Yesterday I went for a swim. Swimming is a very meditative thing for me. Yesterday was the first chance I'd had to swim in about a week, and, by the time I was done, I was pretty much lost in thoughts of my cats (just found out my eldest cat has cancer), my job, my friends, etc.
I waded toward the ladder but had to wait for a man in the first lane to pass before I could get out of the pool. He passed and I got about halfway up the ladder when the man stopped, turned around and said "Can I say something personal to you?"
In hindsight, I don't know why I said yes. I think it was just a reflex. But I said yes and then this guy basically started lecturing me about how fat I am. He said that I was never going to lose weight by swimming, and then backtracked and explained that he assumed that that's why I was there, and he was quite certain that he was right -- and then launched into this thing about how I need to walk, and specifically I need to walk about ten miles a day but on a soft surface -- not pavement. And I just looked at him -- in part because I was so stunned at the fucking GUEVOS, but also because this schmuck was not letting me get a word in edgewise. And when he finally shut the hell up I told him I just like to swim. I swim because I like to swim.
Now, there's of course the obvious rage -- this notion that being skinny is the only way to be, and that being fat means somehow being "broken" -- but honestly, I'm much more pissed off about this notion of the male gaze. As in, maybe I am trying to lose weight -- maybe I'm trying to gain weight -- or maybe I'm happy just the way I am -- but who the fuck appointed this guy, this random stranger, as my critic? Why the fuck do people still think they have the right to judge other people, and not just judge them, but to offer their (negative) opinions and think that we'll be fucking grateful? I'm certain that this guy expected that I was going to thank him for his most helpful suggestion and then run right off to do as I was told. How is it that this guy -- that any guy -- would think that "hey, you're fat but I can fix you" would be met with anything but my desire to kick him in the shins?
To his credit, he apologized. But that's all I can really say about that.
x-posted to fat_feminist and feminist_rage