I wish it was true that fat people were not discriminated against. Unfortunately, a lifetime of experience and my recent foray into online dating has some evidence to the contrary.
It’s not a heckle as I walk down the street, or a refusal to be served in a retail store that obviously doesn’t carry my size. That is overtly rude, and while it has occasionally happened, that is not the type of discrimination I usually encounter being a size 18. No, for me it’s about being overlooked.
Take my recent experience on a popular online dating site that states that they find your perfect match based on your interests and personality. I had over 400 matches in 2 months, which is great, unless you look at the fact that less than 5% of them corresponded with me. That’s right. I am a loving, educated professional who is passionate about helping people, I have a wicked sense of humour, and I can hold my own in the looks department. Oh, and yes, I like to be active and work out as well. Based on the fact that we were “matched” based on common interests, values, etc…. my only conclusion is that at least 380 men within 100 miles of Vancouver think I am too large to be in a relationship with.
The reason I say I don’t think people are consciously discriminating against larger people is because we all have a filter with which we view life. That filter is made up of all of our experiences, our beliefs, and a lot of that comes from the media. If close to 60% of Canadians are now considered overweight, is that reflected in our media? This is also the same filter whose results have at least 20% of us believing that fit=slim. I know plenty of slim people who don’t exercise or take care of themselves.
This is not about being anti-slim or pro-fat. This is about the number of people who aren’t aware that they are actually filtering out an entire portion of the population based on their pre-conceived notions of who fat people are.
I can’t guarantee that I will always be heavy, or that I will be slim. What I do know is that I will always be a great person- fun, active and caring. My hope is that others will open their eyes and their minds to look past what they think they see.