End of the Joke

In the last few weeks, I’ve had a similar experience happen maybe 3-4 times. I’m engaging in someone’s words, media, and art. I’m thinking alongside…


In the last few weeks, I’ve had a similar experience happen maybe 3-4 times. I’m engaging in someone’s words, media, and art. I’m thinking alongside them and interested in what they have to say. Then, BAM! They make fun of fat people or make stereotypical or false comments about fat people—basically they make me realize that they are not my kind of people. They believe “truths” about fatness that I disagree with wholeheartedly. They see fat bodies, fat bodies like mine, as worthy of ridicule, shame, or pity.

At what point do we decide to disengage with people we like because they make it apparent that they can’t stand our bodies? This is something I’ve asked myself multiple times, ranging from people with whom I have a relationship to people I just find interesting.

I’m sure that most of us have experienced something similar to the following scenario:

I was listening to the Brain Candy Podcast hosted by Susie Meister and Sarah Patterson. It was an episode titled “Vaginas”, so you can guess the focal point of their conversation. I found myself listening and enjoying what the two had to say, when suddenly Sarah brought in a story from one of her friends. I knew it was going to be annoying when the first thing that she said to describe the main woman in the story was that she weighed 400 lbs. *shock* *horror*. As soon as someone’s weight came into the story about them, then we, the listeners, know that weight is meant to signal something about the person described. Well—what were these 400 lbs supposed to mean about this person? Sarah went on to describe a story that involved mayonnaise, lubrication, and maggots, and let’s just say it was a gross story. BUT inherent in the joke was that this fat woman was so disgustingly fat (and all the things associated with fat – not clean, dirty, sexually dirty, lazy, etc.) that she deserved our ridicule. Sarah then ends it saying that the woman used mayonnaise because everything else in her fridge was cleared out because -HAHA- this 400 lb fat person has most definitely eaten herself out of house and home.

People…people. Not today.

I like Sarah and Susie, and so I wrote to them after hearing more than one comment about fat people letting them know that I heard their comments and that they should reconsider how they talk about fat people. I think they see themselves as feminist-ish, so I was hoping they would be open to considering the narratives they put out about fat women and people in general. They discussed my letter in a later podcast, and their response was kinda “meh” and that some things just need to be seen as a “joke”. They noted that the comment probably was offensive because people were offended, but brushed it off besides that. Apparently I was not the only person to comment on the way they discuss fat people.

Today, maybe because I wanted to see if they had shifted their tones at all, I began listening to their latest “Body Positively” podcast. I ugh-ed myself through Sarah’s discussion of a size 12 model for American Eagle/Aerie, as she almost patted herself on the back for saying a size 12 person was beautiful, while referencing the girl’s big butt and tiny waist. Then Susie brought up Tess Holiday. Sarah follows her on instagram and seems to like her. Susie makes some comment about how large Tess is. Something like she’s bigger than what’s even considered “plus size” (who knew Susie was an expert on plus sizes?!), and then Sarah made a comment on eating one’s self to death. This “death” comment ironically hit the last nail in the coffin for me when it comes to listening to Sarah and Susie. I tried to imagine a scenario where I would comment about someone’s assumed habits and likely death before I would discuss them as a person, and I just can’t imagine it. I pressed pause. I deleted their podcast off of my phone. I had enough.

I’ve officially become one of those people who is a killjoy. Who can’t get behind the joke because I’m positioned at the end of it. A 400lb person is almost me. Could be me. Is my friend, neighbor. Is a human being with feelings, loved ones, etc. Who has unique qualities as any other person. I’m SO tired of these jokes. I’m so tired of someone’s weight being a reason for their ridicule OR a prop to make the punch line even funnier.

I’m also really tired of consuming media that reinforces beauty ideals such as the size 12 “acceptable fat” conversation above. I’m tired of listening to thin women talking about fat women. I can’t give one single more minute to these kinds of conversations.

I’ve had so many moments where I’m engaging in media, when *BAM* there’s a fat joke or diss. It feels like the cartoon equivalent of getting hit in the head with a frying pan. It reminds me *pang* that I am the invisible consumer of this media who is being shamed *pang*, that I’m not the imagined thin consumer *pang*, that I don’t belong here *pang*, that I’m the joke rather than the reader.

I’m done listening.

Working in higher education, I’ve heard a lot of conversations about students wanting trigger warnings, not being open to engage with controversial topics or strong stances, etc., and I wonder about my own refusal to go any further with media like this. What does ignoring this media do for me or others? I tried to “talk back”, but that didn’t seem to do much at all. Again, at what point do we decide to disengage with people we like because they make it apparent that they can’t stand our bodies? Does that mean being really selective of what we read from certain people or cutting off consumption of their media all together? I have to admit that my gut instinct is to unfollow, unsubscribe, etc., and to not allow one more penny or minute to go toward them, but is that realistic? I only experience this with topics of fatness, and so I can only imagine how this issue is compounded for those who have multiple marginalized identities. Well, I can do more than imagine it–I can listen to people’s experiences with it.

Words become us – our thoughts, our beliefs, our actions, our views of the world. To consume these words feels wrong because they feel like violations against myself. My only option seems to be more selective of whose words I let become me and to be more considerate of what I create and put out in the world too.

Have you had similar experiences to this? How do you handle it? What are your thoughts on consuming and reacting to views that are against who you are?


  1. I am in more than one category that is socially ostracized – fat being one of them. I would say that I respond in the same way that you did with the podcast. Sometimes I may call people out but generally I will unfollow, unsub, etc. There have been times I stopped listening to songs or watching a TV series for the same reason. I found that I not only do this with specific categories that effect me but all categories that become subject to ridicule across media platforms. My life is one that is extremely busy and I am not going to waste even a minute of it on someone else’s bad attitude, foolishness or lack of compassion. I think that it’s important to one’s own mental health to surround yourself with positive influences that inspire and drive you to be a better person. Ridicule of someone else simply has no place in my life.

    On a side note and quick observation – I haven’t listened to that podcast but it sounds like those girls have their own body image issues to deal with. Generally people who fixate and ‘joke’ about qualities such as weight do.

    1. Yea, you’re right. If I leave a piece of media feeling like I’ve been stomped on, it’s best to just not entertain that media any longer. The hosts have discussed their own issues with body image in the past. I thought they’d be more receptive to how they affect others’ body images, but I guess only within their own definition of “acceptable”.

