Katie Maloney-Schwartz was clearly hurt by the comments event planner Kevin Lee made about her appearance on Monday's Vanderpump Rules. When he saw the SURver at a party for Lisa Vanderpump, things got real weird. "You were much thinner than this. You gained a little bit of weight. You have to work on it,” he told Katie, who then broke down to Lisa about the hurtful comments.
Of course Lisa made it all better But what could Katie have said in the moment? Was there something polite but firm she could have said to Kevin to put him in his place? (Even though he later told Page Six it was “a funny kind of joke that I made. I had known her for a while. I thought it would be fun to say things like that to her.”
Uh, no. Not fun, not funny.
Katie herself described the experience as “very uncomfortable.”
“Obviously I’m there working for Lisa at her event, we all wanted it to be special and go really well for her and I don’t know Kevin … I had a hard time processing what he was saying to me. I literally thought he told me I looked good and then he kept going," she told Us Weekly. “I was like ‘Wow, um, OK’ and I walked away and told Lisa and it kind of just, like, really set in with me, because I hadn’t been in a good place in my life with self-love. And I struggled with that for a long time and acceptance and confidence and positive body image and I finally was in a place where I felt healthy and I felt great. I had dealt with seeing that stuff on social media a lot and Kevin saying it to my face put a voice and a face to all of that, which was hard, but at the end of the day, and right after, Lisa kind of lifted me back up.”
Katie’s husband Tom Schwartz later revealed that Kevin sent a huge bouquet of flowers, along with an apology, and there are no hard feelings. Katie told her fans of the support, ”Y’all are amazing and I wish I could hug each one of you!"
Apparently, this is a common occurrence — the Internet is filled with advice on how to tell fat shamers to F off. And why would someone fat shame you to your face to begin with?
WebMD deals with the topic, saying that even when given with the best intentions, unsolicited weight advice is usually not welcome. Larrian Gillespie, MD, a urologist/gynecologist who is the author of The Goddess Diet, tells the site she only comments on patients’ weight on the job, and never in her personal life.
"When someone tells someone they have 'such a pretty face,'" she says, "there is a subconscious tagline that the rest of you isn't so hot."
She says to respond to the subtle jab with a simple, “Thank you, so do you.”
People who comment on weight gain are usually obsessed with physical appearance and don’t take into account that thyroid problems, genetic obesity, or no exercise can contribute to the person’s health.
The Telegraph brings up an interesting study which determined "that reproaching people for being overweight only makes them fatter. Far from being motivated to slim down, they turn to comfort-eating to soothe their hurt feelings."
See what you've done? Kevin.
"The study found that people who felt they had been fat-shamed were six times as likely to become obese. Dr Sarah Jackson, who co-authored the report, counselled well-meaning friends and family against staging a fat intervention. 'Telling people that they are fat isn’t going to help – it is just going to make them feel worse,'" she says of the study.
Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman has the perfect response to fat shamers — "If they are making direct comments to you, simply change the subject," she says.
"If they don’t get the hint, you can say… 'Margaret, I appreciate your input but I’d rather talk about something else more interesting.'"
She adds: "People make comments and we often assume the worst when they are actually trying to pay a compliment such as, 'gosh, Susan, you look great since you’ve lost weight.' Take the high road and try and not to be combative. Sometimes, silence is the best route to take. You can also respond with, 'I’d rather talk about something else. Thanks.' Or, 'I’m sure there are better and more interesting things to talk about than this.'
"Be straightforward and to the point."
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