Spending The Holidays With Your Family

This is always a good time. Isn’t it? Marianne solicited listener queries on Twitter, and we take a stab at responding to them. Topics include dealing with food policing, diet talk, body checking, and bad gift ideas.

Links mentioned in this episode:


The continuing saga of Privilege-Denying Dude.

The music heard in this episode is by Bit Shifter, “Let it Snow”.

14 Responses to “Spending The Holidays With Your Family”

  1. JonelB Says:

    Deer: In Alabama, you can check processing centers, and sometimes the hunters will dump off a full deer and want either just the hide and horns, or the head, or certain parts, and the rest get to go to the people who want it, which involves someone asking for it, and all you pay is the fee of processing the deer, usually.
    WE HAVE SO MUCH DEER IN OUR FREEZER. It’s honestly probably my 3rd favorite meat to cook behind chicken and shrimp, and I substitute it in a lot of things that work well with deer. My mom and sister both don’t really like it.
    Right now I have sausage and burger in my freezer at my dorm.
    And my mom is that moderate amount of hoarder, as mentioned. She’ll get all sorts of things I know we may or may not use, but the pantry has to be cleaned out every few months for things that have to be tossed out. She has a -stash- of air fresheners and is mildly ocd about cleanliness.
    I do get the concerned body shaming thing, but I’ve gotten to the point where I just find somewhere else to sit–Luckily my parents are starting to realize their families kind of suck, and are super-duper-super judgemental, and not good people to be around anyways(these are the people who told me, at 13 years old, that if I didn’t convert my father soon he was going to hell). WOO FAMILY, and now, I don’t have to deal with s-d-s family because we no longer attend their little functions. yay!
    for anyone else–bring a book, bring your phone(for games!), bring your DS, the younger kids do it so you should be allowed to as well, and it’s totally fine to absorb yourself in it rather than talking to them. Say hi, exchange niceties, but if you have to deal with a family that is wholly crap–you’ve got the right to escape from it.

  2. Torey Says:

    Just discovered this podcast series (and Fat Acceptance in general) pretty recently, and this one was the radness! The “pick your battles” take-away message is definitely a wise one; sometimes it’s best to smile even wider and remind yourself that the moth-ball-scented great aunt so intent upon informing you that “you’ll never get married looking like that” also pathologically wraps hors d’oeurves in napkin shreds, hoards them in the moldy abyss of her hand-bag and serves them weeks later to guests at her own home. And everybody knows about it. And she’s a four-time divorcee. And she ran over the second of the four husbands with her car. On purpose. Sigh.
    You guys have convinced me not to panic this year; I’ll go in with my game face on and try my best not to succumb to any diet-baiting conversation. Hiding in the bathroom is most effective for Old Man Groping avoidance, I find, but I will definitely utilize that method for Thin Mongering evasion emergencies as well. Funny how one can get sexually harrassed AND body policed by the same group of people at the same event. Happy Holidays!

  3. Jex Says:

    OMG! I check for new posts every day and I actually did a fist in the air “YES!” in my cubicle today!

  4. Kaia Says:

    I just wanted to add, on the subject of weight related presents. For her birthday my grandmother wanted to give my mum a book on the low carbs high fat diet, but my (thin) aunt told her she couldn’t do that and that it was mean. So my grandmother waited two weeks and THEN gave it to her. Because that was so much better.

    And yes, my mother has dieted my whole life. I’ve always wondered why, but the older I get the more I notice the subtle (and the not so subtle) hints. Most of them are directed at my Mum. I may be fat, but I’m still an inbetweenie and really tall, so I guess it’s not as obvious.

    Or possibly they know that from me they’d get a lecture, while my mother is much too nice to do anything but smile and nod…

    Thanks for a lovely podcast. I’m always happy when there’s a new one!