  2. I am with you. It amazes me all of the various settings that this happens in- crafting blogs, etc, where it catches me so off guard. I think that makes it worse, like hey I just want to read about your knitting or whatever and you drop the fat bomb! I used to write the perp and tell them I thought they were out of line, but they nearly always turn it round to be my problem (“I am sorry you were offended” and then you know nothing will change!) So now I do what I need to do to preserve my own joy and not let them take it.

    1. Maggie – you hit it straight on. It’s the being caught off guard. I knew they’d discuss bodies in the 2nd podcast, but when you’re listening to something seemingly unrelated to fatness, and then it’s brought in negatively, it’s even more disarming. On twitter someone said I should listen to body positive podcasts, which I do and I enjoy, but I also enjoy other conversations (like pop culture, etc.) that would be much more fun without the extra dose of fat hatred :).

  3. This was a very good post, Rebecca. A lot to think about. I too am in multiple categories that can often be socially ostracized (overweight, divorced, single, Christian, conservative, etc.). At some point or another someone has lumped me with others they consider “not worthy” or excluded me from their conversation or gathering because of who I am. Sometimes it is upsetting. Sometimes I try to present my point of view (that usually just frustrates me more). And sometimes I just have to remove myself from the conversation or from those people. Often they are family/friends I love and it makes me sad that our differences can separate us as they do. But like you, I’ve tried to really consider and evaluate whose words I will take to heart, and also be more considerate of the words I use that might be hurtful to others. I don’t know who these two chicks are that had the podcast (’cause I’m not hip like that!), and could easily lump them into a group I think are useless just based on their topic of discussion (vaginas and mayo?), but I must recognize that there are people are there who enjoy that type of discussion or thing that these ladies have some sort of profound wisdom that they will sit and listen to it. I disagree, but then I am free to go my own way and surround myself with people who aspire to a different life. Thanks again for giving us a lot to think about.

    1. It’s interesting to hear some of the identities you see as socially ostracized, especially where we live (predominantly Christian and conservative), but I can see how people questioning/not agreeing can feel like dismissal and is often used as dismissal of your voice and presence in a conversation or setting. I feel the same way about not identifying as Christian in our local area.

  4. Hell. Yes.
    I think that part of it is that in the context of a joke, this “400 pound person” doesn’t exist in their mind. 400 Pound Woman is a mythical creature that you’re allowed to make fun of. Because, yeah, they’re talking about a fat person but they’re very quick to say “but you’re not fat–you’re not like that, it’s not about you”. But when you label yourself as fat–and when you’re sitting right next to a person, you get to see the change take place.
    I am a fat person. I reference myself as a fat person. Everyone in my life knows that is how I present and label myself.
    A few nights ago my husband had a few friends over and one of them (the one I like the very most) made a joke about a fat person. As I was sitting right next to him on the couch. It hurt me deeply and I didn’t really know what to say. I didn’t react at all. Not in my face. Not in my posture. Mostly it was shock and confusion.
    He finished the joke, looked at me, and I saw something change behind his eyes. He immediately apologized to me. He said, “I’m not going to try to back track, Libby. I’m so sorry that I said what I did and I know that I’ll never make another fat joke as long as I live.” And I could see him tearing up as he said it. I believe him. He loves me and I’m his friend and he doesn’t want to hurt me or anyone like me.
    If only we could befriend and be sitting on the couch next to everyone.

    1. “I think that part of it is that in the context of a joke, this “400 pound person” doesn’t exist in their mind. 400 Pound Woman is a mythical creature that you’re allowed to make fun of.” — Yes!! I don’t think they can imagine this person. I highly doubt they would even be able to guess a fat person’s weight.

      Thank you for sharing that story about your friend. I find those situations the hardest to navigate. I can’t “turn it off” and walk away not caring because they are people I love. I need them to see that even if it’s “not about me”, if it’s about “fat people”, then it IS about me. I had a conversation with 2 of my closest friends, people who really love me, and we were discussing our high school reunion. It was brought up that someone “got fat” and all the things associated with that happening (failure, worthy of laughs, etc.). All I managed to get out was that other people would say the same about me at our reunion, and I don’t see myself as a failure at all. How awesome that your friend took that moment to consider his audience, consider how they experienced his words, and considered who he wanted to be. “If only we could befriend and be sitting on the couch next to everyone.” Yes.

      1. Great point about the “they got fat” thing. My take on it is that I was always fat and happy, even though they would look down on me. Now I’m still fat and happy, but the snobby ones that got fat had to learn to accept it, or they hate themselves for it. The simple fact that I’m comfortable in my own skin is what makes me a success.

    2. Well, I’m blonde and do you know how many jokes about stupid blonde girls are? I’m perfectly fit to any of that jokes, the only thing is that I know I’m smart. I have two Master degrees and speak four languages. That’s why I don’t even think that it’s about me. I joke about blondes myself. Stereotype? Yes. Problem? Not, just a joke. I’m tired of carefulness and avoiding corners. Cause jokes are about how to see fun in some situations and don’t take it seriously. Jokes are not about push someone down. But we feel we’ve been offended, cause we feel, that we do have a problem. As much as we want to deny it we are offended only if we allow ourselves to be offended. Sorry that my comment is controversial to all of yours head nodding above.

      1. Exactly. I’m fat and stupid if I feel myself fat and stupid or at least suspect that I might be. And then I have a frustration on one side of the scale or “I can do it” on another and it is up to my character decide where I’m at. Nothing is easy. But life is fun and let’s see where it’s takes me to if I dedicate myself to the great ME.

  5. As I get older I realize that my bandwidth is limited and I have important stuff to do. I don’t have time to argue over everything and I don’t have time to lend my ears, eyes, or attention to people who don’t respect me. Once in a while I may bother with complaints but the fact is the people who say these things don’t see people in “x” category (fat, POC, LGBT, poor, whatever) as human so 99% of the time it’s a waste of energy. I change the channel, I unsubscribe, unfollow, or otherwise disengage (sooner rather than later) and I do not feel badly about it.

    1. I like the bandwidth idea — there’s so much good media out there, so many voices to hear from, so learning when to give one media outlet up is probably a good thing for me to come to terms with!

