body shamers

Image: Modcloth

Can we talk? Let’s have a civilized conversation about body size and image.

We’re experiencing what many consider an amazing time in our lifetime. An astounding number of people of ALL sizes are starting to feel comfortable in their own skin and are celebrating their bodies. This is a great thing, right?

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Image: Tumblr

But then we have to contend with people like you who claim they mean well but end up body shaming those who do not fit the “beauty ideal” they deem is perfect AND healthy. They use social media as a way to further their beliefs that being fat is a problem. They are so bothered by larger body sizes that they viciously voice their opinions, which they state is not body shaming, when it clearly is.

The recent “Dear Fat People” video and the “Project Harpoon” Facebook page both show that despite the body positive revolution currently taking place, there are still people out there who don’t want to see people of different sizes loving themselves.

With the average American woman now a size 14, the face of health and beauty is changing. For some, that’s hard to accept.

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Image: Glamour Magazine

Body shamers, here’s 5 reasons why it’s not okay to tell others what they should do with their bodies. While we all have the right to free speech in the United States, spewing hate and shaming people is just not a positive way to exercise that right.

#1: Unless you have a medical degree, you do not have the right or education to diagnose someone’s health by looking at their size.

Maria Kang, anyone? The self-proclaimed Fit Mom had her moment in the spotlight almost two years ago when she spoke of size and health. No matter how many times this is said, people still continue to act like they are medical professionals and issue out advice to fat people.

They use social media to voice their opinions and say that being overweight is unhealthy and that fat people are killing themselves. And let’s be honest, it’s very easy to hide behind a computer and say whatever comes to your mind.

Yet these people don’t know an individual’s health background. They are only basing their opinions on a person’s size. Thing is, you can’t do that. Not all thin people are healthy. And not all fat people are unhealthy. So please leave the diagnoses to the medical professionals.

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All the women in this image weigh 154 pounds. However, they are all different heights and builds. Can we look at these women and distinguish if they are unhealthy or not? Can we just look at their weight and height and deem them fit or overweight? No, we can’t.

#2: You say you mean well, but making someone feel terrible about themselves is not going to shame them into losing weight.

No one “deserves” to be shamed. According to a study published in the journal Obesity, body shaming doesn’t work — people who have experienced discrimination on the basis of weight are more likely to gain weight, NOT LOSE IT. And honestly, it makes you look like a mean, hateful person that has tons of time on their hands to do nothing but target innocent people. P.S. – Making someone feel terrible isn’t going to exactly uplift their self-esteem and inspire them to get healthy.

Jesse Singal, in his article “Fat-Shaming Doesn’t Work, Is Mean” on NYMag.com stated:

“Shaming people doesn’t make them thin. Shaming people doesn’t make them change (not that they necessarily need to.) Shaming people only makes people feel bad about themselves. It makes them feel like failures for not looking a certain way and if anything will cause them self image problems and make them want to take less care of themselves and show even less pride in their appearance.”

And from rehabs.com in their article “Women’s Body Image and BMI: A Look at the Evolution of the Female Figure Over 100 Years”:

“Positive relationships and acceptance from friends are associated with a healthy self-image. As the belief in thinness being important to relationships with friends decreased, positive self-image increased. Thus, when this thin ideal is deemphasized in one’s peer group, a positive self-image can more easily be cultivated.”

#3: A person’s body does not tell their life’s story.

You assume that a person is fat because they overeat and are lazy. That assumption is what feeds stereotypes and discrimination.

Check out Whitney Way Thore’s video below (or here if you can’t see it) where she basically breaks down Nicole Arbour’s video “Dear Fat People” point by point in such an eloquent manner, that we are still giving her a standing ovation at the PMM Offices.

As Whitney states, you don’t know what a person has been through. You don’t know how they came to gain weight. Again, you’re making assumptions, not doling out facts.

#4: There is no perfect size to be the pinnacle of health or have the perfect body.

Here’s a shocker – many thin women have cellulite. Not all women have flat stomachs and have a roll or two. There is no such thing as the perfect body.

Project Harpoon claimed that the images of plus size women they photoshopped was done to show how they LOOKED better thinner. So in their case, it seems to be more about outer beauty than caring about someone’s health. Yet they claim they are doing this out of concern and wanting to help fat people see how much happier and better-looking they could be.

Beauty does not come in a dress size and neither does a healthier life. We all have our weight/size that we are comfortable and happy in, where our health is not affected. But that is our individual choice and no one else’s.

As you can see from the image below, all four women are different body shapes and we happen to think they all look amazing in their swimsuits. And that model on the far right? That’s Robyn Lawley, who’s a size 12 and considered plus size. Yup, a size 12.

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Image: swimsuitsforall

#5: All fat people are not lazy. As a matter of fact, there are plus size athletes out there.

We’re not even going to discuss this one. Let the following images show you this FACT.

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Image: ESPN

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Image: ESPN

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Image(s): Huffington Post

Here’s some questions we think you, those body shamers, should be asking yourself right now:

  • How did you become the authority on talking to fat people and telling them how they should be?
  • Why do fat people bother you so much? (Perhaps you should look into that before issuing advice to others.)
  • Are you really concerned about the health of fat people worldwide?

If you’d like to genuinely help people of ALL sizes, here’s some suggestions:

  • Volunteer your time conducting fitness classes for ALL people. There’s a lot of us who love a great zumba class or some yoga.
  • Mentor young girls on eating disorders and building their self-esteem.
  • Campaign for airlines to put larger seats on their planes (because even a thin person with hips/big butt and tall people suffer from narrow seating on planes).
  • Take the time to talk to people and hear their stories.
  • Promote healthy eating and speak to ALL people about eating a healthier diet. Let’s keep the conversation going about chemicals in our food and promoting cleaner eating.

Body shaming is not acceptable nor is it okay. And it never will be. We all have the right to be happy, in whatever body we are in.

What do you think of body shaming and the “Dear Fat People” video? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or join in on the conversation on our Facebook page.