Anon’s story: Body shaming doesn’t make anyone feel better

I’m not sure if this really counts as harassment, but it was something that really bothered me as a child. When I was younger, whenever I went out shopping with my mom she would point at other women, nudge me, and say “Am I as fat as that lady?”. My mom had some body issues so she would pick out middle-aged overweight women (or sometimes just slightly chubby ladies), and I’d always be put in the awkward position of having say, “No mom, you’re not as fat as her” or something similar. This was particularly painful because she almost always said it loud enough for the women to hear (maybe on purpose), and when I’d tell her she was being too loud and it was rude, she’d only speak louder and exclaim, “Don’t be ridiculous! She can’t hear me.”

This was harmful behaviour because not only did it do nothing to help my mom’s body issues, but it also taught me as young kid that your worth is determined by your weight (luckily I got over that). It also told the women she picked on that they couldn’t go outside without being judged by their appearance and put into competition with other women on the street… even when they were just trying to shop and minding their own business.

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