Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dealing with Douchebags


Ugh, I hate having to even talk about this topic, because it is so wrong that it still happens. But I know most of you have dealt with this shit so I'm going to talk about some ways to handle it and cope when it happens.

Yes, it's douchebag season again. But when is it bloody not?

I copped some abuse again this afternoon from a douchebag passing by in a car. I was idly standing at a pedestrian crossing on my way to catch the bus home, when a car went by and a douchebag hung out of the window and screamed "Hey you stinky fat fuck!"

How absolutely mature and erudite. Fucktard.

This is an almost daily occurrence for myself and many other fatties. It's not just fucktard bogans in passing cars either. The douchebaggery comes from all walks of life. I've copped everything from little old ladies stating loudly that "People like that shouldn't eat." as they passed me eating fruit salad in a shopping centre, teenage kids pointing and giggling, men making disgusting comments about "fucking the lard arse", right through to a somewhat normal looking woman in her 40's who pushed me on an escalator and when I said "Excuse me!" turned and replied "Well you shouldn't be so fucking fat!"

The worst that I ever got was the time I was on the train to work and a group of young guys in King Gees started making barking noises, and I looked up to catch one taking a photograph of me on his mobile phone. I then sat there in horror as he texted it to all of the guys around him, who sat around making the most horrific comments about me being a "fucking fat dog who should just kill herself."

It used to tear me to pieces. The times I would arrive at work and burst into tears because someone had exhibited this douchebaggery to me in the street... I can't tell you how often it happened. Many times I came within a whisker of taking my own life out of sheer despair at how complete strangers treated me. I can't describe the pain it would put me through.

These days I am lucky enough to have got some excellent help from both my GP and a very good psychologist who have taught me how to protect myself emotionally from douchebaggery, as well as where my value lies as a human being. But while I don't let these people destroy me like they used to, it still hurts, every single time.

I'm still at a loss how to deal with it a lot of the time. Do I flip them the bird? Do I say something like "Fuck you, douchebag!"? Do I ignore it? More often than not, I'm so shocked that all I can do is blink and flinch.


A friend of mine recently said "I wish I was there when this happened Kath, I'd smack the bastards one!" when I was telling him about how douchebags treat fat people. The thing is, douchebags are quintessentially cowards. They tend to pick on lone fatties, or maybe a couple of women. Douchebags never pick on a fatty that has a male friend with them. Nor do they pick on fatties in groups of people. I'd love to have this mate with me when someone had a go, because while he probably wouldn't smack them one, he would definitely step up and tell them where to go. But as I said, douchebags are cowards.

However sometimes justice comes to play. Remember the guys in the King Gees on the train? Well, I got to work that day, and burst into tears. And one of my bosses at the time, Ali, happened to be in. She demanded the whole story from me. She asked me to describe the guys, and for some reason I remembered the logo on their King Gees. She called the company, which turned out to be an apprentice training company. She demanded to speak to the manager of the company. It turns out that these young guys were a group of apprentices going off for a training session in the city that day, completely paid for by the company. The manager knew the exact class/group that it was. When given the description of the guy who took the photo of me on his phone, he knew exactly who it was. He told Ali that he would investigate and take some action.

Ali called the manager of that company every morning for four days. On the fourth day, the manager called Ali first. He told her he had called in each of the guys from that group one by one, leaving the dude with the phone for last. As he said "I wanted him to sweat bullets". He demanded each of the guys prove that there were no photos of not only me, but other women they had encountered on public transport etc on their phones. He told each of them that if he ever caught them harassing anyone again, in company uniform or otherwise, they would lose their apprenticeships, no further notice. The last guy, the one that took the photo? In the managers words "I tore him a new arsehole, 'scuse the French Ma'am."

I'm not sure if Ali knows how much it means to me that she went in to bat for me. Her anger and indignation at their treatment of me meant more to me than I can put into words.

