pseudo-concern about the bodies of others.
This is not a Tree.
I am not a Kitten.
Keep Your Concern to Yourself
by Ragen Chastain of Dances With Fat
Reader Sara told me about some food-shaming dishes. Some of the plates are:
1. “It’s hard to be around you when you eat like this."
2. "Did you really need that second helping?."
3. "Please stop eating, we’re worried about you."
4. "For the love of God, stop eating.”
Let’s start with my answers in order:
1. "See ya."
2. "No, but at this point if I stop eating with this fork I’m going to stab you with it; so bring on a third helping, or get some gauze for compression."
3. "I can’t stop you from worrying, but I can stop you from talking to me about it."
4. "For the love of God, mind your own business."
We’ve already talked about the total bullshit that is the “Do you need to eat that” question. But of course it goes beyond that.
I’ve heard people suggest that it’s their moral obligation to tell fat people that we “need to lose weight”, exercise more, or that if someone sees a fat child they need to say something to the caregiver. I’ve been part of any number of conversations where people who had no business or permission to talk to me about my weight did so.
I asked some friends on Facebook who had spoken to them about their weight inappropriate. The answers included:
Strangers, Dermatologist, Psychic, Coworker, Father, Sister, Gynecologist, Cop (while giving a speeding ticket), Grocery Store Checker, Dentist, Restaurant Owner, Airport Staffer, MY MOTHER (emphasis by the original author), Grandmother, Girl Scout Leaders, ER Doctor, Coworkers, Waiters/Waitresses, Gym teacher, Nutrition Professor, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig Employees (when I wasn’t enrolled in services), Softball Coach, Friend’s Parents, ROTC Leaders, Bagel Shop Employee, Other Kids Parents, Palm Reader, Obstetrician, Anesthesiologist, Photography Professor, Dermatologist, Chiropractor, Boss, Boyfriend’s Family, Dress Shop Employee, Massage Therapist.
Whoa. That’s a lot of people who think that it’s their right to say something to us about our bodies.
I won’t speak for anyone but me, but my response to this is No. No no no. World of no. Galaxy of no. Universe of no. No.
First of all, how grossly over-exaggerated does your sense of self-importance have to be, and how big of a rock do you have to live under, to talk to me as if I’ve never heard the opinion that I should lose weight.
Do you think I never see TV commercials? Listen to the radio? Look the hell around? By my count I get about 386,170 messages a year that my body is wrong. So how about you trust me when I tell you that the three-hundred-eighty-six-thousand, one-hundred seventy-first time is NOT the charm.
I think that when someone feels this strong of a need to “save a fatty”, it’s often really much more about their own ego than the person they are supposedly so concerned about. Like an ambitious relief pitcher, they want to get credit for the save. I call this “Pulling a Jillian” as in Jillian Michaels, ego maniac from The Biggest Loser, who can’t stop talking about how she’s saving lives and she’s making people healthy, she’s doing this and she’s doing that blah blah blah. Newsflash Jillian, if you really cared about people, we would be hearing a whole lot less about you.
I am a grown ass woman making choices. That is my right. Just like other people get to make choices for themselves. You can decide that you want to eat a raw foods diet, or fast food every day, or anything in between. I don’t get to decide how you live, it’s not my business. I get to make choices for my body and you have no right to question those choices.
You are allowed to be concerned about whatever you want, you are NOT allowed to share your concern with me unless I ask. The bottom line here is very simple: This is not a tree, and I am not a kitten, so you can put your ladder away.
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