real life

'To my "slim" friend: You're fat-shaming me every time you call your body "disgusting".'

There is no denying it, I am larger in size.

But don’t call me fat, or obese, they are such ugly words. And I am not ugly. I am beautiful.

On my dating profile, I describe myself as I truly am: confident, vivacious, happy – a young woman who loves her life.

I am totally comfortable in my own skin and for me, numbers like those that I have to fill out on a medical form from time to time don’t matter, they don’t measure my worth or my happiness, they never have.

There is a common association between being overweight and unhealthy, and it’s frustrating because it is so wrong. I am active and fit and my weight doesn’t hold be back in any way.

It is other people who seem more stuck on it than me. They are the ones that have made the many derogatory comments about her weight over the years.

I have heard countless variations of them, from, fat, heffa, whale, elephant to many others, much worse.

And over time I have learnt to let them slide right off my back. It took a lot of work to get to this point of security and confidence in myself but it is great having this power of resilience that I now have.

Despite this resilience, recently I have been challenged by the behaviour of someone who I believe to be a good friend. A good friend who is also ‘slim’.

To my slim friend:

The inadvertent comments you make have started to chip away at my self-belief and make me frustrated and upset, with both you and myself.

You are what society would call ‘slim’. But you talk about your weight a lot. You say you have “so much fat” and that you desperately needs to lose some of it.

You discuss your weight, measurements, clothing sizes openly and in detail. You compares yourself to celebrities, talk about the ones you want to look like. Weight loss is at the forefront of your mind and most of the discussion points branch off it – from exercise regimes, different diet types, diet teas, basically anything related to fat and losing it.

These negative weight comments and weight loss conversations occur multiple times a day and always end with you saying how horrible being fat makes her feel.

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You once said: “I can’t be fat because it would be the worst thing to happen to me. It makes me feel sick, it’s just disgusting. It is repulsive.”

To be clear, the issue isn’t with you having these opinions, you are entitled to your point of view and to feel a certain way. The issue is that your perception of fat and fat people is being constantly and openly shared to not just me but publicly around me and to other colleagues in our very open plan office. All the while it is crystal clear to everyone with eyes that I am the biggest person in that room.

I am the type of person you view this way – as ugly and unhealthy. In your eyes I am the worst thing a person could possibly be.

This makes me uncomfortable, it embarrasses me and it upsets me.

I don’t feel ugly or unhealthy from the comments you are making but I feel like I am a representation of everything you find so disgusting, repulsive, the worst thing you could ever possibly be. I am that body shape that “repulses you,” I know it, you know it and our office knows it.

To be fair it isn’t just you who does this, it happens a lot because for whatever reason, unlike other physical characteristics, weight still seems to be a topic that people, especially women openly talk about, even in a professional environment. From bikini bodies to losing baby weight, women talk about it all the time.

But for me, you have taken it to another level with the regularity in which you do it and in the context in which you do it repeatedly.

I know people are mostly well intentioned but these ‘discussions’ can affect people, especially those who are not as self-confident and secure. But even for those who are, like myself, blatant fat shaming, in front of a fat person still makes the situation really uncomfortable for them and probably others too.

It feels like being the literal elephant in the room.

The author of this post is known to Mamamia but has asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. A stock image has been used. 

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