If you're a friend, family member or other person in the life of a fatty, please, PLEASE take the time to listen when they tell you of douchebaggery they have suffered. If you're with a fatty and someone abuses them, and you can (it's not always safe to do so), stand up for them. Or at least console them. If you can't understand why you should, perhaps think what it would feel like if someone insulted you all the time. How would it feel if people told you that you should die, because of the way you look? How would you feel to be pushed, spat on, your photograph taken for ridicule, food thrown at you, lewd comments made about you (even about raping you - for some reason douchebags like to throw this one at fatties), sworn at, criticised by old ladies and middle aged women, and avoided as though you have some horrible contagious disease?

Because that's what happens.

If you're a fatty that has suffered douchebaggery (and who of us hasn't), ***hugs***. I know how much it hurts, and I know the hurt doesn't get any less with time, even when your self esteem is strong and you are confident. I know it's wrong and unfair that this shit still happens. And you are welcome to vent about it in the comments here if you want to. I'm sorry that you, and I, have to put up with this.

Remember, even if you can't say it, you can always think it:


Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Letter to the Friends of Fat Single Women

An open letter to all non-fat friends of single fatties.

Dear non-fat friends,

I love you all, even those of you who are not my friends but the friends of other fatties. You're awesome, because you don't buy into the shallow bullshit that a lot of other people do. Fatties are used to people avoiding them because they either think fat is contagious, or that fatties are not "cool enough" for them. So kudos to those of you who don't buy into that and love your fatty friends.

But I want to talk to you about the way you approach your single fat friends with the subject of dating. Cos some of you get it really wrong. And I want to help you get it right!
  • It is ok to arrange for us to meet single guys that you know, so long as you ask us first. Either blind dates or introducing us at an event.
  • Ask yourself "Would I date him?" If the answer is no, then don't suggest him to us. We are fat, we are not desperate.
  • The guy that lives with his mother... is he caring for her or is she caring for him? If she's caring for him, don't suggest him to us.
  • Do not suggest that we are lesbians unless we have expressed desire for women. Fat women are not all closet lesbians. It's an insult to everyone to think this way.
  • If you know that we are a lesbian, it's ok to introduce us to other lesbians. Do not introduce us to other fat women on the assumption that we will just get our fat on together and become lesbians.
  • Do not suggest that we may get more dates if we "just lose some weight". We don't want to date the kind of men who won't date us as we are.
  • Do not tell us "But you have such a pretty face." when we complain about being single. This implies the following sentence "Despite your fat body."
  • When we are out together, and some guy behaves like a douchebag towards we fatties, do not then give him your phone number, flirt with him or have sex with him, no matter how hot he is. This tells us that some douchebag is of more value than our friendship. Besides, if he treats us badly now, he's probably going to treat you badly later.
  • Do not suggest that we should cover up any of the fat bits of our bodies before we go out. Yes, I know I have big fat arms. I don't care, it's hot and this sleeveless top is pretty.
  • Don't ask your fat friends for dating advice, and then dismiss it because they are fat and probably don't get any dates anyway. They're used to having to think more about how other people behave, they probably have the best advice.
  • Remember, if you wouldn't go out with him, don't suggest him to us. Just gotta make sure you understand that one.
  • If you double date with a fat friend, don't comment on her food or your own. Nobody really cares but you, and you'll just make your friend feel bad for no reason.
  • Don't ask your fat friend how she got a date with the great guy. She got it because she is awesome and he's smart.
  • Most of all, treat your single fat friend the same way you would treat any other single friend.
Again, you're an awesome friend and we know you mean well, but sometimes it's hard to understand that something can be hurtful when your intentions are good.

Thanks for being a great friend.
The Fatties.

Friday, September 18, 2009

PCOS - Let's Not Be Silent Any More

This morning I finally took the time to read this article from ABC News by the rather fabulous Sabra Lane, who used to be the President of the Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome Association of Australia (POSAA) on the "hidden epidemic" of Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). A very comprehensive article on PCOS by Sabra, and though I disagree with the concept of "lifestyle changes" actually being of any use, the article outlines the difficulty of living with PCOS that at least 11% of Australian women face every day.

