Columns 2016

Fat shaming… not cool

Long before the term “fat shaming” came into vogue, I was all too well aware of what it was. I started my childhood in a store lovingly called Chubettes. When I grew too big for Chubettes, I moved up to Lane Bryant in the days before the store sold itself as modern clothing for the big sized modern woman. I got to try on clothes that had clearly been meant for my grandmother.

So yes, I know about fat shaming. Anytime I walked out of one of these stores, I wanted to hide my head in a bag. The only saving grace for me was that I went to Catholic school and so wore a uniform. I think I would have seriously considered the convent as a vocation if I’d had to wear civilian clothes to school.

Growing up in a beach town also meant knowing the shame of feeling like a whale in a bathing suit while every other person that went by on the beach seemed to be a swimsuit model. It didn’t help when an 8th grade classmate told me I looked like a boat in a bathing suit. I think that was one of the last times I ever went to the beach or wore a bathing suit.

I have fought the battle of weight my whole life. Depending on what phase of my life I was in, any given picture of me could vary by 4 to 6 sizes. I never went to dances in college because I was sure that when I walked into the dance, every boy there immediately thought, “I hope that fat girl doesn’t come and sit next to me.”

So you can see where I might have some serious issues with Donald Trump’s attitude towards women who don’t meet his particular size standard. And given the fact that Trump’s weight puts him about 5 pounds under being considered obese based on his BMI, he’s being more than a bit hypocritical. Apparently in his head, he can be fat but every woman who wants to be around him has to be model thin and beautiful. Given that Trump can hardly be called good looking, I find his demand that only thin, beautiful women surround him hypocritical.

People who struggle with their weight as I have done my whole life already feel as though society views us as somewhat lesser beings since we clearly can’t get our appetites under control. The fact that as modern science explores this issue it is finding more and more reasons why some of us struggle so much while others don’t, doesn’t take the shame away. The fact that someone might have an actual medical condition doesn’t matter. Somehow, if you are fat, it is your fault.

When Trump implied that Carly Fiorina’s face was so ugly no one would vote for her, my first thought was about all the women in our history who have done amazing and wonderful things who were neither thin nor pretty. They were smart, dynamic, caring and determined but not necessarily thin or pretty. So someone like Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman or Madeline Albright would not be allowed in a Trump administration because of appearance.

Donald Trump is running for president. He has made it fairly clear that he believes fat and ugly women (as determined by some unknown standard in his head) should do their work in a dark closet and not disgust other people with their presence. Does this mean he will he pass over qualified women, like those mentioned above, for his administration in favor of unqualified women who meet his standards for beauty and size?

Given his recent tweets; given the disrespectful names he feels free to call women publicly and without the slightest trace of embarrassment; given that he is a serial philanderer who clearly sees women as second class citizens who are there merely to puff up his ego; how can any self respecting woman in this country possibly vote for him? How can any man who has daughters that he wants to see treated fairly in the workplace vote for this man?

Anyone who thinks women of all shapes and sizes should be treated equally in the workplace should be running from this man as fast as they can. If he’s elected, pay inequality in the workplace will be the least of a woman’s problems.