Here is a pet peeve of mine and apparently I am not alone. A Facebook contact of mine (I’ll call her Sue) sent me a message explaining a scenario that happened to to her recently.
This person was in a group setting and some friends were talking about exercise and working out. An older gentleman pointed at my Facebook friend and said to the group, “You should take her to workout with you.” The implication was that “Sue” was fat and needed to lose weight and workout.
“Sue” felt like she couldn’t come back at the man because it would be rude. I know that this type of thing happens all the time and it happened to me quite frequently when I was obese. And it doesn’t just happen to women because I know guys this exact situation has happened to.
Personally, I heard people try to nicely tell me to get off the couch and workout when they said, “You know, exercise helps you not be tired.” Sometimes people were less subtle and said, “If you’d just exercise (or eat better) you wouldn’t have to make your own clothes and could go shopping with me.” Other times they couched their rude comments with false concern. “You know Diane,” they would say, “I really wish you would take better care of yourself.”
I always had a snappy comeback in my head, but I restrained myself out of acceptable social etiquette and the fact that I do not like confrontation. I longed to say, “Mind your own business” or “Shut up,“ but I did not say much at all.
Why is it okay to be rude to people who struggle with their weight but it is not okay for the overweight person to be rude back?
Well, I guess the correct answer is that is not okay for anyone to be rude to another person, but that’s not real life. The truth is that while we would never accept rudeness toward someone with a disability, a disfigurement, or other condition, many of us accept it when people are rude to those who struggle with their weight.
I never once had a friend or acquaintance rush to my defense when someone was rude. If I complained later, in private to a friend, they often tried to “defend” the other person by saying that the person didn’t mean it, was old, or just didn’t know any better.
If I had stood up for myself I have a feeling that I would have been classified by my friends and acquaintances as “snippy, twitchy,” or another word that rhymes with those. Or they would have said I was “over-sensitive” and needed to develop a tougher skin.
Obesity still seems to be that last area where it is okay to be publicly critical of someone without being labeled a “hater.”
How would you have handled my Facebook friend’s situation? Would you have said something to the gentlemen or just let it go? Diane