Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Librarians vs. Dietitians: Does This Profession Make Me Look Fat?

Oh, Superboy, don't you know Lana doesn't care what YOU look like? It's only Lana that needs to stay away from the Midwest casseroles.You can have super seconds!

I'd like to say this was the only "fat shaming" comic from that era, but they did use it quite a bit. Then again, they were the prototype of the typical sitcom situation of chubby hubby - hot wife. In fact, they went one better: chubby-hubby - multiple hot wives!

Which is why the most recent episode of FX's Louie, "So Did the Fat Lady" showed some amazing moments of true statements on how fat women are treated even when on date with a non-buff guy. You just need to read that monologue and see the clip here.

I've seen some backlash, but most of the comments on the internet are (surprise!) mostly positive.

We never get over the body image issue. Which brings us back to another chapter of:

Let's Compare Stereotyped Professions!

This month's Today's Dietitian has an article on body image among Registered Dietitians, or, more importantly, how RDs are perceived when they are not "thin." Because when people hear that someone is involved in nutrition, the assumption is that you cannot trust them to be "good" if they're "fat".

I can see how this can be a problem for RDs.  Never mind that thin doesn't mean healthy. But it can become way too time consuming to worry about your public perception when you should be worried if you're doing a good job.

Librarians don't fret about their weight. They do, however, fret about EVERY OTHER ISSUE OF THEIR IMAGE. And what's sad is that it's been going on for decades.

I'm not sure if the constant fear of appearing "cool" is better or easier than the fear of being "fat." In fact, it's pretty easy to slide into "creepily odd" from "attempted cool.".

But even though my Librarian peeps fret more, I think it's probably more of a burden to the Dietitians. 

I can speak from the both sides of being "uncool" and being "fat." Cool is really subjective; you'll always find someone who probably fits or relates on some level and will embrace the uncoolness. And for all their vintage clothes and snarky attitudes, Librarians have found more often that library users actually want to more older, nerdy types because they are perceived as knowing more. And I say this as a heavily tattooed librarian that can easily quote kitschy 60's comics. Most patrons treat me a lot different now that I've aged into suits and button down shirts.

But being fat...even your fellow fatties have issues with that. Body image is harder to escape. Especially as you relate it to perceptions of health. Studies show that our perception of health and weight are pretty skewed and it starts at a fairly young age.

So, I'm not sure who "wins" this round. It's bad enough we both have to deal with a lot of other stereotypes. But self-image is a very rancid icing on this unhealthy cake.

And yet we continue to see this in all media, even comics. 

Maybe this tiny segment on Louie might make a difference. But we can just keep on keepin' on in our two much-maligned, but truly awesome professions.

“Dietitians and Their Weight Struggles.” Accessed May 15, 2014.

Fonseca, Helena, and Margarida Gaspar de Matos. “Perception of Overweight and Obesity among Portuguese Adolescents: An Overview of Associated Factors.” The European Journal of Public Health 15, no. 3 (June 1, 2005): 323–28. doi:10.1093/eurpub/cki071.

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