A person’s weight is often a private matter, but at the same time, size is highly visible. So while people may not know your actual, specific weight, it’s easy to get an idea of someone’s shape. That would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that society has deemed certain weights and body types desirable, some acceptable, and some just downright bad. It’s a serious problem and one that people aren’t even always aware they’re playing into.
No one wants to be objectified by their weight, whether that person is thin or fat, and no one should have to be.
A self-described “thin” woman, MizzSashaFierce, posted on Reddit about an uncomfortable situation she found herself in after starting a job at a cupcake store. A co-worker, who happened to be “very overweight,” chose to call her by the name “Slim,” ignoring her real name altogether. The woman repeatedly asked the co-worker to stop but to no avail. And so, in retaliation, she finally resorted to calling the co-worker “chunky.”
MizzSashaFierce was using the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subreddit, to find out if other people thought what she’d done was wrong. Sometimes you just really need the input of unbiased strangers.
I have a female co-worker who repeatedly calls me out regarding my weight. I’m female 5’9″ 115lbs and very thin. She is very overweight. All the time she makes comments about my weight. She doesn’t call me by name she calls me “slim” and I even heard her say one time “go ask toothpick” and she has said stuff like “you need some meat on your bones” & “you need to eat”. I have only worked there 8 days. I have asked her very nicely to stop. Yesterday I asked her to stop calling me slim again and she basically said it’s her mouth and she can say what she wants.
In response, she did something she felt was fair at that point: she referred to the heavy woman as “Chunky.”
Today when she said “morning slim” I replied “morning chunky” and she got upset and actually started crying. Everybody here at work, (only 6 of us total) is saying I’m wrong and I should apologize because being called fat is “different” than being called skinny because being called skinny is a “compliment”. I said as long as she calls me slim, I will call her chunky and now I’m the bad person. AITA if I don’t apologize? The owner/manager has completely ignored the situation saying it’s “a high school issue and we should figure it out”.
MizzSashaFierce added a bit more information for context, like that there was no HR department that she could turn to for help.
EDIT FOR MORE INFO: We don’t have HR. There’s only 6 of us working here (cupcake shop). We are all regular employees. I went to the owner BEFORE I called her chunky and I asked him to talk to her because I felt she was harassing me. That’s when he said we can handle it ourselves. That’s why I called her chunky. I told her to stop calling me slim and I didn’t like it and she continued to do it. She didn’t stop doing it after I asked multiple times and I didn’t know what to do besides what she was doing to me. She brought up my weight, I brought up her’s.
It’s true that, in general, being skinny is more socially acceptable than being fat. There are a lot of fat-phobic people, and there’s such a thing as “thin privilege.”
But at the same time, to base someone’s name and whole identity on their weight, whether they’re big or small, when that makes the person uncomfortable or unhappy, is just mean. It’s easier to be a skinny person today than a fat one, that’s true. But it’s also nobody’s business how much anyone weighs, and telling a skinny person they need to eat more is pretty invasive and certainly not a compliment.
As it turned out, the overwhelming response from the commenters was that MizzSashaFierce did not owe her co-worker an apology.
“NTA by a long shot. Just because she apparently defines herself by her appearance does not give her the right to define you by yours. Objectification sucks, period.”—Certain_Ad
“The only non-asshole options (talk to her, talk to the boss) have failed. If she allows herself to be abused or quits a job that she seems to want, then she is still being an asshole to someone – herself. She is actively trying to be the smallest asshole possible, and I’d say that’s not an asshole at all.”—IFenceMyFjord
“It’s an arsehole thing to do but sometimes you need to be an arsehole.”—Lifestyle_Choices
“Yup. I feel like this wouldn’t be so hard to see if OP was getting called Big Rack, D-Cup, Jugs … you can’t reduce anyone to an obvious physical characteristic.”—Certain_Ad
“It’s really dehumanizing tbh. OP is more than her weight/body type.”—RealChrisHemsworth
“RIGHT! It’s so demeaning and now we’re living in a culture where it’s not ok to be little and yet everybody wants so badly still to be little that we’re terrible people for having a genetic makeup that decides that for us. Or you know, a healthy lifestyle if that applies.”—PandaBearWithATaco
People pointed out that the co-worker was definitely not bestowing compliments on MizzSashaFierce.
“In reality it’s not a justification at all, I seriously doubt she was saying any of this in a positive manner. Tone definitely matters and I’m betting the tone here was snide on the part of the coworker. So the excuse of “oh it’s a compliment” falls completely flat. Coworker doesn’t like comments about her body? Maybe she should follow the golden rule.”—SoVerySleepy81
“Preach! I was unhealthy skinny when I was younger and got told all the time that I was a stick etc. They either think it’s a compliment which it isn’t, or they’re jealous.”—blackcatpaws
Also, you never know why someone is the weight they are.
“Same. I got so many comments while I was sick. Calling me skinny minnie and telling me I should maybe eat something while having cancer is not ok.”—MyMarge
The moral is, let’s not refer to each other by body size. Using someone’s name and just refraining from making comments about their body is absolutely the way to go.