When I wrote about ways to deal with the Friends and Family Food Police at at the holidays, I got an e-mail saying that I should just “keep my mouth shut and appreciate that they care enough about to say something”.
Um, no. I’m not going to do that. I respect everyone’s right to handle these situations in their own way, but that’s not how I roll. To me this behavior is inappropriate and I’m not going to smile pretty and take it. The people who are in my life must respect my choices (even if they don’t agree with them) and must treat me with the level of respect that I require. I give clear communication, set specific boundaries and consequences, and follow through. I respect someone’s choice not to be in my life, and I will not hesitate to remove someone from my life if they aren’t able to get it together. What I won’t do is be surrounded by family and friends treating me in a way that I find inappropriate while I smile and say thanks.
When I wrote denouncing bullying behavior disguised as being for our own good, I got an e-mail saying that I should “stop worrying about the words people are saying and appreciate their intentions instead.”
I get why this makes people uncomfortable. It’s difficult to see someone get upset with a person who seems (or says that they are) well intentioned. And I think that’s exactly what’s so insidious about this type of bullying. People get to mistreat us and then side step while waving their red cape of “good intentions”. That doesn’t work for me. I think that we teach people how to treat us and, well meaning or not, this behavior is not appropriate treatment.
When I did a video condemning the fact that Dr. Oz, who makes MILLIONS of dollars selling weight loss, was shocked to find out that there is research that disagrees with him, I received e-mails saying that I “need to find more compassion for Dr. Oz and where he is at in his journey”.
I would have a tremendous amount of compassion if Dr. Oz admitted that he was on a journey, and had bothered to find out that there is opposition research. But he chooses to call himself an expert and tell millions of people (as a medical doctor who they trust, and for profit) to do something when he hasn’t even bothered to do a literature review. I’m not scraping up a lot of compassion for Dr. Oz, I do have tons of compassion for the people he is so confidently and profitably lying to.
In this culture fat people deal with a whole bunch of crap and everyone has their own way to deal with it and that is totally cool, but I will not give up the option of insisting that I be treated with the level of respect that I require, and calling out fat shaming/hating/stigmatizing when I see it.
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