When I was eight I walked past the school bullies on the courtyard. They were crowded in a circle, each clutching onto one end of their only shared copy of Playboy. I tried to join in their festivities by asking them what they were doing; the scrawniest kid turned around and yelled: “fuck you fatty!” as the bigger kid pushed me away. I got really angry I stuck my tongue out, turned around, bent over and pulled down my pants; it then took me a whole three seconds to realize that I had to make a run for it. I didn’t get very far.
A few months after, fox news came to my school to discuss about pandemic childhood obesity and this very pretty news anchor knelt down next to me and asked: “so, how does it feel to be fat?” I could hear the girls in my class giggling behind the cameraman as I tried to reply: “Well.. it’s unhealthy, and you cannot run very far..” When I watched myself on TV a month later, the programme ended, the screen flashed to black, the credits were rolling and I saw myself listed as - fat boy #2
Isn’t the idea of being fat one construed out of representations? In the very sense that what it means to be fat is already constituted as an already represented notion of being fat. My point isn’t that we are all already told that we are fat by corporate evil, blah, blah, but instead that the only way we can determine if we are fat is through the very depiction of fatness. In this regard, fatness can only acquire its meaning from its portrayal, yet such a representation is one that accords to a reference; that means each depiction of “fattiness” occurs through referring to another concept, or representation of someone else being fat. What is crucial here is that if someone mentions that they want to lose weight, it is literally impossible to mean that they desire to lose weight. Instead, what they then mean is that they want to shift to a different horizon of representation. In other words, they don’t want to be like Christina Hendricks, they want to be Mila Kunis. “Christina Hendricks is not fat, she’s bootylicious!” you yell to yourself as you refer her through another representation. Yet, these two representations are not similar by virtue of mere weight, they are entirely different. This is then the issue of losing weight, one wants become akin to someone else, different in its entirety, but to be someone else requires to be within the representation of the desired-other. Isn’t this precisely why there is this idea among dieters that: “oh, my life has not yet actually started until I lose weight.” Or, if you’re Oedipally oppressed: “oh, I can’t wait for my life to start when I move out of this holy house of Satan.” It must feel uncanny to be living in limbo.
The notion of a representation thereby occurs through its very referentiality – isn’t friendship thereby the best example of this? When you leave your computer to find people to mingle with in the real world, you call them ‘friends’, and what constitutes a best friend is being able to understand each specific ‘hidden’ reference that has meaning to your friendship. Each friendship has its own singular horizon of representation that only specific particular references constitute one relationship/representation over the other; exactly like inside jokes. What can be depicted is thereby that which has a referential value, to gain meaning from the other concept. Thereby if we think in terms of conceptual representations, reality as such would thereby be meaningless without an interpretation, without according a representation to it. It’s Saturday night and it’s hangout time with the girls, so you tell them a story about Josh who tried to hit on you: “So, uh, he came up to me, and he said ‘ooo gurl you lookin’ like you like what you see won’t you come over and check up on it i’ma let you work up on it check on me tonight.’” The girl to your left rolls her eyes and mutters: “ugh, where’s feminism when you need it” as everybody swirls their wine glasses together.
The way one accords an event is through positing it in a certain way that allows the appropriate meaning to be layered upon it. Meaning then, comes from how one represents an event. Isn’t this the very reason why pictures mean so much to us? There is this tendency to attribute the decline of humanity to the technological advancements of cameras, yeah insanely I do agree, but how does this not tell us that these motherfucking pictures mean so much more to us than reality itself – that the creation of that which is able to rupture reality, cause reality to actually gain meaning as reality – through these very fractures. Each picture fragments reality within that singular temporal order and recreates that moment as reality through the overflow of desire; think about how you wish you were skinnier, thus being represented differently, and this desire that is accorded creates the very reality in which you feel fat. These ruptures are then equally a representation in which one is able to convey to another just what this situation means; meaning in reality can only be posited by these very ruptures. The very need to capture reality also thereby posits the need to dress reality up, to believe that reality is more than the sum of its parts, to catch reality we have to first create reality, and creation is preceded by the desire for a reality in the first place.
Sometimes I think that love can only occur through understanding a singular fragment of the other person that results in an exposure of an entire horizon or representation that one has been taught to love. Sometimes I don’t think about love because love sucks.
If you feel like you really need to lose weight/jump representations, here is a way in. Instead of being at the very horizon of feeling like you need to be skinny, jump into a different representation that you are comfortable with that has no problems with being fat; however, allow for a secondary recourse within that new representation that aids weight loss. Okay, what I mean is that if you love writing, change your identity to Sylvia Plath and you can spend all your time thinking about suicide and thereby not eating (secondary recourse). It’s much harder to pit desire against desire itself since it is capitalism that creates that very lack out of productive desire. There can’t be a relapse if it doesn’t mean anything to you any more.