In the course of a conversation at work yesterday, my colleague asked me if I knew Ms. X. When I said that I couldn't place her, my colleague responded:
"Oh, you probably met her at my annual Christmas party. She's quite heavy, but it's genetic, you know. She doesn't overeat or anything."
This response really struck me. My colleague had to make sure that I realized that her friend was a "good" person...despite being overweight. The sub-text, of course, is that being fat is "bad", but there are some "good" fatties nevertheless.
I actually put myself to the good/bad fatty test just this past weekend. My family and I went to a Sunday brunch for Father's Day and I started watching what people put on their plates and what they looked like. Of course, the first thing I noticed was some overweight people with their plates piled high. But then I looked again and saw all the skinny or "normal" weight people and guess what their plates looked like? They too were piled high. And I realized that I was trying to blame the fatties: if they didn't pile their plates so high, they would be slim. But then, what is one to think of the skinny minnies, their plates just as full as their fat neighbours'? Are the former "bad" and the latter "good"?
Blame and shame. Because we can. And because we want the world to make sense. And it only makes sense if we can place the blame for obesity squarely on the shoulders of the obese.
Oh, and what about my plate? C'mon. Take a guess!