Body Shaming at a Spectrum

So, as many of you know, I have very strong opinions. I don’t always share my point-of-view online, unless its twitter, but when it comes to snapchat or Facebook, I try to keep everything light hearted. Well, over the weekend, some opinions about Debby Ryan’s Insatiable started surfacing. To which I shared mine on Facebook saying, “I don’t believe it’s fat shaming.”

Now, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, basically Debby Ryan is starting in a new Netflix original called Insatiable, from the trailer viewers gather that Debby Ryan’s character Patty was insanely big throughout all of high school until she had an accident that caused some sort of surgery and made her incredibly skinny. To which everyone starts treating her different, when before they had bullied and shamed her. Well, Patty doesn’t see this fair and ends up wanting to get revenge on everyone who treated her poorly when she was bigger.

As you can see this brings up the subject, “Is this movie fat shaming?” To which many of the actors and actresses in the movie said that they didn’t find that it was fat shaming, just a a dark comedy. Of course many people, as with any subject matter, had a different view point. That it indeed was fat shaming and how dare people use it as satire, instead a movie should be made about bullying and the negative effects that it has on people who are considered fat.

What is my issue with this? I’m tired of people thinking that actors and actresses, directors and producers can’t use satire for hard subject matters. Yes, many people are bullied for not being America’s “perfect size” but at the same time there are lots of people out there that have suffered from this type of bullying, lost weight and literally were treated better because of it. That because they lost 30 pounds or 150 pounds, that’s what matter and not their personality or the fact that they were a great person when they were big and skinny. The overall issue is that people are too dang sensitive about being overweight.

So over the weekend, I was watching Philip DeFranco’s video (link here).  This video basically is him talking about the different emotions that someone goes through when they do lose weight. He talks about how when he was losing weight how he hated that people started treating him nicer, as if his weight was the problem all along. But at the end of the day, he was the same person he was just a few pounds lighter. For his full point of view I highly recommend watching his video, it’s super insightful.

As soon as I had finished watching his video I ended up coming across an article on Facebook, from Buzzfeed (Link Here), which I shared and captioned, “Actually, this isn’t body shaming, many people when they lose weight are treated nicer, even though the only different thing about them is the weight. Watch Philip DeFranco’s YouTube video on the subject to explain it.” And as you can imagine, there was someone on my Facebook feed who had an opinion, and that I was wrong.

Now the main issue with the argument that happened online, is that the person clearly didn’t watch the DeFranco video which, I did specifically say they needed to watch to understand my point of view. The second main issue is the argument got so heated that it no longer was about the Netflix Original, but about how fat people deserve more respect than those who are thinner. Now when I say “thinner” I don’t mean that “picture perfect body” I mean people who struggle with body issues all together. What ended up happening was she told me that because I was skinny I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion about a movie that discusses weight issue, to which I replied that I have struggled with weight and therefore my opinion matters. To which I received this response, “The discrimination people face for being overweight is completely different…” She then had her mother get involved telling me that I was being insensitive and that she expected more from me, to be more understanding and kind. At that point I dropped the argument entirely, as I didn’t find my comments insensitive however I found the daughters comments rude and unsettling.

Why? Because there are people in this world that truly believe that those of high weight deserve to be treated differently. That they should be treated as if they were a special class. There are people in this world that are compliant with being obese or highly overweight. And while that infuriates me, nothing can infuriate me more than someone looking at me and saying that what I went through as a fifteen year old girl didn’t matter. At fifteen years old I was anorexic and I wasn’t over 100 pounds until I was a junior in high school. Now as a 21 year old at 160 pounds, I struggle with balancing my weight. Am I 160 pounds because I am 5 foot 9 inches, and a young adult, or am I 160 pounds and those tight outfits should fit me, but the little chub in my stomach shows and therefore it doesn’t? Sure, I was never obese, or of huge weight, but the topic of body issues is a huge spectrum and it doesn’t just mean that obese people should be treated like specialty. In fact there are health rules that protect both those under and overweight, you can’t have a certain surgery, you are on certain medicine, you can’t give blood, your risk of a heart attack or cardiovascular disease. It’s all a spectrum, and in high school I constantly had friends telling me I needed to eat more, or when I started finally eating again, that I was eating too much for who I was.

I stand by my belief, that I believe that this generation is too fragile. That everyone has to have an opinion about something, and if your opinion isn’t theirs then you’re wrong. The thing with actors and actresses, directors and producers is, it’s their job to tell a story and whether it was Debby Ryan or some other actress (or actor) someone was going to be Fat Patty, and someone was going to take on the role of a person who wanted revenge to those who did make fun of her. We focus so much on the negative side of bully – being depression – that we forget that as humans we have more than just the feeling of sadness, and that we all deal with pain in a different way.

So yes, I will be giving this movie a click when it comes out and I hope that you do too.

  • S.B

An Open Letter to the Manager That Crossed a Line.