I actually wanted to talk about one particular sentence in that article tonight. And it's this:
A study in the UK a couple of years ago found some PCOS women experience the same level of anxiety that breast cancer patients do.
I actually read the report from that study when it first came out. It sounds shocking doesn't it? It sounds almost like an exaggeration, after all, how can women with a syndrome that isn't terminal have as much anxiety as someone with cancer? After all, isn't cancer the most terrifying, horrible thing that can happen to your health?

At the time I posed this question to a man I knew who had been through the cancer battle with his ex-wife. And his answer shocked me. He said "Well, I can understand that, because everyone steps up to help you when you've got cancer in your life, but most people don't believe PCOS really exists, or that it's any big deal to it's sufferers."

The more I thought about it, the more I can see it. Not that I'm diminishing the horrible impact of cancer on people's lives, both sufferers and loved ones. I can think of nothing more devastating. But when it comes to anxiety, I can totally understand it.

After all, most women with PCOS have to fight for a long time to get a diagnosis. I myself had 20 long years of presenting to doctors with PCOS symptoms before I was diagnosed. We're told we're just too fat, lose weight and all our problems will go away, though anyone who knows anything about PCOS, knows that losing weight is extremely difficult for a PCOS sufferer. Even if we do lose weight, more often than not it makes not a lick of difference to our symptoms. It didn't to mine, I maintain that it made them worse in most cases.

PCOS has been referred to as the "Ugly bitch disease" by some misogynistic douchebags. Because it causes weight gain, cystic acne, hirsuitism and hair loss (yep, you can have both at the same time!) and a myriad of other fun symptoms. I also believe it causes depression, though this has not been added to the official swag of symptoms yet. So as well as all the so called "ugly" symptoms, we're also not always able to be shiny-happy women.

Is it any wonder we suffer anxiety as well?

PCOS also rips apart a woman's self esteem. Because it tears apart the fabric of what women are usually expected to be in Western society - thin, clear skinned, hairless, cheerful and good breeders. As Sabra says:
PCOS is a hidden syndrome in our society, because it encompasses many social taboos: excessive hair, obese/overweight women, childless women, depressed women.
Which is also part of the reason why this doesn't make news. News executives far prefer to concentrate on young, pretty, fertile women.
So consequently, most sufferers of PCOS feel anything but feminine and valuable. They believe themselves to be failures as women. They feel (and are often told by the douchebags of society) that they're fat, ugly, hairy, stupid, lazy, gluttonous, barren, unfeminine failures. That they are worth less because they don't fit some kind of ridiculous expectation of what a woman is supposed to be. Plus we're not allowed to talk about it, because it's taboo.

Is anyone still doubting that women with PCOS often suffer high anxiety? And that hasn't even got into the vast physical pain we usually suffer in our reproductive cycle.

Here's something I want to say to all the women with PCOS who might be reading this.

For about 4 years now, I've been actively seeking out other women with PCOS, or "cysters" as we're known, to have women around me who know what it's like to deal with all the icky things we cysters have to deal with, as quite often I didn't really feel like I had the right to have "normal" women around me. I have met hundreds of cysters, both here and in the US when I travelled there almost 2 years ago, not to mention the hundreds I have met virtually through various online communities that I haven't had the pleasure to meet face to face yet.

Those women have been incredible. Awesome. Amazing. Inspirational. Generous. Loving. Strong.


I seem to be able to spot a cyster a mile away. There is a mix of outer vulnerability and yet deep inner strength that I can see straight away. I see the signs of low self esteem, but also signs of grit, strength and inner fortitude that most other people never need to develop. Cysters so often feel they have to fight, they have to work, they have to protect, they have to struggle just to get through day to day life. I believe that develops in them an incredible strength of character that many other people never develop.

