You Are Too Much!

Actual SizeI’m not sure exactly where the phrase “You are too much!” comes from, but for those unfamiliar, it’s usually used when someone goes out of their way to help you, or says something really funny, or does something out of the ordinary.  “You are too much!” is typically a good thing, a compliment.

In our culture fat people hear that we’re too much all the time, but absent the complimentary nature. It’s not just those who describe our bodies as fleshy castles or whatever ridiculous fat bashing BS they’re saying.  It’s ingrained in our language – overweight, extra space, plus size.  The idea being that there are people who deserve to live in a world in which they fit, but at some point (a point which is pretty arbitrarily assigned and different based on who you talk to, or what plane you’re on) we lose that right.

In my blog a couple of days ago I talked about this phenomenon, including the fact that it’s acceptable for hospitals – which were built and stocked by people who know full well that fat people exist – are allowed to simply shrug and tell me that they don’t have beds, or blood pressure cuffs, or equipment, or chairs, or crutches, or wheelchairs, or whatever, that fit me. I saw in a fat hate forum someone say that I said that fat people should have beds that fit us in hospitals and that shows that we want the world to bend over backwards for us.

I’m here to suggest that we do not have to buy into, or feel bad about, this bullshit argument.  The question shouldn’t be “why does that fatty have the audacity to suggest that those who provide medical care to the community should have equipment to treat her?”  The question should be “How come I can go into any hospital and expect that they’ll have equipment to treat me, but fat people can’t?”  A nice follow up question would be “How can I help correct that?”

We are not too much.  The world is not yet enough.

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17 thoughts on “You Are Too Much!

  1. and there should be a day, when this blog is looked back as sweet albeit quaint “fluff”. But, I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Funny, when people talk about the difficulties very tall people face in fitting into spaces, it’s usually with a certain amount of sympathy. Widen out the body just a bit, and suddenly it’s ‘you disgusting fatty taking up all the room and resources’ and threats (or prayers) of death for us.

    1. I think this will only change when (notice I say WHEN, not IF) people realize that weight is no more a matter of our voluntary control than height is.

      Right now, everyone “gets” that height is just something your body determines for you — you don’t choose it and you can’t change it. But most people I talk to (sadly including many fat people) genuinely believe that we CAN permanently change our weight if we “just” (!!) try hard enough. Until people realize that it is no more feasible to decide “I will now permanently lose 90 pounds” than it would be to say “I will now grow three inches taller,” they’re going to continue to give us the “you disgusting fatty” crap.

  3. Good God! Thank you so much!!! I was on the receiving end of this issue because I had to have a procedure, that is normally done at the radiology center for women, at one of the hospitals in town instead – because I weighed more than the bed at the radiology center would allow. Really? Come on people. I saw a bunch of fat women there that day. Such a frustrating issue. When a hospital insists that I have to be wheeled out in a wheelchair, I tell them…”be sure to bring the big butt wheel chair!” I won’t even try to squeeze myself in one of those tiny ones. I have hurt myself enough forcing my body into spaces that were clearly not made for me. I’m done with that!

  4. My parents have spent my entire life, when I’m out in public, telling me I’m in people’s way. They use this even as a way to say, “Don’t buy that.” Finally, a couple of weeks ago, when Dad said it, I looked straight at him and said, “I have just as much right to be here as anybody else.”

    He shut up, I finished my shopping, and the other two people standing in the general area–who weren’t even looking in the same place I was–flinched when I said it, but otherwise never even noticed me. I’m going to have to try it next time someone makes a “fat bitch” comment. And if they call me a bitch again, I’ll have to inform them that “bitch” is what men call women who stand up for themselves.

    (BTW, I’m a big proponent of reclaiming slurs.)

  5. I think it is also a health issue in the sense that if sometimes a large cuff BP device is used and sometimes a regular one (as was the case at one physicians office I went to) the readings may similarly be arbitrarily fluctuating. I don’t know that that was the case but I did wonder since it seems to me that how squeezed one’s arm starts out (or alternately how wrapped around the cuff was) would affect the readings. I am not a medical person so don’t know if my logic is off here or not. (Does anyone?) I asked and the nurse didn’t seem to know the answer.

    1. If your nurse didn’t know the answer, she is not competent. A cuff that is too small will artificially inflate your BP reading. If you have a larger arm you should always insist on a larger cuff. Or in the alternative, they can take the pressure on your lower arm/wrist.

      1. Exactly what I was going to say. I usually end up getting my BP checked with a standard adult cuff because it runs so low it won’t even read on a large one half the time. Even with a standard, I’m lucky to get a reading of 115/75. I know that’s not necessarily a good thing, but it only bothers me if I get dehydrated.

