What is fat-shaming and why does it need to stop?

Society has a lot to say about different body types and what kind of weight is acceptable vs what isn’t. As a result, curvy women are often body-shamed and made to feel inferior. Here’s why fat-shaming needs to stop.

What is fat-shaming?

Fat shaming is when people bully or discriminate against someone because they’re heavier or weigh more. It often manifests in different ways, from giving people advice they didn’t ask for, to outright instructions on what they should wear because of their body-type. Saying things like, “You’re so confident,” or “You really dress for your body type,” to fuller figured women is a form of fat-shaming. It suggests that they shouldn’t be confident and don’t have the right to wear whatever they want – like anyone else.

What is the difference between fat-shaming and fat phobia?

Fat phobia is the fear of being fat or gaining weight. A lot of us are fat phobic without even knowing it because of the things we are taught about our bodies and how to perceive weight gain. Fat-shaming is a result of normalised fat phobia, which is not just harmful to the way we see ourselves, but also how we view and treat others.

The truth is, some people are just built differently than others and a lot of different factors can contribute to someone gaining weight over time. This doesn’t make them less attractive or valuable, and it certainly doesn’t give anyone else the right to shame or bully them.

What are the effects of fat-shaming?

Fat-shaming someone can negatively impact a person’s self-esteem and mental health. It dehumanises (make someone feel less than human) the person and brings about insecurities. As women, we work really hard to reach a place of self-acceptance and happiness, so it’s unfair to bring anyone else down by commenting on their weight or how they’re dressed. Fat-shaming can also lead to people developing eating disorders and feeling depressed or even suicidal.

Why it needs to stop

Fat-shaming needs to stop because it does more harm than good. We need to accept that there are different body types and just because someone is considered fat, it doesn’t mean that they’re unhealthy or should want to lose weight.

How can you help stop fat-shaming?

There’s a lot fat-shaming and bullying that happens around us and it’s important to call it out and choose not to be part of it. From ‘jokes’ on social media, to someone making a comment on someone else’s weight – these are things we need to make sure we don’t do and if someone we know is doing them, it’s important for us to let them know that it’s not okay.

We need to avoid making comments about people’s weight or re-sharing things on social media that have harmful undertones. It’s also important for us to work on our own self-image, so that we aren’t projecting negative views of ourselves onto others.

Embracing people just as they are is important. Remember there are different body types, and no body shape is superior or inferior. Fat-shaming is bullying and it can have traumatic effects on victims. Let’s make an effort to be more body positive and allow those around us to feel comfortable in their own skin.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).