In the past years, keeping up with my mental health has been a struggle for me. When I was younger, I used to go to therapy to discuss what was stressing me out, and how to deal with the people in my life. I stopped going when I was about thirteen years old, and it was around that time that I stopped taking 90% of any medication that was prescribed to me. Due to what has happened to me in the past year, I decided to go back to therapy. Starting around late May, every other Friday for about an hour, I am in counseling sessions that deal from a large range of topics.

In August, I started working as a hostess at Ihop. Due to my school schedule, and therapy, my work times are limited and non-negotiable. It’s not that I don’t want to work more hours, it’s that I go to school for 8 hours a week, and I have just about 8 hours of homework. Combined, that’s 16 hours of schooling, and 20 hours of working. Every Friday that I have therapy, I reserve that specifically for therapy. I don’t do any homework, and I don’t work those days. When in counseling, my therapist and I do a lot of writing and a few things with EMDR. Everyone responds to EMDR differently, and I get very tired and sometimes can get headaches from it. However, my therapist believes that it will work and help me cope, and I believe him.

On Sundays and the Fridays that I am not in therapy, I work with a co-worker that is rude and nasty to me. This coworker is unavoidable, because she is a hostess as well. Since I have worked there she has had issues with me. When I first got the drawer at work, she complained because I had gotten it sooner than she had. Then, it was because I was well organized. After that it became a dozen of petty issues. I got yelled at for getting in the drawer when nobody was to be found, again when I took a to-go order and on top of that got a huge tip from the person. Typically, I get along with everyone and if I have issues with them I just look at them and say, “Hey, I notice we have this issue can we work it out?” but even when I tried to be nice or ignore the issues at hand, nothing seemed to work.

I work with the scheduling manager, specifically on Monday nights. This is the only time I work with him, so sometimes, I understand that I overwhelm him with such complaints. However, any time I have tried to tell him that something wasn’t right, I was told that I was complaining to much. Then again, I was told that I was over stressing, that I shouldn’t stress so much. But never did this manager look at me and say, “maybe there is an issue here that we should take care of.” Last week I finally had had enough of all the fault being put on me, saying that what I was concerned about was unreasonable. I finally told him that I didn’t want the conflict at work so I asked for my hours to be cut by two, in hopes that that would help with whatever was going on when I worked with her.

It’s not that I’m not willing to work my job, when I work I am efficient and a team leader. I tell my coworkers, “Dream work makes the team work!” Meaning that if we can all make an effort together, then the rushes won’t be so bad and we can get everything completed properly.

On Sunday, September 24th, there was an incident at work that caused me to complain to my managers. I was told that I would get written up, so would she, but ultimately, I knew, that I was at fault for not being the bigger person. I had told the manager that was there at the time, that I was finished with the pettiness. That it’s not fair to me to have to come into work every Sunday and Friday and must put up with how rude she is being. I was told that when the scheduling manager came in, to talk to him. I immediately knew that I wouldn’t be taken seriously. I told myself that I would be calm and polite, and just tell him that I stressed the same concern. I would confront him ten minutes before my shift ended, in hopes to finally end the conflict at work.

When our scheduling manager came in, I approached him and told him that there was an incident at work that I felt the need to discuss with him. He had already heard the story and had made up his mind that I was at fault. In fact, he looked at me and told me that out of the 75 employees that he has, I cause the most issues and that I work the least number of hours. I pointed out that not by choice do I work those numbers of hours, I just can’t work more than what’s given to me. On top of the hours given to me, I am sent home about two hours early any time we are not busy, and I do it without complaint. He continued to yell at me and finally he told me that I needed to get my shit together.

What struck me the most, that left me having a panic attack in my car after the conversation is that he told me that he “accommodates to my issues”. My managers are aware that I have PTSD and High-Anxiety Disorder. I tell them, not to pity and treat me differently, but so they are fully aware that sometimes I might need a 30 second breather. Which I had needed that day. Multiple times, a few managers have mentioned to me about why I don’t work every Friday after therapy, or why I don’t work Saturdays. Saturdays are a different story, that ultimately, if they told me I had to work or I would lose the job, I would do it. But they told me it wouldn’t be an issue. So, I enjoy my Saturdays with my little sister, taking her out to do things and have fun.

I was fully aware at that moment, how I took that statement was that that manager was throwing my “issues” in my face. That I would always be at fault because I couldn’t work 30+ hours a week. I have worked at a lot of different fast food places and restaurants, because I believe that you must enjoy going to work to go to work. That if you don’t like your job then you have all ability to change it. I initially liked working at Ihop because despite that one coworker the managers seemed nice and the rest of my coworkers and I got along. But the more I started to address my concern with the one coworker, the more I realized that none of the managers were willing to confront the conflict. On top of that, last week I had one of the managers look at me and said that they were a dying business and that corporate didn’t really care about them. Another manager told me that she didn’t care about the job because she doesn’t need the job. Why would I want to work for a company when nobody believes that conflict is an issue and that what they are doing with their lives matter? I don’t.

On Monday I started looking for a new job, and I decided the moment that when I got my first paycheck from the new job I would put the two weeks in at Ihop. I won’t work for a company that doesn’t have the same morals as I do and won’t respect mental health.

