Wow, that sounds so weird, doesn’t it? I mean, try typing ‘Angry Skinny Chick’ into a Google image search engine and what you see is pretty innocuous. A lot of pictures of Amy Winehouse, some sadly anorexic looking models, but for the most part just a diverse grouping of photos with no real overarching theme.
Now type in ‘Angry Fat Chick’ and see what you get. I’ll wait… you go ahead…
So, what did you see? I came up with a shocking number of women, many considered morbidly obese by traditional medical standards, many naked or nearly naked, in various unflattering and degrading poses. One woman sits on a bed eating a whole cake, another is giving the middle finger salute with a scowl on her face. Two queen sized women sit on a bed in sexy lingerie feeding each other French fries. And of course there’s the obligatory unflattering photo of Kirstie Alley.
And then there’s this photo
Which, for some reason, linked back to a blog that seems to not only register football statistics, but also serves as a racist and sexist forum disparaging candid bikini photos of celebrities such as Penelope Cruz, with such gem-like comments as “She doesn’t appear to have a huge vagina like most latin women.” WTF??? I wasn’t able to find out where or why the lovely, smiley plus sized lingerie model ended up on this site or what was said about her (and really, maybe it’s better I never know) but considering the rest of the site, I’m assuming that’s for the best.
Now let me tell you the story that got me on this rant to begin with…
I have to confess that with two young kids, I’m as guilty as the next mum of schlumping around in my ‘mommy wear.’ Jeans, comfortable sweaters and tops, clunky shoes, shapeless coats – you know the uniform. But with the promise of a new job in plus size fashion (more on that in another post), I made a promise to myself that I would try to step up my fashion game, even when I was in mommy mode.
So, off I go to the local office supplies store to get some photocopies done. It’s a beautiful fall day, cool but sunny, and I’m wearing my hot new brown biker boots (thank you Payless), some skinny jeans and this awesome coat that comes to just above my knees and fits me to a T. It’s grey and black, with just enough fitting at the waist to give it shape and best of all, it was $30 at Walmart. I had put a cute scarf around my neck, some sunglasses, earrings and off I went. I was looking pretty hot and feeling pretty confident, if I do say so myself.
On the way home, I’m walking down a major Toronto street, shopping bag in one hand, trusty large Timmies in the other, and I notice this girl who is walking towards me has her flip phone open and extended in my direction. I’m not paying too much attention to what she’s up to other than to notice that she’s pretty young and dressed in that early twenties uniform of the year, with a demin skirt over footless leggings and little flat shoes. Then the strangest thing happens. She starts to yell at me. Honestly it took me a second to realize that it was directed at me at all, except that I also suddenly realized that she had taken my picture. I can’t remember everything she said because I was so shocked and I frankly didn’t stop to lend her an ear but the parts I really remember were…
“Oh my god, you are so derivative. Everything about you is so derivative.”
“You are just an angry fat chick”
This went on for about 30 seconds tops, basically the time it took for her to pass me and for me to keep walking out of her shouting range, although she did continue shouting at me once I had passed her by. I almost felt sorry for the poor guy just behind her who looked horrified and stunned. Being me, and always wanting to make everything okay, I gave him a little smile and said something to the effect of ‘Wow, that girl is crazy.’
Still, what she did to me stayed with me for ages. I was so upset that day. I think only twice before in my life have I had somebody make a negative comment to me about my weight. But then I got thinking and I started Googling (Well to be honest, the Googling came the next day because I was curious to see if my photo was going to turn up in some rant piece by this poor disturbed young woman). And what I started thinking was that her tirade had nothing to do with me seeming angry (because who could be angry in a brand new outfit, carrying a large coffee?). It had to do with me being visible and proud and put-together, and fashionable, and confident. I wasn’t trying to fade into the scenery. I think that more than anything else is what the whole ‘Angry Fat Chick’ thing is about.
In our diet obsessed culture, those of us who do not conform to the ridiculous standards set forth by high fashion and the media are supposed to be ashamed. We are supposed to remain invisible, skulk around on the periphery of life. And that made me kind of sad for that young woman who was so obviously taken in by everything the media had fed her that she felt she needed to take out her rage on a complete stranger. It made me realize that she was the one who was so sadly derivative. How many other women out there are just like her? So taken in by all of the convoluted messages that they have received since childhood that they feel the worst, most horrible thing you could ever be is ‘fat.’ Don’t get me wrong, the fact that she felt she could take out her delusional rage on a complete stranger still pisses me off. The fact that she could put such a dent in my day and affect me enough that I still feel, months later, that I need to comment on it makes me a pretty angry fat chick. But then I take a deep breath because I simply refuse to give her the satisfaction and in fact, I think I’ll wear the very same outfit today in her honour. Timmies here I come.