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O Canada … Hey USA

April 10, 2012

Hey fellow Fierce Freethinkers! I am just coming off the tail-end of a great deal of drama and controversy that took place on my blog over the past couple of weeks. I wrote a blog and filmed a video which contained my opinions on large women who pose provocatively in order to attract a mate. To summarize: I don’t think it’s a good idea, while others think it’s great. But that wasn’t all. I received a ton of hate and harassment about it, which forced me to respond with a couple of other blogs, one apologizing for offending anyone and one addressing the hate and harassment specifically.

This post opened up a whole can of worms (more like a barrel of worms) and reinforced many of my beliefs about some of the disturbing attitudes and behaviors in the Fat Acceptance community. This subject warrants a much longer, thought-out piece which I might very well undertake in the future, but for now, I just want to take a deep breath and bloody relax. In order to help me unwind, I’m going to be a little lighthearted with this post.

I tend to muse about things both serious and not so serious. I am a Canadian and I live in Toronto. The other day I was wondering, “What’s the difference between being fat in Canada and being fat in the USA?” Is there a difference? Many people from the US think of Canadians as honorary Americans, and a lot of Americans don’t think of us at all. Here’s what I came up with.

 

  1. Americans have McDonald’s, which some say is a huge contributor to the much-touted obesity epidemic. We too have McDonald’s here in the Great White North, of course, but we also have this great hamburger place called Harvey’s. It’s awesome. They broil their burgers and you get to pick the toppings that go on your burger. If you love to eat, you’re happy at Harvey’s.
  2. Along the same lines, Americans have Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. A few have opened in Canada, but the donut granddaddy here has always been (and always will be) Tim Hortons. Tim Hortons is a Canadian institution. They have these amazing bite-sized pieces of heaven called Timbits, which are little round donut balls. They come in several different flavors, but my personal favorite is the Sour Cream Glazed. They are absolute melt-in-your-mouth heaven.
  3. Americans have no lack of celebrity diet shillers. We scarcely have any. The closest we ever came to having a celebrity diet shiller was Olympic figure skater Elizabeth Manley, who appeared in commercials for a Canadian weight loss centre called Herbal Magic.

    But a silver medalist skater hardly holds the same clout as someone like Mariah Carey or Jennifer Hudson, but that’s the closest we have ever come to having a Canadian celebrity diet shiller. I’m not sure whether it’s because few people care about Canadian celebrities or if there simply aren’t as many Canadian celebrities willing to shill diet programs for a check. If it’s the latter, I guess that’s good on us. (No offense.)
  4. Clothes shopping. You guys SO have us beat. Every time I visit the US (my husband and I try to visit New York City at least once a year — we love it there), I make sure to hit every plus-sized clothing store I can. Canadian plus-sized clothing store chains are terrible. First of all, there are only two of them: Addition-Elle and Pennington’s. Addition-Elle is overpriced as hell without the selection to justify the cost. Pennington’s is cheaper but, again, selection is pretty dismal. Granny clothes are the norm and there are very few trendy, fashionable options available. We do have one department store, The Bay, that has a pretty good plus-sized section, but you have to make sure to go to one of its major locations to find a better selection, since some the smaller locations usually suck.
  5. We have a very short supply of Fat and Size Acceptance activists here in Canada. They so rare as to be almost unheard of. I have often wondered why, as I believe that our two countries are virtually identical in terms of the ratio between fat and thin. There are plenty of fat people in Canada, but they all seem to be as quiet as mice — except for me, of course, lol. Personally, I think it may have something to do with the fact that Canadians have a reputation for being a very polite, well-mannered, don’t-make-waves type of people. Perhaps that national mindset contributes to the silence of fat people here. I know there are a few of us upstarts muttering and making noise, but not enough. You guys put us to shame in that category, that’s for sure. We have a lot to learn from you.

That’s a short list of the differences I came up with. I know there are at least a couple of other Canadian regular readers and contributors here, so if they’d care to remind me of any differences that I might have missed, please do so! Until next time, my fellow fiercies …

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2012 10:33 am

    First of all, I LOVE Canada. I have a serious crush on all things Canadian and when I eventually am driven from my homeland by the pitchfork wielding mobs of dieters, I will head straight for the Northern Boarder. But any time someone mentions the Great White North, I think of two things: “Strange Brew” and this…

    Peace,
    Shannon

  2. vesta44 permalink
    April 10, 2012 11:01 am

    The only part of Canada I’ve ever been to is British Columbia, and I loved it! The first time was back when I was 13 or 14, and the second time was when I was 21 – I was working with a carnival that summer and we went to Victoria and Nanaimo. Gorgeous places, both, and the ferry ride to the island was a blast. I’ve always wanted to see the rest of Canada, but don’t think I’ll make it this lifetime – not up for the paperwork involved in getting a passport and all the hassles with crossing the border now.
    But the thing I noticed most about the Canadian people was their reserve and politeness. My aunt and uncle owned a cabin/restaurant in BC for a few years and their kids went to school there. They said that it took more time to get to know people and make friends than it did when they moved in the States, but that the friends they made in BC were good, strong friendships that lasted even after they moved back to the States. I do have some Canadian cousins that I met one summer when we vacationed in WA state, and I remember one of them having the same wicked, twisted sense of humor that I have (must run in the family).

