Last night I happened upon the PBS Front Line program “All of Me” by Independent Lens. I was fascinated by the sociological and psychological implications of losing weight, particularly of obese and morbidly obese women that were featured.
An important part of the conversation was about acceptance of fat. One of the women said something to the effect of, “We came together as fat girls/fat women.” But then the documentary goes on to show how the women changed towards each other after weight loss surgery and the challenging effects of shifting perceptions of the self on the group.
(Venus of Willendorf)
One of my close relatives is into the BBW (Big Beautiful Women) scene. He prefers his women super-sized. He came to where I live to be with a woman that had to be in the mid 400 pound range. She was not a happy camper but he certainly was.
The women in the PBS documentary talk about their relationship to men, the power fat has over certain men and the fetishes some men have for having very large women sit on them, dance with them and even eat in front of them. These men, like my relative, are willing to travel great distances and spend a lot of cash, to meet up with and hook up with BBWs.
The documentary centers on the Austin Chapter of the National Association for the Acceptance of Fat Association (NAAFA). This is both a fun organization with local chapters and national conventions, and a form of activism, as its name implies.
I was fascinated by the program and the particular group of women in it, on many levels. I observed some people that were comfortable in their skin, some who seemed to struggle with deep-seated depression and one woman named Cathy that was so ill physically and mentally that she died during the filming of the show.
Then too, there is former plus-sized model, Dawn, who had the persona of Bridget in some kinky publications who reveled in her past.
The statements said or shown that struck me the most, besides the title of this post were:
- Losing lots of weight would take me into a new area I've never been since childhood, decades ago.
- People think those that are overweight have character flaws; we all do, ours are just more apparent. (Judy)
- People think we are slobs, dirty and lazy.
- Losing weight means losing the image you and the people you associate with love.
- Accept me for who I am.
- And finally, just because you have a lap band, doesn't mean you can’t gain weight again.
(Mujer Obesa by Botero)
I saw Szalynn from this documentary before. I believe it was on “My 600 Pound Life” but it may have also been on Dr. Oz, talking about her acceptance of her super-size. Her story makes me the saddest because she has a young child that loves her so much and an abusive, enabling husband, from all appearances, if memory serves me correctly. While planning for her weight loss surgery, she actually gained quite a bit of weight—I've been there (in terms of planning a diet) and done that (gained weight in the process).
I am not judging these women that are in BBW groups like NAAFA. A while back, I was approved for weight loss surgery but decided to lose it myself without surgery. I have also spent decades in self-acceptance mode, loving my food while at the same time accepting how fat it made me.
What I keyed into the most was the spiritual and mental implications of being overweight. For me, that always trumps the body in the weight loss conversation. I can’t speak for being morbidly obese because I haven’t been there but I just officially went under the BMI that is called obese, so I do know something about that.
What happened people may ask? Something gets broken inside. I know this all too well. It is often, but not always, caused by childhood trauma of one sort or another.
Rather than simply cutting, whether it is calories or surgery, there needs to be some mending of those broken bits. The mending that would make someone broken whole again, is what I find mind, body, and spiritual, connection provides. That is why I'm writing the book I am working on.