Being active in the cysterhood has brought me so many amazing women into my life, who have given me so much love and kindness, I could never repay it back. It's through loving them that I've found the ability to let go of all the PCOS self-loathing and love myself.

I want to give that back. I want to help cysters find the ability to love themselves. I want to build their self esteem like they built mine, to squash the demon of self-loathing that haunts cysters. The only way I know how to is to write. Then write some more. So I'm going to do that for my cysters.

Ladies, if you're reading this and have PCOS, speak up here in the comments. I want you all to tell me a story about a cyster you know who is awesome. Because she probably feels like she's a failure every day, just like you do. Let's celebrate the cysterhood.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When Lady Journalists Attack

Well, have I got something for you tonight! This article was published in the Courier Mail (Brisbane, Australia) today with the dramatic title of "Plus-size Models Doing Big Girls No Favour".

In it, the author, Susie O'Brien suggests that the increase in plus-size models in the fashion market are not a good idea because it gives the impression that it's ok to be fat. She also criticises television shows like Drop Dead Diva and the fact that retailers are starting to provide fashionable clothing for plus-sized women. To quote her directly:'
But there are also many larger people who are just plain fat, and who would be better off being encouraged to lose weight rather than always be told it's ok to be overweight.
Now firstly, I don't know about you, but I've never experienced being "always told it's ok to be overweight". ALWAYS told that Ms O'Brien? I am wondering where you got that idea. Perhaps it was the people on the street who yell encouragingly at fat women "Go for it sister!! Rock that hot fat body you sexy thing!" Or the constant news pieces about how AWESOME it is that there is an obesity crisis going on in our country. Maybe it's those doctors that tell us that our wonderful fat bodies protect us from disease and illness?

Oh hang on... that's in the reverse universe! Silly me. *eyeroll* Ms O'Brien dear, back to this universe hmmm?

She then goes on to say:
But it's time to get real - fat people may be happier but they're also digging their graves with a fork, and we're all paying for it.
Firstly, last time I looked I was a tax payer, in fact a taxpayer that has one of the highest quotas in relation to my income, because as a single, woman without children who works full time, and has private health cover, I'm not collecting anywhere from the Government for the tax I pay. So am I not entitled to a piece of my tax dollar coming back to me? Fat people pay tax too y'know Ms O'Brien.

And secondly, here we go again, the old fat people shame trick. All of us fatty pigs that are going to die and make the rest of "normal society" pay their hard earned dollars for us to be happy and fat.

Now, they didn't publish my comment that I left on this article, probably because it makes sense, but what I asked is this - If shaming and pressuring people into thinness actually worked to make the "obesity crisis" go away, wouldn't we have seen evidence of this by now? After all, Westerners have been heavy into the diet thing for some decades now. I know that my Grandmother has been dieting and felt shame about her weight all my life, and as you know I'm past 35. I daresay she was doing so before I was born. It was really the 50's and 60's that saw the diet/body obsession culture kick off, and then it kind of went nuclear in the 80's. So if all these decades of shame and body obsession and thin = beauty actually worked, wouldn't the levels of obesity in our culture be decreasing, not increasing? Wouldn't the average be smaller than in the past, than larger?

Perhaps, just perhaps, by empowering people with confidence, strong self esteem, and a sense of achievement and a place in society, they're more likely to be productive, healthy members of that society? They're more likely to have the confidence to take on a productive role in society, to be active and willing participants in life rather than shutting themselves away in shame and embarrassment.

I certainly think so.

But what I think sums up Ms O'Brien perfectly is this sentence.