  6. You bring up so many good points in this post. I wasn’t familiar with this podcast so I went to check it out and read the bios of the two hosts. What I find interesting is that they both make reference to having been on MTV and ask that listeners not judge them for it. I think they clearly get that some people will have a knee jerk reaction when they see “MTV” and make assumptions about them that aren’t necessarily true. In addition, Susie works as a diversity trainer. It is disheartening that despite professional and (presumed) personal experience regarding making premature judgements they don’t seem to be willing to extend the discussion or dialogue to include fat people.

    At some point virtually everyone finds themselves as the butt of someone else’s joke. I don’t think that these jokes are always inappropriate or harmful but of course sometimes they are. I also see a joke as different than a pattern of references. For myself (a fat person) I don’t think I’ve ever stopped listening to something because of a fat joke, but I do know that I self select out of a lot of content I know isn’t for me for one reason or another.

    In this case, I think taking the time to reach out was important. Communicating with people (respectfully) is how change happens. It is a shame that the hosts didn’t seem to want to engage or really “get it.”

    If you like smart, pop culture, female driven podcasting I recommend Vital Social Issues and Stuff. It is awesome. 🙂

    Finally-glad you are blogging this summer. I love hearing your voice-your blog was one of the first I stumbled upon a few years ago and I relate to so much of what you say and write. Thanks for taking the time to share!

    1. Macy, I think that’s why I maybe took it even more harshly. Sarah is studying to be a therapist, and I see her extend care to many people. It also makes her focus on cause/effect in a way that sometimes I find dehumanizing. I usually really enjoy what they have to say, and I see them as smart and caring women…outside of the topic of fatness. Thanks for the podcast recommendation–I’ll definitely look into it! People suggested other body-pos podcasts, but I like pop-culture type shows, so this looks great 🙂

    2. You know what is funny? I found pop culture is a lot about crossing borders, dirty jokes and a braver comments, putting out on the table everything we think, but can’t say loud. The most of American TV and radio about it: “Dr. Phil”, “Judge Judie”, “Simpsons”, every MTV show and on, and on and on. But still, we love it, listen that rubbish and get insulted. We wanted it, didn’t we? Or why is it so popular than?

  7. I too am offended. It is just like the racist joke or the religious joke or the political joke. We are on the other end of it. No one can say the N word, or make a joke about gays, or Hispanics or muslims but they can sure joke about christians, fat people and conservatives. Yes it hurts to be discounted as a sub standard person not worthy of care. You made the right decision to stop receiving those messages from those who seem funny. You tried to use common sense reasoning with them and they chose not to listen because they have no common sense. They are only after the money they are paid to say those things. It is hard to push back from the herd and refuse to go down in the dirt. It is high school all over. “The cool people”. There is always going to be those bullies but we don’t have to be around them. They are not important enough to wipe your shoes. They will go the way of the dinosaur, forgotten and seen as a relic that no longer exists. It is just a shame that they influence people on their way.

    1. Denisa,

      I think it’s interesting how we all interpret marginalized identities differently. In my experience, gays, Hispanics, Muslims (basically anyone outside of white heterosexuals) get made fun of a lot, and even worse face much more insidious effects of hatred that build to be more harmful than what I described here (in jobs, relationships, laws). I think you make a good point about being pointed as a person “not worthy of care”, especially when it comes from people you admire or care for in return.


  8. Don’t assume your comments were completely shrugged off. When people get caught doing something hurtful, they often brush it off because they’re embarrassed. They don’t want to admit that their comments were actually unkind and wrong. Later, when they’re alone, they might admit TO THEMSELVES that they need to rethink their ways of commenting about various topics. They may not admit it publicly, but you never know what the long-term affect may be of your little drops of water. Speak up, and then move on. In the long run, it makes a big difference. I’ve been around long enough to know that while not everyone has become more sensitive about race, gender, or fat issues, MORE people are now than before and that’s worth while. Progress has been made, even if not completely.

    1. Right on! Each conversation and interaction between people has the chance to change and enlarge the participants’ realities. Like little seeds planted in the ground, it can take time for ideas to be processed and digested before they take hold and create a different perception in a person.

  9. Say goodbye and don’t look back. The problem with “some stuff just needs to be taken as a joke” is that it isn’t funny. Like, in what universe is an extended anecdote about a fat woman, mayonnaise, and maggots funny? If somebody told me such a story – in some weird context where they couldn’t see my face making either bewildered or angry shapes, which might presumably stop them – I’d be following it immediately with: “I don’t get it. Can you explain it?” On repeat. Ad nauseum. Until they got the message that there’s no way to construct humor from a fat body without coming right out and saying the poison crap that drives it: fat bodies gross, not good enough, blah blah blah. Because it’s there, just under the veneer of joke.

    I don’t need someone to make their space safe for me, but I will sure as hell make MY space safe for me – I’ll delete with no pang of distress or guilt that podcast, I’ll cut off “friends,” I’ll walk out of that concern trolling lecture. I’m not LEARNING something from listening to a bunch of hateful claptrap sold as a joke. That’s the part where “safe spaces” can turn into a dangerous conceit: when they are used to ensure that people don’t have to learn new and challenging things. But it’s neither new nor challenging to treat fat people, fat women in particular, as if they’re less than. That’s tired crap, and I don’t need to spend my time that way. Neither do you. I need some kind of mushroom cloud emoji to end this, but the sentence putting the image in your head will have to do.

    PS: love your blog. 🙂

  10. We who are “overweight” are supposed to be the shape of “normal” people. They should be able, with photoshop, to tweak our images to exactly match the images of models.
    If we have individual shapes, we have no hope of being accepted, no matter how healthy or how fit we actually are.

  11. Good article. And I support everyone’s right to walk off if they don’t like what they’re consuming. Peace of mind is hard-won for so many of us, and sometimes you have to take drastic measures to preserve the little you have. Or what others would regard as drastic measures.

    Somewhat related: I used to be a Size 12 and I was skinny as a rail at that size. I’m continually bewildered that somewhere along the way tastemakers decided that it equals *fat*.

  12. “They discussed my letter in a later podcast, and their response was kinda “meh” and that some things just need to be seen as a “joke””

    It’s the same thing with rape jokes or catcalls. Fat jokes offend, discriminate, and makes a person feel violated. Saying that it’s just a “joke” or seen as one will not make the fact that people got offended by what they say go away.

    I’m glad you voiced out your opinion here and I hope those podcasters read this!