  6. I just want to know what part of the country you are in. My experience in the last five years is that the hospitals in my area have wheelchairs that are extra wide; they have MRI and cat scan machines (one or two) that will accomodate large people and while the gurneys used for surgery may not be as spacious as they could be, they are rated for more than 400lbs in weight. I know this because my husband weighs somewhere in the vicinity of 400 lbs and has needed all of those services to treat his cancer. I also know that hospitals need to have “average sized” machines and furniture for most people. I have trouble at home sitting in the chairs we buy to fit him. It would be nice to live in a world with furniture to fit everyone, but that would mean from toddlers through old age. Most businesses go for somewhere in the middle. If they would just include a few chairs without arms life would be better.

    1. Hi Carol,

      I’m thrilled that you have had access to medical care that, for the most part, works for your husband. I would point out that machines and furniture that are built to work for fat people can still typically accommodate “average” sized people. I definitely think chairs without arms would be a great place to start everywhere. The clearest example in my mind happened to my partner – she weighs over 400 pounds and when she hurt her knee the hospital only had crutches made to support 250 pounds. They told her that she had to be absolutely sure to keep the weight off of her knee and then told her that the crutches they were giving her were not rated for her weight and might collapse under her, this was in Los Angeles.


      1. I think we do need to have a mix. I have ended up hanging out with older people for work, and they often need arms on their chairs to help them get up. And furniture for big people doesn’t always fit smaller ones. I have short legs (between my knees and hips) and it can end up quite painful if I have to sit for too long in a deep chair. We are different sizes and shapes with different levels of ability. Why shouldn’t there be a variety of stuff for us to use, as long as there’s sufficient variety for everyone?

  7. can’t believe they said that; wish you had had a tape recorder.
    I sometimes wonder if people would say and do what they do if they knew they a record were being made of it.

  8. PS re: tall people… while what you say is true, there is also discrimination against tall people in that we have to not bump our heads on low doorways, fit into beds, chairs and cars that are sometimes too short for us. pay more for a few inches of clothing, have little selection, of color, styles, etc.
    In addition a shape that might be considered cute on a smaller person is considered too broad on us if we have the same shape. If female, we are also sometimes considered too male looking, have bigger feet than “normal” sizing (I was glad when my foot changed to an 11 since the 10 and a half it used to be is often skipped over in shoe sizes.) My bra size does not often exist either. Due to long legs I had to pay extra for queen size panty hose (which we wore in the old days) so they would be long enough even back when I was only a 10/12 size.

    Many large size clothes are made for shorter people so we have to either hem too long ones or wear pants that look too short.
    And thinking of socks, try buying “tall” socks when you are tall, too often they only come up part way and so slip down.

    While it is totally true that the discrimination I experience as a large woman is far worse than my experience when I was a smaller tall woman, please do not assume that tall people have it easy either.

    On top of that my legs are long but my arms are not, meaning that for instance some yoga postures are much harder since they are not equivalent. I realize that not all tall people have that issue but I do.
    (can’t get my long legs through my more normal length arms smoothly for a good sun salutation) Our pants take up more space, folded lengthwise than some plus size lengths. And toilets, etc. often seem quite low when one is long legged. (meanwhile exercise people tell us not to sit lower than our knees, which is not possible when seating is not tall enough.

    When one is the first stopped for a stoplight it may require a contortion to even see the stoplight change. My husband was tall and became humped over at an early age from having to slouch so often without doing yoga or something to compensate for it.
    (My very plump, and short grandmother never became bent over even in her old age)

    I realize this may seem off the topic since it is very true that tall people are not as discriminated against socially. (thought it sometimes doesn’t feel that way when one is younger and much taller than all the boys their age)

    Other than having to shop for clothing and shoes I have never regretted being tall.
    But I just wanted to add that it is also not always easy.

    Oh, and on picture day in elementary school when they line you up by height, one year I was the tallest in the class– even taller than a boy who was used to that title so he punched me in the stomach that day when I got off the bus. I hardly knew him and had never been punched before (or since).

    So forgive me if I got on my soapbox, but please know that even though large size may have it worse, other groups of people, like tall people also don’t always find the world set up for us in many ways either. And I know that short people often find the seats too long or tall, etc. etc. Guess it is just not easy being a human in American culture where conformity is the norm.

    This does however make me rethink the fact that many churches I know of have gone from pews to chairs, and I plan to mention this issue at my church.

    1. You are absolutely right, Arliss, and I’m sorry. As a quite short person I sometimes entirely fail to think of these things (especially when it feels to me like every plus size line firmly believes me to be at least a foot taller than I am because I constantly have to find people to hem things up for me).

      No,it’s not easy being human in American culture. Very tall or very short, we definitely get it coming and going.

      Thanks for reminding me.

      1. Twistie, thank you for making me feel heard, know that I do not underestimate your challenges either,

        I think the whole clothing industry is geared to finding ways to make all of us have to pay extra for being a size that people come in, while men’s sizing seems to be more flexible. (pants lengths in inches, etc.) I just wonder how it is that women so seldom get that option. ???

  9. That idiot cracks me up. Castles are beautiful creations we want to explore, so he might have to try harder next time if he wants hurl insults at people.

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