Why is it still okay to make fun of fat people? And, why am I shocked that it is still so prevalent?
A father of a friend of mine, who happens to be a Facebook friend, posted a scathing article about flying next to a fat person. He then commented about the horror of sitting in your seat watching a fat person approach and that feeling of pleading that they don’t sit next to him. It was a terrible article and an even nastier comment. Rather than call him out publicly, I sent him a private message. In that message, I explained that I am that person. I am the fat woman squeezing down the aisle of the plane. I am the person who is nervous that I am not going to have enough room and more importantly, I am the person who is concerned about disturbing someone else. I wanted to let him know that the person walking towards him has feelings and underneath their size has a heart that’s breaking. I wanted to give the headless fat person a face.
The other day, I was figuratively punched in the gut when, I was poking around Facebook. Someone had posted a video of a fat woman wriggling into a pair of jeans. She was, of course, headless and faceless (as most fat people are when they are being “exposed” like they are on the news or in the “don’t” section of fashion magazines.) As I watched the video a couple of things came to mind. First, I thought it was amazing how she was able to maneuver herself into pants that were clearly too small. Second, I thought, “that could almost be me…but I think I may be larger…” Then, mistakenly, I read the comments. Why was I shocked at how heartless and cruel the comments were?
The comments section, on most posts, is for people who don’t have the courage to say things in life. The comment section tends to bring out the absolute worst in people.
So, here I am sitting in my house reading that my “friend” finds this woman disgusting and is laughing about it and saying, “Ewwww.” I am left with two questions, “Is she disgusted by me? “ and “Why am I friends with this person?!”
I personally have been oinked at while walking in a mall. I have had people yell pejoratives to me out of car windows. Often times, in stores and in restaurants I will find people staring at me and giving me the up and down look as if I can’t see them.
Statistics show that of overweight teens (and I loathe the term overweight as it implies a correct weight and someone is over that weight…) 24% of boys and 30% of girls are subject to some sort of bullying because of their size. I have seen some statistics that show upwards of 60% of elementary school kids are more likely to be teased because of their size. There have also been an alarming number of childhood suicides because of this horrible practice. How many fat kids have to kill themselves before we stop?
Why do we continue to tell fat people that they need to change when we don’t tell the bullies to?
Maybe instead of the War on Obesity we should have a War on Hate. Maybe we should just stop waging war altogether.
Unlike what the news portrays, people of size do have heads and faces and hearts. So, stop making fun of us. Stop judging us. Just stop it!!