Fat shaming is on the rise. I wish I could say that is was on the decline, there’s a world I would like to live in. I have seen it on TV, in magazines, on social media; I have even encountered it at my work place. It seems we are “there” again. Is it my imagination or did I just not notice it in my own little world? Maybe my world just got bigger, but it seems fat shaming is everywhere. What makes it more obvious is when it floats into my stream of consciousness. I was recently fat shamed. I wish I could say it was the first time, unfortunately it wasn’t. I suspect it won’t be the last.
I was shamed by a coworker. The what and the why are of little importance, what is important is that grown adults find this acceptable behavior. What makes the situation worse is that I was fat shamed by someone that is unfit. This person is overweight themselves. It is one thing when the fat shaming is from a thinner, more fit person. When the shaming is from someone of equal stature, that is just shameful. Yet, it is also projecting. This person was projecting their own self image issues on to me. Many of us often reflect out in to the world what we are really feeling about each other. It doesn’t diminish the fact that the words were out there, my feelings were no less hurt. What I do know is that after the dust settles, clarity takes over and we see the comments for what they really are and we move forward.
Fat Shaming as a Family Affair
What about the fat shaming that comes from your own family. I grew up experiencing it from a couple of family members (this is me, being transparent again). Of course back in the day, we didn’t call it fat shaming. It was just considered acceptable behavior from adults telling me that I needed to lose weigh. This testimonial from them came in many ways, from name calling, to telling me I couldn’t date if I was too big, to even being offered money for every pound I lost. Yes, you read that right. I was offered my family members to lose weight with a dollar reward attached.
How did fat shaming become so socially acceptable? To say that it isn’t accepted would be false. If it truly wasn’t acceptable it wouldn’t be so prevalent. We wouldn’t see comedies making fun of fat people, there wouldn’t be an article in Marie Claire magazine in which blogger Maura Kelly talks about how grossed out she is at watching a TV show where the main characters are making out and they are obese. Fat shaming isn’t new, it is just more mainstream. I wonder, is it older adults or is it ageless? I know several women in my life that are curvy, voluptuous, ample. They own every roll, curve, bulge. They accept who they are and don’t let the cruel world deter them from their intended purpose. They don’t let the fat shaming community get them down. They pick themselves up and move on. Of course, to talk to some of them, I wonder if they really know this practice exists. They are so happy in their lives. I think I grew up in a generation where being big was a sin. These women appear to be unscathed by the comments, memes, and the media. For them body image isn’t an issue.
Who knows, maybe the generation behind them, my generation paved the way. Perhaps they realized they weren’t going to let people bring them down, they weren’t going to allow themselves to feel the shame. I toast them, they are like mentors to me. They actually allow the rest of us to embrace every bump, bulge and roll with grace.
Letting Go of the Shame
I can’t say that I have forgiven my coworker for the nasty comments. I have simply moved to a place where I am trying to no longer care. As a coach, I know these actions come from said coworkers poor self esteem. I will not allow myself to be dragged down by it, at least not anymore. I don’t expect fat shaming to end anytime soon, that would be almost too much to ask for. I do pray for the day that all bodies are accepted. For now I will just keep on fighting the good fight, on the scale and off…..
What about you, have you ever been the victim of fat shaming? Did you confront the attacker or did you let it go and not give it another thought? Let me know what you think.