I take care of kids a lot. I babysit, nanny, and used to work in a preschool. I'm part of a number of Facebook groups for people who take care of children, either in a specific area or on a certain app. A few months ago, someone shared a story:
The child she'd been watching, a 4-year-old girl, had called her fat. The girl got really upset when the babysitter told her that she'd hurt her feelings and she made the girl pinky promise not to make a mean comment about people like that again.
The whole situation rubbed me the wrong way. As someone who's always been overweight and has fielded children's questions on the matter: asking if I have a baby in my tummy or why my stomach is so big, I think the babysitter in this situation handled it the wrong way.
Fat is not a bad word. Being fat and having someone point out that you are fat are not acts of cruelty. Children tell the truth and they talk about what they see.
Some people are fat and some people have big noses and some people are in wheelchairs and that's okay because we're all different. And while it's good to teach kids not to call people out on their insecurities or their differences, dismissing their behavior as rude without explaining to them the meaning behind it ultimately fails to teach them and leads to more feelings of animosity towards people who are "different"
Why is it that the way we treat weight and surrounding commentary on the topic considered rude whereas if you pointed out someone's hair or a facial feature or their height you're just stating facts? We are so sensitive and so obsessed with being skinny that we have convinced ourselves that it's morally unacceptable to be overweight.
There's nothing wrong with being fat and there's nothing wrong with kids pointing it out. Fat isn't a bad word. It is no one else's business what someone's body looks like and someone's weight is between them and their doctor, no one else. Other people's weight doesn't affect you and should not be this taboo.
We have become a culture that is so obsessed with being skinny that we shame and berate people who don't fit into our cookie cutter mold of what people should look like.
Compassion, kindness, intelligence, integrity, and a number of other values are so much more important to me than the number on the scale and I'd gladly explain that to a child any day.