Anyway, Fat Wembley Park Lady was the victim of this particular bitch stare for the terrible sin of taking up more than her alloted amount of space, not looking as if she aspired to New Woman's idea of attractiveness, and looking as if she ate calories on a regular basis. Perhaps Bitch Girl was just grumpy because she had low blood sugar.
Fat Wembley Park Lady then sat opposite me and I considered, as we continued our journey on the stinking hell-hole that is the Metropolitan Line at 8am, that she didn't in any way fit the stereotype of a fat woman. She was dressed well in a manner which flattered her figure (Trinny and Susannah would have approved), she had good skin, she was wearing make up and nice shoes - she looked as if she took care of herself. If I had been asked to describe her appearance to a third party, I would have hesitated to use the F-word not because she wasn't fat, but because she didn't fit into the stereotype of the fat woman.
The fat woman is greedy, lazy, slovenly, lacking in self-control, lacking in self-respect, and she has let herself go. Therefore, one can't describe a woman as fat without also describing her as all of the above. That's why we come up with these patronising euphemisms for fat. Fuller-figured, larger lady, curvy (used by bitchy women as a backhanded compliment - for, "You've got such a lovely figure, so curvy!" read, "You fat ho"), voluptuous - they're all ways of saying "fat" whilst distancing the person from all of the negative baggage that goes with that particular word.
The fat woman constantly has to prove that she does not conform to this hideous stereotype. If a slim woman chooses to go out in sweatpants with no make-up, that's fine. But if a fat woman does this, she has let herself go. A fat woman has to be seen to have self-respect, because the implication made by her size is that she doesn't, because no woman would allow herself to get fat if she had any self-respect or self-control. Self-control, yeah, because the only reason women get fat is that they stuff their faces with cream cakes all day. There are a number of reasons why a woman might be fat, and none of them have anything to do with laziness, greediness or lack of self-control.
None of these descriptions suggest a lack of self-respect, apart from that of the compulsive eater, who needs help rather than judgement.
I'd really like to see the word "fat" as no different from "tall" or "blonde" or even, dare I say "thin". It's a physical description, not a loaded judgement. I'd like to be able to describe fat women as "fat" without insulting them and without implying that they do nothing but devour cheeseburgers in front of Ricki Lake and that they deserve all the type 2 diabetes they get. It's okay to call a man fat, because a fat man is just fat. I'd like fat women to be just fat too.