I am posting, here, something I put up on Facebook. I think it bears repeating.
I was checking messages and such this morning and, as usual with various types of social media, I was presented with a photo of a 'Wal-Mart person' to laugh at. The picture was taken from behind the person, and it showed a woman poured into a pair of jeans, trundling a stroller with another child tearing along ahead of her. She looked rather harried (from the back). I chuckled, but then I looked closer.
Her clothing appeared clean, her equipment was in good order (for a stroller) and the children seemed to be well-fed.
|Wal-Mart lady photo I refer to|
In fact, the only thing that seemed to qualify her for the standard 'Gosh-Awful Wal-Mart People Show' was the fact that she was carrying what appeared to be a sudden weight gain on her thighs, hips and buttocks to the point where the jeans, which appeared to be decent quality ones, whatever the maker, did not have any looseness in them and her outline seemed distorted. Not badly distorted, mind you. She might have taken a size 18 (US) in trousers over the thighs. The rest of her was fairly slim. Oh - and she did have a tattoo across her lower back. If she had worn jeans that actually fit, I doubt anyone would have snapped the photo.
I frowned and eyed the picture again. Two children, apparently under 3 - 4 years old. Very tight jeans - pregnancy weight, maybe? Based on some other observations, she might well be a nursing mother. And she was in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Hm.
That photo made me think, and I remembered the various slide shows of 'Wal-Mart people' that I had laughed at over the years. It struck me that maybe I wouldn't be laughing at them any more. Or, at least, I wouldn't be looking at them any more.
Why? Well, a couple of reasons. First of all, it seems that a lot of the 'gosh-awful Wal-Mart people' are overweight. Some of them are very overweight, indeed. Does that make them somehow contemptible? Or less worthy of respect? A dear friend died this summer. She was very heavy, but she dressed well and carried herself with pride. I imagined someone putting her in a 'people of Wal-Mart slide show and cringed.
Some of the outfits are truly bizarre - but speaking as one who has walked down the streets of New York and Philadelphia , the clothing and hair is no more weird that I've seen on the streets. For that matter, if someone had been around last Thursday morning at 5:30 AM they might have had quite a photo opportunity with me trundling my trash receptacle to the curb, wearing my night attire, with hair uncombed, muttering under my breath about the annoying company that handles recycling for my town.
And let's be honest here - a lot of people are hurting for money and they need to shop somewhere cheap. And they can't afford to buy new, larger jeans (or spiffier clothes). While I don't like scammers and criminals, the bulk of people hurting for money are neither.
Well, everyone has his or her own notions of what is amusing. Reducing people to what amounts to be freaks for our derision is, to me, neither amusing nor kind.