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How Not to Write about Larger Bodies

I considered not writing this post so as not to draw any more attention to Cindy Adams from the New York Post, but her comments about larger bodies compelled me to write about it.

I’m referring to a piece Adams wrote on August 21 about her trip to Maine. (Note that since I don’t read the Post, I wouldn’t have seen this except that a local piece called it out.) Adams said she’s a world traveler, but it doesn’t seem that she’s learned any manners among her travels, or the concept of being respectful of other people.

Fat shaming is not humor

In the initial description of her visit, everything sounds good, with Adams using words like “clean”, “fresh”, “polite”, “friendly”, and “inexpensive” to describe Maine.

She also notes much of what draws people here, like lighthouses, coastlines, and open sky. Then she tries to get cute by saying that we have, “Lobsters the size of Radio City.”

Okay, clearly an exaggeration, but I could roll with it.

Except she jumped straight from the lobsters to being derogatory about larger bodies. No pause, no transition, just: “Locals whose behinds overlap the state of Texas all stuffed into shorts. Realtors could establish an entire campsite on the average ass.”

I think my jaw literally dropped when I saw that. I had to read it a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding her. But, sadly, I was not. Clearly, the polite behavior she encountered in Maine didn’t rub off on her.

She went on to poke fun at the casual attire and venues in Maine, with comments like: “the concept of dressing is only for salad.”

And she slipped in more fat-shaming with: “There’s not enough fabric in NYC’s Seventh Avenue to cover any local behind.”

Now, I freely admit that I don’t appreciate certain types of humor, including that of Adams. I can kind of see how some people might be amused by her saying that Mainers consider clothes from L.L. Bean (jeans, flannel, sneakers, and the like) to be black tie. (I’d also add that the casual approach is one of the things I like best about Maine.)

But I don’t care what type of humor you have, there’s absolutely no call to talk about someone’s body in such a nasty, mean-spirited way.

Adams would probably tell me to lighten up, but some things should be taken seriously, and I consider this one of them. Her off-handed insults in a widely-read forum give others an excuse to do the same, as if it’s all okay. But it’s not.

Body shaming isn’t funny. Period.

All body sizes deserve to be treated with respect

I know that people whose bodies look different than the ideal are easy targets for jokes, whether that person is considered too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, and more. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay.

And as for Cindy Adams, all I can say is, since it sounded like she didn’t enjoy her time here, I hope she doesn’t come back.


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