"I did call her crazy. And I think she'd be OK with me saying this. I'm going to take the liberty to say it. I said, 'Listen, I called you crazy, I called you a b*&%$, I called you all these things, but I never called you fat.' She thought I said (she was) a fat crazy b*&%$. I never said (she was) fat."
This interesting piece of dialogue keeps running through my head like a bad Justin Bieber song...(wait, are there any good Justin Bieber songs?)...
...Okay. Focus here. Don't make it worse.
The above paragraph is a direct quote from Lance Armstrong in response to a question by Oprah in part one of the highly anticipated and very telling interview with the fallen cycling star.
He's referring to a woman whose life he trashed, along with that of her cyclist husband, when she came clean in a grand jury investigation into doping allegations against Armstrong. The woman, Betsy Andreu, testified to a conversation she witnessed after Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer wherein he told his attending physicians that he'd used performance enhancing drugs.
Her testimony was in 2005; and up until January 17, 2012, Armstrong publicly denied it, and also publicly called her all the things he mentions in the opening paragraph of this column.
Though he called Betsy Andreu all of those things to deflect from the truth (look up gaslighting), it is, I believe, his attempt to "redeem himself." But in so doing he actually exposes himself, and maybe a much bigger problem, that women are "shamed" with every single minute of every single day. The F word. "Fat."
Let's see here. He admits he called her CRAZY. The definition of "crazy" according to Merriam-Webster.com is: "1 a: full of cracks or flaws : unsound "they were very crazy, wretched cabins" — Charles Dickens;
b: crooked, askew.
2 a: mad, insane "yelling like a crazy man."
b (1): impractical "a crazy plan" (2): erratic "crazy drivers"
c: being out of the ordinary: unusual "a taste for crazy hats"
3 a: distracted with desire or excitement "a thrill-crazy mob"
b: absurdly fond : infatuated "he's crazy about the girl"
c: passionately preoccupied : obsessed "crazy about boats."
To be fair—and formal, even—here's the dictionary definition of the b-word:
1: the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals
2 a: a lewd or immoral woman
b: a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse
3: something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant.
So in Lance's mind, it's okay he referred to his former teammate's wife as crazy and a "b"—repeatedly—because it's still better to be accused of being "full of cracks or flaws," "mad, insane," and "impractical," and "unsound" and "lewd" and "malicious" and "immoral" than to be called "fat."
Who says this? A manipulative, lying, cheater named Lance Armstrong, that’s who.
Who in their right mind thinks anyone is going to get all warm and fuzzy about their "humanity" and "flawed nature" when they say, "Hey, I said you were crazy, I said you were a b, but I didn't say you were fat."
Is he saying he didn't really go for the jugular? That all the other malicious, untrue stuff was malicious and untrue, yes, but not so malicious and spiteful and mean and hurtful as saying the real F word..."she's FAT?"
Oh. Okay. I think I'm clear on that one. The worse thing in the world to say about a woman, apparently worse than all the slurs and abusive comments known to man, is that "she's fat." Ugh. This from a man who's gained zillions of dollars (not to mention his phony award-winning physique) through deception. But he never said the worst about Betsy...What a guy!
To give full disclosure, I didn't watch the Lance interview. I was curious, however, but not curious enough to upgrade my TV package and I figured there would be plenty of material out there the next day and as it turns out I figured right.
I do have to say that from the clips I saw, Lance looked like a psychopath; he had the familiar look of a narcissist I once knew, one who also fancied himself a 'hero' of sorts and one who used drugs to keep up the illusion. He looked like a man with no empathy and no moral compass; his eyes were flat and dead. But he didn't look fat. Go figure.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Strength and Recovery:
Hopefully this Lance rant speaks for itself. As a woman who has long grappled with body image issues, the nugget of truth in Lance’s narcissistic belief that he really wasn’t that bad to Betsy because he “never called her fat” angers me to no end. How sad to be part of a culture where any man would think it's better to call a woman a crazy b*&ch than fat. How insane is that?
I know dozens of beautiful women young and old who strive for some idealized version of perfection based on the fear and stigma of being viewed as/referred to as “fat.” I know women and men who were bullied as children because of their weight. My three sisters and I were told to “watch our weight” because “nobody loves a fat girl.” Being shamed for having the body that we were genetically predisposed leads to the very lack of self-esteem that makes girls/women magnets for poor treatment and destructive behaviors. My Lance rant is one little effort to say loud and clear that IT’S SO NOT OKAY, period.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to share. Thank you Lisa E. Scott and the Mod Squad for encouraging me, and all who stop here.
(not) spinning. AND STILL STRIVING.