A review of the book “Gruba. Importance and Bias Report”

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Evaluation, aggression, deprivation of dignity – this is fatophobia, a social mechanism that disciplines grown-ups. It increases the pressure, reduces the problem of obesity, which affects one in four poles. In the book “Gruba. Report on weight and prejudice » Maria Mamczur interviews obese women. The most important theme of this story is not their bodies but the daily hell in which they live.

Maria Mamczur is an accomplished journalist, her reporting on a paralyzed stuntman, Vietnamese opposition activists emigrating to Poland and striking miners have garnered prestigious awards. The subject of the last book came to him in a different way from the previous ones. When in middle age, following illness and a crisis in her relationship, she began to gain weight, she discovered a whole new perspective – the gross perspective. “When I majestically jumped into size 48 from size 38, my mother, an elegant person, felt embarrassed. She couldn’t hide it even under the mask of concern for my health” – reports Mamczur in his book. And then, even more bluntly, he adds a message from a former fan who wrote: “Girl, how could you venture like this?”

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These words are strong, but are they surprising? Every round girl, teenager or young woman knows them. Only intended for a grown woman, professionally made, they stir up dissonance and reveal something very startling – a tall body can take away dignity and set it lower. These mechanisms make the author’s anger quite understandable.

Either way, as Mamczur admits, his book proved too controversial for a few editors, who expected a softening of tone and instilling more hope in the text. Meanwhile, the body positivity movement is a great marketing slogan, but according to research, body positivity in daily life is still not popular enough in Poland. According to experts, among girls from 43 countries surveyed, Polish teenage girls have the highest negative body image index. 29% were considered thick or too thick. A child of 11 years, and up to 50%. 15 years (Research on health behaviors in school-aged children)

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Fat explains. In common perception, a large body is the effect of greed

Maria begins with her own story, as if she had to explain herself. Does he really eat a lot? If yes, why? Can’t he just stop?
It seems that everyone who looks at her on the street, a friend from years ago or a relative, asks for information about the reasons for her weight, without thinking about the intimacy of the body and health.
What happens when the answer is given? Then the ranking begins. When somatic health is the issue, compassion arises. If you suffer from stress and mental issues, assess them and pull yourself together. There is rarely a question that is concerned.
No one is interested in genetic conditions or the type of body shape in which larger buttocks, hips or more abundant breasts can appear, even at statistically popular sizes. The recommendation is repeated to overcome laziness and shape the body with sports. The argument that the notion of standard is fluid seems to be misunderstood, that not every body can fit into the size 36 created by the clothing industry to standardize the production of clothing. In common perception, a large body is the effect of greed, that is, a weakness of character that must be fought, paradoxically, with the help of the body. For his health. This is where the food issue comes in.
At the same time, it is difficult to refer to advice on choosing unprocessed, junk or cheap food, as these issues are no longer a choice in Poland. The prices of simple organic yogurts without corn syrup can be off-putting, and access to such products is associated with status.

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Fat stops eating. There is always a moment of crisis in radical regimes

Maria remembers a situation in which a doctor refuses to treat a patient until the woman loses weight. The question arises whether this is a punishment for the patient, or rather a proof of the impotence of medicine, which has not developed medical standards for larger people and manages their treatment badly. The slogan “MŻ”, or “eat less”, is used as a medical recommendation. This rude reaction exposes the unconscious of the person who is professionally involved with the body and does not understand that sometimes “less” does not help or is impossible for a million individual reasons.

And when it is impossible to reduce rationally, you can try to act radically, practically sift the food. Fasting or draconian diets based on a product, several hundred calories or a cocktail in a sachet are not healthy, as confirmed by cardiologists, diabetologists, endocrinologists and psychiatrists. But these are the solutions that the heroines of Maria use, because they are determined and overwhelmed by the pressure. A bad mood, headaches, a feeling of weakness are nothing if respect, love and a normal life are also at stake. Diet is only a temporary attack on the body, and vision of a new better self compensates for the sacrifices. At least for a while – days, weeks, months. Because at some point in this type of diet there is always a crisis – the physical suffering is unbearable, the first effects cease to motivate, and everything is exacerbated by pressure. So there is often a breakdown, a return to old habits, there is a yo-yo effect.

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The fat is you. Overweight is common, affecting 58 percent. Adult sticks

Does this mean that the woman described as fat is doomed and has no chance of a different life? No, Mamczur’s book is critical, but vis-à-vis the environment, not the protagonists. The author turns the mirror upside down and asks her friends, companions, doctors, mothers, neighbors to see themselves there, who often without their knowledge, out of concern or, on the contrary, enjoying their feeling of superiority or professional position, evaluated and criticized, and underestimated the self-esteem of others.

The real subject of this report is fatophobia, that is, a mechanism supposed to discipline fat people, but with opposite effects, since it increases the pressure and reduces the problem. Since we know that being overweight is common, it affects 58%. Polish adults, which puts us above the European average (according to Eurostat research), and one in four Poles suffers from obesity, it is time for a profound moral change. Mamczur does not suggest what this type of revolution should look like. Doctors, politicians and teachers should work on a big project to repair the body – through quality food, healthy relationships, beauty canons, taking care of somatic and mental health. And we can demand mental change by healing social relationships. And it’s good to start with yourself and your loved ones, carefully handling the language we use to talk about being overweight, and softening our judgments.

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“Grease. A report on importance and prejudice”, Maria Mamczur, Krytyki Polityczna Publishing House

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