Tag Archives: abuse

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones But Words Can Hurt You Forever

I was recently having lunch with a beautiful and talented young woman, one who was enrolled in a good school getting a professional degree at a good school, who had a wonderful boyfriend who adored her, who was working at a decent job to help pay her school bills and is kind.  I was somewhat surprised when I heard this woman say that she had seen a television commercial showing a lazy chubby young boy, calling his grandma on the phone to ask her to bring something to him from the other room.  Not surprised that she had something to say.  But rather surprised that she had something so vicious to say about that pudgy, fat kid.  That if she was that fatty’s parent, she would smack him.  I was surprised not only because this seemed a little out of character for her, but also because she knew very well about my work as The Fat Chick and my views on this subject.  She went on to say, she used to be thin but then this happened (pointing to her stomach) and this happened (pointing to her butt).  I told her that she was of course beautiful, and further more, she was under no obligation to look any particular way for anybody’s approval.  Then she burst into tears.  At a recent family gathering, a close family member of hers had commented about whether or not she should wear a bikini and whether or not she would keep her boyfriend in light of her current weight.  She was devastated.  She didn’t eat for the rest of the day until her worried boyfriend brought her some food and asked her please to eat something.  Apparently this same family member had given her grief some time before for not eating, for being too skinny and suspecting she had an eating disorder.

As I talked her through the pain and drama, my heart was in my throat.  It brought me right back.  I was 15 again and listening to haranguing by family friends and family members about my weight.  About how I would never find a man, or if I found one, he would cheat on me and ultimately leave me because who wants to be with a fatty.  I was listening to people constantly asking if I “needed to eat that?” if I was sure I “should wear that?” and if I knew “what I looked like?”.  I was there with the constant self doubt, the devastating and crippling crash in self confidence, the firm desire to wait until I looked the right way to pursue the life I wanted.  I remembered how many years I wasted, obsessed about the size of my weight.  And I got monumentally pissed off.

How dare people do this to aspiring young women with so much to give in the world.  How DARE they pass off their insecurities and bullying as concern for a woman’s well being.  HOW DARE THEY?  Once my little PTSD moment passed, I told my friend in no uncertain terms that if people feel the need to spread their own insecurities around this way, it is her job to tell them to stuff it.  She is the gatekeeper for her own soul.  She gets to decide who she lets in.  And perhaps, if people are going to behave in such a toxic way, they don’t get to talk to her any more.  Not until they learn how to behave.

I honestly don’t know if she will find my comments helpful.  But I sincerely hope she does.  Because the world needs bright, young, talented, kind young people.  And it would be sad to think they won’t leave their house and make their way in the world because of how somebody feels about how they look in a bikini.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Sit Down Piggy

Look, I captured a (feline) bully.

“Sit down piggy.  You just sit yourself down you fat b@#$ch!”  My mouth hung open as I heard these words leveled at me at a local restaurant. I asked, “Excuse me?  What did you say?” and the tirade went on and on.  Seriously.  They called me piggy and fat b!@#ch over and over again. Apparently these two young mothers (apparently sisters) didn’t have a whole lot of interesting things to say.  (Frankly, I’ve faced more creative bullying from 8-year-old kids.)  So, not knowing anything about me, they grasped at the one insult they felt sure would leave me dejected and destroyed.  But it didn’t quite work.  Neither dejected nor destroyed, I simply stood my ground, and looked at them and asked, “What is the matter with you people?”
I could go into a long drawn out story about how we got to this moment.  Two birthday parties right next to one another in a very crowded restaurant.  We could hash out details about  who gave whom a dirty look and which children were running amok.  And so on.  And so on.  But I can tell you that after everyone else in their party had left, and on their way out the door these two women, walked by our table and said, “I hope you enjoy your party, you b$#ches!”  Which led me to walk up to them and say, “Excuse me?”.  Thus launching them into the tiresome and oh so repetitive “fat piggy” tirade.

Like so many of us, I had a severe attack of staircase wit afterwards.  I thought of 1,000 things I wish I had said about the wonderful example they were setting for their darling children, the fact that they were willing to go to unbelievable lengths to avoid taking any personal responsibility for anything, and their astonishing lack of creativity in the playground taunting department.  But you know what I really wish?  I wish I had recorded them on my camera phone.  I wish I could save that moment and share it with the world.  I wish I could show others exactly what people of size put up with every day.  Because I know this happens every day.

In this particular situation, I knew I was headed into a minefield.  I was confronting someone who had bullied me.  But so often, while minding our own business, walking down the street, shopping at a grocery store or riding a bike, we face bullying and teasing and harsh words for no reason at all.  We are mooed at.  We have people comment about the contents of our plates or our shopping carts.  We have insults hurled at us from speeding cars.  And I could go on and on about the unspeakably horrible things people leave in the comments sections of our pages and blogs and online profiles.  Those of us who are fat, know this.  We know that abuse happens all the time.  And it happens to nearly all of us at one time or another.

But many folks who are average sized or thin, do not know about this abuse.  They have no idea what fat people go through.  I suspect many of them would be horrified if they saw this behavior.  And I think if they saw this with their own eyes on a blog or on YouTube, some of them just might choose to rally behind us fatties.

So the next time this happens, I hope I have the presence of mind to channel my inner documentary filmmaker, pull out my cell phone and record that nonsense for posterity.  I’ll let the world see the ugliness these bullies throw down.  Future bullies had just better watch out.  They may become an unwitting star in my big fat reality show.

And if you just happen to capture on your cell phone some video of the bullies being nasty, closed minded and possibly not very creative towards you, could you send me a link the video?  Just send the link to jeanette@thefatchick.com and put “I captured a bully” in the subject line.  I’m putting together a little project called “capture the bullies” to shine a light on this ongoing hateful nonsense.

In any case, it’s important to keep in mind that no matter what, we don’t have to let the bullies rule our lives and we don’t have to let them win.  Because as I along with several others have pointed out via Ragen Chastain’s amazing project, we are better than the bullies.

Stay strong my friends.

Love,

The Fat Chick