CW: some talk about body weight, fatness and feelings that anti-fat micoaggressions can provoke.
N E V E R.
Context: many/most/all of us have found ourselves in the gym, on a bike, running, or doing some kind of physical activity (or any activity, for that matter, but I digress), when we get told by some stranger, “great job! You keep it up! You go, girl! You got this!” or some such infuriating fit-splaining-ness.
As a person who identifies as fat, I have experienced this more than a few times, and also heard and read about it in many social media and other groups. Samantha blogged about hating people cheering her up hills, explaining why.
Now that you’re done reading her post, here are some modified examples commiserating on “good job!” unsolicited comments (I mean, there’s always unsolicited):
I was heading down from a hike and some people were like, oh don’t turn around, you’re almost there. I’m like, wtf, I had already been to the top… and now I’m heading back down.
I have done a lot of run/walking… Sometimes when a run interval is over and I go to a walk people yell “don’t stop keep going”. Like, leave me alone…
I once had a woman stop me to ask me if my heart was okay to run. Sigh…
I used get this hiking… “You’ll make it!” “Keep it up”. I wanted to pick them up and throw them off the mountain. Was hiking summits 3x/week. I take my time because I care less about speed and more about enjoying the hike.
We were walking around a small lake in a park, and a slim woman and her daughter stepped aside to let us pass. She asked if we were ‘walking around the lake’ and we said ‘yes’. She looked us up and down and said- oh, Good For YOU! We kept walking, looked at each other and realized we’d just been – I dunno, fat congratulated on our walk.
Someone told me I was “really good” at yoga. And then added, Especially for someone my size… she could’ve left that part out and also, yoga isn’t a competitive sport so I’m not looking for feedback, thank you very much.
I’ve been told, “Keep coming back!” at the gym. Yeah, I’ve been coming here regularly for years…
It’s hard to know how to respond in such situations.
WHAT AM I SAYING?! Of course it’s not hard to know how to respond. Here are my top 4 suggestions:
- *uck you
- F*ck you
- Fu*k you
- Fuc* you
Sorry/not sorry for the potty-mouthed list.
Seriously, it’s hard to know what to do in the moment because 1) you’re actually in the middle of climbing or cycling or paddling or running or lifting something very heavy, and you’re trying to concentrate; 2) these digs just show up out of nowhere, apropos of nothing, so take you by surprise; 3) they can provoke feelings of inadequacy, shame, fury, sadness, loss of energy– all sorts of things can come out.
Ignoring it is one tactic. Coming up with a snappy reply is another, but can be hard to produce in the heat of the moment. There’s my list, but it is rude and could provoke an unsafe reaction in the fit-splainer.
There is this:
So, readers, what do or would you do in a situation like this? If you feel like telling us about a similar encounter and/or what you did, I’d love to hear about it.