Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fat Talk

The place where I work provides a system for old people with a button to press if they fall or don't feel well and we contact emergency services and/or family and friends. Part of our new customer procedure is to collect descriptive information - hair color, eye color, height, weight, medical conditions, etc.

A tiny little co-worker, an older woman, was looking at a customer's account and remarked, "Wow, this woman is 5 foot 1 and weighs 200 pounds. No wonder she has trouble walking."

Oof.

I am 5'2" and weigh 208.

Granted this woman never saw me at my heaviest but she DOES know about my surgery and DOES know I've lost a lot of weight.

I showed her a picture of me when I was nearly 300 pounds and explained that I'd appreciate if she wouldn't say those kinds of things. She's really a nice person and didn't mean anything by it, but she said she never saw me as a "big person" and I "carry it well" - and she also called me athletic, I guess because she sees me going for a walk most days on my lunch break.

It was a very strange conversation and the first time I felt like maybe someone saw me as not "the fat chick" but it was still bizarre that she would make that comment to me.

I remember someone talking on their blog about how people didn't censor the "fat talk" around them after they lost weight and I got a taste of that for the first time. Frankly, it made me a little uncomfortable.

How would you have handled that? Kept your mouth shut or said something?

11 comments:

Bonnie said...

I think it depends on who is making the comment as to whether I would say something. So proud that you spoke up!

amandakiska said...

I probably would have felt ashamed and kept my mouth shut. Good job standing up for yourself!

Beth Ann said...

I've found that people also have no concept of what certain weights look like and how they can differ from person to person. I don't know if I would have spoken up or not, it depends. Good for you!

Lap Band Gal said...

Yeah, people sometimes say all kinds of unkind things about fat people to me now...they NEVER used to do that. It is wierd. I try to respond with a constructive comment about perspective. I feel I have to stick up for the "fat people" since I still consider myself part of that group. I'm just in remission. Way to go on saying something to your coworker. People sometimes don't realize what they say. Good for you in providing the helpful reminder to watch what they say.

DiZneDiVa said...

I don't like hearing hateful assumptions about fat people because I am one of them and so are many of my family and friends. Even though I may not always be what some people consider fat, I am a Forever Fatty. I would always speak up for those who will always be too embarrassed to speak up for themselves. I am not Gay(Although Angelina Jolie has made me wonder once or twice)but as an Ally, I do not stay quiet around Anti-Gay, Anti-black, Anti-Woman, Anti-Sarcasm, Anti-Whatever... If you don't stand up for something... You fall for everything. Down with Haters! Word!

Maria said...

Ah, Steph, I go through this on a daily basis at work. People are always referring to patients as big or whatever and making judgements on what they'll be able to do during their stress tests based on their weight. Sometimes I'll be sitting right there and they'll say something about OMG this person is 250 she won't be able to do much, as if they were talking about someone twice as big. It makes me frakking crazy, and I always call them out on it.

Nella said...

some people are clueless and they might need a small reminder every once in awhile!
have a great one!

Ashlylin said...

Way to go on speaking up! Once my best friend told another close friend that she did not understand if people want to lose weight why they just don't do it. I felt like they were probably discussing me and it really hurt my feelings, especially sense I discussed my struggles with depression with both of them. I am inspired by your courage to speak up! I think it is important for people to personalize weight challenges.

Meli said...

i would have totally said something. i don't think people have a real sense of weight. they see 200 and think its this ridiculous number but its so much more common than they think. i would have totally said something. i don't like hearing that shit about anyone.

Ronnie said...

Way to go standing up to that woman. Comments like that are not appropriate at all. I know you said she's really nice, but it just bothers me that some people can be so thoughtless sometimes. :(

Mary H. said...

Good for you for saying something. I agree with others who have said that people don't have any concept of weight and don't know that 200lbs isn't as "crazy as it sounds"... Ugh. People should just learn to keep their stupid comments to themselves, ya know?