!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So into my mind his aspersions they flew…
I thought, “Oh, I’m loathsome. Whate’er shall I do?”
I hated my shoulders, my legs, and my tummy,
And all of those meals I’d thought were so yummy.
I hated myself for my natural weight range.
I decided to diet… er, make a ‘lifestyle change.’
But just as I started turning around,
Down the chimney Aunt Fattie came with a bound.
She was dressed all in pleather, from her head to her heels.
On her chest and her cape? Baby doughnuts, for reals.
Her eyes – how they twinkled! Her dimples – how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry!
The stump of her stogey held tight in her teeth,
And the smoke it encircled her head like a wreath.
She had a broad face and magnificent belly,
That shook, when she laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
Though chubby and plump, a right jolly old auntie,
The sight of my scale caused her to get ranty.
“Don’t listen to him,” she said. “I mean, really!
Diet for weight loss? What for? Oh, how silly.
Imagine a pill that, for just three percent,
Does all of the things that the pill-makers meant.
Everyone else? They’ve just wasted their money.
But now let’s pretend the pill also tastes funny,
Gives you bad breath, makes you cranky and tired,
And, oh yes, three hours a day are required
To swallow it. Tell me, do you think you’d try it?
‘Cause, honey, that’s just what you get with a diet.
Or let’s say it works. What then? You’re entitled
To live life unhindered, unbroken, unbridled?
Your diet success gives you license to dance?
Swim? Work out? Run a race? Wear tight pleather pants?
Make a friend? Make a date? Take a break? Take a bow?
Girlfriend, you know you can do those things now!
Plus, FAT ISN’T BAD, for Pete’s sake. It’s just tissue.
If others don’t like it, it’s their goddamned issue!”
So we jumped on the scale, which shattered to bits,
Then spent hours indulging our sardonic wits.
And I heard her exclaim, ‘ere she turned on her heels,
“Hell yeah, some things taste just as good as thin feels!”

Ask Aunt Fattie: Where can I find fat friends?

Dearest Aunt Fattie,

I need fat friends. As soon as possible, please.

Over the past year I’ve really started to accept my body and practice HAES. I stopped dieting and started living life to the fullest. I’ve become more outgoing, I dress better and am much more confident.

The only problem? I have very few friends and the friends I do have don’t (or won’t) understand any of this. I’ve explained over and over again, I’ve avoided the topic — but it continues to gnaw at me. I’m starting to suspect subliminal dieting tips, like a friend of mine who suggests that I order salads at a restaurant when she never does or another friend who tells me about the latest and greatest fat-free ice cream for no reason.

Basically, I need some fat friends. Fat-positive thin friends would be fine I suppose but I want that special bond. I want someone to go shopping with and someone who will understand what I’m going through. Unfortunately the only fat people I ever meet are either trying to lose weight or much older than I am (I’m 18).

How do I find people who will understand and accept me as I am? Where are the hot spot fattie hangouts in San Francisco?

Signed,
Desperately seeking fat companionship

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Ask Aunt Fattie: What do I say when people compliment my weight loss?

Dear Aunt Fattie,

Over the past couple of months, I have embraced HAES, starting working on my negative body image, bought some pretty clothes in my correct size(s) (including new bras that actually fit), and got a great (shorter) haircut. Moderate exercise energizes me and makes me give off a rosy endorphin glow. In short, I look good and feel better that I have in 13 years. People have started to notice and compliment me on my transformation. It’s all good, right? The thing is, my new intuitive eating and exercise habits have resulted in the loss of a very modest amount of weight, so modest that it would go unnoticed if it weren’t for all of the other changes I’ve made. (The only reason I noticed is that the nurse told me at my last check-up.) What do I tell people when they ask the dreaded questions, “Have you lost weight?” or “How much weight have you lost?”

People want to say nice things to me, and I want to let them know that I appreciate the comments, but I don’t want to talk about my weight. Or, perhaps I do want to talk about my weight, but only if it is going to be in a FA context. Specifically, I’m looking for responses for a) my husband, b) my co-workers, and c) my girlfriends (only one of whom I’ve ever known to diet).

Any suggestions?

Signed,
Never learned how to accept a compliment

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Ask Aunt Fattie: Why was I left out of the fat girls’ weekend getaway?

Dear Aunt Fattie,

Last summer one of my best friends (we’ll call her K) spent the day at the beach with another group of girls we hang out with. I was unable to go, but would normally have been there. That day they had a great time hanging out, drinking Bloody Marys. The three of them came up with a name for their group: “Big Girls Beach Club” or BGBC for short. K, the group and I all made plans to head down to the beach again and repeat the festivities. Fast forward to this summer…this weekend they have plans to go again. Since K and I invite each other EVERYWHERE (the laundromat, the mall, out to dinner EVERYWHERE), I assumed I would be invited as well.

