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Fat Bias

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


It starts early. It's pervasive. And it has huge effects upon people who experience discrimination based upon their weight.

Why? Because prejudice against obesity -- in employment, in medical care, in family relationships, in romantic relationships -- is still considered "OK". After all, if I'm fat it's my own fault: right? I could just take the weight off!!

Well, uh, no. For most of us, it's not that simple.

And in fact the discrimination we experience because of excess poundage can result in eating disorders including bingeing.

And if I internalize social disapproval for being fat -- even if I'm NOT actually fat -- then I'm more likely to become fat. And of course to experience more discrimination.

Appearance matters too much. Health is important, of course it is. But good health is not the same thing as super-slimness. Which is unobtainable for most of us. How many people do we actually see in our everyday lives who look like movie actresses or models?

What really matters? And how can positive self-talk assist us in combatting fat bias?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Yeah. I really noticed the difference in how many people treated the newly slim me. The were so much nicer. Everyone smiled at me. Not because I was smiling, because I was slim. They liked how I look. I had got used to the fat hatred I experienced for years and years.
    617 days ago
    nice read
    624 days ago
    Great points. It's sometimes hard to get people to care about others and themselves. I see horrible eating habits and I also see people that are larger that are truly trying. Genetics does have some say in weight. We all need to build others up because so many want to tear others down. Thanks.
    627 days ago
    We can start the change to accepting everyone :)
    628 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Sadly, the physical appearance is always the first thing you are judged by and it can dominate any interaction thereafter, regardless of personality, position or circumstance. You would think with so many people becoming overweight, fat bias wouldn't be as prevalent. But it hasn't trickled down to those in the public spotlight. Thin is still in and where they go so everyone else must follow. I really don't see it changing sadly.
    628 days ago
    I think at some point in our lives we have all been guilty of fat shaming.... I remember as a teen seeing a rather large woman sitting on a bench eating a sundae and thinking you really shouldn't be eating that! I didn't know her, only saw her. I'm ashamed to admit that now, but it happened. My so called friend thinks everyone who is fat is just lazy and could just lose weight if they stopped eating. She has no idea of the struggle. A few pounds makes her upset and she is not heavy at all. And, she can lose by just not eating. When I was a teen, 105 pounds, curvy, I thought I was hideously fat... all my peers, most of them at least, were size 0 an eating disordered. so was I. Any kind of shaiming is bad, but I don't see it changing. I really don't.
    628 days ago
    Have never really been a victim (that I know of) and I hope I have never victimized anyone. Today in a meeting I sat next to a lady who was large...a Native American woman younger than myself. Her confidence in herself showed me that she had self-respect and would never be a "victim". Someone raised her right.
    628 days ago
    Internalized prejudice can lead us to believe we're not WORTHY of the self-care that would lead us to the healthier bodies that might not trigger that prejudice. It's a vicious cycle.

    Here's to loving ourselves whatever our weight or size... or color... or religion... or any other discriminatory characteristic! emoticon
    628 days ago
    We do seem to be obsessed with the superficial over the substantive and I guess that's just human nature. The way we evolved is to make snap decisions about each other and though we needn't do that now, we still do. It's hard to talk people out of their visceral reactions to things, and, unfortunately, most people react negatively to images of fat bodies. It's something I'm taking into consideration as I consider my own choices about what I do.
    628 days ago
    628 days ago
    I don't understand why humans have to be 'racist' in so many senses! emoticon
    628 days ago
    My mom was my fat-shamer... and I wasn't even fat. Took me years and therapy to get over it.

    One of my fears for my always slender and strong daughter was that she would be infected by an unhealthy preoccupation with weight... the 'bullying' and judgement about size started early (Grade 2... I was shocked) and it took a concerted and vigilant effort to counter it. I guess we did something right (in the midst of my own weight loss efforts), because yesterday as she was laying about on the couch, stretching, she happily declared, "Mom I love my body... not just for how it looks, but because I am strong... so are my friends!" Many of her friends already struggle with weight and self-image issues, so my girl's not of the norm, and, in fact, hopefully part of the solution.

    Together we're currently watching the show 'Drop Dead Diva' (Netflix - about a slender model-type who is killed and reincarnated in a fat body, and the ensuing personal crisis - I highly recommend it), and I am ever so pleased at my girl's reactions and responses to this exploration of fat-shaming in our society. She get it!

    628 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/30/2017 2:02:08 AM
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon emoticon
    628 days ago
    Ahhhh ... when we love ourselves ... does it real matter what anyone else has to say about us????
    628 days ago
    Interesting - I see too many obese young people in fast food lines in the student union.
    Simple no, particularly with the food industry.
    Hopefully the availability of fresh, affordable, nutritious food will move us in the right direction!
    628 days ago
    Prejudice is always painful
    628 days ago
    "But good health is not the same thing as super-slimness." It sure isn't!

    Got the results of my annual blood work last night. Waiting to hear from the doc. There's an unexpected and unpleasant surprise there. Waiting to hear what she has to say about it.

    628 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    It is true that this world is judgemental on everything. People need to stop criticizing and take a look at themselves. No one is perfect and I mean NO ONE. Everyone is unique in their own way. I just don't understand how people can be so cruel sometimes. I want to say "didn't your parents teach you better?". It just makes me shake my head.

    628 days ago
    I know I feel bad about myself and my appearance because I'm heavier than I want to be. Even though I am surrounded by people who give me a ton of positive support.... So, based on this article, I wonder if that bad feeling makes it harder for me to lose weight. Something to think about. Thank you for sharing.
    628 days ago
    I read the whole article. Not one word surprised me. My childhood obesity affected me greatly in many ways. It is wonderful to be living now at a healthy weight!
    628 days ago
    No one should be shamed or bullied based on their appearance. No one, ever, period!

    Still I wonder, beyond individual anecdotal cases, WHO is doing the fat shaming. Looking at the statistics, with 65% of the population overweight or obese and an estimate of 5% anorexic and some of the other "thin" people suffering from a wasting disease, that doesn't leave a large group in the "recommended" weight range to be doing all the shaming and discrimination.

    Whether purposely or subconsciously, are the overweight shaming the obese? The obese shaming the morbidly obese? Is it a matter of shaming anyone worse off than yourself?

    Except for some models on the runway, I disagree that the media is full of the "super slim"
    What has changed, as society as become larger, is our perception of "fat" Ethel Mertz (I Love Lucy) and Jackie Gleason were the target of fat jokes. They would hardly get a glance today.

    As a young woman of 120 lbs (5'6") I was never called skinny. Now 15 pounds heavier I hear it all the time.
    628 days ago
    What a truthful article!

    My experience w/my DD just pounded home how pervasive this prejudice is! She is NOT overweight BUT in Middle School and High School, she was surrounded by so much "fat shaming" of girls who weren't in the least fat! BUT they weren't skinny either. They were HEALTHY. **SIGH** It's heartbreaking, really.

    Thanks for sharing this article.
    628 days ago
    Excellent points you make!
    628 days ago
  • NANCY-
    It is a shame that people cannot be accepted for who they are, not what they look like.
    628 days ago
  • NEPTUNE1939
    628 days ago
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