Study Shows You Can’t Hate Fatties for Our Own Good

ShamelessI’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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27 thoughts on “Study Shows You Can’t Hate Fatties for Our Own Good

  1. AMEN and THANK YOU!!! I need to be reminded from time to time. Growing up fat in a thin family makes me numb, at times to that particular activity! NO MORE! I’m going to no longer let it happen!! Thanks for the courage to do what’s right.

  2. Beautiful! Thank you! I hope one day to find the strength that you show in not buying into the message that we should hate ourselves because we’re fat. Most importantly, I hope I can teach my children someday not to buy into that message, whether they turn our fat or thin!

  3. Of course, this study was all about how fat shaming doesn’t work to get the desired outcome of thinness. The reality is, fat shamers don’t give a crap about thinness or health or anything like that. They want someone it’s socially acceptable to kick, so they can do something mean and feel good about themselves simultaneously.

  4. One nail at a time into the coffin of ‘Everyone knows’.
    If this makes someone question one of their assumptions, perhaps it will help to slowly break down the rest of them.

    Perhaps not, some people are arseholes just for the sake of being arseholes.

  5. Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times more if need be. If shame and blame worked, there would be no addicts of any kind, no fat people, and no-one would be mentally ill. We would all have just quit (insert addiction here.) We would have just eaten less and exercised more and it would have worked magically. We would have just stopped our stinkin’ thinkin’.
    Clearly, shame and blame does not work, nor has it ever worked.
    Some assholes just want a scapegoat to make them feel superior because they really have no positive qualities.

  6. “Stop shaming fat people because it’s a shitty thing to do.”

    Ah, yes. This is what I’ve been missing from other articles and posts regarding that study. Thank you. 😀

  7. So many naturally-thin people just will not “get” that for a naturally-fat person to achieve a size which they regard as “acceptable” requires an extraordinary curtailment of intake and/or an extreme commitment to exertion. And many of them don’t appreciate the rebound-with-a-“dividend” effect which accompanies weight loss.

    Sadly, those who are the object of bigotry often internalize the harm. So it should surprise nobody that fat people who are steered toward weight loss, given the “dividend”, inevitably end up fatter.

    Anti-fat bigotry is more pervasive and pernicious than ever. But it’s essentially similar to all of the other forms of bigotry. Anything which constitutes a judgment against another person is an obstacle to the grasp of interconnectedness. The status quo MUST go. And now is a good time.

    1. That is exactly what happened to me! I started dieting in high school, and now I’m a lot fatter than I was when I started…I’ve stopped dieting and am now just trying to make my body stronger because it’s weak. I made it weak because I bought into the lie that fat people can’t be healthy and just gave up. Now I’m trying to make my muscles stronger. Thank you for this comment! :D.

  8. I’ll tell you something else for free: all those kids who shamed me for having a fat mom? All those adults who food policed me so I wouldn’t grow up just like her? Didn’t stop me from becoming a fat adult, too. They just made me cry… not because my mom was fat and disgusting to them, but because they thought her fat was more important than all the good she did in the world, more important than her commitment to bettering the lives of any and all children, and more important than the love she had for me.

    I knew what my mother was worth. Fat or thin, she was an amazing woman and it pissed me off so hard I sobbed that so many people couldn’t see that just because she was fat.

    To this day I wish I was half the woman my fat mother was… in the sense of doing good in the world. In terms of size, we would be much of a muchness today, if she were still here.

    1. Your story is very moving, Twistie. I’m sorry that you and your mom had to go through this. Looking forward to a world in which this never happens.

  9. Great post as usual Ragen and I thank you for it. The endless weight talk/women goes on regardless here in the UK, though you would think I’d be used to it, I find I never really do&it angers me still as I know women “buy in to it/believe it and that can and does translate to other women as they all want us to be as miserable as then, while pretending to want to “help” us! Some things that have caught my attention again are Sky News TV channel adverts, they have been running regular ones for a product called, “Diet Chef”, which I’ve also seen sold on QVC shopping channel. You buy all made up/weighed packaged diet food as far as I can tell, the adverts show various women & 1 man all saying how great they feel, look etc., and underneath in very small print is “this is over 5-6 month period approximately, so that’s ok then? I also thought it was pretty twisted to follow this advert with one for starving children in Africa, for Save the Children charity, I believe, how sick is our world?!

