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A Weighty Issue

November 20, 2009

When possible, I prefer walking to driving. Whether it’s the grocery store, library, post office or restaurants, it’s a blessing to be able to walk almost everywhere. The neighborhood values pedestrians, with sidewalks running along every street — a nice contrast from Evansville, where I visited last week and noticed a sad lack of sidewalks, forcing the rare walker to the shoulder.

With iPod firmly in place and set destination in mind, it’s usually easy to tune out the noisy streets. But occasionally, a honk from a passing car or truck captures my attention. More rarely, but more infuriating, are the shouts from quickly-moving autos.
Today’s exclamation? “Fat ass!” from a speeding pickup truck.
Now, maybe the massive Chipotle burrito bol that I inhaled for lunch was hanging off my rear. I could certainly feel it stuffing my stomach as I attempted some sunny afternoon exercise.
But the thing is — I know I’m not fat. It’s not something on my radar screen. What even makes calling a woman “fat” the ultimate insult?
What compels people — okay, let’s face it, it’s always men — to yell out car windows at women on the street? I think they know that many women are self-conscious about their weight and believe that the best way to insult a woman is to comment on her size.
So the bottom line: what’s the point? What’s the benefit to the cat-caller from his comment?
Personally, I’m just letting it roll of my back. There are certainly worse things to be called than fat! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat a snack (mmm cereal and yogurt) and plan my dinner menu.
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