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2005-05-09 - 8:53 p.m.

Fat is the new racism.

I've had this thought before, but I've been thinking about it a lot over the past several days. People treat you differently fat than they do thin.

People look at you differently, fat to thin. Not just in a sexual, more or less attractive way; there are levels of disgust, or pity. Assumptions and judgements made, especially if you have the misfortune to be outdoors and eating something. The subtle (or not so subtle) winces as you sit down on some piece of furniture.

There are the men that think you will be grateful for the least scrap of their attention and open your legs for only a smile (and sometimes they are right).

There are catty girls (and when are there not?) who will snark to your face and try and steal your man behind your back. There are the weak and insecure who will be your friend only as long as you remain fat, and no competition.

Completely aside from the plethora of gastric-bypass ads, and Bally's commercials, and the promises of quasi-legal pharmeceutical firms, there is the subtler mockery in the media. A soft ridicule that seeps and creeps, passive. Osmosis of prejudice.

I'm not as thin as I'd like to be, but in honest moments, I have to admit I'm no longer fat. Which doesn't mean that wouldn't be the first thing someone who wanted to be hurtful would fling at me. I have no doubt they would. Because they know how deeply that would cut. But whether I am or am not physically fat, I still FEEL, fat. I still expect chairs to not fit, or to break (not that they ever did). I still feel self-conscious about eating in public. I still feel like I should apologize for my chubby arms, that my abs don't ripple, that I don't wear a size two. And I wonder if it will ever stop. If I'll ever feel the truth of how I look. I wonder if "fat girl" will remain indelibly part of my psychological make-up as much as "smoker" remains part of my mom's.

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