A weight persona
I was talking recently with a coworker/friend about her struggles with weight. She has made a comic schtick out of her relationship with food, and calls herself, proudly, ‘fat bitch.’ She has taken her weight – something that might otherwise be a source of much frustration – and made it into her comedic ace-in-the-hole.
It wasn’t until she started to call me ‘skinny bitch’ that I started to understand what was really going on here. I noticed I was starting to live up to the moniker – I wanted to bring in some leftover tortilla chips to supplement my lunch one day, but I decided against it. I started to get decaffeinated tea (black) instead of coffee (with half and half) from the Starbucks next door. I became, for T’s sake, the skinny bitch she thought I was. Appreciating the accountability, I kinda enjoyed it. But if I was living up to skinny bitch, was she living up to her own nickname?
Furthermore, I wondered how many people are operating under the ‘weight’ of a persona. As a nutrition person, I feel I am often under pressure to look the part, which can sometimes give me the boost I need to cook a healthy meal, exercise more, or just generally maintain my weight. However, what about those people who are under pressure to stay fat? I mean, think about it. Comedians, truck drivers, mall Santas, nonnas, Star Jones? We expect them to look a certain way.
So I told T I thought she was pulling a Kevin James. She laughed, of course – the comedienne always appreciates a joke – But whether anything actually changes remains to be seen.
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