This read hurts.
“I am not a fat activist. This is not about the need for acceptance of fat people, although I would prefer that thinner people find me disgusting.”
It is riveting, unbearably painful and at times shocking to the most shock-resistant. Raised by an abusive, narcissistic mother who claimed she “worked her fingers to the bone” while alternately ignoring or viciously attacking her child and kept far from her father – a man who shared her overweight tendencies including self-comforting with food – Moore endures life as a fat person who accepts the abuse sanctioned by society as something she deserves.Â She is molested at a movie theater, screamed at and beaten by her mother, told by a friend- without soliciting his comment – that she is “too fat to fuck.”
As a fat woman with a narcissistic nightmare of a mother and no support from extended family, this book was way too close to home for me. Moore, who is now deceased, was my mother’s age when she endured this treatment. The abuse I received was dialed down – each generation seems to purge some of the “acceptable” abuse that comes from the one before – but even so, I saw a lot of the same woman in her mother and mine.
What made the book an especially rough read is the attitude of society outside her home: outer society used her her obesity as an excuse for abusing her. Her appearance – and collective offense at it – mattered more to her than what she actually did. While the truth – that the reader can see – is that it’s the people that went out of their way to be mean to her that are the failures, the ones who have done wrong – it’s also clear that she bought into the lie they keep selling to her that her fatness makes their behavior her fault.
It is obvious to the reader that much of Moore’s fatness and obesity cycling is the direct result of abuse by her mother and by society. In one horrific tale after another we see her grow up on constant diets only to find herself cycling over and over again as her mother’s denied love and outright cruelty drives her back to food. When her father finally meets with her, the brainwashing of her mother against him is so strong she can’t see that he feels great remorse for not seeking her out (and she never seems to question whether he tried to contact her or not.) It is a heartbreaking read, all the moreso because I know there are people out there living out what Moore lived out herself.
Sadly, Moore passed away from colon cancer in 2006 so I will never have an opportunity to ask her her own thoughts on her book.
I recommend this read for people who want to know that they are not the only ones going through this – with the understanding that they do have allies among all body types, too. Those allies may be hard to find but we are out there.
I also feel compelled to add the caveat: no one has a single formula cause for obesity. Sometimes it’s merely a symptom of disease. Sometimes it’s a physical condition. Sometimes it’s a tumor or something causing all sorts of havoc.Â What happened with Moore – where it’s a combination of genetics and an abusive household – has definitely happened elsewhere but it’s not the answer to the causes of obesity. There are fat kids in healthy, happy, eat all your veggies and here’s a new bike homes. There are fat kids in miserable ones, too. That single, paint it all with one brush answer you’re looking for? Use it for something besides obesity. Wrong tool, bucko. You need something for discernment here.
- A Fat Girls Self Worth(loosingthefatgirl.wordpress.com)
- Inside The Horrifying World Of Online Fat-Shaming(nayawyatt.wordpress.com)
- the HAES files: History of the Health At Every Size Movement – Late 1990s (Part 5)(healthateverysizeblog.org)
- What Fat Girls Know(loosingthefatgirl.wordpress.com)