Losing weight is hard work. It takes sacrifice and effort. As a mother of three in my late 30's with a new gym membership, I know this first-hand.
I think I understand. Perhaps Ms O'Brien doesn't like her own body. If she doesn't like her own body, how dare anyone that she considers fatter than her like theirs? Everyone should put in all that sacrifice and effort that she is. Let alone all that money she spent on her fancy gym membership. Perhaps if Ms O'Brien stopped worrying about how everyone else is living their lives, and focused on letting go of her own body issues, she might realise that it's none of her business.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dating for Fatties: 101


I recently got a lovely email from a lady named Helen in response to my post "Sex and the Single Fatty". Helen shared with me her own dating experiences (she's about my age) and is looking for some positive, affirming advice for the single fatty over 30. She has asked a few questions, but I'll give you an idea of where she is coming from.

She's doing the online dating thing, and says:

I like how chemistry.com allows folks to state what body types they are attracted to: guys who only want women who are slender/toned/about average are guys I instantly delete as matches: this takes a lot of the pressure off of me when I GET to the date, because I know that the guy in question has stated and openness or attraction to larger women.

Kudos to Helen for putting herself out there and filtering out the douchebags from the get-go. She then goes on to say though:

1) This means that I am deleting about 90% of the matches I'm given, which takes a toll on me eventually, and 2) I hate, hate, hate how often guys say (as one match I just got did) that they want women who "take care of themselves" and "have self respect for their appearance". Of course, I do do both of those things, but I know full well that he means that he wants a thin girl; he just can't bring himself to say that. Reading those sorts of comments over and over and then deleting the match... I think it takes a toll on me. I've also wondered about the BBW dating sites. Has anyone reading this had good experiences with those?

So let's talk about it my fellow lovely fatties? What are your thoughts and experiences?

I tried the whole online dating myself and found it very demoralising, just as Helen has mentioned. Not only because there are a lot of douchebags out there, but also because I feel that without you being face to face, there are many people who find it much easier to be rude and even nasty via email or a website. Where if they met you face to face somewhere, one would think they're more likely to be polite and respectful. As I mentioned on the earlier post linked above, I received a lot of douchebag comments and attitudes from internet dating.

Personally, I feel much more comfortable in just being social and meeting as many new people as I can. So long as I'm socially active, I'm opening myself up to meeting guys, and I hope that the people I meet and like also socialise with nice guys. I'm open to meeting guys that are friends, brothers, colleagues etc of people.

As for BBW dating sites in particular, I'll be honest it kind of rankles with me. I don't want some guy to date me simply because I'm fat. The same as I wouldn't want a guy to only date me if I was thin. I want a man who wants to be with me because he likes who I am, not what I am. Does that make sense?

Personally I'm looking for someone who is more interested in me as a person than just the surface stuff. To all the guys out there, I say...


So the floor is open ladies (and any gents that are reading). How do those of you who are single negotiate the world of fatty dating? For those of you fatties who are coupled up, tell us how you got that way! And if there are any fellas reading, give us your perspective on da fat ladeez in the dating world.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

PCOS in the Fatosphere

Before I get into the meat and veg of this post, did you see my new mascot, there on the right? That's my new heffalump, created by the rather talented Luke Bamkin. I have got plans to change the whole layout of the blog more and feature this art more prominently, but I wanted to pop my new friend up there straight away, with her shiny, round, fat buttocks. Cute huh?

Tonight I want to talk some more about PCOS and fat acceptance. I suffer PCOS, and for some years have been quite active in the "cysterhood". Finding women out there that knew all the things I was going through was a hugely healing and strengthening process for me, as prior to being welcomed into the cysterhood, I had always felt inadequate and somehow less than other women. Mostly because I didn't fit what was sold to me as normal for a woman physically. Not just in my body shape and size, but because my body didn't do things that other women's bodies seemed to do naturally. And as my fellow cysters know all too well, sometimes our bodies do extra things that other women's bodies do not do.


To start with, it was nightmarish for me to get a diagnosis of what was wrong with me. In hindsight, I first presented to a doctor with PCOS symptoms when I was 12 years old. I was first officially diagnosed an astonishing 20 years later! Can you believe it? For 20 years I went to doctor after doctor after doctor with all of these things that were happening to me, only to be either misdiagnosed or fobbed off.

