This woman has a word or two for the man who fat shamed her in a London, Ont. parking lot

Registered massage therapist Lisa Lanthier of London, Ont., was exiting her car at the grocery store on Sunday afternoon when the driver of the adjacent vehicle made a disparaging remark about her size. The kind of quip she says it familiar and needs to stop.

Advocates say we have to stop making fat bodies the jokes and the punch lines

Lisa Lanthier is a registered massage therapist. On Sunday, she says a man made a disparaging comment about her size while she was out shopping. (Submitted by Lisa Lanthier)

Registered massage therapist, Lisa Lanthier of London, Ont., was getting out of her car at the grocery store on Sunday afternoon when the driver of an adjacent vehicle made a disparaging remark.

It was the kind of quip Lanthier, a plus sized woman, and other body positivity advocates say they hear far too often and needs to stop.

"The man chose to comment on the size of my body, saying he was surprised I was able to get out, given the space," Lanthier said. 

"I'm a person who has lived in a larger sized body for most of my life," she said. "This is certainly not my first encounter with fat shaming."

Lanthier said a person once mooed at her while she walked down the street. Another incident involved someone asking if she had high blood pressure. Once she was on a date when someone yelled out to her partner that "he prefers the big ones."

Don't comment on people's bodies

The problem, according to Winnipeg body confidence coach and photographer Teri Hofford, is that too many people still feel comfortable commenting on other people's bodies.

"That kind of commentary is so natural," she said. "People don't even think it's a bad thing to say that."

Teri Hofford is a Winnipeg-based photographer, body image coach and writer. (Submitted by Teri Hofford)

"We have to work to dismantle the systems that are still teaching people that fat bodies are the jokes, the punch lines, the villain in the shows," said Hofford. "There is progress but there's a long long long way to go." 

Toronto-based Body Confidence Canada co-founder Aisha Fairclough has had her own run-ins with body-shamers and recalls sitting on the subway when a man called her a derogatory name and said, "You're too big for the space."

Aisha Fairclough is the cofounder of the Toronto-based advocacy organization Body Confidence Canada. (Submitted by Aisha Fairclough)

Fairclough, who uses 'fat' as a neutral word to describe herself, said there are many societal barriers that force fat people to the fringe: seats that are too small, clothing stores that don't stock bigger sizes, doctors who only want to treat your weight.

A person in a plus-sized body will face even more barriers if they're also a person of colour, said Fairclough. "When we talk about our bodies, we also have to talk about race," she said.

"You have to talk about the skin that you're in and sometimes the skin that you are in has some privilege. These are the nuances that we must talk about."

As for Lanthier, she said she responded to the man in the parking lot by asking if that was all the wit he had to offer.

She says health and wellness is not indicative of body size. "And frankly, it's nobody's business," she added.

Since talking publicly about this latest experience, Lanthier says she has received "wonderful and beautiful messages of support" which act as a reminder that she is worth so much more than what her body looks like. 


Rebecca Zandbergen

Host, London Morning

Rebecca Zandbergen is from Ottawa and has worked for CBC Radio across the country for more than 20 years, including stops in Iqaluit, Halifax, Windsor and Kelowna. Contact Rebecca at or follow @rebeccazandberg on Twitter.