Do I Look Fat in This?

Yesterday I was reading a book called ‘Do I Look Fat in This?’ about body image and feeling fat. The basic premise is that ‘fat isn’t a feeling’, something I’ve heard before – when we say we feel fat, we mean we are sad or angry or happy, but can’t express that, so use fat as a catch-all for our emotional state.

I basically believe that but one thing bugged me. She reckons whenever we ask ‘do I look fat in this?’, we are asking for attention and validation. When someone asks you that, you should respond by asking them how they really feel. Now I don’t know about you, if I ask someone if I looked fat and they started asking me about my feelings, I’d feel like giving them a knuckle sandwich.

But then, I can’t remember ever asking if I look fat in something unless I want to know if I look fat (actually I’d be more like to ask – ‘do I look okay?’ as in do I have something wrong with my outfit that I can’t see for myself). Maybe I’m not a real girlie girl but I ask that question wanting an honest opinion before I leave the house, not reassurance.

The other thing that struck me while reading this book is that fat is one of the few words left you can use to hurt someone. Call a woman a slut or a bitch or princess nowadays and they are more likely to take it as compliment than an insult. So many words that were once had the power to insult have been reclaimed, how do you put someone down? You call them fat. Telling someone they are a bitch is weak, but change that to ‘fat bitch’ and you get a reaction.

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10 responses to “Do I Look Fat in This?

  1. FindingONEderland

    For me when I say I feel fat it is because I am feeling bloated and uncomfortable in my skin. Interesting that some other might mean something else by it though. And I agree with you, if for some reason I did ask someone if I looked fat in something and they started to answer with something like the answer they gave in the book I would feel it was avoiding telling me I was.

  2. You are so dead on about how feeling fat is actually having other complex feeling that just “fat”…it’s about so much more.

  3. I’m with you Kathryn. I don’t ask if I look fat, more ‘Do I look ok?’ (given that I am fat lol). It’s only a problem if you care what people think to the degree that you will change to suit them/society.

  4. your bloody valentine

    I don’t think I’ve ever asked the question “do I look fat in this?”. I can tell by the looks on friends faces when trying things on how good/bad the thing may be so I never needed really needed the validation and the attention. I dress to please myself, sometimes it’s a failure, most times it works. Generally, I can tell when I look like my arse is bigger than normal and I usually steer clear of clothes that give me an unflattering appearance.

  5. I never ask anyone if I look fat either, because, I am fat and don’t need to be reminded 😉 I also usually don’t ask anyone if I look okay because I am usually the most critical of myself and I don’t want to hear another person being critical of me. Maybe that will change when I reach my goal weight, but I doubt it.

  6. Yep, when I say I feel fat it’s totally because I’m bloated or feeling ill from stuffing myself.

    Dan gets the “do I look ok” question but that’s more for him to check my behind for VPL or my clothing being out of place…like tucked in my undies! Never a good look 😉

  7. holy crap, you are so right about the word. all the sting has been taken out of other words that would have been horrible a few years ago. but ‘fat’ still feels like a kick in the guts… the new f word.

  8. How do I really feel? I feel f%#king fat!!!!

    Add PMT to the mix and you have a near lethal combination. The most fabulous man in the world could throw himself at me and tell me I am gorgeous, but when I have my fat and frumpy hat on ‘aint nothing gonna change my mind

    Just caught up on your last 3 posts, everyone a gem. totally get the “guy looking in your direction” bit, PMSL

  9. oh so true! mind you “fat” is banned as a swear word at our primary school and that’s a great step – it eliminates a lot of bullying for sure!

  10. I Totally agree,if I ask “do I look fat in this” , that’s exactly what I’m asking! Derrr to whoever wrote that book, bloody know it all! And you are right about insulting someone nowdays, I call people and myself Tart heaps, but I mean it in a “Nice” way, weird eh? Fat is insulting still, will never change.

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