This week Labour’s Liz Kendall told a Sunday Mail reporter to ‘f*** o**’ after being asked about her weight.
I enjoyed the reaction until I heard she quickly followed it up with ‘don’t print that’. Personally I think the question warranted the response and what she should have said is ‘and you can print that’.
The reaction to the story has highlighted a difference in reporting between male and female politicians. I don’t think a male politician has ever been asked their weight and I doubt any male politician has ever been asked why they are childless.
Bringing in some personal experience I sometimes get referred to as ‘big man’ by complete strangers. None of my friends have ever used this as a term of endearment for me. I know the person saying it probably means no harm but pointing out a persons weight is a bit of a horrible thing to do. I tend to brush it off nowadays but my better half hates it when she hears it. A few months back, we were at a night event at Satrosphere in Aberdeen where I used a Segway for the first time.
Now the event was pretty well attended and after my allotted time on the Segway I was told ‘time to come back in big man’. The guy meant nothing by it and probably wouldn’t remember even saying it. I’m not going to win any slimming awards but I am hardly ‘documentary fat’. I’m not saying ‘ban big man’, but others might not brush it off as easily. Regular readers of the Leader and Observer will remember the articles I have done regarding racist material in Inverbervie.
What you may not know is that after the second article I received a message back from the group concerned - not attacking the story, but attacking me and specifically my weight due to pictures I had online on Twitter. The message said: “Have you ever considered heading over to the gym and getting some exercise? Or simply doing a few press-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups? Perhaps going for a jog? You would benefit greatly. Try to eat more healthily, eating more fresh fruit and vegetables. You have the potential to be a fairly decent looking fellow if you put the effort in.”
I maintain the attack would have hurt less if I hadn’t just joined the gym. The reason I haven’t spoken about this in my ramblings until now is mainly down to pride. Trying to lose a bit of weight is something that I’ve always found tough so you can imagine being called ‘big man’ does wonders for my confidence. I’m sure I’m not the only one around Kincardine and Mearns who has had this. What did you make of the Liz Kendall situation? Get in touch the usual way at firstname.lastname@example.org