Someone’s finally put a word on what we, as a society, and in particular, as women, do to each other in terms of weight – when we single someone out and make loathsome, hateful comments on their weight, some subtle, and others terribly, heartlessly obvious – it’s called fat shaming, and it sucks. There are so, so many reasons why fat shaming needs to stop, among them that I’m tired of young women being thought of as catty. And while I’m sure you know some of the reasons, maybe a few will be new. Not that you’d ever do it, right? Of course not! Here are just seven small reasons why fat shaming sucks, and why we women need to stop it, yesterday.
1. It’s Divisive
I’m a firm believer in “we girls have to stick together,” and when fat shaming (or any other kind of “shaming”) is involved, it pulls us apart, which is the opposite of what we want! Fat shaming puts us into groups based solely on our weight … what are we, women, or something measured in pounds and ounces? It’s divisive, so let’s not do it, okay?
2. It Doesn’t Work
If fat shaming worked, there wouldn’t be a single solitary fat person on this entire planet, right? Shame is about as effective a motivator as guilt, which is to say, it’s not effective at all. It’s actually a downward spiral. If someone is ashamed of themselves, they’re going to feel worse, which may trigger them to eat for emotion, which makes them heavier, which makes them a target for more fat shaming… you see? For someone to want to make a lifestyle change, they have to feel good, and hopeful, about themselves. And fat shaming does just the opposite. It simply does not work. So let’s stop it!
3. It’s Cruel
God, more than anything else, fat shaming has to stop because let’s face it – it’s downright cruel. Whether you’re shaming yourself, or someone else, the effect is still the same, and it’s awful. It’s mean and cruel and cold-hearted, and we strive to be compassionate, loving, and kind, don’t we?
4. It’s Bullying
Did you know that in most cases, fat shaming is really just another form of bullying? It’s true. You’re putting someone else down, mostly to make you feel better about yourself, and in the process, especially over time, you’re making someone else feel terrible about themselves. The line is subtle, and doesn’t even bear scrutiny. Unless you’d like to be a bully, to yourself (if you’re shaming yourself) or to someone else, just stop.
5. It Sets a Terrible Example
Chances are, you’ve got a tiny, impressionable human looking to you to learn how the world works, and how we find our place in it. Children, teens, even peers who look up to us – they’re all paying attention and they see how we interact with other people. And let me tell you, I’d be embarrassed for my daughters to see how we women shame each other – that is not the example I want to set of how we’re supposed to interact. I’d much rather have them see us lifting each other up, supporting each other, celebrating our successes, wouldn’t you?
6. What’s inside?
Fat shaming is horrible, isn’t it? When we do it, to ourselves or to others, we’re saying that the whole of a person is in the layers of their skin, and not with who they are at heart. We’re saying what’s inside doesn’t matter; that their weight is the entirety of who they are, and that’s just wrong. I would hate to be judged solely on my appearance, or worse wholly on my weight. It’s despicable, and according to Jennifer Lawrence, it should be illegal for the media in particular to call anyone fat. Why? In an interview with Barbara Walters, Lawrence explains simply, "Because why is humiliating people funny?" She's right - and she goes on to say that "fat shaming" should be regulated like cigarettes, and she has a point - they're both incredibly harmful!
7. There’s No Empathy There
I’d like to think if I was struggling with something, that my fellow humans, especially women, would come to my aid. Fat shaming is the opposite. In order to help someone, you need empathy, and fat shaming is the opposite of that. There’s no empathy, there; there’s no helpfulness. It’s all about cruelty, and about abusing someone else’s feelings to make ourselves feel better about our own insecurities. Ouch!
I'm sure you already knew most of these reasons we need to stop fat shaming, but were any of them new? What do you think of fat shaming, and do you have any stories to share?