Fat Shaming in School
As young people we are more perceptible to the impact of other people’s opinions. It takes years to develop resilience against hurtful comments as well as a sense of self worth. When it comes to obesity, there can be many contributing factors to that particular condition; some of which may be medication, addiction, anxiety or depression. Somehow through out the years, society has launched an attack on body image. But the fact remains…everyone has his or her own story, and that story is none of your business.
Body shaming is such a social illness and affects all shapes and sizes. It’s so difficult to love ourselves, yet so easy to judge others—because sometimes when we put other people down, it makes us feel better about ourselves. This cycle is perpetuated by media and peer pressure, and can some times feel impossible to escape. As members of a student body, we are thrown into a tank of other young, highly impressionable people. And with healthy lifestyles being constantly promoted in the educational world, young passionate people often feel the need to take it upon themselves to “spread the gospel”—so to speak. Body shaming leads directly to fat shaming—a phrase some use to describe encouraging those who are obese to lose weight or a phrase that can be described as straight out bullying.
In September 2015, YouTube star Nicole Arbour’s video titled “Dear Fat People” went viral. It featured Arbour spewing out hurtful comments against people that battle obesity. Despite going on The View recently to claim that the video was not meant to be taken seriously and was actually just satire, her hateful comments depict what is wrong with our society and—sadly—what is widely believed to be true. Arbour flat out claims in her video that fatness is associated with laziness, gluttony and bad decisions—a narrow-minded opinion that no doubt many obese people have heard all their lives. Obese individuals often have to deal with workplace discrimination and unwanted comments from those who feel that they have the right to expose their prejudice masked by ‘health concern’.
“Fat shaming is not a thing; fat people made that up. That’s a race card, with no race,” said Arbour. “If we offend you so much that you lose weight, then I’m okay with that.” The comments for her video were disabled, which is definitely not surprising considering the media storm it created. And hopefully her cruelty has opened up a dialogue about so-called fat shaming.
First of all, why do you care?
Why does someone else’s body concern you? How does it concern YOUR path? YOUR health? If you are concerned about the person, it has been clinically proven that telling them that their weight is out of control may damage them emotionally and possibly even physically. Negative emotions can lead to negative physical implications.
Fat shaming DOES NOT WORK
There is a socially acceptable size, and if you are not within those size boundaries you have most likely been bullied about it at school. While peers get kinder between elementary school and university, the media grows harsher. According to www.secureteen.com, the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital conducted a study, which revealed that 34% of all obese children are bullied in their schools. The study also found that mothers of over-weight children remarked that 45% of those children had been bullied. Furthermore, 25% of the obese children claimed that they have been put through fat shaming in school. Instead of causing someone to lose weight in a healthy way, fat shaming can lead to eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia. And even if weight is lost in the proper physical way—through diet and exercise—fat shaming can leave long lasting mental health and insecurity dangers.
Things to remember:
• Beauty and being fat are NOT mutually exclusive. Being overweight does not make one less intelligent. Physicality is a personal thing. We are not responsible for other people’s bodies. Only our own. Poking your head where you should not could really hurt someone.
• Body autonomy is hard to have when our prejudiced society deems your body to be unacceptable. Self-love and acceptance leads to a desire to take care of yourself. Know your body—what it needs and what it reacts to.