From time immemorial, human beings have had an obsession with pointing things out about other people. We’re constantly discussing other people’s hair, skin, personalities, mistakes, and body types. In many instances, such conversations gravitate towards the negative. We focus so much on externalities and forget to look within and improve ourselves.
Let’s take fat-shaming, for example. This involves criticizing, teasing and/or harassing overweight people about their weight or eating habits to make them feel ashamed of themselves. The belief is that this may motivate people to eat less, exercise more, and lose weight. This, however, is far from reality and truth. Fat shaming can cause psychological harm to the victim and influence their quality of life negatively.
Here are 6 subtle ways that fat-shaming occurs.
There have been many instances where plus-size people are made fun of or teased, and when they dare to speak up on it, they’re said to be overreacting. People will ridicule you and when you complain they say it’s a joke. What benefit do you gain by bringing up someone’s body size/weight in a conversation? As a rule, you should refrain from mentioning things about people that they cannot change instantly, and their weight obviously tops the list of those things.
2. Parents comparing their kids with other kids
Most parents have good intentions for their children. However, some things occur in such a hidden way that it’s hard to actually perceive it as fat-shaming. The issue is that these subtle occurrences can affect a child psychologically.
Different factors affect weight in different people, and just because your child or children are heavier than others, doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them. As a parent, you should be your child’s strongest support system. Comparing them with their friends or relatives who weigh less will only do more harm than good. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to look.
3. Praise for losing weight
Unsolicited comments are extremely irritating. Why? Because you never know how your comment is received by the other person. We need to refrain from praising people for losing weight. Why? Weight loss praise comes with the subtle suggestion that the person looks infinitely better than they did when they were fatter. Even if you do notice, refrain from commenting on it unless the person brings it up.
4. Food shaming
Here’s another thing we’ve all probably experienced. The subtle mockery when someone who is considered overweight eats unhealthily. People will say things like, “She eats so much junk, no wonder she’s that weight.”
My counter-argument would be that someone else’s eating habits have little, if anything, to do with us. Discussing such things amongst one another does not help the situation. It’s never okay to monitor another person’s diet, except, perhaps when you’re a parent with children who can’t make their own food.
5. Expecting someone to dress ‘for their body type.’
Here’s another thing that irks me. As human beings, we can be our own worst enemies. This expectation we have that people with certain body types should dress a certain way is exhausting, to say the least. Your “figure” is not an indicator of your worth or your freedom to wear whatever you so please, and yet the message that some clothes are only for some bodies has been permeating contemporary culture for decades. Clothes aren’t supposed to be an exclusionary thing.
6. Telling the person to take the co-driver’s seat
You have probably experienced this either directly or indirectly. You enter a car, and the person who is plus-sized than the rest is asked to take the front seat, so that the ‘smaller ones can occupy the sits at the back.
Now, imagine if, from the time you were born, everywhere you go, you’re openly asked to sit in the co-driver’s seat. It must have some effect on the victim. If they voluntarily choose to take that seat, then so be it. But I strongly hold the opinion that you shouldn’t tell someone to sit in the co-driver’s seat just because of their body.
Have you been fat-shamed?
Check out this article on Body Image: Fat Shaming vs Skinny Shaming
Also, check out Types Of Mum Shaming And How To Deal With Them