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Say Whatever You Want About Trump, Just Don't Fat Shame Him

Photograph by Getty Images

Look, moms, I hate him too. You know who I’m talking about. The guy with the puckered up lips and “Make America Great Again” baseball cap who is running for President and making a mockery of the democratic process in this country. There is no love lost between me and him.

I am 100 percent in favor of you telling me that you hate him for the way he talked about grabbing women’s pussies. I’m actually OK with you saying that word full-out, though I prefer you that you whisper it if my kindergartener is in ear shot. We should absolutely be talking about how outrageous and alarming it is for someone running for president to condone and engage in sexual assault.

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Go ahead and hate him. Pull up a chair and talk to me about it. Do you hate him for how he leers at his daughter and how he treats his wife like a beautiful, delicate object? I’m with you. That’s appalling. How about because he seems dangerously under-informed about Syria, North Korea and Iran? Oh, and a little too fuzzy about how the U.S. Constitution works.

Give him the side-eye for the toxic things he’s said about undocumented workers in this country and his perpetuation of pernicious stereotypes about Mexicans. By all means, flip him a set of middle fingers for the way he stirs up anti-Muslim sentiment and wish him a case of chronic diarrhea for his conflation of “inner city” with black Americans.

If you must get petty—because sometimes we can’t help ourselves—tweet about the weird way he pronounced “China” during the first debate, or voice your opinions about his performance in bed. Those comments aren’t really about the issues, but I won’t unfriend you for going a little low. After all, it’s been an excruciating election season and we are all tired.

We are so very tired.

But here’s where I draw the line. You can’t fat-shame him. Not in front of me, and definitely not in front of my daughter. For you to criticize him for being fat is to lump (no pun intended) his weight in with his racism, xenophobia, misogyny and mean-spiritedness. He’s not bad because he is fat—he’s bad for this country because he’s a bully, a narcissist and a sexual predator. He’s also lot of other things that are bad, but if we add the shape and size of his body to the list of his crimes, where does that leave us? Worse, where does it leave our daughters, who are already inundated with messages that fat is bad, wrong, dirty, shameful, lazy, disgusting and unvirtuous? The last thing we need to do is add to that list.

I will not contribute to a discourse that uses fat-shaming as a weapon—not even against him. Fat-shaming is a weapon that will backfire 100 percent of the time.

Of course, it's a fact that he attacks his female detractors by pointing to their overall unattractiveness and their weight. On Friday, he went on the attack against the women who claimed he assaulted them. Referring to accuser, Jessica Leeds, he said, [b]elieve me, she would not be my first choice.” The implication was clear: He didn’t grope her. That's impossible—because she's not hot or skinny enough. Of another accuser Natasha Stoynoff, he "proved" his innocence by saying, “Check out her Facebook page, you’ll understand.” Again, there's no way in hell he touched her because she's not an anorexic model with huge breasts. We all know he's not dissing these women because of their SAT scores.

And of course he famously went after former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, whom he called Miss Piggy after she gained weight. He's been cruel, harsh and aggressively misogynistic about women and their bodies.

His behavior regarding women is disgraceful. It makes me ill. But that does not mean we should use his tools against him and call him fat. It means we should never, ever stoop to that level. Let him be the one who carries the toxic message that having a fat body is something to be ashamed of. In this area, we must go high, every single time. Our children are listening. We must teach them how to treat people with bodies that fall outside the acceptable norm that excludes countless of women and just as many of our daughters.

Even his body deserves our respect—not because he would respect mine. He would vomit on my lumpy, middle-aged, totally un-fuckable body, but I will not become a person who uses body size against my opponents. I will not contribute to a discourse that uses fat-shaming as a weapon—not even against him. Fat-shaming is a weapon that will backfire 100 percent of the time, and the ones who will be the most harmed will be women and girls because we are the ones who are held to the impossible standards.

So don't go there. There's plenty of other—better—ways to oppose and criticize him. It's better for all of us if we leave his fat cells out of this.

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