  13. I think your response is right on the money. You and many others contacted them to complain, and they responded with total indifference. They’re not going to change, so it is healthy to stop listening to their insulting words. Then you blogged about it to make others aware of their attitude and harmful behaviour. Great work! It might make others think twice about making such jokes, or whether they would like to voice complaints to these women themselves. Not much more you can do than that, really.

    1. Thank you. I am pretty much just like the “400 pound” woman. Due to lack of disposable income, I am currently on the “poverty diet” and am slowly losing bits and pieces of me. Fat people are free game for those who feel superior to plus sized women like you and I. SO tired of being ridiculed for following in the footsteps of my mother. She was a large woman, with a huge heart and love of everyone.

      I do not keep people in my life that are “anti-fat” people. I don’t need their negativity. I beat myself up enough for us all. Thanks for standing up for us bigger girls!

  14. I’m in a phase of “if you see something, say something” life. What follows determines how future interactions go. I won’t troll, I won’t let myself by trolled. So if civil discourse and mutual respect don’t happen in response to my speaking out, I disengage.

    So, basically, I think you did the exact right thing. <3

  15. Thanks for the article,it hit so many nerves at once..and though I’m leaving a comment and thus indicating I have some sort of advice,I in all honesty don’t know what to tell you – I wish I could recommend you to unfollow\unsub,as many others already have,but I’m following this tactics at this point in my life,and I feel like..the discourse and my world somehow close up?! There’s so many ppl\blogs\songs\shows I’ve abandoned for hurting me,seems like soon I won’t have anything to read and listen to! Do you feel the same?

    and yes,don’t be weirded out – in some places and communities you can literally be white,heterosexual,christian and still be marginalized..

    1. Yea, sometimes it feels that way, but I do find a good bit of media that maybe I’m not represented in BUT doesn’t negate/violate fat people that I enjoy. As for the last comment, in ways do you see white, heterosexual, Christians being marginalized? Honestly curious if it’s the same way I think of the effects of marginalization or if it’s different.

      *Cara, to be clear–the people who I responded to are American. One is my aunt who lives in my same town, which is predominantly white and Christian. I am sure there are places in the world where Christians are marginalized. Not sure about the other two, but am interested to hear.

  16. I totally understand your frustration. I am not fat, but a lot of media disses women (like a comedy movie that I want to watch because I might find it funny, and then there is some sexist trope or image that I cannot stand!) I have pretty much quit watching movies and any other type of media that might be offensive. Unfortunately people still talk that way about fat people and it is really infuriating. It pisses me off whenever I see it and I will continue to say something about it whenever I see it (although I do think this is improving as well… I feel like I don’t see this trope as often as I used to). I also think that, much of the time, it simply isn’t funny! People need to come up with material that is actually clever. But great post, and it sucks that people have to deal with this.

  17. My best friend is a fat one. Sometimes(=always) I make jokes on her but she always takes it casually. And yeah, when someone teases her about her fatness it makes me go crazy and then *pang*.

  18. I’ve always been overweight, some years more than others, and was mercilessly bullied about it all through high school. It shaped my 20’s in a way that I can’t go back and change and became resentful for what it became. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I finally pushed past the self-pity and started to take a stand against the people that didn’t see me for an intellectual person, but rather a “fat guy”. I distanced myself from a lot of my so-called friends because at one point in time or another, they were the source of ridicule that affected me personally. Some of them have come back, apologizing for their ignorance, others have not and have written me off. There are far too many things in life to experience instead of worrying about how a shirt fits or if you’re “normal” size is hindering someone else. What’s normal? Doctors will give you a list of “average” sizes, shapes, heights to aspire to, but I’ve discovered that our differences are what make us unique in the world. If some people can’t see that then it’s their loss in my opinion. I sympathize with your struggle, I’ve had a similar struggle my entire life. I envy your passion to want to explain to people why these types of jokes are, in fact, not funny at all to the people at the end of the joke. Some just don’t see the forest for the trees and are doomed to be shallow, judgmental, and self-centered. I feel sad for those people because they’re missing out on friendships and relationships with strong individuals that have a lot to offer others.

  19. No matter what your height, weight, race or religion, we are all people – unique and adorable in our own way!😉 Thank you for sharing this! may God bless you and stay empowered!💖

  20. While reading I found myself nodding, yes, yes, so much yes! I change the channel, unsubscribe, delete, unfriend and move on.
    Sometimes I understand and find myself thinking, is is funny, and immediately being ashamed. It’s not funny. It’s not ok. How would I feel if I were the one on Saved by the Bell on a date with Zack Morris and I screamed at the scary party in the movie and my line was, “I’m out of popcorn”?
    I watched that episode as a kid and thought. Oh, Zack is on a date with a girl like me. But she was portrayed as being so interested in the food she didn’t notice him. And, lets face it, he was disgusted to be with her.

  21. You know it’s all about perspective I mean were you born knowing that fat is ugly ?or that black is discriminative ?No its just some dumbass idea society is trying to bring out to create social classes and truth be told it has succeeded but who says you have to follow their way of thinking …I mean in the after life you won’t be judged because your fat or because your skinny but by your deeds.

  22. I believe letting it all go is the best option because at the end of the day people are entitled to their own opinion always remember that it doesnt affect you until you let it affect you

    1. I don’t agree about the “it doesn’t affect you” part. I don’t think it’s an individual thing (individual impacting me). It’s a cultural thing, and it affects all people of a culture. Thanks for visiting though, and I appreciate what you mean about not letting it get to me.

  23. Hello Rebecca, I stumbled upon this post as I was discovering wordpress, and the title immediately caught my attention! I”m a big fan of all those reacting to the idea of defining beauty by size! I come from a society where size and looks are much more important than education, ethics or any social interaction whatsoever! Unfortunately, in Beirut (Lebanon) where I live being plus size or even a bit overweight, not fashionable (and that is wearing all the expensive brands) and not always “In” on the latest trends is a reason to be ridiculed and socially unaccepted. I rarely hear any activists or “feminists” discussing this issue and helping redefine beauty specially to the young generation who are raised to follow such standards!
    I’m looking forward to read more from you and I will be going through old posts as well 🙂

  24. Considered obese, has Asperger’s syndrome, has borderline personality disorder, LGBTQIAA, and I am person of colour. One of those alone is grounds for me to be ostracised. The whole package? It’s amazing I connect with anyone at all, never mind listen to anything in the media.

    1. Have you found good community media? I’ve been enjoying Bad Fat Broads podcast who a) aren’t assholes b) are intersectional. Give them a listen if you’d like!

