Friday, April 17, 2009

Discrimination of Fat People

Something I find offensive to a great degree on Internet forums about Thailand and in writing on Thailand in general is this continuing reference to the fatness of _insert_group_to_be_insulted_here_. Usually comments are made in the genre of "it's disgusting how those fat Germans/queers/old men/farang women hang out with those young, slim, cutey beauties," etc., etc.

I find these comments hypocritical, immature, and ignorant to a high degree, assuming a number of contradictory things about the [fat-hating] speaker's position in Thailand and the position of the overweight visitor/resident in Thailand. I think these comments are also more insensitive among gay men, who have to worry about their appearance a lot more typically than straight men.


Contradictory to the assumptions of many immature individuals, larger (and older) persons are desired by a number of young men not only in Asia but also other countries of the world. There are whole bars devoted to this pursuit in the main cities of Japan [not to mention about half of the gay mags], and any larger person who's lived in Asia any length of time will have his admirers (often more than he can peacefully cope with!) Personally speaking, I've dated guys in every country I've ever lived in who had appreciation for, let us say, a man with something to him. I wouldn't have it any other way- I won't date guys I'm not sure are attracted to me (a good way to tell: check out his movie collection or porn, if any- lots of big guys? You know he's for real- one of the last guys I dated would go to any John Goodman movie that came out).

So, not only is the fat person NOT undesirable to this larg-ish group of chubby-chasing people, but they wouldn't give a second look to some skinny, middle-sized pretender.


Having demonstrated that we DO have a bit of a market, I hope it's obvious how this assumption is wrong. However, it displays a bit of additional arrogance and hubris on the part of the speaker- who seems to think that his being slender means he WON'T pay for sex- a common mistake on the part of those without much experience here. "I'm such a handsum handsum man that even the hookers won't charge me." This may happen- but very, very rarely.

I got very angry reading Cleo Odzer's book about prostitution in Patpong, for instance, because she seemed to imply that something was so "wrong" about the relative differential in beauty [judged by her] between the tourists and bargirls she saw, while she was engaged in the very same types of behavior [but it was "ok," because she was slim, blond and "beautiful."]


Not to lots of folks! However, this is the feeling that comes through many posts referring to the weight of people. Aside from lacking the simple maturity of the realization that "there's someone for everyone" [and thank god for that], this is offensive and wrong. I think it comes from being hypnotized by Hollywood's message about what people should "look like" in movies and commercials. Ever noticed how the people Thai folks think are attractive (the "types" in movies that get repeated over and over) don't match with the kind of Thais that farang like? Ever wonder about how this might work in reverse? If not, perhaps you need a bit of deprogramming from Hollywood.

Anyway, just a starting point for discussion, and if nothing else, perhaps I'll have given some folks a reason to think twice before using "fat" as a generically negative classification.

Disclaimer: I'm a pretty big guy- tall, and I definitely qualify as fat, though I'm still fit enough to jog for half an hour or cycle a fair distance. Have always been, no matter how much exercise I did or how I tried to control my diet. I don't have trouble fitting into Thai chairs, but I'd never be able to fit into Thai clothes!

Frankly, my ex-bf always wished I was much bigger!