Lose the Zero, Get With the Hero

It's a tough world out there. People are always looking for ways to judge one another. Pick at one another. Step up on someone else just to try to make themselves feel better. Everyone tells you to be happy with who you are -- to appreciate the things that make you unique and special, but isn't it strange how it seems like those same people are never around when the sideways looks and the hushed whispers start?
No ones around to stop the jokes from being told.
Yo mama's so fat her car is made of spandex.
Yo mama's so fat she gets runs in her jeans.
Yo mama so fat she fell in love and broke it.
Yo mama so fat when she gets on the scale it says, "To be continued.."
Maybe you saw the story that was making the rounds last week. Maybe someone forwarded you the video. Some folks thought it was funny. A lot of people got mad about it, enraged at the implications or just the way the whole thing was being presented -- as if one unique and possibly misguided case was like an open door to take free shots at any and everyone who didn't walk around looking like Francine Dee.

Not that there's anything wrong with Francine Dee that a bottle of chocolate sauce and a weekend at my place wouldn't fix -- but that who she happens to be isn't really who everyone else is, or in a lot of cases would even want to be if they had a chance in the first place.
But when you consider the alternative..
Her name is Donna Simpson. She's a 42 year-old mother of two living in Old Bridge, New Jersey. And she has a dream:
In case you didn't catch all that, Donna Simpson currently weighs 600 pounds. But her ultimate goal is to get to 1,000. Yes, you read that right. This woman is trying to get her body to weigh one thousand pounds, which would truly now and possibly forever make her the fattest woman in the world. -- And after carefully considering her story, I have just three words to say:
You selfish bitch.
Only a 1000 pounds? Really? You already hold the Guinness book record as the world's heaviest woman ever to give birth to a child, but you're gonna just up and stop at only half a ton? What the hell, woman? This ain't no game. Either you go in for the full monty or you go on a friggin' diet and stop playing.

British television (and in turn the Learning and Discovery channels) has like half a dozen shows with big people on them. Half-ton men. Victims of Gigantism. This is to say nothing of our nation's own morbid curiosity with television shows about families that give birth to and raise entire litters of screaming kids (The Duggars, Octomon, John and Kate Gosselin, etc.) -- shows that people love to watch. Shows that frequently turn their stars into pseudo-celebrities who live on forever in supermarket tabloid headlines and Jay Leno monologue joke punch lines.
Shows that make big money.
Money that apparently Donna Simpson wants in on. When asked by the Reuters reporter why she would want to gain all that weight and risk her health, one of the reasons Simpson gives between bites of cake (of course they filmed her eating) was that she would like to do a reality show that followed her quest to achieve this goal.
Clearly being in the Guinness Book of World Records don't pay shit.
But what's really behind all this? Where is all of this really coming from? I mean sure -- there's the money (there's always the money), and the possibility of some sort of infamy and celebrity -- but this isn't really like going on some show and pretending you're attracted to Flavor Flav for six weeks.
This is something else entirely.
Don't get me wrong here -- this isn't about bashing fat girls. Ain't nothing wrong with a big girl who's happy with herself and knows how to work it. Give me a thick sexy pear-shape any day of the week and I'm gonna be happy.

But once you get into this sort of realm, where your whole world is the seeking of something else, where nothing is really good enough despite what you already have -- you're really not talking about exercising freedom of choice or expressing yourself as an individual anymore.
Lets put this all out on the table and look at it for what it really is:
This is a fat girl who looks in the mirror and believes she isn't fat enough.
Hard to comprehend? Infuriating in it's overall sense of gluttony, selfishness, or just the unfortunate but all to frequent reaction to overweight people that's somewhere between shame, disgust, and pity? Does it leave you at a loss for words, or worse yet -- nothing but an odd sort of misdirected anger that you can't quite pin down where it's coming from, even though there's no mistaking how sorta pissed off reading and hearing this woman's story makes you feel?
How about this -- Flip it. Reverse it.
See a healthy, naturally curvy woman looking in a mirror in absolute disgust. Envision a girl who's starting to get a little too skinny for her own good feeling the same way. Skipping meals. Purging food. Losing grip on who she really is in favor of who she thinks she's supposed to be.