  25. Negative people attempt to make themselves look better by trashing others. Always stand up to and call them out on their nasty ways!!! The world suffers not only because of this type of hateful and shameful ways but also because of the lack of strength of the good people to stand up against their nasty ways. Blessings to you!
    With Respect, Hope, Joy and Love, Carmela

    1. ive learned that anytime i succeed at anything is when those negative people come around and they will find anything and everything they can to pick you apart. i agree tho, this world sucks… like big fat monkey balls…. ive learned its sink or swim, you dont stand up for yourself, your gonna go down under. i mean its sad its come to that but it is what it is i guess.

  26. I really enjoyed reading this blog post. I thought you handled the situation correctly by saying something. When you describe a person, they’re weight shouldn’t be the first thing or even at all what comes out of your mouth.

  27. I 100% agree that fat-shaming has brought society to an all-time low, knowing that negative feedback doesn’t inspire or motivate people to become healthier. But here’s what I need to point out in regards to content on radio, blogs, magazines, etc. being offensive to someone. If we’re offended by something someone else says it’s because we feel a need to protect ourselves from something that resonates with us as near or actual truth. That’s why we jump with the offense and act insulted, and tell people that they need to be more sensitive or not say anything or what-have-you, and we turn the spotlight on them and what they’re doing wrong. You wouldn’t get offended it someone said something about you that was so far from realistic or true to you, that you just wouldn’t care, you would be so indifferent you’d have no response. But with something that offends you, it’s because you have a problem with what they have pointed out, and the way to deal with it is not to jump on them about it, but to reflect on yourself and how you truly feel about you (in this case the topic is weight), and discover why you feel so defensive and how might you change that? A thousand people can say the same thing, but the only reason we would have a problem with what they say about us is because it draws focus to something we don’t like about ourselves, otherwise you just wouldn’t care. You can’t put masking tape over every person’s mouth who says something negative about any subject, including another person’s weight. You can only look at how you respond and WHY you have responded that way, and decide if it’s in your best interest to keep barking back at all these people who say something, cutting people out of your life, and becoming resentful for it.

    1. Would you say the same about racist comments? Homophobic comments? I don’t expect to shut people up, but I do not plan to allow myself to be shut up when people often do not consider the weight of their words (and the way these words reveal how they see people).

      1. To categorize racism or even homophobia, and fat-shaming as similar issues is inaccurate and I don’t think you’re really that ignorant, from reading your posts. I do understand it’s a sensitive issue for you, as it has been for me, but the issue isn’t what people may or may not say, it’s about how you feel about your weight. Just as you have the right to object to what they say, they too have the right to say what they want, but what course of action is rally going to help you or bring positive things into your life? It’s not going to be ranting about what other people should and shouldn’t say is it?

      2. You seem to act as if this is an individual issue. My problem–you make that clear. As if it is not a cultural problem, systemic, happening all the time in multiple ways to fat people. I won’t engage with you further about what I can or cannot speak on, “rant” on. I think you feel you’re offering me a way to reflect, but I feel like you are silencing me, asking me to make it my problem with myself, and that makes me have nothing left to offer you in thoughts.

      3. But part of it is your problem within yourself. You can’t put all the blame on “society” and take responsibility away from individuals who are offended. It’s not productive to try and censor what people say, what’s more productive is to look within ourselves and find a way to deal with the issue that has us so upset.
        You’re not going to engage with me any further because I have an opinion you don’t like? Little petty, but okay.

      4. Ps. If you feel like it, please read more about fatphobia. It goes much farther than a podcast comment like I discuss in this post. Might give you more reference for where I’m coming from.

  28. Probably the most helpful thing I read lately entailed a person’s right to “not be pretty.” Or as they more eloquently put it, “You are not obligated to anyone to be pretty.” I’m sure I’ve mangled the original, but the concept really stuck with. Who knew I’d be nearly a half a century before I’d hear anything like this!?

  29. I wish I could contribute something more constructive here but the truth is that as a fat 310 lbs black male, I’ve got nothing. I work out when I can to lose weight and I feel utterly ashamed when I gain back my weight. I observe the glances I get until I’m ignored completely in public places; resigned to the part of the brain where people forget afterthoughts. We aren’t real people in this society. We are fat bodies but we aren’t seen as people. It’s unfortunate. I have no solution to this.

  30. Wow, you listened to their podcast again after what they said? You may be too forgiving.

    people always need someone to make fun of, that’s why children get bullied and there are so many fights. Listen to something else, or someone else. Rest assured just because two people said something about fat people doesn’t mean everyone makes fun of fat people. Most people do, realistically, but not everyone.

    And please, don’t go on a mission to reduce weight just because others call you fat. If you ever want to reduce weight, do it for yourself alone and no one else. Take care & Good luck!

  31. Wow your blog really touched me in many ways , I’m starting a blog on here myself and would love to connect with you on some ideas and help with starting it up. A lot of things I can relate to when it comes to your post
    Thank you – Tymra

  32. Great read! I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot. So to answer your last question about handling views that are against who you are, I’ve had quite a bit of experience in this area. As a Christian who went to a prestigious liberal arts college and majored in the humanities, I frequently encountered views that went against what I believed in. And I loved it. I really enjoyed hearing others people’s views and reflecting on these debates. I felt like I really grew in that environment. However, not all issues and views can be weighed evenly. Some issues are more personal and cut more deeply. I’m for free speech, but I also think that just because you CAN say something does not mean you SHOULD say it. What bothers me about fat jokes is not just the joke itself but how easily people make fat jokes without consideration for someone’s feelings. And yet, this is not at all surprising considering media’s poor representation of fat people. I’m not sure how to change media, but I think a good start is our individual circles of influence. What’s worked well for me is just meeting with people and explaining why something is hurtful. There’s a chance they might not get it, but there’s also a chance this might totally change their way of thinking. Especially if it’s coming from someone close to them whom they love and respect. People have used this on me too. I’ve said things that were offensive, and I would not have realized this until someone told me. Sometimes this even strengthened our bond, because we were comfortable enough to share our hurts.

    I think it’s important to pick and choose our battles. At least for me, I’d be exhausted if I went after every fatphobic out there. I’ve found that my input is the heard best when the listener already knows me and is willing to listen. But that’s not always the situation….