On Tuesday I went back into work, and he sat me down after he essentially ignored me for two and a half hours. He apologized after he complimented me a bunch of times. As if the excuse, “I had three hours of sleep and I worked the night shift prior to Sunday morning” was acceptable. He kept saying the word “issue” to the point I finally cut him off. I told him, “Don’t say issue if you are talking about my work ethic. Don’t say issue if you are talking about what happened with the coworker and I, specifically say, ‘concern’” He asked me to stay, and when I mentioned getting other jobs, it was like all of my hours were justified and because he needed me on Sundays he was willing to work with me on the hours he just complained he didn’t really need me on.

Yesterday, I hesitated to publish this post. Why? Because the manager apologized for what he had said to me on Sunday, but it still happened. Maybe, I took everything out of line and what he really meant was that he was finished with the concern at work. Maybe, if I wasn’t so upset he would have thought it was acceptable. Or maybe if it is because he was just having a bad day and everyone has bad days.

Well, I decided to publish this. Why? Because regardless of how sorry he is, regardless of the apology, it still happened. It still upset me, and in some ways, even after the talk that we had on Tuesday, it still upsets me. At the end of it all, it doesn’t matter what he meant, what matters is how I took it and the response because of that. What matters is all of the events that lead to that one moment. And non of that is acceptable.

Today I go into work for Ihop, and Thursday I have job interviews lined up. And I still stand by what I said, I won’t work for a company that even on bad days, a manager crosses the line.

Dinner Conversations (Short Story)

     I’m sitting at the dining room table. It’s been a long day of school, and my parents expect me to say something more than, “It was boring.” Which, no matter how true it was, apparently saying it seems worse than telling a lie. “It was great. I learned new things.” I could tell them that, however that involves another conversation… which includes saying what I learned.

What did I learn today? In second bell Marcus decided to throw an eraser at Isabell, who then made a huge scene, which the teacher bought. In study hall, I finally finished my sketchbook, with my own version of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. At lunch, I again sat by myself, but that’s mainly because my group of friends no longer exist. Well, Maria still has my back. You rat a kid out once for cheating and suddenly you’re the snitch of the eighth grade.

It was at that moment that I realized that my parents were staring at me. I had a plate full of chicken, rice and broccoli and hadn’t touched it yet. It was father’s favorite meal, which meant mother was up to something. “Placement tests for the art school is a month.” My mother said, while looking at my father. This was an argument which they had been having for a month now. Mom wants the art school, and father wants the public school, which he attended. The issue with both was that I wanted to get far away and just live a bit. And as usual, they go off into their own conversation on why the other is right.

There is no time like the present.

“So, as it happens, I found a really good school for next year.” My parents look at me clueless. This had been the longest running conversation at the dinner table. The conversation about my future beat out our conversation on how we would beat the apocalypse. Which is a conversation we’ve been having for over a year now, due to all the apocalyptic shows my father watches.

“That’s good sweetie!” She’s trying to be supportive, but every word is cracking because she doesn’t want me to go to the district public school.

“Wherever you want to go, is where we will send you.” He says confident that I’ll pick the cheapest future for myself, go into the family business and still be highly successful.

There is no time like the present. I play with my fingers and scramble the words out. “There’s a boarding school, about four hours away, located in Nevada.” My parent’s jaws are dropped. For once they can agree on one thing, I was going crazy. I have an opportunity to live my life outside Roseburg, Idaho and be proud of it. I don’t have friends here and it will be hard enough going to high school.

Many moments pass.

I start to eat. I’m scarfing down my plate, so I can leave the table and go to my room. Nobody is talking. They both can’t be thinking that much, they barely think that much in general. As they continue to sit in silence, I get up. I push in my chair and clean my dish.

“Sweetheart, wait.” My father, holds out his hand. He’s going to give me that, father side hug and tell me what a huge mistake I’m making. That boarding school is for teens with issues. I don’t have issues, obviously, because I’m their little girl. But I please him and walk over. Leaving my dish in the sink.

“May I ask why you’d want to go to this boarding school?” If I knew he was going to ask questions, I would have prepared for them.

“Well… um…” How do I put something so cruel, into the nicest words for such fragile people? I’m fourteen years old, that’s not how the world is supposed to work.

“I want to move away, be on my own. I want to experience new people, and can say I enjoyed it. Staying here, where the sun hardly shines makes me depressed. I don’t have friends at school, my teachers keep sending home notes saying they need you to sign off on things, which I then sign. It’s not that you two did anything wrong, or that you messed up… But secretly I’m wanting more.”

My father hugs me, and for once he’s on my side. “Okay, I understand. I’m not hurt, and if it’s what you want then I’m sure your mother and I can get –” He’s cut off right in the middle of his heart warming speech. A speech I desperately needed from him. Why would my mother do such a thing? This may be the only time I get this from him.

“No.” The most understanding person in this room says. She gets up and walks out of the room. I sit down at the table once more.

Father looks at me and says, “Maybe next dinner she’ll be alright.”