It started on a group text. Those things are never good, friends. You forget who’s on them, and if you’re the type of person who occasionally says unkind things about others, you’re likely to find yourself in a sticky situation at times.
Lesson #1 here: Only be kind, for ever and always. Be kind in emails, in forums, in comments, and on text messages. In the age of technology, it’s all too easy to press forward, spread negativity, and create dissension. In fact, only THINK KIND. Life’s too short, friends.
But that’s just where this blog post starts.
The group text happened to include one of my dear friends. Let’s call her Beth. The group text included some of the people she worked with, some co-workers. And someone on that group text was talking badly about Beth, calling her overweight. It was casual and careless, but Beth has thick skin. She’s not overweight, and she’s talented, and she knew to let it roll off her back.
But Beth is something that the caller-of-names wasn’t: kind. And once she got over the temporary sting of the words, she started thinking about the issue of weight shaming, and how girls all over the United States and world are ridiculed, looked down on, and generally bullied for being healthy, beautiful women.
And she wrote a blog post about it.
The post was well-received. It was shared on Facebook, and word started to spread across the internet. She didn’t mention her employer, or even who it was who had sent the text message. But she did release a rallying cry: the weight shaming had to stop.
She challenged us, her readers, to claim our beauty, to step into confidence, to own our stories. To not hide, to not be ashamed of any size higher than 6.
And here’s where it gets stickier: a few days after she posted it, someone from her employer’s team emailed her and asked her to take it down.
Remember, though—the employer wasn’t mentioned. The sender of the text wasn’t mentioned. No one was bad mouthed or maligned—the truth was simply told, and the rallying cry for weight-shaming to stop was graciously suggested.
But her employer, scared of how such a post might affect his or her career, asked Beth to remove the post.
Beth thought long and hard about taking the post down, but she’s a pretty cool gal, and ultimately, she decided to comply with the employer’s request. The post was removed.
A few days later, someone called from the employer’s main office and terminated Beth’s employment. No warning, no explanation. What she was told was that the employer no longer had a need for female employees.
YEAH. Omg, speechless, incredulous, holy cow. WHO SAYS THAT?
From this point, the whole thing has been a tailspin for Beth. The rug was pulled out from under her feet. After over a decade of experience in the industry, she found herself unemployed. The now past employer didn’t offer a letter of recommendation, a helpful reference, or even a kind suggestion about where to go next.
The termination happened simply because Beth exercised her right to freedom of speech and asked the world to stop the weight shaming. And for this, she literally lost her job.
Beth is one of those people who would never try to start trouble. But she’s got a heart for justice, and she does want to STOP trouble. Stop the weight-shaming, stop the gender degradation issues happening in the workplace.
She’s at a crossroads. I’d ask you to rally around Beth and support her, but there’s a lot of fear about where she should go next, and what she should do.
What would you do?