Mom Gets Death Threats After Saying She Won't Send Her Kid to Daycare With Obese Workers
She thinks the fat positivity movement has gone too far. We think she needs to check herself.
Every parent has the right to choose the daycare best suited for their child. But one mom is reportedly receiving death threats after coming clean about the reason for her selection.
Hilary Freeman, a London-based journalist, recently wrote an op-ed for Daily Mail about the fact that she chose not to enroll her 2-year-old daughter at a certain school was because the assistant teacher was obese. Yikes!
"The nursery assistant was clearly a lovely woman," she explained in her piece. "Kind and great with children. But as I watched her play with my two-year-old daughter, I felt a growing sense of unease. She was only in her 20s, but she was already obese—morbidly so. She moved slowly and breathlessly, her face flushed. Would she, I wondered, have the lightning reflexes needed to save an adventurous toddler from imminent danger? And what sort of unhealthy habits would she teach my daughter, who would be eating her lunch and tea there each day?"
There's a lot to unpack here, so let me just say this. A part of me can almost understand Freeman's argument—the part, at least, where she's worrying about the out-of-breath assistant keeping up with her kid—although let's be honest, that can happen whether someone is overweight or not. I can even get on board with the part where she later reveals she wasn't down with the fact that the school served jam sandwiches for lunch every day instead of veggies and hummus like some of the other places she checked out. I'd might have been swayed by that distinction, too. If only Freeman had just stopped her rant there. But she didn't.
"Looking around, I noticed that she wasn't the only extremely overweight member of staff," Freeman continued. "I couldn't help worrying about the message this was sending to the children in their care: that being very fat is normal and—when children adopt role models so readily—even desirable. Fat-positivity—also known as fat acceptance—has gone too far. Originally a response to discrimination against those who aren't slim enough to fit into society's beauty ideal, it's now an excuse for the severely obese to celebrate their bodies, the consequences be damned."
Oh honey, just...no.
Freeman then went on to reveal the reason behind her fat-phobia: due to an under-active thyroid, it's been a "lifelong struggle" for her to remain slim.
"Perhaps I feel so strongly about this because I'm a slim person with a fat person inside, wanting to burst out," she writes. "My body clings on to every calorie it can. So I have little sympathy for those who blame their genes or hormones for being fat. When my thyroid stopped working, I rapidly put on weight, going up to a size 14 (I'm only 5 ft 3 in). I hated it: my thighs rubbed together and I had a muffin top. It took several years for medication to regulate my hormones and several more to lose the weight I'd gained. It wasn't about dieting, it was about establishing a routine that would keep me slim for life: doing at least half-an-hour's exercise every day and never eating more than 1,500 calories. But I don't just want to stay slim for my health: I like being able to wear close-cut, fashionable clothes and feeling fit, especially now I have a toddler to run after. Rolls of fat are not attractive—I shouldn't be scared to say that."
Want the latest parenting news? Sign up for our Parents Daily newsletter
Maybe not, but you shouldn't be proud either. Did you really need to write an entire essay about shaming someone else? What kind of message does this essay send to your child—that it's OK to use your voice to be mean? That it's cool to judge someone based on how they look? How about teaching your kids that it's what's inside that counts instead? After all, beauty is only skin deep, but nastiness goes to the bone.