Monday, June 27, 2011

What does it matter?

I do a lot of observing. I look around me and see a lot of things that don't make sense. Like - why do people of size lose interest in themselves? (I am plus-size, so I know what the majority of them are feeling.)

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 personally been told that I shouldn't be eating what I eat (salads, for goodness sake!); I shouldn't expect to be invited to join club outings and other events ("they'll have to get in a sofa for you to sit on!"); and that I should never expect to be respected! Why? Because, "they" say (here are those terrible people called "they" again) that I'm out of control! Out of control? Surely, their attitude of "out of control".

If a person is treated with disdain and rudeness constantly, it doesn't take long to erode what little self-esteem we may have.   It doesn't take long before we begin to think of ourself as less of a person than we are, and it doesn't take long before the rudeness and dislike displayed by others, takes hold and becomes part of our self-thoughts.

So plus-size people who do lose interest in themselves need to be encouraged to see themselves for who they are (and not how other people see them) 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 or really care about us including family, can and do display bad manners and attitudes. But it's not our problem - it's their problem.   (But we too often make the mistake of thinking it's our fault and take on feelings of guilt which are unreasonable.)

Yesterday someone said to me, "well, what does it matter?" I thought about that. Because when it comes down to tin-tacks, what does it really matter?   Do these people's prejudices really matter to me?  Of course they do, but It's not that I can change their opinions.  It's more important that I look at the whole picture and see that I'm worth more than their derogatory thoughts and remarks.  I see inappropriate attitudes for what they are - discriminatory.  Those people have put labels on me (and us) based on their assumptions - and their assumptions aren't always right.

So "what does it matter" in the long run?  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) impact upon how we feel about ourselves or to erode our self-esteem.


  1. This post pinged a lot of thoughts, but I cannot seem to make them cohesive. I get so just plain annoyed about people treating people badly.

    That I fall into one of the groups it is popular to be prejudiced against is distressing, but a lot of people fall into one group or the other.

    I remember a woman who had been been taken advantage of on the job front because she was in the country illegally, who was prejudiced against my children's schoolmates who were a "minority." She'd suffered prejudice, but could dish it out. And the grungy man who was nasty to a fat woman, and the fat woman who treated someone from a "lower" socio-economic level badly, and then that person treated his gay neighbor badly, because he hated gays, and so on and on. We humans are a strange bunch of creatures.

    How wonderful it would be if we could all simply accept each other as is where is.


  2. Janet - you certainly have a grasp on this subject. I love your closing sentence and agree wholeheartedly. A lot of this comes back to how we are brought up and what values we are instilled with as children. Mind you, even when Mums (and Dads) set great examples, we as individuals can lose sight of the fact that each of us is responsible for our actions and behaviour to each other. A lot of people are even asking for "good manners and etiquette" to be brought back to the primary school classrooms! (I'm old fashioned - I thought they should have been kept all these years anyway!)