Do you think fat shaming works?
This is a question that has been rolling around my brain for a couple weeks now. I have been watching a show called Ruby. It is actually a really fun show to watch, though sometimes my husband cringes when she starts getting excited (think high pitch southern drawl). When she talks to her physical doctor or even some of the people who are supporting her through this journey, I hear a lot of what feels like fat shaming to me. I am not talking about the medical advice or even the scary health risks talks. No, I am talking about the conversations they have with her about this is just what she has to do because she is obese (for example them getting to eat junk around her and she had to stick to her healthy eating, pissed me off that they were “allowed” because they were skinnier) and the snickering they show that total strangers do while she walks by. The worst was where they showed a man openly and loudly talking about how disgusting she was. This is all fat shaming to me and I have a hard time with it.
“It’s encouraging that we, as a society, are getting less and less tolerant of abusive behaviors, from domestic violence to discrimination against gays and lesbians to racial and ethnic slurs. Bullying is finally being recognized for the deeply destructive force it is. Seemingly, progress is being made toward a world where, legally and socially, it’s understood that all people have a right to be respected. Except, perhaps, those who are overweight. Sadly there are still many people who make fun of, shame or otherwise mistreat others who weigh more than they do. Somehow, discrimination against people who are obese remains socially acceptable. But it shouldn’t be — it’s hurtful and, more to the point, quite harmful.” (Source)
Do you not think obese people have not already shamed themselves? That they haven’t seen what eating junk food and not exercising has done for them? Do you think they want to be humiliated by not being able to fit in one airline seat or afraid to sit in certain chairs? I can tell you as an obese woman myself, most of us have already shamed ourselves enough. So why do professionals, strangers and even good meaning family/friends still fat shame?
I follow a lot of weight loss bloggers. I love success stories and I love to see what they are capable of doing now that they lost the weight. I love tips on what to eat and what exercises they are doing. It really helps me feel inspired. What doesn’t inspire me is telling me how disgusting and how horrible you looked as a bigger person. That just makes me want to click that un-follow button. I can understand saying that you didn’t feel comfortable or confident or even you felt bad in your own skin. But did you really just become beautiful the minute you lost the weight? No, you were probably always beautiful, just heavier. Why make people who are at the beginning of their journey hate themselves as well by spreading this ugly rumor that if you are bigger you are uglier? I also follow bloggers in the middle of their journey that have told horror stories of people driving by them while they are out exercising and making fun of them for being fat. Total strangers. What pops into your head while you are driving down the road and see a bigger person exercising that says, “let’s make fun of that person trying to get healthy and lose weight.” I can’t believe how cruel people can still be to obese people.
It is hard enough being obese in this world. We have to fight for clothes that don’t look like something our grandparents would wear (as well as pay out the nose for these fashionable clothes) and if you are pushing in the morbidly obese sometimes long dresses are all you can wear. It has gotten a little easier to be fashionable as a bigger woman but trust me when I was growing up, skirts and overalls were my thing due to never finding anything else in my size, I use to cry in dressing rooms as a teen. As an obese woman I worry about things that normal sized people probably take for granted, sitting in lawn chairs (those things have a weight limit), fitting into airplane seats (I have never had a problem, but I still worry), not fitting into a wet suit so I can snorkel on my vacation (the top size in women’s is a size 14 and the suits for men have a 3x but it still runs super small) and if I can get into a kayak in Mexico because of the weight limit. So don’t think for a second that we don’t feel shame or embarrassment or that most of us are making a choice to be this big. Sometimes it runs deeper than just get up, move your ass, put down the ice cream and lose the freaking weight.
“In a recent study, a group of obese women were asked to keep a daily journal recording instances where others made them feel bad about themselves. It was all too common for women in the study to report experiencing insults and humiliations every day. Imagine — every day. They were shamed by strangers as well as colleagues, friends, family members and loved ones.” (source)
Some of us who are obese are really struggling with real problems. I have been fat shamed myself. I spent most of my teens years absolutely hating and trying to hide my body because I was fat shamed. Did you know the PCOS causes weight gain? I didn’t either till recently. I started gaining huge amounts of weight when I started my period at age 13. I watched my pant size go from an 8 to a 14 in what felt like one year. I learned later on in life that as a woman with PCOS I am insulin resistant.
“Women with PCOS have what is called insulin resistance. This means that cells in the body are resistant to the effect of a normal level of insulin. More insulin is then produced to keep the blood sugar normal.” (Source)
I am not the only story of obesity, there are many different stories and faces. For some people it is just purely that they don’t eat healthy because they never learned or have never taken the time to learn. Some people have health complications like me. Some people find that once the weight stacks on it is really hard to do the things you need to in order to lose weight. Some people have emotional reasons for why they gained weight. The list really can go on. There is no one shoe fits all.
“Weight bias has been documented not only among the general public but also among health professionals, and many obese patients report being treated disrespectfully by doctors because of their weight. Everyone, including doctors, should stop blaming and shaming people for their weight and offer support, and where appropriate, treatment,” Wardle added in a university news release.” (Source)
How do you feel about fat shaming?
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=finaskime-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B002ROKQUQ&asins=B002ROKQUQ&linkId=SOHODRRKCROTLVVI&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=finaskime-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B0027HOBMC&asins=B0027HOBMC&linkId=HEBVF7EH4VUO4ALE&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=finaskime-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B0013BK168&asins=B0013BK168&linkId=GEO5RT6UP5A2W4LC&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=finaskime-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B00GBFEMU2&asins=B00GBFEMU2&linkId=7EWYIZSL5C4L2EOT&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true