  5. Heather Says:

    Yay new podcast! Really enjoyed this “questions from readers” format.
    Gifts are such a no-win situation. Especially clothes. Always “XL” and always too small! (hey that could be a vanity plate: XL=2SM)

    Last year I registered for a cool service called MyShape.com, where you input a LOT of your measurements and they generate a “personal shop” of clothes that will fit you. (it works!) They have a Wish List feature where you can send a link to friends showing things from your shop that you like. Unfortunately that was waaaay too high-tech for my mom, so she ended up sending me a gift card anyway.

  6. Lesley Says:

    I had a similar experience with my dad about my weight (errr similar to Lesley’s). I had moved away for a year and gained a lot of weight because I had stopped exercising twice a day and was eating more than once a day (my previous routine). When I got back after that year, my parents were really on me and on me about my weight. Finally one day when my dad asked me in the car how much I weighed, I snapped. I started crying and asking him why he cared. I told him I would never ask him what he weighs, so why would he ask me? Why did he want me to feel badly about myself? I would never do that to him, so why did he do that to me? My dad and I were (and still are) quite close, so I think it genuinely upset him to hear how I was feeling about his questions. He and my mom never asked me about it again. I still get emotional thinking about it.

  7. Släkten, julmaten och allt vad det innebär « Hälsa är mer än en siffra Says:

    […] där roliga som kommer med storhelger och julbord sÃ¥ rekommenderar jag, som alltid, FatCast. Deras senaste episod handlar om just det, och det kanske var för att jag lyssnade pÃ¥ det nyss som jag lade märke till […]

  8. Mercedes Says:

    Ladies ,
    As a substantial woman, I love hearing about our issues. I just wish you would release them more often! I think I would like to hear you discuss sex while fat. And not the nuts and lots or the assumptions, but the interesting dynamic of the assumptions about what it looks like in popular culture. Another issue in my mind that re loves around your height that I feel you have not yet discussed, is the assumptions about one’s personality I. E. The assumption that you are the best friend, you are settling, you have a “great” personality. Obviously, this is problematic and the idea of being fat by itself does allow you to have standards is troubling. Please continue the great work, continue the giggle and take care. Mercedes

  9. Quick Link; Fatcast On Spending The Holidays With Your Family Says:

    […] Spending the Holidays with Your Family […]

  10. Ashley Says:

    I have always been annoyed with holiday weight talk. I’ll just eat what I want and if I gain weight, fine. If I don’t, fine. I don’t give a shit. I say: Just enjoy the holidays and the great food that comes with it and thank God that you have food to eat unlike other people who are starving and stop being so self invloved for a day in your life by obsessing over calories.

  11. living400lbs Says:

    I confess; I have a Hyacinth-the-dancing-hippo figurine. Also her boyfriend, Ben Ali Gator 😉

  12. Ankaret Says:

    Listening to you on my MP3 player saved me from having a full-out panic attack on a train this Monday – it felt like having a friend sitting in the next seat talking to me. I wasn’t sure whether to post this or not but I felt I ought to thank you. 🙂

  13. Dancin’ | Living ~400lbs Says:

    […] a recent Fatcast, Lesley mentioned visualizing the hippos and elephants dancing in Fantasia when she’s […]

  14. arcane_scholar Says:

    I have such a different family experience than someone else. My family, apparently, has no shame or embarrassment. If I were to say something about them not being able to comment on my body, I would be met with a bunch of “you’re too sensitive!”, “don’t take it so serious!”, “we’re just joking!” and then numerous comments for the rest fo the day where they pointedly make comments about my body and then say “Oh, but I’m not supposed to say that!” and then like nudgenudge me. It’s so ridiculous. lol

    My family’s idea of “considerate” or “welcoming” is to tell a racist joke about Black people to a Black person, or to make a joke about being a “faggot” to a homosexual male in order to show “they don’t care”. They will actually say “This is how I am, and if you don’t like it, oh well!” and laugh like it is all good. They’re mantra is “I only joke about the ones I love”, and their humor is really pointed and mean.

