The issue with fat shaming- Weight Stigma awareness week.
This is a topic which I wanted to address as it is something that is often chucked about in everyday conversation without any thought put into it, as it has simply become engrained into the way our minds think. It is a controversial topic that everyone will have their own opinion on; however, it is something which needs to be spoken about.
The word fat. It is purely an adjective. A way of describing someone’s body type. It is no different to describing someone as skinny, tall, short, wide. However, for some reason, the word has developed negative connotations around it to the point where people use it as an insult. It has been used synonymously with words including outcast, undesirable, ugly and presents the idea that if you are fat you are considered unhealthy and uncontrolled. I have heard time and time again people insulting others with the word as if it is something to be ashamed of. Or people saying as they look at themselves in the mirror, ‘ugh I feel so fat in this’.
As a society we need to learn to break down the stigmatization that being fat is instantly thought of as a negative thing. We need to learn, appreciate and accept that everybody’s bodies are built differently and built that way for a reason. Whether you are naturally thin, naturally fat, tall or short, that is what you are meant to be, and we need to stop singling out the word as if it is undesirable. It is important to understand that being fat does not automatically mean you are unhealthy. You can still exercise and eat well and still have a larger build simply because that is the way your body is. Someone who is thinner may eat fried food every night and smokes like a chimney, but society appears to deem it okay because they are thin.
However, if we all refuse to use the word because we are worried of offending someone then that only pushes the stigmatization further and promotes it as a negative thing. It should be freely used without any stereotype or damaging suggestion associated with it, in the same way that the word thin or tall is used.
It is understandable that such a change in societal mindset will take a very long time, if ever. Simply because we have always been conditioned that being ‘fat’ is bad and if you are, than you should lose weight. We have been exposed to weight loss workouts, low calorie foods, fat shredding pills and drinks all exacerbating the idea that fat is unwanted. Therefore, this deep-rooted idea will take a long time to dig up.
And without lying, I have been caught up in this stereotype as it is one of the reasons as to why my eating disorder developed. Besides wanting the need for control and certainty, I initially started losing weight because I believed I was fat and wanted to change myself because of it. Thus, contributing to the stereotype that it Is something to be ashamed about. The notion that someone who may be fat can also have an eating disorder supports the idea that not everyone is naturally thin. There is a stereotype that people with eating disorders are petite and it is forgotten that someone who is larger may also be struggling however doesn’t necessarily look like they are.
In no way am I promoting obesity. Because there is a very distinct line between being larger and obese. All I am trying to put across is that we need to get out of the frame of mind that being larger is a bad thing and that in no way does it mean that you are unhealthy. Whatever weight, shape or body you are in, without the interference of dieting or heavy exercise, THAT Is the body that you are meant to be in. You deserve to accept that and be at one with it. It is not an easy thing to accomplish, because as humans we have a natural disposition to want to change ourselves and who we are.
Weight stigma will always be there. Fat-Phobia will always be in the back of people’s minds. People will always have an opinion on people’s weight and will always have something to say. Stereotypes will always be there. However, as long as YOU are content with your body and understand that how you are is the way that you are meant to be, that is all you need to worry about.