Wife Life Vol. 3: Fat Kids Are Harder To Kidnap


Fat Kids Are Harder To Kidnap

photo(12)On a recent trip to Las Vegas my husband and I were shopping at a store in one of the casinos when I stopped in my tracks. Hanging on the rack in front of me was a t-shirt that read “Fat Kids Are Harder To Kidnap.” Disgusted, I hurriedly got out my phone and snapped a picture.

“What are you doing?” My husband asked.

I told him I couldn’t believe a company would make a shirt like this, and I might write a post about it.

Always one to play devil’s advocate, “Don’t you think people might just tell you to get a sense of humor?” he asked.

The fact is I have lost any sense of humor I might have once had regarding weight related jokes. Whether the person being made fun of is “too fat” or “too skinny” in the jokester’s opinion, I have seen both sides of the coin and honey, it’s not pretty.

scan0001From elementary school all the way into college, I was always the skinny girl. People were forever wrapping their fingers around my wrist and making comments about how skinny I was or telling me to “go eat a sandwich.” There were countless remarks throughout high school made in my presence insinuating I had an eating disorder. I didn’t have an eating disorder. I suppose I just had a super high metabolism. Pictured at left: Me (with Nate who is now my husband) at age 18.

During my junior year of college I finally gained my “freshman fifteen.” For the first time in my life I was what many consider a “normal” size. After that initial weight gain, my metabolism changed, and I had to watch my weight like everyone else.

In my late twenties, I gained up to a size 10. Horrified, I resorted to diet pills. This was one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made in my life. I am convinced that the pills somehow caused my antidepressant medication to quit working. My reaction to this minor weight gain resulted in what was an epic personal meltdown that nearly ended my marriage. The sad part is that I wasn’t even really overweight. I look at pictures of myself from that time period and I wish I looked that good now.

In 2007 at the age of 31, I welcomed my first child into the world. Along with the excitement of motherhood came another weight gain. I was not prepared to show restraint toward the massive cravings I would experience during pregnancy. One night, after realizing I had eaten everything remotely edible in the refrigerator, I resorted to drinking a bottle of Italian salad dressing (Italian! I hate Italian dressing!). During the course of my pregnancy, I went from a size six to a size sixteen in maternity clothing. I gained about eighty pounds, give or take a pound or two.  I narrowly avoided gestational diabetes during this particular pregnancy.

photo(7)Now I’m 36, and I have two beautiful boys. I still haven’t lost the original eighty pounds I gained with my first pregnancy, and I am a size sixteen. I weigh 220 pounds. Would I like to be thin? Yes. But most of all I want to learn to accept myself no matter what size the label in my jeans says. When I see t-shirts like the one at the David & Goliath store in Las Vegas, it stings. I can’t help but wonder, how do overweight children feel when they see shirts like this? If a grown woman like myself has body issues, how are overweight children expected to cope in an unaccepting social climate? Pictured At Left: Me now. The mustache is fake.

What do I think about people wearing the “Fat Kids Are Harder To Kidnap” t-shirt? I think they should just cut to the chase and wear a shirt that says this:



I would send David & Goliath an outraged email, but I really don’t think they’d care. I went on their website and was shocked. They have quite a few offensive shirts for sale including one that says “For The Last Time, I Am Not Retarded” and another one that says “Mom Says I Ride On The Short Bus Because I’m Special.” I’m sure you can guess how I feel about those particular shirts.


Further Reading

Curvy Girl Guide: Victoria’s Secret Does Not Love My Body

Curvy Girl Guide: Is “too thin” the same as “too fat”?

Uppercase Woman: My Body, My Self

Wife Life is a column written by Mandy, The Well-Read Wife on a monthly basis or whenever the hell she feels like writing it.


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  1. says

    I think our society puts too much emphasis on looks period. It’s not just weight – when my son was in high school, many of the girls colored their hair, had their nails done and went to tanning beds on a regular basis. Some had plastic surgery. This was when they were in the prime of their lives. I found it heartbreaking. I think it’s time we all accepted that we’re all supposed to look different.

    • Mandy B says

      That is heartbreaking. What kind of message are we sending when we allow our children to color their hair and go to tanning beds at such a young age? Not a good one. The elective plastic surgery at such a young age is just mind boggling…

  2. says

    Well said, Mandy. That shirt is a disgrace. You’re right … what does that shirt say to a kid who is struggling with his/her weight? I’m similar to you in that I was always skinny in high school and now dealing with some health-related issues (nothing overly serious, but ones that I need to pay attention to) and it’s eye-opening.

    • Mandy B says

      I keep imagining middle school age children seeing or wearing these shirts and it makes me so sad.
      Thanks for stopping by Melissa!

  3. says

    AMAZING post, Mandy! Thank you for sharing this. It made me feel like I’m not alone. I’ve always wanted to be skinny and I never have been. I still don’t accept myself all the way.

    By the way, you are BEAUTIFUL! I really hope to see you again at BEA.

  4. Beth Hoffman says

    Mandy, this is a wonderful and important post! Between the media, peer pressure, air-brushing the ads in magazines, and the ridiculous (and dangerous) emphasis our society places on body-image, it’s no wonder that so many people are a mess.

    • Mandy B says

      Amen to that Beth! The airbrushing is horrible. The women are usually perfect looking to begin with. Then they get airbrushed to have a completely unattainable look. It’s sad.

  5. says

    I do not know why I am feeling so shocked over that shirt but I am in shock. Like you I was always much too skinny and hated being called an Ethiopian. I had my gall bladder removed and something happened I gained 35 pounds. I am probably a healthy weight but the first thing friends and family are saying when they see me is look how fat you are…jeeze! I am overwhelmed by the other shirts as well. I have a grandson with special needs. If my daughter saw someone in one of those shirts she would be very hurt.

    • Mandy B says

      Yes, the special needs shirts are just as bad. Luckily, I have never seen a person wearing one of them in real life. I would probably have to say something…

  6. says

    I have seen that shirt before and I used to chuckle thinking it was an way of sticking a finger in the eye of this whole “we must fight childhood obesity because its epidemic” movement that has been sweeping the nation. Then I read your post and I can see how it is destructive. Thank you.

    Also, like you, I was painfully thin from elementary school to high school, and people used to put their hands around my wrist and tease that I was from Ethiopia. Now, I’m on the other side at size 22 (and roughly 217 pounds). I have type 2 diabetes. It is a daily struggle to just accept myself as I am right now. Thank you for writing this.

    • Mandy B says

      Thanks for commenting and stopping by:)
      Kids can be brutal. The wrist thing always ticked me off the most. I ended a date early one time in high school because a guy did the wrist thing!

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