You guys, my phone rang at eight o’clock on Friday night, and I kid you not: It was Dear Abby on the other end. A bit ago, I wrote Dear Abby an open letter, which I not only posted here on BFD, but I also sent to her through her website. Well, she felt bad that her column had made me upset, so she rang me up to chat about it.
And chat we did. She wanted me to know that she’d called the woman she wrote about in this column, which caused a pretty big (negative) reaction. Okay, great? The point is, I told her, she can’t deduce anything about a person’s health by just knowing their weight (or by looking at them). I think this was the first point where I mentioned that she has a national platform and could do a lot to eliminate fat shaming.
I brought up her JUST FOR TODAY column, and how awful the assumptions she made about fat people were. She said that column was actually written by her mother, the original Dear Abby. Fine, I replied, but that doesn’t mean you need to spread that junk to another generation! I asked her if she was equally concerned with the health of skinny people who don’t eat well and don’t exercise. I think this was the second point where I mentioned that she had a national platform and could do a lot to stop the stereotyping of fat people.
At one point, she wondered if she could ask me a personal question, and I said yes. She said: “Why are you heavy?” We talked a bit then about my exercise habits, my weight loss and regain, and my current level of health (excellent in all markers except the dreaded BMI). Afterwards, I realized that I should have made the point that it shouldn’t matter why I’m “heavy.” I could be fat because I have a glandular disorder or because of genetics or because I eat sixteen Whoppers a day. No matter why I’m fat, the fact is I still deserve to be treated with respect, to be treated with decency, and to not be stereotyped and shamed.
We talked about the horrible recommendations by Dr. Caroline Apovian, who would like doctors to stop treating patients for their actual concerns, and instead make them take weight-loss drugs. We also talked about my blog. I hope she came here and checked it out.
I told Dear Abby several times that people don’t care for things they are taught to hate – and that applies to our bodies, especially. And I think I mentioned a third time that she has a national platform and can make a difference as far as these issues are concerned.
Funny, that six-minute phone call (which felt much longer) was the pinnacle – so far – of my BFD life. And yet it was just a private discussion between two people in my living room. Well, one small step, right?
Dear Abby called me, she said, because she wants her column to make people’s lives better. I hope that in talking with me, she realized that she can play a role in doing just that for fat people. My platform is super tiny (for now!), so having a loud voice like hers would go a long way.