I’ve been thinking about this all day as people have debated #BanBossy. I had planned a long, probably-vitriolic polemic about how insane I think it is that we’re so well-fed and economically secure that we can invent controversies about words to make ourselves feel important.
Then I realized I shouldn’t miss out on the fun. After all, Sheryl Sandberg is using her power an influence to rectify a personal insult that apparently all the money in the world can’t buy enough therapy to cure.
And I realized that I too was teased growing up! I was made fun of mercilessly, often by my own extended family, because of how I looked. An extended family that got me a board game called “Workout” when I was about 8 years old because I was The Fat Shame of the bloodline. Oh, I kept eating and I kept gaining weight. I was told when I was 11 to suck in my gut because it was embarrassing to be seen with me in public.
And even all these years later, when I’ve lost the weight – but both friends and family who knew me then sometimes cannot see past what I was – and the one phrase they have left in their arsenal will always be “Big Guy.”
See, that’s the safe one. It’s not “fat” but at the same time it’s very much implied that you’re…well, you’re not being called “Average Guy” or “Normal Pants.” It’s a passive-aggressive dig at anyone who’s struggled with their weight.
Except sometimes people just mean it affectionately because you look like you could take a punch and then snap your attacker in half. They don’t know that your psychopathic relatives emotionally tortured you at the holidays. But you know, context.
Of course, I’ve overcome this stigma in my life. That’s what everyone used to have to do, the way the world worked before Ms. Sandberg knew what was good for all of us!
Now I’ll raise my daughters to whimper and cower at the first sign of anyone being a stupid head to them! Instead of what I’ve been doing, which is teaching them to disregard anyone who calls them something nasty because that person is just proving they’re not people worth being friends with.
Inspired by Ms. Sandberg, I want to make sure no one ever again has to have their feelings hurt even accidentally. After all, the world is a big and scary place and the best way to make sure that people can deal with conflict is to make sure they never have to deal with it.
At least in her world view.
So inspired by her, let’s #BanBigGuy. I want to see that hash tag out there! Let’s start a movement!