I’m THE Big Fat Panda

Obviously I'm not at full extension but my friend was having trouble with the camera and there is only so long that 100 people will wait for you to take a picture at a crowded theater!

I freely admit that this is an “overthinking it” blog.  I’m going to talk about a cartoon Panda as if he is a real person and a fat activist.  I know it’s a stretch, I’ll understand if you don’t want to come along for the ride! (Also, if you’ve not seen the original Kung Fu Panda, this post contains spoilers).

I love Kung Fu Panda.  Love.  It. Today I made someone drive 30 minutes to get this movie so that I could show it to a friend so that friend and I can go see the sequel tomorrow.

The first very cool thing about this movie is that the main character realizes that he can be an athlete without being thin. He then not only isn’t ashamed of being fat, but he actually uses his size:

He belly bumps, he sits on someone, he uses his size to gain advantage.  He could never do that if he was busy being ashamed of his size and trying to look smaller than he is.

His enemy asks “What are you going to do, sit on me?”.  Po responds “Don’t tempt me”.  What better way to shut down this fat shaming than to turn an insult into empowerment?

The quintessential exchange is:

“You cannot defeat me, you’re just a big fat panda”.

“I’m not a big fat panda.  I’m THE big fat Panda.”

Indeed, he is a fat panda.  It’s just a descriptor, he could just as easily have said “you’re just a black and white panda” but the enemy assumes that since fat has so much negative connotation it will make him feel ashamed. When fat is just a descriptor it takes the power away from those who want to hurl an insult.  When I’m having a business meeting with someone I’ve not met I tell them “I’m a short, fat, brunette”.  Plenty of people have told me “Oh, don’t call yourself fat!” but nobody has ever said “Oh, don’t call yourself brunette!” I purposefully use fat as a descriptor because I think it’s important for me to reclaim the word with no negative charge.  It’s my way of telling the bullies that they can’t have my lunch money any more.

Then of course there is the pure joy of watching him defeat someone who assumes that he is less of an adversary simply because of his size.  Skidoosh.

So maybe we fatties can take some advice from Po:  Take an attempt at shaming and turn it into a statement of pride.  Use fat as a descriptor, not as a judgment. Own our size and find ways to use it to our advantage.  Be the big fat whatever that we are.  For me it sure beats the alternative.

I’m not a big fat dancer.  I’m THE big fat dancer.

How about you?

For a little inspiration here is the final, end of the first movie battle. MAJOR SPOILERS:

20 thoughts on “I’m THE Big Fat Panda

  1. I have been having a lot of emotional issues today which culminated in some disordered behavior surrounding food. I haven’t really learned to accept myself yet (didn’t accept myself when I was thin, either, for that matter) but I keep trying.

    1. Hi Faycin,

      Sorry that you are having a rough day. Big hugs coming your way. Here is some unsolicited advice – feel free to just stop reading now! I don’t know if it will help but I know for me sometimes the best thing to do is say “This is what’s happening right now” and just take things minute by minute, do what I need to do to get through it and decide not to feel guilty or ashamed about anything since that never helps anyway.


  2. Please post again to let us know what you think of Panda 2!
    We haven’t seen it yet, but we want to. How cool is Po?
    I love the first one. We saw it IMAX, and the scenery alone was just so beautiful. I wondered why they didn’t market it to show how simply gorgeous it was.

  3. Even though I love animated movies, I never watched “Kung Fu Panda” because I thought it would be stupid. But after seeing the clip, I can’t wait to rent the movie.

    Thanks for all your inspiring words about being healthy at any size.

  4. Dear Ragen, Thank you for encouraging all of us–no matter what it is about us that some find disconcerting or ugly–to claim who we are and how we are. I’m dealing with a kind of skin cancer right now that requires me to stand in a vertical light cylinder in the nude for ultraviolet light treatments. I see myself in the mirror and I”m looking at an Earth Goddess fertility figurine from an archeological dig. With your words in mind, I’m looking and saying, “You’re one fine figure of a woman!” Thank you. Peace from Dee in Missouri

    1. Someone, somewhere, thought the Earth Goddess figure was so fantastic, that they made a copy to look at whenever they wanted.

      While I don’t think external validation is the answer to my body issues, it’s nice to think that someone thinks that the fertility goddess was all that and a bag of chips.

    2. The Willendorf Venus is gorgeous. Therefore, you are gorgeous. 🙂 I hope your treatment goes well and everything turns out ok.

  5. I’ve been embracing my fat lately, and I love it! I actually went to visit family and never spent a single moment beforehand fretting because I’m fat. Yeah, I’m fat. Sue me. I’m tired of using it as an excuse for not living my life!

    xo Susie

  6. This movie is close to my heart, not only because I’m fat, but because I do Kung Fu. 🙂 I LOVE that line! I thought the sequel was great too!

  7. I love it! Awesome that you got this from such a good movie. I like it when life/truth works that way.

  8. What I really love about the movie is that Po’s body doesn’t change. He doesn’t slim down or go through drastic changes during the training montage and it shows that you don’t have to change your body to practice any sport. The changes he went through – more flexibility, stronger punches – have absolutely nothing to do with his size. He starts as a big, fat panda and ends as a big, fat panda. Oh, and he practices kung fu just because he loves it, NOT so that he can have a svelte body like Tigress.

    1. Heck, Tigress is an in-betweenie. Society wants us all to look like Viper, who would be the equivalent of a supermodel. Even Tigresses have eating disorders so they can turn into Vipers, although Vipers only naturally make up approximately 3% of the population. 😉

  9. I love the Panda!! I just recently saw the second movie and it’s just about as good as the first. I was actually thinking the same thing before I went and saw the movie, that his is one of the few fat activists in the movies. Love love love the Panda!

  10. When I first came to Miami, FL (from Colombia, at age 9), I had some trouble making friends because of the language barrier and it didn’t help that I was a fat little girl.
    One day in the bus, I got into a silly argument with another 9-year-old (thin) girl who kept trying to tell me that basically my life sucked and will always suck because I was fat. I remember that at first I was near tears and suddenly something clicked in my head and I smiled at her and said “Yeah, I’m fat. But you know what? If a hurricane comes, since I’m heavy, I’m pretty sure I’ll stay right here but you’re so thin that maybe you’ll blow away.” She looked perplexed. Then she smiled and said ‘You’ve got a point.” We were friendly from then on and whenever someone picked on me (for whatever reason) she would always stand up for me. Your post reminded me of that. 🙂

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