The Every Body Is Beautiful Project

3 Ways You May Be Fat Shaming... Without Even Realizing It

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Our society’s bias against fat people is so pervasive that many folx think nothing of the fact that an actual war has been declared on those who live in large bodies. Don’t believe us? Just consider the term “the war on obesity.”

That’s why we love, love, LOVED this segment from Samantha Bee, which originally aired on her show Full Frontal. Bee calls attention to the fat shamers among us… including — yep — medical doctors. Once you watch the clip below, we hope you’ll understand just how harmful fat shaming is. We’d also like to share three ways you might be fat shaming — without even realizing it.

  1. Expressing “concern” for the health of fat people. As Melissa Fabello explains beautifully in this article, the health of other people is not your concern. And typically, there are strong feelings of judgment, hatred, and fear behind the facade of concern. Ask yourself: Do I really care about the health of other people? And why? Is this concern masking another feeling, like judgment or fear?

  2. Making assumptions about the health of fat people. You can’t “see” wellness. If you need more convincing, study up on the research and principles of the Health At Every Size (haes) movement. Here, you’ll see scientific proof that you don’t need to live in a small body to live a vibrant, well life.

  3. Dehumanizing fat people. Samantha Bee points out that when fat people are depicted in the media, they’re often shown as less than human. This happens when a camera zooms way in to dramatize the visual a fat person’s body. Often, these people’s heads and faces are cut out, insinuating they’re not people… just bodies. But you don’t have to be a rude cameraperson to be complicit in this. Every time you watch reality shows glorifying weight loss competitions, or read “before and after weight loss success” stories in magazines, you are taking part in this harmful dialogue. The wellbeing of ALL bodies is personal and sacred — it is not entertainment.