Dear Abby's Non-Apology Is Ridiculous

Dear Abby,

On August 10th, you responded to a woman who asked advice about wearing a swimsuit at her mother's house. She told you that she was 60-70 pounds overweight and that people around her did not mind; yet her mother had a problem.

You responded to her question. You told her that it was her mother's house and her rules. Which is the response to the question.

Then you wrote two sentences about how she should consult a doctor about her obesity and how her mother would be prouder of her if she lost weight. You said, "While you say you are comfortable in your own skin, it would be interesting to know what your physician thinks about your obesity. I suspect that your mother would be prouder of you if you were less complacent and more willing to do something about your weight problem."

Of course you got some criticism. I wrote a post about it as well.

Recently, you wrote about the situation again. You responded to one of the thousands of letters you received. You started out with a quick apology that turned into a long "non-apology."

I saw that you called the writer of the original letter to ask her if she was offended. You said she was not offended. You also said that you told "Offended Daughter" that she needed to ask her doctor why she was so heavy. You recommended a nutritionist as well. With all of that, you are telling the millions of readers she was not offended.

I am inclined to call shenanigans on you. Why would a woman who already said they were comfortable in their own skin not get offended by a woman telling her to go to the doctor immediately?

You said, "it's important to make beneficial lifestyle changes to promote healthy weight, just as it is important to have healthy self-esteem." You are trying to tell people that you can only feel good about yourself if you are not fat. That is what I took from your comment, but maybe I am wrong.

You said that you are not politically correct. Truthfully, fighting obesity is politically correct. That is what you are trying to do with your initial letter and response. You did a poor job of it. You are claiming that you lost weight as well. Congratulations on making a life change.

It still does not make you an expert.

The worst part about your response is that you claimed you were being accused of "fat-shaming."

Those are not accusations. What you did is textbook fat shaming.

I do not use that term lightly. I do not throw it around for every situation. I think that when you do, the term gets diluted. There are a lot of different definitions.

Here is the definition I will use...

The practice of criticizing people publicly for being too fat

She never asked you for your opinion of her weight. She only asked you what you thought about her mother's decision to not let her wear a swimsuit. She never asked you how to lose weight. "Offended Daughter" was clear that she was comfortable in her skin. She was clear that she felt good in a swimsuit. You told her she should not. You told her she should lose weight to make her mom proud.

Do not make this about health. There are plenty of thin people who have diseases like diabetes and cancer.

I have been hated for my weight my whole life. I used to hate myself as well. It is my biggest regret.

She might not have been offended, but I was. I am more offended by your response. No one needs to lose weight to be accepted.

People need to lose weight for themselves, and fat-shaming never helped anyone drop pounds.

Support did, which seems to be lacking from your advice lately.

Hugs and Kisses,

Tony Posnanski