What Would Your Mother Say?

At lunch today, I decided to go over to the bank to cash a check. I decided to run across the street, because the light was about to change. As I’m running, a guy in a big white pick up going the other way (which is to say, I am not blocking his path) shouted, “Run faster!” Now, I suppose you could make the case that he just wanted to make sure I made it across the street safely, but the truth is, he was making fun of a fat woman running.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. When I was training for my first half marathon, I was chugging along on the sidewalk of the small town I lived in, and some teenage punks shouted, “You’d better start running!” (remember, I’m a marathon walker, not a runner).  I was just as mad that day as I am right now. What gives you the right to make fun of the way I look, publicly and boisterously?

When something like this happens, once I calm down enough to think straight, my first thought is usually this: What would his mother say? If I knew who that man’s mother was, I would tell her what he did. Would I see shame on her face? Embarrassment? Probably. And yet, a lot of people have no problem picking on, shaming, and abusing people because of their weight.

When you get treated like this just going to the bank, it’s no wonder fat people have such a difficult time working out. Maybe these people think that, by shaming us, we’ll be motivated to change? When’s the last time shame motivated you to do something truly positive? It doesn’t work that way.