And of course, the most common response from doctors in that 20 years was "Lose weight." With no explanation of what losing weight would actually do (other than make me thin) or what was wrong with me. I can remember at 19 going to the doctor after having bled heavily and been in pain for 18 months straight and his treatment? "Go and lose some weight and find yourself a bloke, when you're ready to have babies, we'll look at it all."


How this is not grossly negligent, I do not know. But it was indicative of most of the "treatment" that I got over that 20 years. PCOS sufferers often suffer debilitating depression as a result of the vast amounts of hormones flooding their bodies, but can you imagine what this kind of treatment at the hands of the medical profession does to women who already have low self esteem, feel unfeminine and who often live in vast amounts of pain?

However, at 32 years of age, I finally got a diagnosis. With a very good doctor who was, and is, the most sensitive I have ever encountered and I've been her patient ever since. However, her first treatment was to get me losing weight. Being the good girl, I followed her advice, and we tried a LOT of things to get me to lose weight. From food diaries to Metformin to the worst of them all... duramine (legally prescribed speed - EVIL stuff).


I joined a lot of PCOS groups and forums online. I met literally hundreds of amazing women, some of whom I am now lucky to call my dearest friends, all over the world. But the entire culture of "fat is evil" is rampant within the cystersphere, from high profile cysters who have their own boards who promote boot camps and radically restrictive diets, which I believe are projections of their own fat fear and self hatred, to the high promotion of weight loss surgery, diet fads that come and go, and many frightening medications that make cysters very, very sick with their side effects (oh that duramine!)

As per my last post, I did lose weight, a LOT of weight (though not with the duramine, that shit nearly killed me) and guess what? My PCOS symptoms got worse. And I fell apart, emotionally, mentally and physically.

But as hitting rock bottom often is, it was the push I needed to start swimming to the surface in my life. The fabulous GP referred me to a psychologist who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.


It started with finding some confidence. Not being so hard on myself. Building up the self esteem. I started reaching out to other cysters the way many had reached out to me, because I want to give back and the feeling of seeing a new cyster friend hit that moment of "Oh my God I am NOT a FREAK!" is just wonderful. I started pushing back gently with my GP about the weight loss thing, and amazingly, she has responded positively. I gave up the Metformin (which I will admit, did give me a clockwork cycle if nothing else) and found the fat acceptance movement. I stopped obsessing about food and exercise and my body and focused on feeling good, inside and out. And I feel healthier than ever right now.

I really feel that we cysters are put through so much. To start with our bodies aren't like "normal" women's bodies, and that not only causes us pain and low self esteem, but it worries us as well. Then we go through the whole cycle of doctors telling us we're too fat, lose weight and our troubles will go away which is so often simply not true. Then they shove us through all kinds of invasive, painful and humiliating medical procedures and drugs to try to get us to lose weight. Let alone the ones they foist on us if we want to have babies, which so often just don't work either. Finally they wash their hands of us once we either finish our breeding or decide not to breed. As though the value of our health is only valid when we are breeding. And finally when we do reach menopause, they ignore the fact that it is more likely for us to have traumatic menopause because of the different hormone patterns.

If you're a sufferer of PCOS, leave me a comment, tell me your experiences. Particularly around fat acceptance/discrimination with your PCOS.


I want to connect cysters up within the fatosphere, without all of the fat hatred and the "You must lose weight or you're never going to survive PCOS" schtick. I want to connect up the single cysters, the lesbian cysters, the very young cysters and the older cysters, the cysters who have chosen not to have children or who have reached the end of that fight. I want it to be about who you are as wonderful, strong, resilient women, not about your body shape and breeding abilities.

Most of all, I want cysters to find their self esteem, to learn that they are awesome women and that the healthiest thing you can do is learn to love yourself.