    Then on to good old QVC, I know I shouldn’t keep watching it, but I do get bored as I’m not working and due to disability/fatigue etc., am not as active as I once was&would like to be. Of course I’m somewhat addicted to it and jewellery shopping channels too, I admit it! We had a programme on there about Aero Pilates, which I could only tolerate a little of as it was so awful. This is brought to them by a really “fit, thin, tanned, 59 year old Scandinavian woman, going on about fitness with the older presenter woman. What I really noticed was something I think is different to what they had on the screen on previous shows, “Use of this machine will only result in weight loss if used in conjunction with a calorie controlled intake” or similar wording. So that says to me that they aren’t just marketing this as fitness/health, despite their endless protestations. The very fit looking woman bringing this item/fitness regime, then waffled on about healthy eating for a “healthy mind and body” etc., etc.

    Then it’s on the old favourite with the showing of women’s fashion, I even watched a different shopping channel here doing clothes and they said similar things. It was all about “hiding certain parts of the body”, minimising bits you didn’t like”, “covering up parts you hate” “slimming you down”, “smoothing you out” and so on&forth. In fact isn’t it amazing that they have so many terms.phrases for all this body hatred(in my view that’s what it comes across as?) This morning I heard yet another one, “If you dress a certain way, you can “loose half a stone”!!!

    I have learnt now not to go on their Facebook site, for example and try to talk about this as it leads to getting into all sorts of crap, can do without that&like talking to a brick wall. As I’ve said before, even on the Facebook Fibromyalgia site, they seem to go about weight, being “fat&horrible” etc., etc. and I couldn’t bear it, so don’t go on there now either or very rarely.

    Take care, Marion, UK

  10. My thoughts exactly!

    “Thank you for not shaming me because you’re concerned about my possible future weight gain. However, how about you not shame me because you’re concerned with my emotional well-being and basic rights as a human being?”

  11. I answered some of the comments on facebook for one of those articles. Then I decided to save my sanity points. It was a lot of ‘everyone knows’ and someone had the nerve to ask ‘how many fat people would accept being made thin overnight’ and I responded ‘not as many as you think’ but I haven’t checked back for a reply.

    As I’ve noticed this more and more, it irritates me more and more. I also noticed that it is part and parcel with all the other unquestioned attitudes that people carry.

    So I remind myself to step back and focus on myself, because that’s the only thing I can really affect and see the differences.

  12. “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.” Best response I’ve heard to this claim. No. Wait. Best response to *all* the fat hate: “My body is just not your business, sweetie.” ❤

    Thanks for the continuing awesomeness. 🙂

  13. Ragen, thank you once again. For this amazing post, and this blog. I’ve been feeling super crappy this week, because of the barrage of fat hate I keep finding online. It’s horrific. Not matter how many logical and intelligent responses we FA peeps make, they just keep coming back with more bullshit, and it all feels so hopeless. But, your blog continues to be a beacon of hope and light (and straight up COMMON SENSE) in my life. So, thank you.

    And, yup. I’ve been shamed for my body since I was about 12, after I started gaining weight when my parents split up. I was shamed by my father, grandfather, ex-partner, school bullies and strangers on the street. If all that worked, I’d probably be a Victoria’s Secret model by now. But, nope. Still fat. And still working on undoing half a lifetime of damage.

    Love you, Ragen! Keep rockin’.


    Sorry, don’t mean to shout – I would just really like one.

  15. Thank you so much for this wonderful post….thank you! I’ve been fat on and off since I was 12 or 13 (tough to tell). I started dieting in high school, and now I’m a lot fatter than I was when I started…I’ve stopped dieting and am now just trying to make my body stronger because it’s weak. I made it weak because I bought into the lie that fat people can’t be healthy and just gave up. Now I’m trying to make my muscles stronger so I can do more things with my body. I don’t care if I get thin or stay fat…I just want to be able to do more things without hurting.

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