    As for the gift card thing, well, I totally get where y’all are coming from but I sincerely disagree. While maybe in our modern society gifts have developed into being all about what the receiver wants, the original purpose of a gift was for the giver to share something special with the receiver. Like a book the giver really found profound or life-changing and wanting to share that experience with the receiver, or a movie or an a really amazing band. I would prefer we move back to that sort of gift giving rather than move to the GC route.

    Though I understand the necessity of GCs when dealing with this situation, because yes, getting clothes that are the complete wrong size or style is frustrating. I do agree this has to change /someway/. I don’t understand who ever thought it was a good idea to give someone clothes anyway. How does that fit into the “it’ll please the giver” or “it’ll please the receiver”? It’s like so weird. It would be like giving someone a bra or a jockstrap or something.

    I mean, my aunt always gives socks and underwear (which I love), and I think that might be a safe bet because who doesn’t need socks and underwear? lol Though that might just be me.

    Of course, Miss Manners would be horrified at y’all’s responses to gifts. lol I’ll have to make sure to write myself a note not to buy y’all anything. Though, seriously, I do understand that the intersection of fat acceptance activism and manners doesn’t always intercept. I just wonder if there isn’t a better way to go about it then telling someone how to buy things (or not) for you (not you, you, but you-general-population). If someone went so far as to try and be sweet, I don’t think a proper response is to slap them in the face by saying how useless or ugly or whatever it is.

    Maybe buying them the “Fat!SO?” or “Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere”. Or maybe, like, later inviting them over for tea and casually bringing up the situation and hoping it triggers something. I don’t know. I haven’t figured out how best to do it either. I’m just so embarrassed by the idea of telling someone their gift was worthless or horrible, not only for having to do it, but thinking how /I/ would feel if that happened. Especially if it was done in front of other people or in that same situation you know? It’s too close to shaming for my comfort. I don’t particularly like to point out people’s flaws, especially when they aren’t pointing out mine or otherwise attacking me.

    LOL I would love to be able to determine the rules in my own house with my family. They just do /not/ comply! Like I was mentioning above, it would be all snarky comments in the line of things they aren’t supposed to be talking about followed by “but we’re not supposed to talk about!” Maybe that’s why I’m so against pointing out other’s flaws, because my family is the epitome of that shit. They will tear someone to pieces with joy and gusto and then make that person feel like shit that they are actually upset by it.

    There have been several holidays where I just cannot go to the events. I don’t have the constitution. Or I spend it trying to look busy so I don’t have to actually talk to anyone beyond a “Hey, how are you? It’s been so long! I have to go do X now, but let’s catch up before I leave okay? BYE!” lol

    I agree with Marianne, there is no delicate way to say food is gross. Miss Manners says if it is already on your plate, you can just kind of push it around. However, no one is supposed to notice that you’re not eating certain things (much less comment on it), and you’re still supposed to say how delicious everything is. And if you are serving yourself, you should take little tiny bits of multiple things (and a larger portion of what you do want to eat) and follow the same course, and again people aren’t supposed to notice/comment on your food. Miss Manners also says you’re allowed to just say “No, thank you” when you don’t want something, and it’s perfectly acceptable and people aren’t supposed to ask why or try to force you to take something or anything like that. Of course Miss Manners lives in a perfect little etiquette bubble and we aren’t all as lucky. I generally do the “take a little/move it around” thing and smile and say “No, thank you” if it is an allergy thing and if people try to insist or whatever I just keep smiling and saying “No, thank you” and try to change the subject or keep repeating myself until they get bored or frustrated. Even if they’re like “Why won’t you eat it? It is DELICIOUS!” and I just say “No, thank you”.

    If I don’t know the kind of food that is going to be served places, I generally eat before I go. I mean, I run the risk of not being able to eat a lot of good food is I’m lucky. However, since I’m such a picky eater there is a greater likelihood I’ll be unable to eat most of the stuff and will starve. So, I just eat first and snack at the event.

    Great job once again!

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