Screenshot from “Checking Our Privilege: the Drinking Game”. Dylan says, “I am not overweight or obese”, and only he and Cecil drink. From the NerdCon edition of “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind”, see this video. (Pictured from left to right: Kate Jones, Desiree Burch, Cecil Baldwin, Jeffrey Cranor, Meg Bashwiner, Dylan Marron, Kevin R. Free)
This is probably the first time the phrase “overweight or obese” has made me feel happy and included. Usually, when these words are used, people like me are being described as a problem. That makes me feel alienated and judged.
The difference here is that “overweight or obese” is mentioned in a way that is not negative. In fact, it’s not commented on at all. It’s not a flaw, just a quality many of these people have. It doesn’t define them, but much like being non-white or non-heterosexual or transgender, it’s a quality some people will judge them for.
The overweight or obese cast members are standing there, not being ridiculed or shamed. They have their own complex relationship with their bodies, and this play allows for that. They’re allowed dignity.
It makes me feel like I’m standing there with them and being acknowledged. Not seen as a problem, just as a human being who is, among other things, fat. (I’m only using this word to describe my own body, not the cast members. How they define their bodies is up to them.)
As thin men, Cecil and Dylan do get comments about their bodies. But those comments are not as vicious as the ones I get about my body. Thin people are not judged in the same way. It means so much to me that Cecil and Dylan understand this.
I cannot describe how much this means to me. I’m not used to being acknowledged and included. Often even the most forward-thinking people don’t really get weight stigma.
My favorite thing about the Neo-Futurists is that they are open to people. They invite people’s stories and voices, especially ones that are not usually heard. This openness allows for them to not categorize people. There’s room for different personalities and experiences.
There’s room to be seen, not as something you represent, but by being here as you are.