Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Fat Shaming Incident {Valparaíso, Chile}


It was the first time we visited Valparaíso, a quaint coastal town a short two hour drive from Santiago. i.e. the place half of Santiago spends it’s summer. 

While it’s all fun and games chilling under the sun on the sandy beach, you can *forget* about taking a dip in the the chilly waters. We are not penguins. or seals. or any of those polar animals. Let’s not talk about the human beings that *do* take a dip and seem to thoroughly enjoy it (they clearly have Panda genes!)

The highlight of beaches in Chile is the Pisco Sour. But unlike Goa, where you can plonk your behind in a shack, take turns dipping in the water and drying off lazily in the shacks while having some finger licking gourmet sea food which practically costs nothing and sipping some beer, there aren’t any “shacks” in Chile. There are “propah” restaurants. So if you don't want to wine & dine, and if you are loyal to Pisco, you can simply pour some into your son’s spare water bottle and bring to the beach.

Globetrotting Mom: The Fat Shaming Incident {Valparaíso, Chile}


Since we cannot survive on alcohol, we did go to restaurants. We nicknamed our super-cool waitress “flash”, cuz needless to say, she was that fast! 

But all that speed couldn't save us from the embarrassment that was to be bestowed upon us.
The Globetrotting Mom: The Fat Shaming Incident {Valparaíso, Chile}

Our son suddenly pointed to some one and yelled excitedly:

          “Fat! fat! fat! fat!..”

I turned around horrified to see a morbidly obese woman sitting behind me.

          “shhh!! don’t say that!!”

          “FAT! FAT! FAT! FAT!”

          “NOO..don’t say that!! It’s rude!”

          “but mama, she is fat! FAT FAT FAT FAT !”

I remember the time he said “fuck” for the first time, he was 3 and it was adorable…keeping all the sternly-telling-him-fuck-is-a-bad-word aside, we found it hilarious! 

But this was not funny. At all! We were completely horrified. 

          “This is *OUR* child! These words are coming out of “our” child!”

Our son’s a nice little polite guy, who just sometimes forgets to say good morning or thank you. So this was very unlike him.

Then we remembered he was only 4 so I pulled him aside and said:

          “She may be fat but it’s *very* rude to point and say fat!"

But what came next had me gobsmacked

          “Is fat a bad word?”

...er, Is it?

It’s appalling  and unacceptable to point at some one and yell “fat”, but keeping that aside, when did fat become a bad word? 

The Globetrotting Mom: The Fat Shaming Incident {Valparaíso, Chile}


Fat is a relative term and having been both thin and fat at various stages of my life, I can imagine the reasons behind it. It maybe body structure, genetics, hypothyroidism or bad food habits, who knows. But when did it become a bad thing?


Why are we so hesitant to use it? Why do people dance around it by using all these other words that sound nothing better than backhanded compliments?  

In India, for e.g., if some one is described as healthy or chubby, you can be pretty sure that person is fat (i.e. if not a six day old baby).


When did describing someone as fat become condescending or derogatory? When did it become “a situation” and when did it start scaring thin people? Case in point:




Fat simply means not thin. Totally relative. Totally normal.

Seriously, when did fat become the f word?


(& if you’re wondering, that fat lady was very amicable and was smiling all along. Maybe it was all okay because she didn’t know a word of English. But I can’t help feeling that it was not okay, and she may have been smiling because this happened to her often.)


(Kids are silly, we have to remember that they are trained by parents for 18 years before stepping out on their own! It’s like when a kid pointed to my son and asked “Why is his face brown?”, I simply said “It’s brown because Indians are brown!” That’s it. Plenty of teaching moments for the little trainees!)



The Globetrotting Mom: The Fat Shaming Incident {Valparaíso, Chile}


Read More: I Quit Sugar for a full one year!  

This post is shared at these link ups 

26 comments:

  1. Oy! That is tough when kids are so clueless about being vocal... and to answer your question; I have no idea when it became a bad word or so incredibly shameful to be fat...

