Name Calling, Words. It is amazing the effect a single word can have on us. After writing the section on the word obese, I realized how gut-wrenching that word can be. Add an adjective (such as severe, mobidly or super) and it becomes even more of a label. I know a few years ago, jokingly someone started using weight challenged but it still doesn’t change the discrimination we are subjected to as we go through life. In contrast, take the word “skinny”. We can add severely skinny or super skinny and our brains think model, but have you ever heard of someone being described as mobidly skinny. Makes you want to go out and buy a coffin to keep close by.
Another personal word for me is “cow”. Makes one think of farmland, milk, bells (in Switzerland) and mooing. Add the adjectives big, fat and apply it to a person and you get a memory that sticks to me years later. As a kid of about 10, the mother of my best friend angrily called me a “big, fat cow”. To this day, I see her rage and hatred and the beginning of my confusion with weight. Even without the name calling, the looks of disgust we have all felt bore a hole right through to our hearts.