Monday, March 28, 2011

What does it matter?

This photo is from

I do a lot of observing. I look around me and see a lot of things that don't make sense. Like - why are people of size treated differently to those who are young, slim and trim?

It only takes a moment or two however to see how other people treat the plus-size, to realise just how little respect is sometimes given them. In fact I've seen people stop talking in mid-sentence and turn around to stare at a large person, before breaking into peels of laughter. I've heard people say to strangers that they shouldn't be eating what they've chosen - even salads, for goodness sake!; I even heard one woman told she shouldn't expect to be invited to join club outings and other events because the other women might be embarrassed if she couldn't fit onto the small seats at the local cafes where they regularly meet.  She was humiliated in a rude and disrespectful way.  No wonder she sought other friendship groups where she fitted in well.   When women are treated this way, is it strange they get the impression they should never expect to be respected!  Why?   Because,  too many people who are biased and have no manners say plus-size people are out of control! Out of control?    Surely, it's the attitude of people like this that is "out of control".

So plus-size people need to be encouraged to see themselves for who they are and to build upon that foundation. They need those of us who have gone through the same experiences, to tell them sincerely, that they can buck the system, and discover their own true worth. And to show them in a variety of ways.  People who don't know us, as well as some within our own families, who display bad manners and intolerable attitudes, have a problem brought about by their bias and prejudice.  It's THEIR problem, not ours. (But we sometimes make the mistake of thinking it's all  our fault.)

Yesterday someone said to me, "well, what does it matter?" I thought about that. Because when it comes down to tin-tacks, I know that I matter.   So what really doesn't matter are unrealistic expectations and intolerable attitudes towards me.   If I can overlook their small mindedness and relegate them and their attitudes to the background of my thinking, then I can get on with life.   Their attitudes should not impact or influence how I feel about myself.   They're being discriminatory.   They put labels on those of us who may not look like them, or be as slim as them, or even as young as them.   They assume too much and their assumptions aren't always right.

So "what does it matter?" It doesn't. As long as we have respect for ourselves and to others, those out-of-touch attitudes and behaviours don't (and must not) erode our self-esteem.

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