Ranty Friday — Fat is not beautiful

Yep.  Apparently so.   If you are fat you cannot be either beautiful or successful.

Let me explain.  I saw a good friend of mine this week as she came to my house straight from a meeting at school where she had been discussing one of her children with the Deputy Head.   The above words actually came out of the Deputy Head’s mouth.

“well if you are fat you can’t be beautiful and nobody who is fat will ever be successful”.

From a Deputy Head of a school full of children.

I was.  Am.  Incensed.   I am livid.     If you cannot be fat and beautiful ergo only skinny is beautiful.   Is that correct?  Is it?  Not on my sodding watch it isn’t.

Healthier, yes.   Less likely to have a heart attack?  Maybe.   But less beautiful?  Sod the sod off and when you get their lady sod off some more.

Yes, I suppose we are all entitled to our opinion and her opinion might be that beautiful people are only people who are skinny.  I get that.  Beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all that.   But to tell that to children?  To teenagers growing up in an image obsessed society?  No no no.

What on earth are we doing to impressionable teenagers if we tell them that they are only beautiful if they are skinny?  That they will only be successful if they aren’t above a size 12?    Well there is no point those slightly larger teens sitting their GCSEs next summer then, is there?  They are never going to be successful, never going to make anything of themselves, simply because they are slightly heavier than 10 other people in their class.

What utter utter garbage.

I am fat.   I put my hand up to that.  I am a size 20 on top, 18 on the bottom.   I have never been skinny.  Ever.  I was 11 stone at 12.   However, I am vaguely successful.   Got a house.  Got a husband.  Got three healthy kids.   Got a bit of money in the bank.  Okay it’s not as much as I would like and by day three of the month I am living on my overdraft, but hey, aren’t we all?   I have a mildly successful blog.   Have been relatively successful on the job front in the past.   All whilst being a lard arse.

So what are you going to say to that lady deputy head?  Am I the exception that proves the rule?  Of course I am not.    Am I beautiful?  Well I am not so arrogant as to say I am, who would say that about themselves?  But they don’t use my face to make ugly biscuits so I must be sort of all right.

And who are you to judge that anyway Mrs?  Hmmm?  Who are you to say that anybody else is or isnt beautiful?  Are you?  I haven’t had the pleassure of meeting you so I can’t tell but you are not going to appearing on the front page of Vogue anytime soon I suspect so I am assuming in the eyes of the media you are not beautiful.   But does that matter?  Of course it doesn’t.

So why are you telling children this rubbish?  It’s damaging.   Very very damaging.     You are perpetuating the myth that only skinny people are beautiful and successful and that is dangerous.    It only takes a sensitive child to hear that and you set off a whole life time of eating disorders.

Believe me.

I suggest you invite Natasha Devon into your school because by God your children are going to need it if you carry this on.   Tasha teaches self esteem to students in a great initiative called Body Gossip.  Here is a link to the Education Programme teaching students to be confident and “Be You Tiful” no matter what their shape or size.

And until then.  Please, I beg you, shut up.

Dawn French.  Slightly larger lady.  Beautiful AND successful.

Jo Brand.  Slightly larger lady.  She is beautiful AND successful

Anne Widdecombe.  Slightly larger lady.  Okay some might say she is not beautiful but I am sure people that know her would say she is lovely AND she is successful.

Marilyn Monroe compared to today’s skinny models would be deemed to be larger, are you telling me she wasn’t beautiful?   No.  Of course not.

Why do we have keep judging people on their dress size?   Why is that a measure of beauty or success?  It truly isn’t.

So be quiet at the back.

Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin’ world go round 

Don’t mess with Brian May on this one


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  • I am outraged!!!!!!! Does she know that quite a lot of those thin pretty people are taking drugs to keep thin. Have eating disorders that could kill them. Have such low self asteem because they think they only matter if they stay thin. Being proud abd confident in your skin makes you beautiful what ever your weight is. I used to be thin and curvaceous and yes I got more attention but only by people who were artificial. I’m now overweight and disabled. What I’ve found is special people in my life who love me for me. They still think I ‘m beautiful and they also see the hidden beauty in me. I think she needs reporting to the powers that be!

