There has been a lot of talk around social media about fat shaming the past week because of a comedienne’s video and numerous famous people’s responses. I haven’t watched the video, nor do I recognize the woman, but it has been much talked about. Fat shaming is nothing new. And honestly, it’s not really helpful.
I have been labeled as “fat and lazy” by numerous strangers and some so-called friends over the years. I’ve been told that cardio is for my own good. In high school, a boy I had a crush on told me that maybe I should be introduced to a slim fast. When I signed up for a MySpace account (don’t judge me, it was 2005), I was featured as one of the cool new people of the week. I ended up deleting my account because of the myriad of messages I’d get from strangers opining about my size. Fat whale was one description by a guy in California (yes, I still remember). At a college football game, I got into an argument with a man who had encroached on our space, blocking my view. His only comeback was “shut up you fat bitch.” Unfortunately, back then I went to the bathroom and cried instead of standing my ground.
Yes, I am fat, but those that know me, know that I’m not a very lazy person. To make that assumption about me simply because I’m fat is patently incorrect. The reason that I’m fat has to do with a variety of factors, a lot of them mental. If you’ve read my blog, you know a lot of my history and struggle.
For all those who say they fat shame to help: All those times I was fat shamed never once encouraged me to lose weight and get healthy. It made me feel awful and then defiant. Sometimes it had the opposite effect and I’d gain even more weight and then be really hard on myself because I had failed. It makes me feel really defensive and instead of having a productive conversation about my health, I shut down. Not helpful.
I understand that people want to be helpful and encouraging and that is not what I’m talking about. Addressing someone with so much negativity and without any constructive discussion – how does this help?
I just wanted to set the record straight: Fat does not always equal lazy.