After having lunch together at work today, I brought up this Saturday. I was not so politely reminded it’s “the BIG girls’ beach club.” After a minute of my silence and clearly looking hurt, K not so sincerely told me I could come “if I wanted to,” but if I got below 1xx pounds in the next 2 days, I was uninvited.

This is a woman I spend 40 hours a week with at work, never mind social time. She knows I’m struggling with my OWN body issues. She knows I’m trying to work through accepting myself and my body for who I am. Beyond the insensitivity, i just don’t know how to handle the situation.

- Not-So-Big Beach Bunny

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Ask Aunt Fattie: How do I stop feeling negative about my girlfriend’s fat?

Hi Aunt Fattie –

So I’m a late-twenty-something lady who is dating another twenty-something lady. I am a curvy sort of lady who spent years upon years hating myself and censoring myself and focusing on other people’s (perceived) dislike of my body, etc., went through much disordered eating, and am just finally starting to come out the other side. Due to getting involved in a very feminist-positive team sport, which has helped me look at my body in terms of what it can DO, not just as a potential object of desire/disgust/whatever for other people, AND due to finally applying my feminist outlook to the subject of fat oppression, I’m really feeling a turn around. I feel better about my body than I have in years, and I think that intuitive eating and HAES have a lot to do with that. I’m so proud to be in a better place.

The really-super-awesome lady I’m dating is much heavier than me, but also seems very comfortable with her body, and is somewhat physically active, enjoys doing the activities she’s involved with, and is very comfortable with talking about eating, etc., so it seems like we’re in a similar place in terms of body positivity. I’m very attracted to her (physically! mentally! everything!), but for some reason, I sometimes find myself having weird non-body-positive thoughts about her, when we’re together. Little things, like thinking “is she going to eat the whole thing?” or “I wonder what people think about me dating someone who is heavier.” Thoughts, in other words, that I used to reserve for being shitty to myself when I was being negative about my body. They’re not exactly conscious-level, but they sort of creep into my consciousness, and I have to actively ask myself why I’m thinking these things.

In addition, my new lady-friend is not as physically active as she once was, and seems to miss it; I do worry a bit about her because she ends up being inside so much (working too much and then doing indoor activities) after describing years of enjoying being outdoors. I obviously don’t want to be overinvolved with her enjoyment of whatever she wants to do, but I do wish she’d get back into some of her old interests. But then I wonder if that’s because I secretly feel uncomfortable with her weight.

What does this mean? Am I not doing as well as I thought? How can I be more positive about her body, and generally keep my eyes on my own paper? Should I share with her that I have had those problems about my own body, and explain that I’m a bit neurotic about these things but I’m working on it? Does this all go back to not really being as comfortable with my own body as I thought?

Thank you much, for all you do –
Crushing-Out Worrier

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Ask Aunt Fattie: Can I ask my school to provide bigger chairs?

Dear Aunt Fattie,

I am starting law school in August. I am excited about school and my career plans. I did notice a problem when I was touring the school, however. All of the classroom seats are at long tables with chairs attached to the table supports. The chairs have no legs of their own, they just swing out from the tables. I’m a large woman and I could barely wedge myself into a seat during the school tour. By the time the tour’s mock class was finished, I thought I was going to faint.

I don’t know how I am going to survive day after day in class with those chairs. I am sure that the school would provide an alternative to a student in a wheelchair. Can I ask for something similar, and how would I ask without embarrassing myself and the school?

Sincerely,
Squished 1L

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Ask Aunt Fattie: My new potential beau hates his fat

Dearest Aunt Fattie,

I was recently excited to stumble across an online dating site which includes a body shape descriptor – I prefer larger guys and want both my own size and my preference in men to be stated up front. Not long after signing up, I found a cute, sweet-seeming fat dude who shared a lot of interests. I messaged him, of course, and we got to chatting.

It turns out this darling chubby boy is quite swept up in self/fat-hatred, and while he’s open minded about the size of his partner, he has lost a fair bit of weight in the past year and hopes to lose a great deal more. He even went so far as to schedule gastric bypass surgery, but ended up deciding to “wait and see if I can do it on my own.”

So as a believer in fat acceptance, I feel torn about actually going out with this fellow. It’s early yet to write something off before it starts, and I feel like this guy would actually benefit from learning about HAES, if he was interested. But I have met and crushed on several self-hating fatties in the past, and I’ve found that their own body issues have ended up projected all over me (something I don’t quite have the Sanity Watchers points for).

