Sunday, March 22, 2015
Fat People Are Told They Smell
Smell-a-phobes can make people's lives hell, because it is so often used to abuse people. Sure there are street people or those who become mentally ill and can't wash, don't wash or are unable to, but no person on this earth was helped by being told "You stink!"
At one job, there was incredible bias and harassment shown to me. The me of today would pursue a lawsuit, but more often then not while at this job I was told "I smelled". I under went so much harassment and abuse at this job it was disgusting. Because of these experiences, I am paranoid about smelling, never miss a shower, sometimes shower twice in a day during the summer and never re-wear a piece of clothing ever. This means my laundry bills are incredibly high. We spend easily 120 dollars a month on laundry. Bullies and narcissists often will use "smell" because it can't be proven and only discerned to attack people and often for the fat person this will be a source of incredible abuse. When it happens in the work place it is the worse.
When I was at my residential job, there were probably some days, I got sweaty cleaning and moving around during the16-24 hour shifts in an overly heated house. We weren't allowed to take showers there. I showered everyday but today I know the co-worker who complained most about my smelling and got others including the clients to join in, was participating in extreme fat bigotry. It is a technique that works. Be caught on a 105 degree day with a little bit of sweat and weighting 400lbs and they will treat you like you are scum of the earth and feel smug while doing it.
This is one un-spoken thing fat people don't talk about too much. I have to overcompensate to manage in society, while some people may run out to the grocery store in the morning without a shower, I would never dare. I would never dare re-wear a piece of clothing either. This is what helps sell the idea of spraying chemicals on everything to cover smells. Frebreze is definitely helped out.
When I was in extreme poverty, in the ghetto, this was after I was disabled but the year before I escaped, there was one woman from the size acceptance community who visited me and told me, that I and my apartment smelled. She was so ignorant that she didn't realize I was screaming to the landlord on the phone everyday about the mice taking over the apartment and the fact they had poison in the walls and more probably dead mice in them. I know most people probably would have ditched that apartment and left, but for me it was living there or in the streets at the time. Water in the ghetto is not as clean as water elsewhere. Every time our rickety bathtub backed up, the water would turn black. Our bathtub has backed up a few times here and I have never seen that happen. It still scares me wondering what was in that water. Anyhow this was the water I was forced to wash my clothes in. Was there an odor I was no longer detecting? It was possible. My furniture was ugly, stained and used to the falling apart point. While this lady was midsized, she was also upper middle class and had a job as a system analyst. While she pled that she was a liberal at the time, she didn't have one clue about what it meant to live in severe poverty.
She sent me a letter telling me, "You and your apartment stink!".
So back then I was getting it coming and going.
A reality about poverty, it's harder to keep things clean, my walls need painted in this apartment, but I can't afford to get it done, I need money to get the carpet ripped out, I bleach what I can, when I can, and hope it does not smell. It costs 100 bucks a pop to get the carpet steamed cleaned. I had it done last November. Money makes it easier for things to smell prettier. In my case being a severe asthmatic means no trash is allowed to fester more then 24 hours in here, and any mildew or mold has to be immediately stamped out.
I almost get flashbacks when everyone starts sniffing their nose around me. Unless someone is a close friend or my husband I keep a 3 feet away rule. My mother was a smellaphobe, she crinkle her nose up and one huge part of my abuse growing up was being told, "You smell!", "You have B.O!", "You're disgusting!". This never ended and continued into adulthood. I am sure there was a huge amount of fat bigotry involved. According to her, her own poo didn't even stink. Her constant offense at way-ward smells was never ending.
What gets me I have Aspie sensory stuff that makes me live in the shower and wash up more then other people. When I am sick, I will stand in a shower to comfort myself, I may need husband to help me if I am ill enough that day, but the heat helps take away pain. I will wash my hands even if I just touch pennies or money or feel something sticky and they are washed at least 20 times a day. I wash under my belly around 2-3 times a day. I took a daily shower every day from the time I was eleven years old. During the summer I can easily be in there twice. In hospitals I have broke the rules and gotten myself into a shower even with an IV hooked into my hand. Oh I wash my hair every single day too.
Finding out about this smell and bigotry study was very interesting to me. How much of it is bias? Some may claim maybe fat people do have a different scent producing a very different metabolism? I don't know, they could study that. There could be health problems causing problems too. PCOS is known to cause grooming challenges. I know my sense of my own smell changed even when I was forced off a testosterone lowering drug [spironolactone] which I had been on for 15 years. However this said, wouldn't thin people even have some health conditions that affect them too?
I do agree there is massive bias towards fat people and the "fat people stink", is one major prejudice, that fat people are suffering under.
Anyhow I am glad the researchers are challenging some of this stuff.