Author Topic: Skinny Shaming (long)  (Read 8702 times)

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Mental Magpie

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Skinny Shaming (long)
« on: November 12, 2012, 08:51:04 PM »
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?
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Sharnita

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 08:57:37 PM »
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

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2012, 08:59:33 PM »
This is Department of Corrections Basic Training, sorry for not being clear.
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Sharnita

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 09:02:33 PM »
This is Department of Corrections Basic Training, sorry for not being clear.

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

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 09:04:11 PM »
This is Department of Corrections Basic Training, sorry for not being clear.

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.

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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Sharnita

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2012, 09:08:09 PM »
OK.the same height but skinnier is smaller to most people.  That being said, she still needs to get past it and learn to deal with it.

Kaypeep

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 09:12:14 PM »
I'm not understanding why she's saying these things.  Is she complaining that your size prevents her from learning the moves?  Is she just someone who runs at the mouth and has to comment on everything all the time?  Or do you think she's trying to get you in some kind of trouble or have people think less of you because of your size?

JenJay

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 09:12:31 PM »
I wouldn't go to the instructors at this point because you haven't said anything to her. Next time look her right in the eye and say "You make a lot of comments about my body and it makes me uncomfortable. Please stop." If she argues "What? I said you were little. Most people would take that as a compliment!" just reiterate "It makes me uncomfortable." and keep saying that. I'd give it two, maybe 3 more times and then I'd go to an instructor. Hopefully it won't come to that.

afbluebelle

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 09:17:04 PM »
I'm not understanding why she's saying these things.  Is she complaining that your size prevents her from learning the moves?  Is she just someone who runs at the mouth and has to comment on everything all the time?  Or do you think she's trying to get you in some kind of trouble or have people think less of you because of your size?

It sounds like a little of the last one combined with alpha chick dumbosity. Not that military is the same as what you are doing, but I've ran across some of the same behavior in my own job. She might have insecurities of her own, or be afraid of being seen as the weak member, so by belittling you, it makes her look better. I really don't think going to an instructor would help at this point... just make a comment about wiry people having better reflexes. Or give her a noogie. Noogies are awesome >:D


P.S. Don't really give her a noogie. It sometimes backfires... especially in a training environment :P
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Kaypeep

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2012, 09:23:21 PM »
I'm not understanding why she's saying these things.  Is she complaining that your size prevents her from learning the moves?  Is she just someone who runs at the mouth and has to comment on everything all the time?  Or do you think she's trying to get you in some kind of trouble or have people think less of you because of your size?

It sounds like a little of the last one combined with alpha chick dumbosity. Not that military is the same as what you are doing, but I've ran across some of the same behavior in my own job. She might have insecurities of her own, or be afraid of being seen as the weak member, so by belittling you, it makes her look better. I really don't think going to an instructor would help at this point... just make a comment about wiry people having better reflexes. Or give her a noogie. Noogies are awesome >:D


P.S. Don't really give her a noogie. It sometimes backfires... especially in a training environment :P

That's what I'm thinking, but I was wondering what the OP's take on it is.  Honestly, in light of the fact that this is prison guard training, I don't think you should be going to a supervisor to complain about this.  I think you need to start developing a thicker skin and fight back, so to speak.  If she comments on your size, joke back.  "If you can't manage little old me, how will you manage the big guys?"

Mental Magpie

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 09:25:29 PM »
Sharnita:  To me "smaller" is an overall thing, not just a weight thing, unless one is specifically talking about weight.  The way I see it, and the way it appears to me that Jessica is implying it, is synonymous with a slighter build.  I am of no slighter build than she, just skinnier.

Kaypeep: I think she is doing it to make herself feel better.  She is constantly belittling me (heh, no pun intended) by making me being smaller than her a negative thing.  She does it to uplift herself.  Michael has absolutely no problems doing the moves on me and he is larger than she is.  Instead of saying, "I prefer doing that move with Michael," she says, "You're too little," and it becomes a focus on my "size" rather than that she prefers using Michael.  A constant focus on my "size", to me, signals jealousy.

I have thick skin, believe you me; years of being called a he-she will do that to you.  I couldn't care less what she actually thinks of me, but going to work everyday to hear how she somehow thinks her "size" makes her better than me is tiring.  I shouldn't have to put up with that.  I expect it from the offenders (and much, much, much worse), but I don't have to take it from a coworker.
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MrTango

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 09:28:25 PM »
My impression is that the woman sounds insecure in herself, so she has chosen to call the OP (who is roughly the same size) "small" as a way of coping with her own insecurity.

Sharnita

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 09:36:55 PM »
OP, if we share a house and your room is 12 x 12 and my room is 12 x 10, my room is smaller, right.  They might be the same lenght but one is basically a bit skinnier.  It isn't a character flaw or anything, despite the fact that she talks like it is.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2012, 09:40:19 PM »
OP, if we share a house and your room is 12 x 12 and my room is 12 x 10, my room is smaller, right.  They might be the same lenght but one is basically a bit skinnier.  It isn't a character flaw or anything, despite the fact that she talks like it is.

I know it's not a character flaw, despite her acting like it is, I just think you and I define it a little bit differently.  I am smaller only in one aspect, not all aspects, but she is focusing on all aspects, I think, to keep me from realizing it is about my weight.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Skinny Shaming (long)
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2012, 09:41:25 PM »
I wouldn't go to the instructors at this point because you haven't said anything to her. Next time look her right in the eye and say "You make a lot of comments about my body and it makes me uncomfortable. Please stop." If she argues "What? I said you were little. Most people would take that as a compliment!" just reiterate "It makes me uncomfortable." and keep saying that. I'd give it two, maybe 3 more times and then I'd go to an instructor. Hopefully it won't come to that.

I agree with this.  You aren't going to change her mind on your size, but you might be able to change her behavior.  So don't address the opinion she's expressing just that she's expressing it.  I would be a bit more... baiting?  Aggressive?  I'm not sure the word but I'd publicly call her out "why are you so obsessed with my body?" "you make a lot of comments about my body, its very uncomfortable." "please stop checking out my body and commenting on it." It won't change her mind but it will probably embarrass her enough to stop making comments to you, or behind your back.