Eating disorders are serious problems that affect scores of people all over the world. Even when the degrees of body dysmorphia are more akin to some personal dissatisfaction with the way you look or the inability to see yourself without wanting to continually tweak and fix every little thing so you can better match some arbitrary standard of comparison in your mind is a problem that affects us all. Clothing manufactures sell to it. Advertisers rely on it. The media won't shut up about it.
And at first glance, it appears that 600-lb
Donna Simpson is basically spitting on it.
Donna's not trying to convince us that she needs to get to 1000 pounds or else she won't feel good about herself. She doesn't give the appearance of someone who's perspective on her own image is somehow messed up to the point where she doesn't even realize what she's saying. This isn't some reverse anorexic who needs multiple rounds of therapy to try to get her head back on straight.
This is a fat girl who somehow can't get picked on for being fat.
Watch the video. Look at the pictures. Kinda weird how 600 pounds doesn't seem like all that much on her, doesn't it? I know we're all keyed to think of standardized beauty as a flat belly and hourglass shapes when it comes to women -- but if I hadn't read that she was six bills in, I would have assumed she was like 300 - 350, tops.
I don't really know how to say this without it sounding weird -- but 600 looks kinda OK on you, girl.
Certainly she's not got an ideal body shape, and I don't really think Drake's blowing up her phone to get her in his next video -- but Donna Simpson's still walking around. She's raising a couple of kids. When she talks it doesn't sound like Jabba the Hutt demanding to see Han Solo and the Wookie. Sure her health is probably a disaster (various reports say she already has Type 2 Diabetes), and she's not gonna be winning any 50-yard dashes anytime soon -- but could her desire to get to such an exorbitant number like 1,000 pounds be rooted in the fact that for someone who wants to be a reality TV star, a voluntary sideshow attraction for money -- she doesn't look all that much bigger than some of the big women I've seen waddling into Wal Mart to grocery shop?
Either way, there's something kinda weird about all this.
Maybe it's because of all those Discovery channel shows. Maybe it's because Phil Donahue and Oprah every now and then felt compelled to trot out an interview with the guy who was so fat he couldn't get out of his house without the aid of a forklift and a team of engineers. Maybe it's because I live in the deep south, or spend inordinate amounts of time on the web.
But 600 or no -- Donna doesn't really look all that ridiculously big to me.
Sure she's no Kate Moss, I'll give you that. But a pre-lap band Carnie Wilson or Star Jones? Think about it for a second -- Visually is Donna Simpson, the Guiness Book certified "Heaviest Woman in the World" really that much more arresting or disturbing of an image than the character Gabourey Sidibe played in her Oscar-nominated performance in the movie Precious?
Not really, no.
It's almost as if this poor deluded woman is stuck up against some sort of bizzaro glass ceiling where even though she has the stats, the smarts, and the savvy to be a bona-fide reality show trainwreck, some producer is looking her over and shaking his head no because she somehow doesn't look the part.

Remember -- at this point were not actually talking about how fat she's become. How utterly unhealthy, irresponsible, or expensive her condition actually is. We're talking about a 600-pound woman who somehow can't get a reality show contract -- because she doesn't really look all that fat on camera.

If that's the case, then perhaps this whole salacious "I'm on this crazy quest to become the world's fattest woman" gambit is simply the only play she has left because the world at large is so over the idea of morbidly obese people that her own story doesn't have enough pizazz to play in the sticks.

Look at the video again. Read the news story. She's got a house. Two kids. She doesn't talk like somebody off COPS. Hell, she's got a boyfriend who not only loves how she is, but is fully behind her quest to get bigger. According to the stories, they met on a dating website for men who like their women big.