  33. Like you I’ve tried talking back, ignoring, making the case, using their words against them, tried to get them to put themselves in another’s shoes by showing them…they too have things about them that can be easily marginalized…Truth is some people won’t care to even listen or make an effort unless it happens to them…some of the stereo types we carry as a society are formed from multi generational curses and beliefs…if you want to make a difference I think the best thing you can do, is just be you, and by example teach love over hate and fear…thanks for the article

  34. Hey.. I read your post. How I see is people will keep trying to offend ,they will keep trying to stereotype body,skin colour and so many other things.. we can’t change them.its good to raise a voice but end of the day we can only change ourselves. Make ourself strong enough to not let anybody hurt us..
    Don’t avoid people or gatherings.. Just be so confident about urself that nobody dares to humiliate you.. Absorb everything and stay positive..
    I am with you.. stay blessed and happy 🙂

  35. I just want to say well done on tackling these issues so eloquently and with such honesty. I had a blog about similar issues I face with disability but I blasted it into the abyss just last night. I’d had it for seven years and it never generated anything like the level of interest that yours has. I guess there is a talent deficit there. Anyway I am very glad to have people like you around to get the message across in a more coherent, entertaining way. Thanks.

  36. I have lived many years, the majority of them much overweight, and I have learned that life is way too short to listen to and be influenced by negative people. You are wise to use your words to present your views, but you don’t have to waste your valuable time on earth listening to insensitive, ignorant people. You were correct in deleting their podcasts. I see no reason to listen to those two again.

  37. All I can say is that that podcast and those behaviors are absolutely shocking. It’s ridiculous what some curvier women go through regarding others’ negative inputs, I mean seriously nobody deserves that.

  38. Jokes based on ridicule of someone by virtue of their weight or physical appearance are cheap, petty and cruel. I am suspicious of anyone who finds these types of jokes funny.

  39. Wow that was some powerful words. I don’t know what its like to be plus size. I am guilty of making certain ‘fat’ jokes. If you read my post labels or perception of perfection you will understand what i have to say. You should not let this affect u i know what its like to be discriminated. Dont read to much into it it will only hold u back

  40. Don’t let the media make u feel bad or less about yourself if u read my post labels or perception of perfection u will understand that paying attention to this will only hold u back and it will make u limit yourself from achieving many things

  41. I totally agree, I think it’s symptomatic of something deeply wrong. How is it that those who have a public platform think it’s ok to use it to shame people. It also knocks me sick when that’s the level of humour they think people respond best to. Imagine the empowerment that could be achieved, if people weren’t constantly being openly and subversively belittled by the media for not fitting the mould. Worst of all it seeps in mostly unnoticed. Mental health problems on the rise. Suicide. Low self worth. Eating disorders. But it’s ok. It was only a joke. I think you were right to speak out and vote with our feet & all power to you!

  42. What bothers me is that it is 2016 and we are still such a judgmental society. I get that people want to make jokes or comments to get a positive laugh or reaction out of others, but what they don’t realize is that for every laugh they may get, there are many others sitting in silence crying their eyeballs out because they felt ridiculed for something that is beyond their control-weight, personal appearance, visible birth defect, etc. I absolutely do not blame you for deleting their podcast, especially after you pointed out to them how offensive their show was and yet they acted like it was no big deal.

  43. I really appreciate that you wrote about this subject without turning it into a rant against thin people. I’ve never been on your side of things, as I’ve been thin my whole life. But the thing is, when people are talking about how we need to stop fat-shaming, it turns into a thing of “no man likes a skinny girl” “girls like you are anorexic”. I’m thin, but a healthy weight (good genetics…), and I don’t know how many times I’ve been “skinny-shamed”, and had people say that they hate me because of my body shape. You wrote this article in such a great way. You made your point very well, and didn’t spin the hate back at anyone else. It’s too bad we can’t all just accept people in any shape, colour, etc. Maybe one day.

  44. This post hit me in a lot of ways. I do not necessarily relate or understand the struggles you speak of to this extent. However, I have a chronic illness, so I replaced the subject material and it hit me hard. There are many times people use mental inparments, social learning issues and distort them to make the appear as a joke. So in the sense, I can understand your feeling. Thank you for sharing this story. I will be followong!

  45. At first i thought you were being much too sensitive. I still kind of do, but I can understand why you feel the way you feel. When someone is misrepresenting something and influencing a lie about something that you struggle with can be hard. I struggle with several mental illnesses and I see my issues misrepresented all of the time. I do feel like people can choose what gets to them and what doesn’t get to them. I feel like people choose how much something like this affects them. So in a way a feel bad for you, but in another way I feel like you should learn to not let something like this get to you. I do when someone makes fun of me for talking to someone who isn’t there. Or when I have manic attacks in public. I constantly remind myself that they are innocently ignorant. That I can’t control their actions or the things they say. I constantly remind myself that I AM in control of how I react and how I let it get to me. So I’m not telling you anything I wouldn’t expect myself to do.

    I guess I’m just trying to give helpful advice because I feel for you. I’ve felt your pain, and I want to help.

    1. But… the equivalent for a depressive person is to have an innocent ignoramus tell them to “pull themselves together”. That’s on the same level. I don’t feel like defending their bad behaviour.

  46. Hi there. I totally understand you. I’m not really on plus size but I always have problem with people judging me just cause I gain 1-2 kgs. If weight is really important why wouldnt school taught us these.

    and my sister and brother are bigger than me in term of body.. but they have the biggest heart ever! honestly the society need to stop judging people based on looks.

    i guess there’s no end to this issue. even thin people are low confident and not satisfied with themselves. really, culture is the problem.

    we shld be free to choose what size we want, and what we feel good about urself. hope you also have courage to let those jokes slide.

  47. I read your post last night…and had to come back to it again today. There’s something that I wanted to share. Its not just about people making fun of fat people ( or any other category). For someone like me who has never been slim, anything that’s not like a cover girl image is considered fat. At least thats the kind of mindset that I’ve grown up with. With “fatty” being a kind of a nickname used for most of the girls of my acquaintance, we’ve grown up with a less than perfect image of ourselves. In my case, no matter how much I weigh, I’ll never be not-fat. How can I feel offended when someone’s making fun of fat people when I’m too busy being self-derogatory? How do you ever develop a positive body image? … just realized that I’ve written a too long comment…oops!

