I’m Part of the Problem
I’ve really tried to keep this a writing-subject only blog. I’ve not posted about religion or politics or anything else possibly inflammatory. But today I just can’t keep quiet.
A couple of days ago I saw a rant on Facebook that has festered inside of me. It went something like this (in my own words):
Dear Horrible People of the World,
Who on earth invented the idea of plus size clothes for kids? What kind of losers would ever buy such an atrocity? Childhood obesity is an epidemic and if you are a parent who purchases such a horrible item for your children then you are part of the problem. Get off your fat butt and get your kids healthy so they don’t need plus size clothes. What’s the matter with this world?!? Kids should never need plus size clothes and if they do then you suck as a parent.
This person, as I mentioned in the signature, has no children. And, therefore, no idea what he is talking about. BUT I do admit he had one (and only one) valid point.
Childhood obesity is an epidemic. It is spreading as far and as fast as adult obesity. It does have health risks associated with it and it can be a very frightening thing to see in your child.
That’s as far as his valid points go.
Let me ask you, Mr. Jerk, exactly what should an overweight child wear? Let’s say you have a darling little boy who struggles with his weight and he already feels bad about himself. He has a hard time playing the sports that other kids play, although, he wants to try. He is made fun of by other kids and never feels like he fits in. Now, lets figure out how this child is going to be dressed. Should he, perhaps, wear a tarp to school activities? Should he dress in his dad’s too-long shirts and teenager jeans, cut off because they are too long? Oh, yes. For sure. Let’s make him stand out even more, be ridiculed even more. Let’s, by all means, make him feel even less of a person and more of an outsider.
Now, imagine that little boy is a little girl instead. Multiply all the hurtful, heartbreaking challenges by 10 and you have the makings for a lifetime of feelings of worthlessness.
Yes, obesity is an epidemic. But even worse than that, is the disease of bullying that is spreading like wildfire on the internet and in schools.
I am a parent of an overweight child. He is the sweetest, kindest, most creative, hilarious child I know. He is talented and intelligent and active. He also thinks of himself as less-than, not good enough, not fitting in. And people like you, Mr. Jerk, are a big part of the reason. You look at him with eyes that judge instead of eyes that accept. You wonder what is wrong with him, instead of what is right. You ask, “Why don’t those parents make him lose weight?” instead of “How on earth are those parents going to be able to fill him with enough love to block out the world that hates him?”
I buy my son “husky” sized clothes. I sew for him. I alter for him. I do everything within my power to make him feel comfortable and attractive in his own skin. I want him to walk around thinking, “I’m a stud! I look awesome!” Not, “I’m too fat for any normal clothes.” Which one of those thought patterns do you think is more likely to motivate any person, let a lone a child, to want to better himself?
So, Mr. Jerk, if that makes me part of the problem, so be it. I don’t want to live in whatever “right” world you would create.