Hey, Besties!

Once again, I found this question on Slate magazine’s website. They have great questions sometimes. This question hits close to home for me. As a plus-sized woman, I have experienced fatphobia, myself, even from my family. With that being said, I just want to say that shaming plus-sized people is not okay, under any circumstance.

The question reads:

I recently got married, and just spent my first Christmas with my partner’s family. One of my mother-in-law’s traditions is buying everyone in the family the same gift from the store where she works (an outdoorsy lifestyle brand). This year, she chose to buy everyone coats from an expensive brand that stops at an XL. I’m plus-sized, and the coat didn’t even come close to fitting. She prefaced giving me the gift by saying she worried it wouldn’t fit, then had me try it on in front of everyone, which was humiliating. To top it off, several members of the family have recently lost large amounts of weight, and their weight loss was celebrated by my MIL. All day, fat people were derided as unattractive, while fitness and thinness were held up as the ideal.

I spent a good chunk of the evening hiding in the basement crying. I feel like I quite literally don’t fit into my spouse’s family. If this were any other relationship, I would explain to her that I would prefer that she not buy me clothing as her store does not carry my size. But she is extremely petite and is of the belief that fatness is the result of lack of willpower, so I really don’t want to open that conversational door. What can I do to prevent future miserable Christmases?


Dear, LW:

Congratulations on getting married. Marriage is a wonderful thing when you find the right person. However, where is this partner while his/her mother is humiliating you? Your partner didn’t think to speak up? I’m giving your partner a big side eye right now. Your partner had to know this was highly inappropriate behavior from his/her family. I can’t imagine sitting through that hatefulness, and my partner is silent.


Not only that, why did you tolerate this from her? I’m sure you wanted to make a good impression with your partner’s family, but there is such a thing as boundaries. There are certain lines you don’t cross. No one has the right to disrespect you. I don’t care if your partner’s mother is the Queen of England. She would not disrespect me! It’s time to build up that self-esteem and be assertive.

The first thing you should do is have a long talk with your partner. Express how it made you feel when the MIL humiliated you and how alone you felt when your partner did nothing to stop it. Your partner just left you to the wolves. Unacceptable! Your partner is supposed to be with you through thick and thin. He/she dropped the ball. They failed you.

The next thing is to have your partner talk to his/her family about their inappropriate behavior. This cannot happen again. Absolutely not! If they have a problem with plus-sized people, then you and your partner will not attend any more of their family functions. Life is too short to deal with toxic behavior. Surround yourself with people who accept you and want you to be happy. Be prepared to cut off his family completely, because people can be very stubborn. Some people think they are right no matter what, but stand your ground.

Good luck!

~Jana Leigh