  48. As a younger woman I was very slender and very athletic. But in June of 2000 I suffered a spinal cord injury and, between suddenly being wheelchair-bound and the side effects of medications (weight gain, increased appetite) I found myself lugging around an entire extra woman. It wasn’t due, as every stranger assumes, that I “won’t stop eating.”
    Yet, I find that I don’t like every going out to dinner. I get too many looks that clearly convey the person’s intent; Don’t eat anything but a salad. You’re fat. You’re repulsive. I even had one extremely rude person ask that my husband and I be moved as I was ruining her appetite. Then she remarked that I wouldn’t need a wheelchair if I weren’t so fat.
    I struggle with the feelings that the excess weight has caused and I’m comfortable with certain people and certain situations. But fact that making fun of overweight people is still socially acceptable sickens me. Imagine if people made vile comments about those who are mentally challenged, or had Cerebral Palsy or another condition that made them different. They’d be tarred and feathered!

  49. I love your post ! I can’t seem to understand why people like to comment about body types, why it’s acceptable to judge curvier people then cover that with some hypocrite comment such as ‘every body type is beautiful’ ‘plus size models are beautiful’ . Why comment on that in the first place ? Why make others feel like there’s something wrong about how they look ? As if it’s not normal to look like that ? That they’re excluded from the beauty circle ? But then you try to comfort them saying that they’re beautiful, Who are you trying to convince with that ? ugh this society makes me sick.

  50. For me, it depends on my energy level. If I feel I can “educate” them on how they are enabling a system that profits from self loathing and the never ending quest for acceptance, I will make the effort to explain that the diet industry is a multimillion dollar yearly industry based on 98% failure rate that allows that failure to be the individual rather than their product which made empty promises of easy fixes. What if we just accept that nothing is broken? I’m a bit of a stubborn ass when doctors tell me to lose weight and my (fill in the blank illness including sinus infection or chest cold) would improve. Both sides of my family are fat. And live healthy active Lives well into their 90’s. That’s long enough for me. Lol. Anyway, if I don’t have the energy to deal with ignorance, I just delete and move my happy dimpled ass along. 😉

  51. You are definetly right. I have lost a few friends or stopped following certain people because of not only this sterostype but others as well. The media is always trying to put down “fat” people and telling us that we should be this size or that. I have learned to love myself and that really all you can do. As long as you love yourself and are true to yourself nothing and nobody else matters.

  52. My response to something similar which was a post directed at me personally online by folks who have never met me in person ?…..feel hurt… cry a little…shut off all my tech…go for a long walk to clear my head and get things in perspective ( ie these people don’t KNOW me) do a little meditation
    And now ironically all my tech has gone down apart from my phone… so I cannot see what they are writing and am going to have to reboot and start again…. sometimes its just not worth getting into the argument…. the answer lies with being confident in your inner strength ( not always easy) and YEP there needs to be a push back…an alternative voice or voices to the ‘mainstream’….

    1. Aw Fijay, that’s not worth doing! 🙁 Sorry to hear you were trolled! You know that you can actually report people like that who trash you online, to Google or the “internet police” for harassing you? Get them blocked, cut them out! And if it’s people doing it in real life, there are laws about slander and defamation. Stand strong.

  53. Beautifully written, and nails the problem.

    The problem with such bony women (like Sarah and Susie) is that they are under-informed and over-opinionated – that is, speaking about that loud subset that has such ignorant opinions of fat people. Essentially we all are people-shaped. And like you, I don’t bother with media that victimize people.

    The trouble with fat-shaming is that it often starts in childhood. The impression that you are only lovable if you are thin. What mothers need to keep in mind while starving their children for fear of fat is that fat is essential for brain development and they are basically making their kids stupid if they feed them a fat-free diet. And that they are ruining the child’s metabolism putting her or him (this is not reserved for girls) on a slimming diet, and actually making obesity later on more likely. Teaching them an unhealthy relationship with food, hunger and their own bodies. I wish someone would write a manual for skinny moms how not to do that!

    You can spot that I’m empathizing! Stand strong, my sister-in-curves!

  54. Absolutely loved this post, it’s so beautifully written, and I can really relate to it in many ways. 🙂 Also, I happen to blog a lot on my page, so I would love it if you checked it out! Thanks

  55. I wish everyone would read this post. Not only are we in a world where our beauty is measured by only our appearance, but we are being judged by it before someone will even get to know us. I have two daughters and I dread the day they start getting judged for what size they are or what they look like.

  56. I think everyone, no matter size shape or color is beautiful in their own way. Skinny people can be beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside and fat people can be ugly on the outside and beautiful on the inside and vice versa, no one has 5he right to talk trash about another person until they truest get to know them, only then can they truly appreciate ones true beauty. The shell has no representation of the nut on the inside

  57. Great post…..opened yourself up to others to understand…..and soooo many do not! Stepping on others at their expense just shows their ignorance and elevates them in their little minds. I have found that I am better off getting rid of the negative, nasty people in my life….so much more peaceful! Thank you for your honesty.

  58. Hi! Thanks for sharing your writing! It was a very good post and if I may, I want to repost it on my blog. I think this issue is very applicable to many topics. I have never been personally experienced with the term fat. But there is a variety of topics that are sensitive to me. I think everyone of us has. When we have any levels of personal relation to a certain topic, and then you hear public people on media saying things you still cannot wrap your head around. Sometimes, those moments can even happen within my group of friends, or with new friends I have met. We seemed to hit it off until they shared their opinionated thoughts towards one other person only via the FB profile picture. I stayed silent. The same as many of you, I stay silent, or just walk away from the conversations, literally and metaphorically. I guess, when people saying those comments happen to be closer to me, and how they think actually heavy much to me, I might speak up to show my opposing thoughts. I usually don’t want to fight. I certainly don’t want to make others see what I see. But I do want to speak out loud when certain buttons are pressed too hard inside. And I do want my closed friends to know how I actually think differently from them. But i always try to make it as mellow as it can be. I don’t know if this has been the best way to handle these situations though. I just have to continuously remind myself, people are different.

    1. Hi! Feel free to repost. I think your note about wanting to make them aware to your different thoughts is really important. Silence, for me, makes it seem like I agree, and I have issues with that being the “take away” from an exchange if it’s not true.

  59. I’m not fat and never was more than a little chubby as a preteen. I am not a Chris Christy fan. I have to say that I get tired of hearing people poke fun at his weight. Bill maher one of my favorite comics does this incessantly. I find fat jokes tasteless. I am sorry you have to endure that.

