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"FAT" comments directed toward child! NEED ADVICE !

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Old 05-18-2010, 06:40 PM   #1
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Default "FAT" comments directed toward child! NEED ADVICE !

Hey Ladies.

I am in a dilemma here and need some advice. I know from my time on this board many of you dealt with "fat" comments or weight comments or whatever as a child.

A few weeks ago my 8 year (curvy and short) old was asked by her teacher to do a "Flat Stanley" project. In order to do this, she had to send a photo of herself to a family member out of state. In turn, the family member took her photo with them doing different activities. They were then to write a letter back to the class stating what the activities were.


We did the assignment as required and mailed it off. It came promptly back and my daughter told me it was read to the class and posted on the bulletin board at school. I just saw the posted project today. Here is what was written to my child.

"I had lots of fun with Flat Ashley. I will be glad though when you get fat again and visit us."

Okay, Ladies. Am I over-reacting or is this a really crap thing to write to my kid? This was from an extended family member we are not close to and who we have had limited contact with. For the record, she herself is skinny with skinny kids.
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Thighs Be Gone View Post
"I had lots of fun with Flat Ashley. I will be glad though when you get fat again and visit us."
Is it possible that what she meant was actually "I will be glad though when you get three-dimensional again and visit us," with no awareness of the connotation of the word "fat" in context?

I'd probably check in with the child and see what she thought about the relative's participation, without telling her what you thought first. If she's not offended or bothered, then don't make a fuss about it. If she's bothered, then discuss the question openly and honestly.
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:47 PM   #3
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I think she meant fat as 3 dimensional rather than flat (2 dimensional).


As in the opposite of flat is fat (and a pun as well), and that in this case "fat" would be more fun than flat. I don't think she was calling your daughter fat.

I hate seeing fat used as a swear word or an insult - but I also hate the word being demonized when it isn't warranted.

Given how most people react to the word, it might have been a poor choice, but I don't think it was meant in any way as an insult.
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:51 PM   #4
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I also hate the word being demonized when it isn't warranted.

Given how most people react to the word, it might have been a poor choice, but I don't think it was meant in any way as an insult.
Agreed. And in fact, in babies and small children, culturally we see "fat" as being a generally good thing. So maybe the relative is even still in the mindset that the child is, well, a child--and some fat is appropriate and cute.
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Thighs Be Gone View Post
Okay, Ladies. Am I over-reacting or is this a really crap thing to write to my kid? This was from an extended family member we are not close to and who we have had limited contact with. For the record, she herself is skinny with skinny kids.
Wow.

Well, it's possible that she was doing a little wordplay (flat/fat) intended to say she couldn't wait until your real, 3-dimensional daughter was coming to visit (as opposed to just the 2-dimensional photo). If she's never had a weight problem, she might have missed the insensitivity of her use of the word "fat".

At the same time, it's never really appropriate to call a child "fat" or insinuate such, unless it's in the context of care by a medical expert.

If it were my child, I would first explain to her that Aunt X only meant that she was hoping to see her in person, and next ask the family member to be more considerate and avoid hurting your child's feelings again.

Sorry your daughter had to go through that
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:57 PM   #6
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It's possible it was meant to read "not flat", but her choice of wording seems like a knock on your kid. If that's the case, that was really harsh of her.
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:02 PM   #7
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Luckily, it didn't phase my child at all. No one has ever told her she was overweight, much less fat, before. I am also proud to say that my daughter never describes anyone as fat or overweight or anything like that.

I probably wouldn't think twice about it but there have been odddly worded cards and things sent around here before. I understand about the fact she may have meant 3-D rather than fat. I also agree about demonizing the word, "fat."
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:52 PM   #8
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I wouldn't be too worried about that. I think, like what other people said, this family member meant "fat" as 3-dimensional.

I however have been called fat to my face by multiple people. Mainly two girls who sat behind me in class. They were the pretty, popular girls. This was in elementary school. One would constantly whisper "debela" (fatty in serbian) at me. *sigh*
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:03 PM   #9
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when i read your post the first thing that come to mind was this family member meant "fat" as 3-dimensional.
what gave you any indication that she meant anything other than 3-dimensional?
why did you get so upset over it? i cant seem to figure it out
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:12 PM   #10
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Well, so much for spell check and proper grammar.

It could very well be an oversight and or misunderstanding.
I wouldn't worry about it. I know for myself, if I had a relative send me this project right now, I'm incredibly busy and while I mean well, I could have, without malice sent my reply, meaning well, but not wording it with the proper intent.
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:15 PM   #11
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another one who agrees that they meant "not flat" so that she could come and visit for real.
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:36 PM   #12
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M apologies, but this thread made me chuckle. I have a friend who lives on the other side of the country. We used to tease other friends about our "Uncle Jimmy" who is non-existent and my friend told everyone he is actually cremated remains she found inside a container she bought at the thrift store. She took a pic of a brass container, then sent it to me. I took pics of "Uncle Jimmy" going places wth me and posted them on a bulletin board and some people actually believed I was taking a container of human remains along with me. We laughed about it for quite a while.

Imagine if Peggy had said for me to send Uncle Jimmy back when he was looking more lively...Oh, dear, what a mess!

I understood the comment from Auntie X the same as others...not as a comment on weight or height or eye color.

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Old 05-19-2010, 12:09 AM   #13
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Lol @ Uncle Jimmy. My twin boys had an imaginary friend, "Maynard" who broke stuff, scared them, forgot to feed the cat etc. He got to be quite a charachter.
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Old 05-19-2010, 06:56 AM   #14
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I also took it to mean "three-dimensional," but the poor word choice was made maybe because it rhymes with "flat"?

My gut reaction is that no harm was meant, and it was an honest mistake.

I've got distant relatives, some living, some passed, who grew up in Appalachia during the Depression era, and to them "fat" is/was a compliment. If you were "fat" it meant you were doing well enough to afford food. When my great-grandmother greeted me with a smiling, "well, hello there, you fat thing," to her it only meant I looked healthy and prosperous. I sure didn't like hearing it, though.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:12 AM   #15
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...actually, I think the "flat/fat" word choice is from the book FLAT STANLEY....at the end, Stanley is reinflated with a bicycle pump(? Sorry. It's been a couple of years since I read it) and the author describes him as "fat"....
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