Fat shaming; it’s real and it needs to stop

I recently saw a video online that was made by a self-proclaimed comedian. She went on a six minute rant about fat people and basically tried to say that fat shaming isn’t a thing. She tried to use humor to make people laugh and somehow thought that her video was funny. It wasn’t funny. It was offensive, degrading and downright hateful. And as a woman who has struggled with body image issues her entire life, I was hurt to the core.

Within the first thirty seconds of her video she tried to imply that fat people don’t have the ability to exercise. Well, I can tell you that as an overweight woman I’ve taught and participated in dance lessons, was certified by Canfit Pro with a CEC accreditation to teach a fitness class and have  logged more gym hours in a year than some people do in a lifetime. I’ve lifted weights, started a running program, done yoga, pilates and participated in tons of fitness related activities. But, despite doing all of this, I really didn’t lose a lot of weight. So yeah, I was the fatty at the gym but I can guarantee that I could easily keep up with anyone else who was there.

Fat shaming is a real thing. Just like gay shaming, skinny shaming, slut shaming and ugly shaming are all real things, too. I’ll never understand why someone thinks it is okay to judge another person because they don’t meet their standards? What can a person possibly gain by shaming another individual? Does it somehow make them feel better about themselves? Are they so insecure and bitter that they have to point out the ‘flaws’ of someone else to make themselves feel more worthy?

Here’s the thing about fat shaming. It’s body shaming. As women, we’ve all experienced shame because of the way we look. Maybe you were told you were too thin, or your boobs were too big or too small. Maybe you were told you had a big butt or a small butt or a flat butt. Maybe you were told you had man shoulders, or a crooked nose or big hips. Whatever the case may be, it’s all hurtful. And wrong, really really wrong. How can we teach kids not to bully if adults are displaying this type of behavior for the whole world to see?

Being overweight sometimes has a medical condition behind it, like hypothyroidism or PCOS. But sometimes it is so much more than that. The person in question could be depressed or have mental health issues, or could be on a medication that can cause weight gain. You don’t know by looking at someone what is going on inside of them. You can’t look at a fat person and assume that they are fat simply because they overeat. Just like you can’t look at a skinny person and assume they are anorexic or bulimic simply because they are thin.

I am very aware that being overweight comes with health related risks like diabetes and heart disease. But shaming someone for being fat and hoping that it encourages them to lose weight is the wrong approach. In fact, studies have shown that shaming people for any type of behavior has the exact OPPOSITE effect. It causes the behavior to increase, not decrease. This is not a random fact I am pulling out of my ass. There are entire sub-fields of psychology that are dedicated to studying this. The message in the video was not done out of love or care or concern. It was done in the most hurtful and destructive way possible.

Fat shaming is bullying. It is purposely hurting someone because they do not meet societal norms. While some people may look at fat shaming as funny or made up, it’s not. It is real and it is this type of behavior that has led to suicide. Think about that for a second. People have ended their lives over this disgusting type of behavior. Yet some people actually think that the video in question was done in good taste and in the name of humour. (And FYI, I refuse to name the video in question because it only gives the vile person the media attention she so desperately craves).

Friends, I have been fat shamed more times than I can count. I’ve been called fat, disgusting, ugly and was told I was a slobbish cow that needed to lose weight or die. I’ve been told I have a pretty face but that if I just lost a little weight I’d be so much prettier. I’ve been told that I could go without a cupcake or a burger or a slice of pizza. And I’ve been told that I am so fat that I should just end things now and kill myself. Still think that fat shaming doesn’t exist? Well it does. And it hurts and will never be okay in my books.

To anyone who is reading this; I love you EXACTLY the way you are. I don’t care if you are fat, thin, tall, short, black, white, red, yellow, straight, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender fluid, muslim, catholic, atheist or anything else. All I ask is that you be a kind, compassionate, tolerant, loving person. I will always support you and stand by your side, no matter what. Whether you are 100 pounds or 400 pounds. Whether you are really short or really tall, whether you are straight, lesbian gay or anything else. I love you and do not judge you. Because here’s the thing about judgment: When you judge another person you don’t define them, you define yourself.

A person’s body does not measure their worth. It does not tell you anything about them. It is simply the exterior and does not reflect what is on the inside. Every single person in this world is different, beautiful and unique.  We all deserve to be respected and loved, even if we don’t meet the crazy standards that society has tried to set when it comes to self-acceptance and beauty. A person’s body is just that; theirs. So please, stop judging what isn’t yours.

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