Why am I the butt of ev­ery joke just be­cause I’m fat and fe­male?

The Daily Examiner - - MID-WEEK - CAITLAN CHARLES caitlan.charles@dai­lyex­am­iner.com.au

WE NEED to talk about hu­man de­cency.

But let’s start at the be­gin­ning so you don’t get con­fused.

I have been fat my whole life, even when I was a kid, I was al­ways big­ger than every­one else. When I was play­ing five hours of sport a week and go­ing to the gym, I was still fat.

I have put up with a lot of things over the years in­clud­ing be­ing pub­licly ridiculed, bul­lied, poked, prod­ded and gen­uinely made to feel like I am a sec­ond-class hu­man.

A few years ago, I de­cided I wasn’t go­ing to put up with it any more and now, I fight back.

About six months ago, a man (if it’s even worth call­ing him that) ac­ci­den­tally bumped into me and spilt my drink. We’ve all done it, I knew it was an ac­ci­dent. But it was what he said next that made my blood boil. “Sorry, fatty.” They were the words that came out of his mouth.

In­stead of apol­o­gis­ing and walk­ing off, he felt the need to add that ex­tra word on the end, to make him­self feel bet­ter. To be hon­est, I’m not even sure why he did it. But it was my re­sponse that was im­por­tant.

Six drinks deep, I still had enough sense to say, “That was ex­tremely rude, you don’t speak to other hu­mans like that.”

A few months later, I was walk­ing home from the pub talk­ing to my friends when two men across the road de­cided to yell out. “Just shut up, fatty,” they said.

Try­ing to calm my boyfriend down af­ter this one was re­ally fun, by the way.

Not long af­ter this, I was talk­ing to my friends who were gen­uinely per­plexed, who had been present at both in­ci­dents, as to why peo­ple did this.

My only re­sponse was that it’s been hap­pen­ing my whole life and I can’t con­trol peo­ple around me.


They are just ter­ri­ble hu­mans.

But on Satur­day night, my ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing a fat fe­male stepped it up a notch when some­one at the pub de­cided it was a good idea to hit my bot­tom, mul­ti­ple times through­out the night.

It’s a game I’ve seen played be­fore, with me or other peo­ple be­ing the butt of the joke (pun in­tended).

I was en­joy­ing my­self, danc­ing to a band with my friends when I felt some­one touch my bum. I let the first one go be­cause, well, it could have been a mis­take, some­one pass­ing by, I was near the toi­let door.

But when it hap­pened again, I knew ex­actly what was hap­pen­ing.

The men be­hind me were play­ing a game to see who could hit my bum and dis­ap­pear be­fore I saw them.

They don’t do things like this to skinny women. They don’t see them as ‘fair game’ in this way. They do this, be­cause I am some­one they can openly make fun of and the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple will say noth­ing.

This is hor­ri­ble, by the way. As I am writ­ing this, my eyes are welling up with anger and sad­ness over what I have had to go through.

I have enough self-re­spect to know that I shouldn’t be treated this way. It is just wrong. I don’t know how to get that across to the peo­ple of the uni­verse. I shouldn’t be spo­ken to like that or touched like that JUST be­cause I’m fat.

So, we need to start talk­ing more about what hu­man de­cency is, and maybe we should stop be­ing hor­ri­ble peo­ple and start treat­ing peo­ple with re­spect.

I de­serve that re­spect. So does every­one else.

Photo: Con­trib­uted

Jour­nal­ist Caitlan Charles asks why peo­ple think it’s ok to treat her badly be­cause of her weight.

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