I updated my profile picture on Facebook, and within 5 minutes, one of my former co-workers sent me a private message. “Hi [fatty]! HAHAHAHA”. (He used the Tagalog word for fatty).
I suppose I should be thankful that he said it via private message and not in the comments section for everyone to see. But seriously?
First of all, I am not fat. At least, not in that picture. I would not have used that as my profile if I thought I was anything but cute, hello? And this is coming from the worst self-critic – I have stumpy legs, I don’t have a waist, and I don’t have hips. But I was not fat in my picture. In fact, I thought it was a pretty slammin’ photo.
Second of all, so what if I was fat? It still does not give anyone the right to just blatantly call me fatty.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not obsessed with diets or attaining a bikini body. In fact, I don’t think I ever will achieve that because I just love to eat too much. And I totally support all the women out there who promote a healthy body image and loving yourself no matter what your size. It’s the fact that this person felt the need to get on his phone or laptop and type that message. It’s not even a comment made to my face – we haven’t seen each other in 2 months, and this is the message he chose to keep in contact with me?
How are you even supposed to respond to that? My sister and niece told me to give it right back and say “Hi ugly. HAHAHAHA.” But I really just wanted to ignore him – I read the message, made sure he saw the “Seen” notification (went back twice just to be safe), and DID NOT REPLY. I even wanted to unfriend him because he was one of those shallow Facebook friends anyway – if he wasn’t on my network I could not care less what happened to him at all. But something stopped me – for now.
This isn’t even the first time someone told me I was gaining weight. In that same office, someone said to me, as we were walking towards each other in the hallway, that I was getting fat. Not Hello, How are you, or How are you doing. Just that I was getting fat. I literally could not say anything except an extremely sarcastic, dripping-in-fake-sugar “Wow. Thanks.”
And these people say these comments with a beaming smile and a peppy voice, as if they were saying something a) exceedingly nice b) something you need to hear c) something you want to hear. The people who say these things feel that they are extremely close to you, and that this gives them the right to make such remarks.
For the sake of argument, think of your 5 closest friends. Will any one of them, just one, really make that kind of remark to you? Playful jibes are different, but even with your closest friends, you will never just tell them out of the blue that they were fat. Even if they asked, you will tell them that whatever size they want to be is ok. If they want to exercise or diet, great. You may even join them. But a real friend will never be patronizing and make unsolicited comments.
And let me just say, if you’re the type of person who makes rude comments to me, we will never be close in the first place.
I think it’s more than the fat comments too. It’s that these people think it’s ok to make personal remarks. Were they never taught that this is bad manners? Now that I think of it, these are the same people who think that saying “I’m just being honest” is a free pass to be rude. To be clear, honesty and rudeness are NOT THE SAME. Honesty is a value we try to teach our children – tell the truth and don’t lie, take accountability if you did something wrong. We do not teach our children to be rude.
I don’t remember being told outright by my parents that personal remarks are rude. Maybe I just absorbed this by observing how they talk to people. Which brings me to the conclusion that those rude people are actually to be pitied. Their rudeness and ignorance are their problem, not mine.