Someone posed this question to me recently, and ever since then I have been curious about people’s differing opinions. I am posting this question in a few places online, and I will also ask around in person to see if I get different answers face-to-face. I’m not sure if anyone else is interested in this, but if I do get some interesting feedback I will post a follow-up article with the results.
Almost everyone I know thinks they are fat. If you turn on the computer or TV, or open a magazine, or really just look at any kind of advertisement in general, you’ll see several pictures of skinny, smiling women. Men like this for obvious reasons, but what about the other half of the target demographic? Most women will say something along the lines of, “I wish I could be that skinny. I’m just soooo fat,” and pinch a miniscule bit of tissue around their midsection in demonstration of their immense corpulence. This, of course, is ridiculous. Even the men who ogle these advertisements can put their tongues back in their mouths long enough to reassure you they know these women are airbrushed into deformed, plastic creatures entirely intended to make women feel bad enough about themselves to fork over the money for any kind of product or procedure that might bring them a tiny step closer to being that happy “ideal” woman.
This unattainable ideal makes it difficult to decide exactly what makes a person “fat” in the first place. Is the chubby girl over there fat, or is she just “a little chunky”? Is the man with a beer gut and skinny legs fat? Surely the guy who can barely fit into his airplane seat is fat. Right? What determines this? Fat people generally know they are fat, which makes sense, but sometimes healthy or even skinny people also think they are fat, which I don’t understand. Some people look at a curvy, voluptuous girl and think she looks amazing, while others turn up their noses and say she is too big.
Is it a comparison? I’m thinking specifically of that saying that goes “God, if you won’t make me skinny, at least make my friends fat.” Is it okay to be a little heavy when you know all of your friends outweigh you? That automatically designates you as “the skinny one” when you go out together. Or maybe it is a societal standard that determines it. Because the person in the magazine ad could thread themselves through the eye of a needle, does this mean you are too big?
Is it based purely on BMI? Body fat percentage? How many chins you have?
If you have an opinion or a preference (No? Of course you do…) let me know and I will add your answer to my list of results.