  60. This has been my whole life. I’ve experienced many forms of shaming, even self-shaming because I didn’t fit the norm, the ideal weight range, or whatever else was the trend. Do you know what I find liberating??? Being able to delete, block, or even unfollow people that do this to others. It is disturbing, just how many people love being armchair warriors, hiding behind the security of their internet devices. Oh, not always just those people, for the sake of keeping this short, those are the ones that come to mind. They loathe us fat girls, us skinny girls, us girls with flat boobs or butts that are huge, and don’t mind telling us all what they think. I may not be able to shut them up, but i dang sure can shut them out. That’s my second favorite thing about social media, the first is being able to connect with likeminded folks. The second is “bye bye!” That one little maneuver has bled into my everyday world, so much so that I can now walk away with a smile on my face, knowing they think they’ve won. They don’t know that I’m the winner. Good post. Thank you!!

  61. I also am a person with more than one stigmatized issued that hears and is offended by common ignorance regularly displayed in media, public amd personal relationships. I can’t honestly be self righteous since I myself have displayed my own prejudisms. I can say that I may be flawed but I don’t have to listen to what bothers me. It may help in a small way to protest such ignorance whether others dismiss it or not. Communication I think is important in other people understanding when an issue is an issue and not a joke.

  62. I have a slightly off-tangent comment to this.

    I am Indian, and live in a Southern metro city of India (after a brief stint in the US). I notice that in my city, the more “westernised” people are, the more they obsess about body fat. For example, the ‘foreign-returned’ soccer moms are, I observe, obsessing over weight (I plead guilty – I have a perimenopausing, tempramental-body, which sometimes takes me on an obsessive guilt trip ), while the never-been-out-of-India s school moms I know are completely indifferent to body size, bless them.

    Interestingly, I was at my 13-year-old daughter’s school yesterday and noticed that almost all high schoolers (especially girls) were what would be considered in the West as “fat”, but considered in the local society as “healthy”. And the best thing was, most of these children seemed comfortable in their skin. I felt like this generation is not bogged down by the painful connection between body size and self esteem like my own was and is.

    However, we have another equally stupid issue in our country – skin color. Our media is obsessed with “fairness” of skin, and I notice that kids self-shame about their skin color, which, I think is as ridiculous as, if not more than, the obsession with body size.

  63. It’s quite difficult to disengage from people who don’t seem to get “it”, especially if they’re someone you love or admire. But for me, I’ve decided to choose my battles. If at first attempt they don’t get the issue with their comment, I make a decision to delete them from social media. And if I can’t delete them from my life (co-worker, family), I mentally and emotionally disengage from them. I make a note to myself that this person doesn’t see ALL of me as worthy of respect, so they cannot get all of me invested in them. I have to be ruthless about these things because it’s hard to change the world, but I can carefully curate the space that I occupy so that I can thrive and not just survive people’s cruelty.

  64. I totally understand!! What’s even worse, living in a small town, there are litterally no stores here that sell clothes for “fat” people. I mean like to the point that when i went swimming with my husband last week, i was forced to swim in jeans because no one around here has swimsuits for anyone who is above a size 14. It’s horrible.

  65. Being fat myself, I understand that it is hard to hear people talk about my weight in disgust. I have not experienced as much myself. However, there are some people who care about fat peoples’ well-being and there are such things as being a big person, as I am also naturally stocky, however that does not mean you can’t also take care of yourself. I plan to start going back to the Y and workout. I’m not looking to turn myself in John Cena or Arnold Schworitnegger (yeah, I can’t spell that), but I do want feel fit and healthy. You can own your body and still be workout and be healthy. You don’t even have to do drastic workouts, you can just work the treadmill. Hell, that’s my favorite workout, I just take my kindle and either read or listen to music as I walk. People who insult fat aren’t always the nicest of people, but when people who care about you, suggest being healthy and working out, how about trying it out. Find something comfortable and easy like walking your dog. Being big and heathly is more than possible.

  66. Quite honestly, people find it totally accept to pigeonhole and criticise people for everything and anything. It’s interesting because in the U.K., there is much talk about sexism and how things like wolf whistling is likely a hate crime. What about people that fat shame? What about people that mock people with OCD as some cleaning crazed mad person? I think we need to seriously look at how we treat each other.

  67. You’re not done listening. You are going to continue to hear what you do not like and do not want to hear and you are going to turn that into your work and writing and feminism and love and beautiful. This is not such a bad thing.

  68. In my opinion just shutting down such things and closing your doors on them to lock yourself up inside a safe region where no such comment can reach you , is not a solution. Being a killjoy is far better than that . You must speak up against it and you must hit them back with better facts and remarks to show them how shallow it is to body-shame someone , be it a fat person or an anorexic person .
    People need to stop making such jokes and comments repeatedly that hurt others especially due to the size of their beauty .

  69. I was catching up on your blog and just read this post. It’s disheartening that people are like this, people love to make fun of people who aren’t like themselves. Or aren’t “socially” acceptable. I just don’t know when everyone got so mean and cruel to everyone. I’ve always been chunky, chubby child, plus sized teen, now bbw in my older age. But when I was in school, no one ever made fun of me for being plus sized or fat or chunky. No one said anything, we all minded our own business. There was even a kid who was very large, and people didn’t make fun of him for being really big, they picked on him for being gross, he was always picking his nose or farting in public. It was disgusting. It’s such a shame how bad bullying is today, even my niece whose 7, has people picking on her so she picks on people. It was just never like that when I went to school, I don’t know what happened.

    I was listening to the radio one day at work and the traffic girl had to throw in a generic comment about how “all fat people smell bad”, it was super offensive. Like we don’t shower, don’t wear perfume, don’t clean ourselves, don’t wear deodorant. The great thing was all the other dj’s came in and chided her for saying something so ridiculous and cut her off. I also live in the Midwest, one of the unhealthiest and “fattest” cities lol. Overweight people are very normal here.

  70. You did a stellar job with this…thank you for your transparency.

    I believe that there are many people who still hold skewed views about the size of a person being related to cleanliness or other habits.

    I would see this all too often as an Educator in and out of the classroom.

    Body image is a creation of the mind and it’s constructed over time. The proverbial bricks that have either been thrown at them or used to build them up all build the “mental” image of what a person sees in the mirror.

    Many continued blessings to you!

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