Today one of my co-workers told me that my sense of humor reminded him of “that one chick from SNL.” There are a handful of female cast members, yet I felt certain I knew which one he was talking about. “The fat one?” I asked. He got a panicked look in his eye and stammered for a minute before describing some of the recurring sketches she does. He knew...as did I...and he knew that I knew...that he was talking about the fat chick.
This is NOT the first time this has happened, and I find it pretty convenient that I remind so many of my male friends and co-workers of overweight comediennes. I myself am overweight and lean heavily on my sense of humor, sometimes to a fault. But does that make me comparable to every fat female comic? I'd like to think people see more than that. When something like this happens it forces me to look at myself the way some people must see me, and it's pretty upsetting. I accept myself the way I am, though if I'm being totally honest I don't really feel like I belong in this body. The way I feel inside doesn't match the reflected image in the bathroom mirror, and sometimes I'll catch a sideways glance in the glass of a door or window and have to look twice to convince myself it's really me there. When that happens I realize how I look through other people's eyes, and I know that there are many who will never really, truly get to know me. I want to think that I'm wrong about this but it's difficult when, just today, someone who interacts with me every day has basically reduced my personality to "fat funny girl."
I believe a lot of people are programmed to view overweight women as unappealing, unhealthy; basically the worst thing a woman can be. We're punchlines, dirty little secrets, worst case scenarios and cautionary tales. But we're NOT seen as complex individuals. No one wants to imagine a fat girl as someone who feels complicated emotions or has sexual desires. Why has society created an environment where it’s totally normal for these women to feel like they’ve done something wrong…is it fair for me to feel as though I’ve let someone down because I’m not the standard of physical beauty?