So then you think -- ok, well then this guy must be some sort of freak. Maybe we've found ourselves some sort of John Gosslein/Spencer Pratt style douchebag who's mentally abusive svengali act they could build a show around.
Maybe in a twisted sort of way, her story can have a happy ending after all.
But no -- he's just a normal dude in a 3-piece suit, who isn't ashamed of his love for larger women, and although he hasn't set a date yet -- has plans to give Donna a fairytale wedding atop Mt. Haleakala in Hawaii that he describes in detail as if he's pictured it in his mind for some time now.
Wait.. what?
Hasn't set a date yet?
Dude, you said yourself that you're into big girls. This is the biggest one out there, the mother of your child, and you still haven't put a ring on it?
..What is it you're waiting on there, buddy?
I hate to go all "He's jut not that into you" here and play this card -- but all the sudden I got questions -- and I'm not talking about the "Where are you two registered?" or "Is there gonna be a cash bar at the wedding?" type.
I'm talking about the "Sister-girl, Ray Ray ain't no good" type.
Seriously, what with this 'getting the 600 gallons of milk for free when you ain't done bought the cow' shit? So what -- baby's got to land a development contract with BBC 2 before you start taking this relationship seriously?

Or perhaps you're doing the worst guy-move of all -- playing her own self-image against her. What's the game, Phillipe? Have you got her believing that you have some sumo wrestler-looking sidepiece back on that BBW website that you're keeping in your back pocket just in case Donna has a bad week and starts weighing in somewhere in the 500's?
That's cold, brother -- You know damn well her fingers are too big to go snooping through your cell phone with.
According to the news story, it took a team of three doctors to successfully complete the emergency C-Section for the birth of your daughter, and you're still running that whole "We'll get married later" game?
Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark, and I'm starting to think it's Skinny McChubbyChaser over here.
I know he's all suited up in the video clip and everything, but have we checked this guy's closet to see if everything else he owns says Ed Hardy on it?

Maybe in the end it's none of my business (although I'm not the one who decided to bring their whole life to a news service in the hopes of landing a reality show) -- but I've got my eye on you, pal. And I'll tell you something else -- Heaven help you if I even think of catching you talking to some skinny girl out there.
Tell em, Ike.

[Listening to:  Earth, Wind, and Fire - "September" ]


JerseySjov said…
i feel kind bad when i read things about women [big or small] talking about poor body image bc, in my eyes, most Healthy people [big or small] look just fine to me! and personally i never have anything to contribute to the conversation; i always think that look fine and fiiiiine at any weight. i mean sure, when i wear tights to dance i make sure that i dont have any weird bumps anywhere but that's not gonna get me discovery channel special anytime soon.

"You know damn well her fingers are too big to go snooping through your cell phone with." haha!! 'the fingers you are dialing with are too fat, please mash the keypad again to order your dialing wand'
Anonymous said…
This Donna Simpson story is so messed up that on The Simpsons when Homer tried to gain weight his goal was 700 pounds less than hers. Homer is a fucking cartoon!
Heff said…
I saw breasts, and came right over.

New Reality Show :

"Find A Fold, And Fuck It !"
polkatronixx said…
A dangerous double-standard:

anorexia = bad, dangerous, etc

obesity = "big is beautiful" "curvy"

A quick check of Wikipedia shows that 64% of Americans are overweight or obese and 26% are obese. Obesity is the seventh-leading cause of death in the US and accounts for 6%-12% of national health care expenditures.

That's seriously fucked up. I'm not making excuses for skinny bitches, because having an eating disorder is no laughing matter (my sister struggled with one when she was in her 20s). But when 5-10 million women in the US suffer from an eating disorder (as opposed to 64% of all Americans being overweight or obese), it seems like we have our priorities out of order. Maybe we should spend less time worrying about the relatively few anorexics out there and spend more time addressing how our society is eating itself into an early grave and making us pay out the ass for it.

In this case, I think a 1000lb woman having a child is very, very unfair to the child. How sad...
Anonymous said…
Woah now...that shit looks like a case of Growers and Feeders, homie.

