General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Skinny Shaming (long)

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Mental Magpie:
BG: I would never dream of using the word "little" to describe me.  The way I describe myself is "sturdy...I've got hips like a broodmare and tree trunks for legs."


We are on the fourth and final week of Basic Training.  Things really escalated today and it really bothered me.  I'll start from the beginning.

On the last day of the first week, we tried on uniforms to figure out our sizes.  I don't even remember what I said, but that was the first time.  Jessica replied, "Well, you're not built like a linebacker.  I need a 40."  It made me internally quirk my eyebrow a little but I didn't think anything of it; all I said was, "So do I."

Sometime during the second week, I needed to get by her.  I said, "Excuse me," and she stood her ground.  Jessica said, "Nope, you can't get past me."  It was obviously a game, so I didn't mind, but I did eventually get past her, smiling, and said, "Ha, I got past you!"  Her reply?  "Yeah, because you're skinny."  I said, "No, it's because I planted my hips and pivoted."  Thinking back to what she said the week before, I wondered why the pattern?

Week three, on Friday, we were working on takedowns, joint locks, and handcuffing and I was partnered with Michael, someone with whom Jessica will be working.  (Aside: People who are going to the same facilities tend to talk to one another more just because we know we'll be working with each other).  Jessica came to ask Michael a few questions, and we began to help her with some techniques we were doing.  The one thing requires wrapping your arms around the other person, from their side, and compressing their chest with your elbows.  Michael was showing her things by using me, and once she did it on me, she said, "You're too little.  I can't bring my elbows in like that, you're just too little."  That was when I decided to stop responding and stop trying to argue the opposite when she said things like that.  I went the complete silence route.

Then today happened, and I thought my eyes were going to roll out of my head.  She made four different comments about my size; I'll get to the best of them in just a moment.  The first comment was about my shoulders being little.  I looked at her confused because they are anything but.  I forgot my decision to stop responding and said, "They're just as wide as yours.  They're big, not small."  She replied, "Yeah, maybe big to an infant."

"You're not as big as you think you are."  "I'm not as small as you think I am."  I don't remember what she said that to, but I know it was when I forgot my decision to stay quiet.

There was a comment about my hands being little; when I showed her that mine were bigger than hers (again forgetting my decision), her response was, "Yeah, but you have little bones.  My bones are big."  That was when I remembered my decision to stop responding.  I stared straight ahead like I hadn't heard her.

The next comment was about my height; we are the exact same height.  I know this because it is printed on her ID badge and she had showed me previously.  "Yeah, but you're little," in response to Michael being able to prop up me.  I acted like I didn't hear it.

My favorite, though, was when it was just me and her sitting there and, out of the blue, she told me, "Some people said they didn't want to work with you because they were afraid they'd break you."

Folks, I was awarded a state award for soccer goalie in high school.  There is no "breaking" me.

Despite the exact four instances I identified, there were repeats of the same comments she had made before.  "Yeah, I'm using Magpie because she's little" and "I can't use Magpie for that one, she's too little."  At this point, I am done.  I tried getting her to stop by pretending like I didn't hear anything.  I want to say something to get her to stop, but at the same time, I think maybe I should just tell the instructors.  It's not that I don't have thick skin, it's that I'm tired of constantly being on the defensive then having to keep my mouth shut.  I frankly don't want to be anywhere near her because of it.  She searches me out then finds a way to work how small she thinks I am into the conversation.  It's getting exhausting.

Should I say something to her or just go to the instructors?

Sharnita:
Is this military basic training?  I'm not sure I'd go to the instructors but big, small, identical I would think they might be taking note and would expect her to get past size issues, real or imagined.  It isn't like in an actual situation you couls request somebody of another size.

Mental Magpie:
This is Department of Corrections Basic Training, sorry for not being clear.

Sharnita:

--- Quote from: Mental Magpie on November 12, 2012, 08:59:33 PM ---This is Department of Corrections Basic Training, sorry for not being clear.

--- End quote ---

OK, I might talk to them. I think they could still act like they believe you are smaller and address that excuse with her. If she can't  stop somebody who is smaller than her then she needs more help from her because there will be a small prisoner sooner or later.

Mental Magpie:

--- Quote from: Sharnita on November 12, 2012, 09:02:33 PM ---
--- Quote from: Mental Magpie on November 12, 2012, 08:59:33 PM ---This is Department of Corrections Basic Training, sorry for not being clear.

--- End quote ---

OK, I might talk to them. I think they could still act like they believe you are smaller and address that excuse with her. If she can't  stop somebody who is smaller than her then she needs more help from her because there will be a small prisoner sooner or later.

--- End quote ---

That's just it, I'm not actually smaller than she is.  We are the exact same height, except I'm skinny and she's not.

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