Many a day recently, my daughter who is still in middle school, has been reduced to tears by the comments that have been made to her and about her. “You’re Anorexic!” Yes – this is just one of the multitude of judgmental statements made by her peers. Others include “you need to eat more”, “you have skinny arms and legs”, “you shouldn’t wear skinny jeans because you don’t ROCK them” – and the list goes on… Some of these comments are sometimes preceded by “Can I be honest with you?”
For all our politically correct culture, I’m wondering why people – adults, not just teens – think those who are thin have no feelings and therefore you can direct just about any rude personal comments toward them. Isn’t it funny how you can’t even refer to people as “fat” anymore without causing quite a stir? At the most you may speak in general terms of people who are “overweight”. Mind you, you certainly cannot tell any one person that they are overweight or even suggest it. Companies have lost court battles on the basis of “weight discrimination”. However never have we heard that the words used were “skinny”, “skeleton”, “anorexic”, “sick” or something along those lines. I can however, vouch for the fact that these are well used.
Sometimes the “well intentioned” may even add a “honey” at the start of the sentence; I guess, wishing to convey concern and believing they are softening the blow. As in – “Honey are you ok? You’re too thin” or “Honey you need to drink some milkshakes” or “Honey, you’re not anorexic, are you?” Beware of the question “Can I be honest with you?” or a statement that ends with “just saying”. How come I’ve never heard anyone ever ask “fat” people “are you ok?” Or say “Honestly Honey – you’re too fat!” or better yet the health concern – “Honey, you’re a walking billboard for a heart attack – just saying!”
What about the stupid, unoriginal “jokes” that aren’t really funny at all – like:
- “You must have to run around in the shower to get wet” – Actually you dumb nut, it would be easier for a thin person to get wet than if half their body were sticking out of the shower – just saying!
- Or “I’ll bet you don’t weigh 90 lbs soaking wet!”
- Or the all time classic – “If you stand sideways you’re not even there!”
All of this followed by stupid laughter!! – Usually from a fat person! – Oh, pardon me, should I have said “overweight” or not said anything at all? Well, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out!
When I first came to the US more than a couple of decades ago, I was stunned by the frequency with which people made rude personal comments. (I acknowledge there are rude people the world over) I have been thin all my life and my daughter has inherited those skinny genes – yes, pun intended! Neither of us is ill – quite the contrary. So to all you supposed well wishers, knock off the rude comments to thin people and teach your kids that making rude personal comments is off limits -even when they’re supposedly couched in concern. (Yes – kids learn from somewhere!) Reminder: if you have nothing positive to say, say nothing because nobody asked for your opinion in the first place!
Now before any of you decide to enlighten me on the topic of rude comments to overweight people, please know it’s a wasted effort. I am not advocating negative comments toward ANY group of people – thin, fat, short, tall, blue, green or bald – it’s ALL wrong. We should ALL be protected species! I really don’t care to analyze the psychology behind the remarks either. No one cares if they stem from jealousy or a lack of a life. While turning the proverbial cheek may be called for at times and I try to teach my daughter not to value the cheap chatter of ignorance; she is still a child finding her way in her awkward teen years. I believe it’s high time people grow up, mind their own business and learn some manners.
If you think I’m a bit upset, you guessed right. Say something disparaging to or about me and I may just chalk it up to idiocy. Take pot shots at my daughter however, that’s tempting fate!! I may not look it, but rest assured, I AM a “Mama Bear”!!