Not-so-dear Abby

Danger Bad Advice Ahead

Yesterday Jeanne Phillips, aka Dear Abby, posted a letter from a young woman (who’s comfortable in her fat body but whose mother has a problem with it) along with her response:

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 24-year-old plus-sized woman (60 or 70 pounds overweight), but very comfortable in my own skin. When swimming in public, I wear a one-piece bathing suit because it doesn’t attract a lot of attention. When I’m home, I have a bikini top and shorts I prefer to wear. This is because I don’t like being covered up like it was in the 1950s, and I feel good when my curves are properly accentuated.

When I go back to see my family and swim, I wear a bikini top and black shorts. Recently, my mother said, “When the family comes over, you can’t wear that. It makes people uncomfortable.”

I was shocked, and we had a huge argument. Most of my cousins are fine with my attire, as are my aunts. Only Mom has a problem with it. I asked if she’d feel the same about a large man swimming without a T-shirt. She said it’s different for women.

Am I wrong for wanting to be comfortable in my childhood home? Mom should be proud to have a daughter who accepts herself as she is. Who is wrong here? — OFFENDED DAUGHTER IN CHICAGO

DEAR OFFENDED DAUGHTER: You are not wrong for wanting to be comfortable. But please remember that when you visit someone else’s home, that person’s wishes take precedence — even if it used to be your childhood home.

While you say you are comfortable in your own skin, it would be interesting to know what your physician thinks about your obesity. I suspect that your mother would be prouder of you if you were less complacent and more willing to do something about your weight problem.

I thought Jeanne’s first paragraph was reasonable and thought she’d follow it with a suggestion for Offended Daughter to have a calm conversation with her mother about how happy and comfortable she is with her body and enlist the help of the aunts and cousins who have no problem with how she dresses. Not to mention what a double standard it is to expect a fat woman to cover up while a fat man can walk around shirtless. That’s what I would advise.

However the second paragraph blew me away. I had no idea Jeanne was psychic!

First of all, she’s under the belief that Offended Daughter is in poor health because she’s admittedly “60 or 70 pounds overweight” (assuming, of course, there’s such a thing as “normal weight”) and, naturally, her doctor would have something to say about it. Even if Jeanne is right, what does health have to do with how Offended Daughter views herself and her body or how she dresses? I’m fat and have diabetes… should I despise my body and hide it under burlap sacks? How ridiculous.

Secondly, Jeanne is certain that Offended Daughter is “complacent” (read “lazy”). It doesn’t occur to Jeanne that Offended Daughter could be eating fresh, wholesome foods every day, regularly participate in physical activity and have absolutely no health problems. But OF COURSE, we fatties do nothing but sit on the couch day after day, eating buckets of fried chicken, gallons of ice cream and all sorts of calorie laden food. Am I right?

I’d expect that kind of thinking from a bully or Reddit troll but not from the woman who’s “well-known for sound, compassionate advice, delivered with the straightforward style of a good friend”.

Here’s a suggestion for you Jeanne. Since you have the gift of psychic ability and can tell a person’s health just from a letter (way better than those who can determine health by looking at a photo), you should be able to retire comfortably by playing the winning numbers in the multi-million dollar lottery drawings. Because your advice is neither friendly, compassionate nor sound.

If you want to let Jeanne Phillips know what you think about her “advice”, click here: http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/contact

4 thoughts on “Not-so-dear Abby

  1. It is obvious that you have no idea what fat men have to deal with in life and probably you do not care enough to ask. For a fat guy to go topless can be a ordeal that fat women do not have to deal with unless they are at a nudist colony.

    Men of many sizes have to bare all above the waist or not swim at all.


    1. William, when I said there was a double standard, I was referring to the following from Offended Daughter’s letter: ” I asked if she’d feel the same about a large man swimming without a T-shirt. She said it’s different for women.” Perhaps I could have written it better and do apologize for any confusion.


  2. This is horrible. I am a mother. I have to admit that I would be concerned if my daughter was overweight. However, I believe that encouraging her to take walks with me or swim in whatever made her comfortable would be the proper advice. Even if mom is slim, nobody’s hurt by physical activity, bonding time, or support.
    I am uncomfortable about my daughter wearing bikinis because she is 12 and has boobs- I am not ready for my
    Baby to have boobs.


  3. I remember not being ready for my daughter (now 32) to develop boobs. She took after me and developed them at a very early age. As long as I bought and picked out her clothes, she wore 1-piece swimsuits. It’s a Mom thing, right? However when she wears a 2-piece now, I tell how how beautiful she is.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s