We're so quick to comment on the appearance of others

Fat is a feminist issue, or so said Susie Orbach in the late '70s.

Saturday, 22nd October 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 3:40 pm
Police investigate after a serious assault in Fratton Picture: UKNIP

Orbach claimed that female obesity was about much more than the simple maths of calorific intake versus physical output and that, instead, gender inequality makes women fat.

To her, body fat was a way of giving the middle finger to society’s concept of the ‘ideal’ woman.

I’m not sure about my opinions regarding Orbach, but I do know that weight is an issue to obsess over.

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I’ve experienced both sides of the fat/thin coin, having been in the position of wanting (and needing in my opinion due to personal health preferences) to lose weight following the birth of my little girls.

I can confirm that the reactions of people towards you vary vastly according to your size – but not in the way that you’d expect them to.

One of my friends told me that her fat friends no longer saw her as an ally following weight loss – she’d crossed to the ‘skinny dark side’ and seemed to have given them silent criticism by shrinking herself.

Ironic because she never saw herself (her real ‘self’) as any different, the only difference was in their eyes.

Yet she became alienated by her new weight, or lack of.

I have some other good friends who have always been very slim.

All of them have experienced the same thing: that when you are thin or slim, other people think it’s okay to tell you that you are ‘too thin’, or that you ‘should gain some weight’, or that you ‘look ill’.

On the other hand, I have friends who range from curvy to fat.

These women have told me that their friends don’t comment on their weight at all to their faces.

There seems to be a belief therefore that, in certain circumstances, we can openly scorn our friends, and in others we cannot.

Who decides where these lines are drawn? And what does it say about us anyway that we are so quick to judge and make comments on the appearance of others?

It probably says more about us than it does them.


I have always been a staunch defender of Portsmouth (although readers may recall my recent column about what a state various areas of the city are in at the moment).

However, the recent spate of violence seems incredibly disappointing.

For a city where we have struggled for years to fight against a reputation, some individuals seem intent on living up to the old stereotype.

It’s a minority, but, thinking back over the hammer attack, the recent violence in Fratton, a stabbing in North End a few months ago, and several attempts to snatch children, is quite horrifying.

Surely we all want to feel safe in the environment we are living in.

But I wonder how many people do at the moment?


It’s rare that I use the luxury of this column to give a little shout-out to friends.

So please forgive me, but my lovely friend Melissa Fauset and her husband Dave have finally welcomed their little boy, Freddie, into the world.

I’d like to publicly say a big hello to the little man and to wish them congratulations and much love.

It’s such a special time in life and all parents know that babies are unrepeatable splashes of joy and colour in our worlds.

I can also say with some surety that it’s fabulous to be able to cuddle them and then pass them back, knowing that it’s not you they’ll be keeping awake at night.

So a big, warm welcome to the world, Freddie William George Fauset!