Thursday, December 10, 2009

You're Way Too Fat

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Kind of offensive, isn't it?

What if I sat next to you in a cafeteria, presuming us to be previously acquainted, and told you that you were too fat, that you were eating too much unhealthy food? What if I told you that the sight of you was so revolting that you should immediately lay off the bacon and the salad dressing? What if I started counting the rolls of fat on your stomach or the number of your chins? What if wrinkled my nose at you and told you to get some exercise?

I think we could all agree that every one of those statements would be considered offensive in our society. For whatever reason, much like the 1970s era taboo against telling smokers to frak off, we’re supposed to dance around fat people as if there’s nothing wrong with them.

But not skinny people.

You can say whatever you want about skinny people, especially children, especially if you’re related to them. Try these out for size.

“You’re too skinny. Eat more food.”
“Oh my goodness! You poor thing. Do they feed you at home? You look sick. Eat some more.”
“Look at you! I can count your ribs.”
“He’s so tiny. Have you taken him to the doctor?”
“Someone should pour fertilizer in your shoes, little guy.”

Not nearly as taboo, are they? Why is it you can ‘count my ribs’ but not your own rolls of fat? Where do we get this assumption that fat people have fragile egos and we need to dance around them? Where do we get this idea that skinny kids are expected to suck up all of the insults and destruction of their self esteem? Oh, don’t let the fat, unhealthy people have negative self images, but let’s all go to town on the healthy, skinny kid. You can trash his emotions all you want. Drive him right in to the ground.

You know what? The next person who insults a skinny kid is getting an earful from me.

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Anonymous said...

As my daughter was leaving for school this morning, we were just discussing how taboos change over the years. I was saying how in the bad old days there were Newfie and Ukrainian jokes, but we figured out that was bigoted, so we don't do it anymore. She was pointing out that most of the barbed humour is toward women / girls demeaning them by making them stupid, sexual objects.

It takes a while, but generally, we do figure out that we're being idiots, and move on. Unfortunately, we never seem to quit finding things to be idiots about!

deBeauxOs said...

You said:"You know what? The next person who insults a skinny kid is getting an earful from me."

Your attitude is disturbing.

First of all, I have heard and seen people verbally abuse overweight individuals in the way you described. So it happens exactly that way, even if you claim it doesn't.

Second, I hope that your self-righteous rage is not limited to a one-note issue. Would you shrug and walk away if you heard someone insult a fat or brown-skinned or female or elderly person? Or are you only concerned about the feelings of "skinny kids"?

And is it possible "skinny" people are insulted about the use of this term and might they rather be called thin or slender?

Greg said...

Yes, I'm quite proud of this technological terror I've constructed.

I was comparing a style of insult that is considered rude and unacceptable in our society when directed at one group, but acceptable when directed at another. That doesn't mean that fat people don't get insulted, but it means that society generally reviles those who insult fat people like that.

But it's okay to bash skinny kids. And no, I don't think it would matter if the words were "thin" or "slender". It's the things said with it. It's the indication that there's something wrong with the kid for being so "skinny", "thin" or "slender".

We're allowed to do that. Telling people they're overweight is acknowledged as rude. Waving your hands in front of a blind guy is rude. Faking the difficult and slow walk of an elderly man is a jackass move.

No one finds it offensive to lower the skinny kid's self esteem, though, do they?

What I want to be understood is that telling the skinny kid, "Eat more food" is just as inappropriate as telling the fat kid, "Get some exercise".

deBeauxOs said...

Directing rude and hurtful remarks at someone - child, adolescent, adult, elder - and justifying such self-indulgence under the guise of having their interests at heart: "This is for your own good ..." is always inappropriate.

Pregnant women get a lot of preachy do-gooder comments from strangers.