  3. April 10, 2012 11:42 am

    I went to university in Montreal, and absolutely fell in love with it. I’m fluent in French and I just adored the place. If someone offered me a job, I’d go back in a heartbeat. My degree holds more clout north of the border anyway (you tell people in the U.S. that you went to McGill and they usually go ‘where?’ while it’s at least on the order of a low-Ivy-league school in Canada). Maybe it’s because I speak French, but the people in MTL were nothing but kind and courteous to me – it always felt very urbane and very mature, for lack of a better word.

    • April 10, 2012 7:02 pm

      Oh, if we’re talking about food from our stomping grounds? POUTINE! And smoked meat! I cannot remember how many evenings I’d grab lunch at Schwartz’s in the Plateau.

      • April 14, 2012 4:59 pm

        I am probably the only canadian in history who has not tasted Poutine … I hear it’s great though.

  4. Linda Ramos permalink
    April 10, 2012 11:55 am

    Hail from Los Angeles here. I loathe Krispy Kreme so much it’s gotta be the second thing I say. lol. We happily have a lovely selection of burger chains here that kill McD’s in terms of quality, taste and topping selection (Five Guys is soooo good). McD’s is literally my second to last choice in burgers (just ahead of Burger King), but I still gotta say that citing it as an major obesity “cause” is dubious. Just recently, while he was reporting the story of the same, a local news anchor stated he fed McD’s to his kids that all the time and they aren’t fat. Not that I, in any way, will say that it’s a great meal choice, but I was fat kid and we rarely ate there. Just like laying the blame at the foot of sugary sodas is simplistic and unproven. I switched to diet soda in my teens and I’m now a 49 yrs old and twice the woman I was a fat teen. Did I mention I was forced dieted at age 7 and lived in a fat-hating home, with every morsel that went into my mouth questioned? Or that I spent another nearly 30 years immersed in that world view and self-imposed, but still fat? But I digress….
    What I know of Canada is that a lot of talented people come from there, that some day I hope to visit much of it and that fat folk need better stores there! Oh, and it produces some great TV…. O Canada!

  5. April 10, 2012 1:36 pm

    Hello from a fellow Torontonian (yes, that’s what we call people from Toronto)!

    Let me put in a plug for Hero Burgers, a small Toronto-based chain of burger joints. Really excellent.

    • April 14, 2012 5:01 pm

      Hero Burgers is great too. Me and my husband just tried a famous burger joint in the east end called The Burger’s Priest … according to NOW magazine, they make the best burgers in the city. Having now tried one, I can attest to the fact that they are awesome, but quite expensive (if you get the extras, like a deep-fried Portobello mushroom on top, which we did). But oh yeah … mmmmmm.

  6. JeninCanada permalink
    April 10, 2012 8:55 pm

    Chiming in as a life-long Canuck, formerly of Ontario but now of BC. I’ve tried to like Addition-Elle, I really have, and have gotten a few things from there, but I really can’t justify paying $49 for a SHIRT. Pants, specifically a great pair of jeans? Sure. But a shirt? Oh hell no.

    Part of the “Canadians are nice/polite/quiet/reserved” thing is that we are less likely (IMO) to make fun of fat folks in public. I’ve never been the victim of street harassment because of my fat, or known larger women who were. People don’t point and laugh when I’m eating or make pointed comments about what’s in my grocery cart, either.

    • April 14, 2012 5:02 pm

      The prices at Addition-Elle are outrageous and really uncalled for. Such a ripoff. I rarely shop there anymore. I try to do all my clothes shopping at the Bay (on sale days, of course).

    • smileonmyface permalink
      July 7, 2012 11:55 pm

      Fellow Cdn here – and I agree AE is way overpriced! I only buy stuff on sale; I refuse otherwise (unless I desperately need something).

      I’ve definitely been called names when I’ve been out running or biking, though (I’m in Ontario). Fairly regularly, too.

  7. MrsS permalink
    April 11, 2012 4:10 pm

    Are y’all too young to remember the song “American Woman” by the Guess Who (American woman, stay away from me”)?

    My husband and I went to Toronto about seven yrs ago. We loved it. We liked the warning on the metro: Mind the gap ( instead of Watch your step), and to this day, we say, Mind the ____..

    Linda, a Five Guys has opened in our area; I’ll have to try one. In-N-Out is my favorite currently.

  8. April 14, 2012 4:56 pm

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone! We Canadians love you Americans too … even though we get irritated that many of you seem to think that we live knee-deep in snow, even in June! 🙂 We had an incredibly mild, relatively snowless winter this year. Due to global warming, I think the notion of us Canadians using our dogsleds to get around may be a thing of the past relatively soon.

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