Simple Thoughts from the Lunchroom

I have finally remembered to re-post this after oh-so-long. For follow-up on this, please see the apology post.

An update that will clarify a bit of this post: I’m currently doing summer research at the University of Michigan.

So, on Thursday I ate lunch in the University’s student union. There is a Wendy’s, a Subway, a Mrs. Field’s, a fruit smoothie place, and a convience store, for food. I’ve been eating Subway at least every other day, it seems, since I got here, so I went for Wendy’s.

A while after I sat down to eat, another lady came and sat at a table near me. She’d gotten Subway. She was also fat. And I found myself wondering if she got Subway because that’s what she felt like eating, or because she was worried about what other people would think if she ate at Wendy’s – something I, as a thin person, do not have to worry about.

Now, I’m mindful that, in my opinion, Subway (when I”m not sick of it) tastes a hell of a lot better than Wendy’s. So there’s a fairly good chance she chose that food because she wanted it. But did she? This bothered me while I was eating, and it bothers me now. I hope she was secure enough in her self that if she’d wanted Wendy’s, she’d have gotten it.

A related thought that came to me while I was eating this same meal was, “What happens when Fatties are denied service at, for example, Wendy’s because of the vendor’s ‘conscience’?” à la birth control and pharmacists. Scary thought, no? They’re already in that zone to an extent with social services taking children away from parents because of “concern” about fat.

The feminist in me also wants to comment on how a fat construction worker dude (of whom there were many in the union) wouldn’t get or give a second thought for eating at Wendy’s – it’s dudely not to care for your health. But thank goodness, this has been covered ad nauseum thanks to the recent Hungry-Man issue, so I can just provide links and give my fingers a break.

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3 thoughts on “Simple Thoughts from the Lunchroom

  1. You are right that some fat people feel self-conscious when eating in public, and I appreciate this post, but I disagree with a couple of your points.

    First, I think you may have been feeling upset on that woman’s behalf unnecessarily. A fat person isn’t any more likely to prefer Wendy’s over Subway than you are, and Subway isn’t necessarily healthier than Wendy’s anyway — it all depends on what you order. So I’m not sure what led you to suspect that the woman ordered Subway because she felt inhibited from going to Wendy’s.

    And second, although I won’t deny that fat women face some pressures and hassles that fat men don’t, I think we have to be careful not to invalidate the prejudice that fat men do experience.

    I absolutely agree with your general point, though, and I look forward to a day when fat people can do whatever they want in public without facing moralistic judgment from others.

  2. It’s entirely possible she didn’t give a thought to eating at Subway, but I find it interesting that you DID give a thought to her eating there. While you came at it from a compassionate point of view, the fact of the matter was, you were still questioning and judging a fat person’s dining choices, and the rationale thereof, as if there were ample room to question the idea that she made a conscious, fully self-actualized choice for herself, just as you did in choosing Wendy’s. Something to think about.

  3. Pingback: Simple Thoughts? More like simplistic. « All My Jiggly Bits

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