    • Thank you SO much for your comment. You have hit the nail on the head. People starving themselves to be thin are rarely happy. And yes, good point about the drugs angle too. I am pleased it is not just me!

  • Oh my goodness, I am in TEARS reading this. The only time I have ever been “thin” was when I was starving myself, and ill with bulima, in order to make myself beautiful, because of the distorted view the world forces on women. How DARE a teacher, in a position like that, say things like that. I am not sure I would have been able to restrain my self and not have punched her! That’s appalling. I will never be a size 8, or even a size 10 and to be honest, I may never be a size 12 or even a 14 again, I am trying to be healthy, and loose a little weight, but more for my own benefit, and not for other people or because society says I have to. 🙁

    • Thank you. *passes tissue* It has to be for our own benefit doesnt it? We can’t do if for other people, least of all society. She should be ashamed of herself. I can’t imagine how many children in that school are controlling their food intake because of what she has said. And you are right, I don’t know how my friend didn’t thump her either.

  • Oh good grief. This is absolutely DISGUSTING BEYOND BELIEF. I actually cannot believe that someone said this. Seriously, someone actually said that? To children? I would be marching down to the newspaper office right now with an article written up about this utterly disgraceful attitude. I am sick, sick, sick of our teenagers being made to feel ‘ugly’. I’m going through it with Amy. She is my daughter and I am biased, but she’s beautiful and I think she may just be successful in adulthood. She’s relatively slim though has the puppy fat that a lot of teens have. She’s nearly 6 foot tall and has been called a Gentle Giant at school because no one dares mess with her even though she’s kind and thoughtful and they all know she wouldn’t hurt a fly!

    But she’s come home once or twice and told me about a skinny teacher who’s told her she might not want to eat that piece of chocolate cake with her lunch because she needs to be careful about her weight at her age. At 14. Yes, that’s true as well, Mummy B. And I almost picked up the phone when she told me because like you, I was outraged. But I let it go. Amy doesn’t listen half the time anyway, and even though she is easily influenced, I have had a chat with her form teacher who told me she doesn’t eat much at lunch time. It’s an ongoing issue and if I find out the reason for this is because of what that teaching assistant said, I shall be in that school faster than you can say “Calories”.

    I reckon your friend should be keeping an eye on this because it could get out of hand. Like you say, rubbish like what this teacher has said is the start of some poor girl getting an eating disorder.

    I’m a size 16 and have been for several years now. I was a 12-14 through my 20s and most of my 30s but have ‘spread out’ in late 30s and 40s (I’m 44 in a couple of weeks). My sister is a size 6 -8. She’s ridiculously skinny and I do actually think she has a bit of a problem. Not an eating disorder as such but something going on inside that puts her off food – does that make sense? She hardly eats, then shovels food in one day for no reason and then spends hours feeling sick and bloated. My mum is a size 12, always has been as long as I can remember. Anyway, I’m sick of them both telling me I’m ‘big’, and ‘you take after your dad’s side of the family’ – who, incidentally, were all very overweight and rather unhealthy, though my lovely dad wasn’t grossly overweight but did suffer a fatal heart attack at age 58. My sister-in-law (lovely woman) was a size 22 and last year went down to a size 16-18 after a fitness regime in order to raise money for the National Autistic Society (a charity obviously VERY close to my heart). So, every time I see my mum and sister, I get “oooh, have you seen Linda recently, she looks great, lost soooo much weight….” Hint, hint. It’s pathetic and it’s so unnecessary. We are what we are. It’s about time the thinner members of our society who choose to be thin, shut the f*** up and accepted people for who they are.

    I’m sitting here shaking with anger at this.

    CJ x

    p.s. apologies for the long ranty comment!!

    • Thank you for your long and ranty comment! I am fuming. At 14 saying that to Amy?!!! FFS. It’s outrageous. This is how anorexia / bulimia / binge eating etc etc all start. People just don’t see how damaging their remarks can be.

  • So sad and cross to read this (not at YOU, your words are brilliant) – how can a teacher be perpetuating such an idea (or even, just believe it themselves)? All children should know and believe they are beautiful (and not be afraid to say that they are either). It’s already such a struggle to show our children that health is more important than thin-ness, when almost every bit of media they see tells them otherwise – please let our schools be places where they are encouraged to see the beauty and potential in everyone.