On the one hand, I don’t want to have to argue anti-diet, HAES, fat-loving, etc, to a guy who possibly loathes his own adipose and blames it for his problems. But as a lover of big guys, I have to admit it is also going to be no easy feat to find a big, happy, self-loving, fat-accepting dude who can love me AND himself. So what’s a good strategy here? Hoping to convert the self-deprecating? Or waiting around until a single, fat, HAES/FA dude stumbles across my path?

- More Fat Fish in the Sea

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Ask Aunt Fattie: Post-pregnancy clothes and premenstrual syndromes

Dear Aunt Fattie;

I have a fat activism conundrum. I am (was?) a thin fat-acceptance ally, and a survivor of anorexia. Three weeks ago I gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl. I am euphoric over my baby, and determined to help her grow up to love her body.

Here is the thing, though – like many women, I’m bigger now than before I got pregnant. A fair bit bigger, though still in the non-plus range. I weighed about 120lbs before, and though I haven’t weighed myself, I would estimate that I weigh between 140-150lbs now.

Now, I think I look hot, and I feel great. I’m certainly no less attractive or healthy than I was before. However, none of my non-maternity clothes fit, and it’s driving me a bit nuts.

I know there’s a good chance that at three weeks postpartum, my body hasn’t settled on what size or shape post-baby me is going to be. And I keep catching myself hoping I will end up small enough to fit into my old clothes. I spent years building up an awesome wardrobe, and the idea of replacing it is overwhelming. I refuse to engage in weight-loss activity (for political reasons and for my own mental health), but does keeping my old clothes around count? Should I get rid of them all and start rebuilding my wardrobe? Or should I hold off on doing that because of the possibility I will end up the size I was before, even though that feels like an anti-FA thing to do?

Thanks,
A Stranger in a Strange New Body

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Ask Aunt Fattie: How do I stop grief eating?

Dear Aunt Fattie,

My father is dying. The end is very close – he’s in his final hours. In the past, I’ve always been unable to eat in times of extreme stress. My stomach would knot up and the mere thought of food would nauseate me. A bad breakup could be counted on for a 20 – 30 lb weight loss.

This time is different. The only thing that seems to help me cope with my grief is food. I just want to eat and eat and eat all the time, even when I just finished eating and couldn’t possibly be physically hungry. And it’s all high fat and/or high sugar foods that I’m craving – pizza and nachos and ice cream and rich desserts. I feel bloated and sluggish and I still can’t stop eating.

How do I stop this constant grief eating and get through this without a significant weight gain?

- Grief Eater

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Ask Aunt Fattie: How can a fat woman find love?

Dear Aunt Fattie,

I’m in a quandary. I’m a thirty-something woman, intelligent, fun, fat-accepting, and I have lots of good friends. However, I’ve never been on a date (I’ve only been asked a couple of times in my life, by weird strangers, and that was when I weighed less, as a result of illness). I’m pretty particular about potential loves, not in terms of looks, but rather with respect to faith, values, and certain moral considerations that are important to me (chastity, vegetarianism, etc.) — so no bar-scene for me. I’ve had my fair share of crushes on respectable gentlemen-friends, but the few times that I’ve made modest, indirect advances (e.g., dropping hints via mutual friends), guys have suddenly begun to avoid me. Now, I’m not really conventionally beautiful, even by fat-positive beauty standards, but I no longer believe (as my childhood peers often told me) that I’m actually some hideous monster. I try to be well-groomed and suitably dressed, and to carry myself with self-confidence. Despite some limitations as a result of (largely invisible) health issues, I try to take part in physical activities with my friends to the extent that I’m able. I devote a lot of effort to conscientiously managing my chronic health problems, I’ve spent a fortune on orthodontics, and I’ve learned ways of minimizing/disguising other physical flaws (facial and body hair, acne, etc.) as well as my financial means permit. I always try to be friendly and considerate, and I seem to be well-liked by most of the people whom I know.

At my age, despite my wonderful friendships, I’m beginning to acutely feel the absence of a significant other in my life. It’s also difficult when talk among causal friends turns to love and relationships, and I struggle with the social marginalization that often results if I choose to disclose my utter inexperience. I’m involved with my faith group, community activism, volunteer work, my professional community — but no real romantic opportunities have come of those connections. The men I think to be suitable suitors never regard me in that fashion, and if I ‘make a move’, no matter how small, it seems to only result in broken friendships.

I’m pretty much out of ideas here.

Signed,
Agonizingly Alone

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