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    1. Kids can be evil! haha..and people (us too!) can be quick to judge. Thanks Joanne :)

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  2. So true! Would it have been offensive if he had been shouting "thin thin thin?" The funny thing with kids is that they can cause the most offence when in truth they don't have an offensive bone in their bodies and no actual malice whatsoever in what they are saying? So why do we worry so much that people will be offended? I always enjoy reading your posts. I feel like I get to see a little of the world from my laptop at my kitchen table. Love it.
    Thanks for linking with #fartglitter x

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  3. Very good point! I don't know when the word did become offensive and kids will be kids. They will tend to blurt out and it's not malicious at all. Older people at whom the words are unintentionally directed at should understand that. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg, I am sure that there are lots of other descriptive words which people will find offensive and sometimes we won't possibly even know it because it could be a cultural difference. But what should we do? Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

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    1. Thank you so much for dropping by! I think fat is offensive since I avoid using it unless i'm talking about myself!

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  4. agreed when did fat become such a bad word for kids to say? I mean no one likes being pointed at and having their flaws broadcasted to the world, but young kids do manage to do that on a regular basis. My son did a spot of fat-shaming in the service station on the motorway the other day, like you I felt pretty embarrassed... #fartglitter

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  5. In some cultures being fat is considered a very good thing to be. It shows that the family has enough money to be able to eat well. In our Society being fat is viewed as being unhealthy and the fashion industry has made thin desirable. So it is not considered nice to say someone is fat out loud. All kids say things that are cringeworthy but I loved your son's question about is fat a bad word. It shows he has a good brain and puts thought into things. He sounds delightful.

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    1. That you so much Jan, yes I think he does put thought into things :)

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  6. Kids tend to be very honest and say things as they are. My friends have gone thru tons of awkward situations because of their kids (even though they teach them how to behave properly). But, nowadays, seems like a lot of terms are off the vocabulary. A lot is misinterpreted.

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    1. I don't know where to draw the line between being polite and being diplomatic. Keeping this incident aside, I think children should be allowed to be themselves!

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  7. Don't take him to North America. He'll really embarrass you :) All joking aside, there probably isn't a person alive who hasn't embarrassed their parents with the words at one time or another. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

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  8. Kids are so curious and they say whats on their mind. This is such a lovely and honest read! #photofriday

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    1. I know! I think it was the first such thing he encountered and couldnt help 'showing' it to me! That's what he does to a lot of mundane stuff too! Thanks for stopping by

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  9. Honestly, I have no idea of whether 'fat' is or should be a bad word but I can tell you that the restaurants in the cerros in Valparaiso are just sublime. We spent four nights there once and dining out was one of the highlights of every day.

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    1. That sounds lovely! We go only on the weekends since it's so close. Thank you Lyn:)

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  10. Sorry, I really liked the theme of your article and agree with everything you've said, but I just couldn't get past the Pisco in your son's water bottle! Excellent!

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    1. Lol! Will you be looking at kids bottles on beaches suspiciously now? It's so convenient!

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  11. It's an embarrassing thing to happen but it's not fat shaming. That's more for the delightful souls that handed out cards to strangers telling them hoe terrible they were as a person for not being a size they deemed acceptable.

    #dreamteam

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  12. Opps! It's a very tricky one I think because whilst fat and thin are just words, asking if someone is fat is very different from shouting fat fat fat at them . Little ones just say it as it is don't they. I agree that it's not fat shaming though. Don't worry, it could have been worse 😂🙊

    #DreamTeam

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  13. I feel your pain. When my daughter was 3 she saw an immensely huge man and his friends enter the pizza parlor as we were paying our bill. She promptly walked up to him, looked up at him towering above her and shouted at the top of her voice, "Hey, you! You eated too much food!"

    Omigosh, rarely do I blush but I sure did then. I wished I could have dropped through the floor. Thank God his friends immediately began laughing. Still, I grabbed her with a hastily muttered I'm sorry, and beat a hasty retreat out the door.

    I think it might also be that we don't want our kids to be the cause of someone else's pain or embarrassment. Being a size you don't want to be is bad enough as it is.

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    1. Your kid sounds adorable btw! Thank god the friends diffused the tension ! Thanks Linda:)

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