  • This is so sad, to know that someone in charge of children has that attitude and it must affect how she deals with children.

  • Being a fat bicycling, running, exercising vegan, I can tell you there is no such thing as a perfect person or diet. Genetics play a role, age plays a role, metabolism plays a role and sadly a genuine love for cheesecake plays a role. However, if success is measured only by having a minuscule waist line then my accountant has been lying for years. Living on less than 2100 calories a day, I have not lost/nor gained an ounce in a year.

    I think the best measure of success comes from having a feeling of security and happiness in one’s own skin, or in Madonna’s case, the skin of virgins grafted to her leathery hide.

    I think you did make a bit of a stretch on Anne Widdecombe. Gwendoline Christie, much better.

  • I would love to know in what context she uttered those words. I can think of oodles of larger people who are incredibly successful – both men and women! I would be absolutely outraged if my children were attending that school….what a terrible lesson to be teaching children or indeed people. Breeds discrimination in every way. Totally unacceptable. I hope your friend is going to do something about it. Linked up a little rant that I wrote earlier in the week, thanks for hosting.

  • Oh ffs.
    I am fat. And I don’t care. However, other people DO care, because being fat has been demonised by the media for so long that it is now a Terrible Thing To Be.
    Beauty is nothing to do with size, and if anyone ever says in front of my that nothing tastes as good as thin feels I will bloody well eat them.

    I’ve lost people through eating disorders. I watch people struggle with them now. It’s heartbreaking. And futile. And people like that teacher need to be taken out and educated as to what REALLY matters. Compassion, love, kindness – none of which derive from size.

    Being fat tells you only one thing about a person – their body size. It tells you nothing more, and nothing less. Same as being thin. It only tells you they are thin.

    Dear god, some people. Aargh.

  • So so soooooooooo true!!!!! I’m horrified to read that someone responsible for young people could say such an incredibly ignorant thing!! *high fives mummybarrow*

  • Wow, that was astoundingly ignorant of her. To be honest though, I have an issue with the use of the words ‘fat’ and ‘skinny’, both are so negative. I am naturally slim – as I prefer to call it – and at times have been super slim, but never through any kind of dieting. It’s just as painful when someone calls you skinny believe me, especially when it clearly isn’t meant as any kind of positive comment.

    I think what we need in this Western world of ours, where food and a relatively easy life is possible for so many of us, is to appreciate that we all come in different shapes and sizes and that health and wellbeing are way more important than whether you can get into a size 10.

    As for beauty – I am so thankful I spent time in the fashion industry working on shoots when I was starting out my career. Because I’ve seen first hand just how long it takes to make someone deemed ‘beautiful’ camera ready… and then how many shots it takes, so that one shot can be used in a magazine or advert – and then of course there’s airbrushing.

    Eating disorders galore, cosmetic surgery being given to girls for their 16th birthdays, pressure on women in their 30s, 40s to fill and botox. BB creams the go-to beauty product of so many teen girls, it’s all so messed up. Which is why I’m so happy to see the emergence of the celebration of older women on blogs such as Advanced Style – won’t leave the URL as don’t want to spam you! – and the recent Fabulous Fashionistas.

    • For many years – most of my life, really – I could barely say the word ‘fat’. It had been used as a weapon against me time and again; it was my deepest fear and the thing I loathed the most about myself. Saying it made me blush and stammer and I could hardly get the word out of my mouth. I’d heard it said in anger so many times, said in a way that was designed to do nothing but hurt me, used to explain why I was bad and wrong and inferior. I’d scrawled it over and over in private diaries as a way of punishing myself. I’d cut it into my flesh with a pair of nail scissors.

      Given all that, reclaiming the word ‘fat’ was important to me. I can say it now: I am fat, and that is okay. It’s a really, really powerful thing and continuing to shy away from it just because some people think it is “negative” – which it isn’t intrinsically; that’s all about how people use it – would have slowed down my recovery from bulimia and self-hatred significantly.

      • You, lady, have always been, and will continue to be, beautiful. Brain, heart, body and soul.

  • I can imagine that sort of comment to come out of the mouth of an ignorant skinny teenager, but not that of someone in authority, it’s disgusting.
    We always blame the media for eating disorders and an outrageous view of beauty, but I suppose we should be looking closer to home.

    Beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder but sometimes the prettiest of faces has an ugly personality. Not so beautiful then, eh?

  • Outrageous! Wow. How do you even get through life with attitudes like that, let alone earn a position of power amongst the impressionable? With attitudes like hers still around it’s no coincidence that one of the best private girls schools near me is rife with anorexia. It’s virtually an epidemic there. I thought we’d have these battles with our media, NOT with those supposedly steering our children on the right path.

  • Oh that’s so sad. What has happened to her that she thinks skinny is the only way to success? It’s both worrying that she’s in a position of influence with teenagers, and at the same time rather tragic.

    Skinny isn’t the recipe for beautiful – confident, healthy, happy and just plain normal is. I’m 6′ tall – I’m never going to be a size 10 in a million years and I’m not trying to be – just happy in my own skin. That’s beautiful.

  • Beautiful: Having qualities that delight the senses.
    Restricting the senses to just sight is truly ignorant.

  • I can not believe that someone in a position of influence and authority over children verbalises that narrow minded opinion.

    School is the one place where our children should be allowed to develop and express themselves in a safe environment, away from stigma and prejudice. It’s a depressing thought that some of their earliest influencers could be damaging them with such opinions.

  • We don’t have enough playing fields today.
    We have too many tellies, too many PCs; too many play stations!

    Let he/she who is without sin throw [lose] the first stone!!

  • Bloody hell someone like that should not be leading children!
    I was very thin growing up and on the other side of it – people always questioning me and saying i was like skin and bones. People don’t think commenting on how thin you are is an insult but it is. Basically just leave well alone and mind your own business!

  • Well said t, we live in such a size set society and need voices like yours yelling loudly. X

  • Absolutely stunned that someone in charge of telling kids how to be, could say something like that. Fat is not good. Fat is not healthy. But fat can most certainly be beautiful. And fat has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with success. The list goes on: James Corden, Winston Churchill, Queen Victoria, Elvis Presley, Jonah Hill, Jack Black, Oprah Winfrey, Kathy Bates, on and on and on…
    That teacher needs to learn some things.

  • I actually do not know where to start with this T. And if I start I may never stop.

    I have always been fat. And I have always experienced various levels of prejudice. I am fat, I am beautiful and I am bloody successful so maybe they need to come and have a look at me and my business!

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I HATE how much we are judged on our looks and the worst bit? It’s usually women judging women. I’ve never had any problem with men.

    (Yay, I didn’t swear!!)

    Em xx

    • You, lady are one of THE most beautiful people I have ever met. Well not met but known. Both inside and out you are truly gorgeous. If you were a stick of rock you would have “FABULOUS” written through you (you have to say that with a Craig Revel Horwood accent by the way).

      You are right, it is women judging women and I hate it as much as you do. If that is the only stick they can use to beat us with “you are fat” well let them I say. It means we can use that stick to beat them back with “yeah but you are skinny and not very nice, I know who I would rather be, any day of the week”.

  • I’m disgusted that a teacher with authority has talked like this. My six year old twins have never ever heard me say I was on a ‘diet’ (despite frequent ones!) and on purpose I never use the word ‘fat’ or ‘thin’ around them as I think beauty and character have nothing to do with size.

  • Well skinny is beautiful and fat is not. That’s just a reality. I’m proud to be skinny and beautiful, but I understand some men are into fat chicks and that’s cool too. You can be proud of your fatness also, but skinny is #1 and life is easy for beautiful, thin girls like me. Sorry, but not all of us can be physically attractive. If anyone is going to reply to this comment with something abusive, that’s fine. I won’t see it. The truth hurts doesn’t it? At the end of the day I’ll still be skinny and better then you, with men falling to my feet., while you’re fat and willing to let any man use your fcuk tunnels.

    • Well there is a charming comment to get on Christmas Day. I can only imagine the sort of person that spends Christmas day writing comments like this one.

      I may be fat love but at least I am not a bitch. I can be thin, whereas you will always be a bitch.

      • [APPLAUSE] at Mummy Barrow. What a terribly empty-headed comment to leave on someone’s blog. PEOPLE are beautiful, not body shape/size. Crikey. A beautiful, kind soul means infinitely more than a ridiculous dress size.