I’ve received literally hundreds of e-mails and Facebook message about a new study. The study looked at questionnaires given four years apart and found that fat people who reported that they had experienced weight-based discrimination were more likely to be obese than those who didn’t report such discrimination. Other types of discrimination showed no effect on weight.
Some people are using this to forward the message that people shouldn’t shame fat people because it will make us fatter. Some are saying that the self-reporting used by the study is too weak to support any conclusions – so, I guess, shame away is their message?
As my regular readers know, I’m a very outcome-based activist, and so if this study leads to some people stop shaming fat people because they don’t want us to get fatter, then I’m glad they’ve stopped shaming fat people. Obviously those who hate fat people for fun, profit, or self-esteem will be unlikely to be swayed by this at all.
But at the end of the day, the fact that shaming us might make us fatter doesn’t matter at all. Shaming fat people is wrong. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s not wrong because it will make us fatter, it would not be right if it made us thinner. it’s wrong because it’s wrong. WRONG!.
There is no outcome that justifies shaming fat people. Fat people have the right to exist in fat bodies regardless of how we got fat, what being fat means, or if we could be thin through some means – however easy or difficult. There are no other valid opinions on this – we have the right to exist without shaming, bullying or stigmatization, period.
If I am being fat shamed then – well intentioned or not – someone is fucking up and I let them know – well intentioned or not – that they need to stop right the hell now, not because it might make me fatter but because they’re not meeting the level of respect that I require. You must be this respectful to ride this ride.
How about you don’t worry about whether your shaming us will make us fatter – stop shaming fat people because our bodies aren’t your business. Stop shaming fat people because it’s a shitty thing to do. How about you take a second from wondering if your fat shaming will affect us – and think about how if affects you. Is that who you want to be in the world – someone who tries to make someone else hate the body that they live in all the time? Someone who tries to defend the practice of shaming people “for their own good?” Someone who puts other people down to make themselves feel better? Are you proud of yourself? If not, then stop doing it. If so, then maybe it’s better if you’re just not around people – at any rate, I’m going to need you to stay away from me.
As fat people we are not obligated to buy into the idea that we owe the world something – weight loss attempts, exercise, wearing dark clothes, lemon juice as salad dressing, hiding our bodies, dating only other fat people etc. – in order to deserve basic human respect. It’s just not true – that belief is rooted entirely in bigotry and nothing else. If people are shaming us I think the most important thing is to remember that there is nothing wrong with us and something very wrong with those people.
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