While body positivity movements in the 21st century have drastically reduced fat shaming, the subjugation of overweight people in society still exists. Many people feel the need to ostracize fat people because they’re “unhealthy” and “lazy,” dissecting complete strangers’ appearances when they know nothing about their lives. Here’s why we need to stop validating fat shaming under the guise of health.
Social media and the way women are portrayed sets unrealistic body expectations for consumers. People are so used to seeing skinny models, photoshopped to perfection, that they think that this body type is “normal.” And any deviation from the norm is considered, simply put, bad. The word “fat” carries a negative connotation with it that has evolved with society’s progression. Being called “fat” is an insult and “skinny” is a compliment when both are merely observations and words used to describe someone’s form.
What most people don’t consider when shaming fat people is the mental and physical illnesses they may suffer from. They jump to the conclusion that they’re overweight because they’re “lazy” and unmotivated to work out or eat healthy. However, many fat people are unable to work out due to mental and physical conditions. For example; when people think of eating disorders, they think of Bulimia or Anorexia. Most don’t even recall that Binge Eating Disorder (BED), or uncontrollable eating, is also an illness that many people suffer from. Overweight people aren’t obligated to give a reason as to why they’re fat; they don’t have to justify their body to you or disclose personal information as to why they aren’t a body type that you deem appropriate.
Oftentimes, people bully or shame someone else because of their own insecurities. They project their self doubt onto whoever happens to be before them because they can’t stand to sit with the feelings they have regarding themselves. Just because you’re unhappy with how you look doesn’t mean that someone who’s fat is in any way unhappy with their body. You may be insecure about your appearance; that doesn’t mean everyone around you is as well. The idea that someone can be fat and happy never seems to occur to people, as there’s so much of a negative connotation that comes with being fat. But there are many people out there that are, and just because you aren’t comfortable in your own skinny doesn’t mean that they aren’t.
Even if someone doesn’t suffer from a physical or mental illness that causes them to be fat, many people just don’t have the means to be healthy due to money. Much of middle America is overweight because the people aren’t well off enough to afford healthy food or a gym membership. Whether you like it or not, organic produce is expensive; that’s just a fact. If someone is poor, their priority isn’t going to be eating healthy or trying to lose weight; it’ll be to keep a roof over there heads and get whatever food is feasible with the money they have. This might mean choosing a $1 Big Mac over an $8 organic salad in order to save money.
Many people work between 8 and 12 hours a day, which leaves little to no time to exercise. And even if there was time, by the end of the day they’re so exhausted by work that they lack the motivation to work out. We live in a society that constantly shames people for not having unattainable things. People assume body weight is a controllable factor when often it isn’t due to physical and/or mental health, money, time, or knowledge. Even if it is for you, weight doesn’t have to be the forefront of someone’s priorities, nor is it a representation of someone’s worth or value.
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