I mean. Let's be honest. People's fucked up sex lives are almost always rubberneck material, but maybe america is JUST NOT READY for that kind of trick pony riding on primetime tv.

I think Furries or Juggalos would have a better shot. Then after we worked that into the norm, G & F would be next...
unMuse said…
polkatronixx - curvy does not equal obese. (I'm going to try to be nice about this because I've already been called an ultra bitch once today.) While I will never dispute that obesity is a huge problem, curves do NOT equal fat.

I know this chick that was 600lbs, had the gastric bypass about 6 years ago. She lost about 200 lbs and then went right back to eating mcdonalds all day long ad drinking soda all day long without exercising and went back up to 500 lbs and guess what? She's pregnant now. So yeah, there's a massive problem.

But there's also a problem when people equate a normal body size - 6-12, - with being fat, and fat being obese.

Also, the "relatively small" number is not as small as you think and those numbers are growing with pro-ana sites and communities everywhere. And luckily for you, I guess, most of those are hidden from sight and shame so you don't have to know about them.

And wikipedia? Really? That's your source? That's like saying your neighbor told you.

Did you know that those numbers are from outdated BMI numbers? And god only knows how old the data is for people's weight from dr records, which is where they are getting those numbers from.

If using realistic numbers, I would say that 15% are obese and 30-40% are overweight. Hex (according to the 1960s BMI) is morbidly obese, but he isn't. He is relatively healthy. Many black women are considered obese by the antiquated standards, yet they aren't either.

You see, those standards are only weight vs height. Weight doesn't tae into account that muscle is much, much heavier than fat.

Person 1 is 6'2" weighs 290 lbs.

Person 2 is 6'2" and weighs 230 lbs.

Person 1 is an athlete that follows a strict diet and exercise regimen, but according to the BMI is obese.

Person 2 sits on their ass and eats cheetos all day long, but simply by the numbers you'd assume they were healthier. But that's not the case.

Anyhow, obviously fat people disgust you. While that's your right, it's also my right to piss on your picnic.
polkatronixx said…
UnMuse: I think you missed my point, but maybe not. I realise curvy does not equal fat. I am referring to when people use words like "curvy" as a way to describe someone who is, indeed, overweight.

I have nothing against people who are overweight. I've struggled with my weight since I hit my mid 20s. I'm 38 now and am dieting (again). But I was well overweight (and approaching obesity) when I decided to try and do something about it. I said "again" b/c I've tried before. But I realise my weight gain is due to lifestyle choices I make, and those are unhealthy choices.

Terms like obese and overweight have medical definitions. You are correct that regarding the height vs weight thing. But an "obese" athlete (by the standards you mentioned) is a rarity and does not reflect the reality you see in the streets.

If you think those standards are antiquated (they may well be), try visiting Europe and walk down a busy street in any city. Then go back to the USA and compare. It's shocking. Americans are getting fatter and fatter (and kids are now developing type 2 diabetes).

As far as race goes, you're right. There may indeed be differences according to race (insert the Samoan joke from Pulp Fiction here). But you don't see too many obese black French, German or Dutch people.

It's lifestyle. It's the things in our foods. It's capitalism.

As far as wikipedia goes, it would be dangerous to quote it if the article in question didn't cite its sources. This one did (and I've taken a look at the WHO data).

My problem isn't with fat people (your term, not mine). My problem is that it's typical of us (Americans) to not want to deal with any problem that requires us to sacrifice our comfort. And it extends far beyond the food thing.

I think this woman is sad and selfish. But that's my opinion, and I don't necessarily expect you to agree. I would've rather you hadn't gotten personal, but maybe you didn't. It's hard to tell when internet posts are involved, and I certainly don't want to start a flame war. I honestly didn't mean to offend you or come across like I have an anti-overweight person crusade.

I think having a healthy, positive body image is an awesome thing. But I don't think it should (necessarily) have to come at the expense of reason or honesty. But I guess if someone is happy being heavy, then who am I to complain?
Hex said…
For more discussion about this topic -- check out OHN, who recently published an edited version of this story.