Saturday

Of rude FAT comments and insensitive people

Just the other day, I almost ended up with blood on my hands by pulling out the tongue and kicking the balls of an uncle for his discriminatory, insensitive remarks. The only thing that saved him was that the remarks were not said to my face but to a colleague of mine.
Of all the insensitive and rude remarks to make, the offending man actually told my colleague in a crowded elevator that, get this, she is fat.
This is how the conversation went:
"You are getting fatter by the day," the insensitive boor told my poor colleague.
Offended and hurt, she told him that considering she just had a baby, naturally she could not immediately bounce back to her former weight and size.
Being the insensitive jerk that he is, he pressed on and this time, dared to even mention me when I was not even in the darn elevator!
"Oh, you women always have some excuse or other about putting on weight. Just like my niece, she goes around with all that extra fat and claimed that she could not go on a diet just because she is breastfeeding. Utter nonsense is what I say. I don't see her losing any weight even after weaning off the baby. Women should take care of their bodies and lose all that ugly fat after having babies. But then, of course, it all depends on whether they have the will to lose the fat or not," he said in a self-righteous tone of voice while heavily implying that my colleague and me and all women in general who do not have supermodel figures obviously do not have any will to lose the extra inches.
At this juncture, my poor hurt colleague was about to scratch his eyes out and probably would have strangled him there and then except that there were too many witnesses around and him being a lot bigger and taller than her did not help matters.
This is not the first time this uncle of mine, whom I am not proud to be related to, have made such rude insensitive comments.
He had called me fat numerous times, even when I was pregnant.
A few months after I had my son, he actually came up to me and told me to my face that I am fat. When I replied huffily that I am not fat, it only served to make him affirm his statement by going on and on about my size.
"What do you mean you are not fat? Look at you! Look in the mirror, woman!"
Of course, I did not do anything at that time because this uncle of mine have the tendency to open his big insensitive mouth in public places where vengeful women like me could not do the necessary to silence him. What with plenty of witnesses hanging around, the situation is painful and embarrassing enough without me contributing a gory bloody crime scene to it.
This is one uncle I do not acknowledge and up till now, I have avoided him as best I could. He may be my father's brother but he is a downright pain in the neck and I do not want to end up a murderer.
The irony of it all is that my aunt, the woman married to him, is not supermodel thin. In fact, she is double my size and if I am fat, I do not know what she is in his view. I honestly felt sorry for her (to have such a boorish husband) and hoped that he does not mouth off at her over her weight every day. Since he is still alive today and they are still married, I can only assume that he dared not say anything about her weight to her for fear of her poisoning him or smothering him in his sleep!
My uncle is not the only insensitive, rude jerk who discriminates against people who are not reed thin.
I have come across many such people, including total strangers, who have the audacity to tell me to lose weight or that I should lay off the dessert.
I think it is extremely rude and in bad taste to comment about someone's weight and size. Just because they are on the underweight side does not mean they have the right to look down on those who wear double-digit sizes. Nor does it give them the right to tell us to lose weight or to cut down on our food or to make horridly discriminatory fat jokes and thought that it was okay and for our good.
People like these naturally assumed that we, the bigger and better group, have no self-control, that we are a lazy bunch who just eat, eat, eat and eat to get to the size we are and that we needed to be told that we should to do something to become the over-rated single-digit size of stick figures.
Staying in a country where most people are of single-digit sizes and double digits are considered obese, it is very difficult for me to go anywhere to shop for clothes. Often, I get disdainful stares from skinny promoters when I asked for bigger sizes of clothes. Always, I get directed to the 'big size women' boutique just because my size do not fit in with the norms of this country. At times, I do feel like an outcast from this size discriminatory treatment.
Despite all this, I have decided 'to hell with it all!' and continue to live life the way I want and who cares if all those stick figures out there continue to cast disdainful looks at me? As long as my husband do not care about the extra comfy padding for him to hug, as long as I am still as healthy as ever and is able to continue breastfeeding my son, the bony specimens of rude people out there can say whatever they want and it won't bother me at all!

2 comments:

rigilkent said...

I'm a man, and I totally understand and sympathize with your feelings. There's a saying that "fat prejudice is the last remaining 'acceptable' prejudice," and I do think that is the case in many circles. But it's wrong, wrong, wrong, and the reason it's wrong is simple and summed up in another old adage:

"There but for the Grace of God go I." Which, in the secular sense means that anyone could conceivably end up in that state. And the lesson being, "don't criticize, it could be you."

Unfortunately, a lot of people have a hard time appreciating these simple sentiments, and men in particular (although women aren't exempt). And so they marginalize the fat person, ridicule them, imply that their is something about them "not quite right" about them. They don't quite, "make the grade."

25 years ago, I was a "rag o' bone, and a hank o' hair." But like everyone, I grew older, and like so many men, have begun to combat the expansion of my belly...

To make a long story short, an acquaintance of mine who is preparing T-shirts for a club I belong to posted on our blog today that he needed size and color info. from everyone, and to send it to him via e-mail if we were uncomfortable stating our size in a public forum. So, I sent him my size (I'm a tall, broad shouldered man to begin with, and 50 extra pounds makes me seem all the more massive), and he mailed me back and said, "I had you and another couple of people in mind when I posted to the blog..."

Now, get this. I'm 6'3", 260 lbs, and prior to this weighed in from 210-220 since I was a teenager. Hardly "obese," but he sure made me feel that way with that brief, insensitive comment.

I wrote him back and said, "Thanks - you made my day." And he wrote back with, "I thought that would."

Then I went on the web searching for something that might make me feel a little better, and found your post. So, once again, I agree: it is wrong, wrong, wrong to single out people who are overweight for ridicule. I never did it, not once, in my life, because that's something that only REAL pigs do.

Nyla said...

Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog.

Firstly, you are right. It is wrong for people to single out others just because they are different or bigger. But that doesn't stop them from doing so.

Size discrimination is indeed very common especially in a society where they place stick thin models on pages of magazines or in the case of men, they place muscle-bound toned men.

No real sized women or men were ever in the media light except for Oprah who has also bowed to the 'pressure' and lost weight.

Since we can't stop what others say to us, I guess the best way to deal with it is to ignore them. After all, if they can say such discriminatory things, they are not worth our friendships or attention.