On the Topic of Fat-Shaming

I’ve thought for a while about broadcasting my opinions on this topic to a larger audience. I realize that, by talking about it, I’m opening myself up to a lot of scrutiny. The comment section may just fill up with a bunch of hate (and, if I find it to be too much, I may just shut down the comments.)

But, sometimes you just have to stand up and say something. And, for me, that time is now.

The topic? Fat-shaming.

On the Topic of Fat-ShamingIf you go to any YouTube video about self-esteem and loving yourself, or even just a really awesome and happy bigger girl (I’m looking at you, beautiful Meghan Tonjes), you inevitably find a comment section full of such immense vitriolic hate. This isn’t just YouTube, it’s everywhere.

It seems that “fat” is the last thing out there that people can be openly rude about. You’ll find people who are normally polite and respectful start talking mountains of hate when the topic comes to overweight people.

If it were just trolls spewing this stuff, I’d easily ignore it. But it isn’t just the trolls.

You’ll find comments like, “I don’t care if you exercise, you’re still unhealthy and killing yourself,” or “You’re just saying it’s okay to be fat! You’re raising a generation of people who think it’s okay to be this way!” or “Well, you wouldn’t be that fat if you knew how to lose weight. See, it’s all about calories/carbs/fat/gluten/exercise…”

I’ve had enough. Here are just some of the responses I have to fat-shaming:

1. High self-esteem is not the same as being “pro-fat.”

Everyone deserves to love themselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re 500 pounds or an amputee or haven’t lifted a barbell in your life. Everyone should strive to love themselves NOW, not “when I lose weight” or “when I get a better job” or “when I get a boyfriend.” Now. Everyone.

There is nothing wrong with a bigger person having great self-esteem or self-confidence.

On the Topic of Fat-Shaming: We Deserve Love

For that matter, fat people also deserve outside love just as much as anyone else. It shouldn’t seem odd that an overweight person is in a loving relationship. I can be sexy, and be this size. Just because you don’t find a bigger person attractive, doesn’t mean that’s the case for everyone or that someone is weird for liking a bigger person.

And it’s never out of the realm of possibility for an overweight person to be loved by a skinny one, and vice versa.

2. You don’t know someone’s story just by looking at them.

One of the biggest things I hear is that fat = unhealthy. But really, you don’t know someone’s situation. Yes, I’m big. I’ve been gaining the weight back that I painstakingly lost (sore subject for me). You might look at me and think, “She’s unhealthy and lazy. She probably just sits on the couch all day, eating Doritos and whole pizzas.”

But that would be wrong. I ran a half-marathon while gaining this weight. A half-marathon that I trained for 18 weeks for and even won MVP for my training class. I’ve run 5 races so far this year. I run three times a week. I go to the gym and lift weights three times a week. That’s six days of serious exercise. I love vegetables. No, I’m not as unhealthy as you think I am.

Superfund 5k! (It's very sunny.) #365days

A photo posted by Trisha (@trishainfinity) on

On the same token, you may see a skinny person and think, “They’re healthy. Just look at them! How could they not be?” Yet that person may be the one sitting on the couch all day. Maybe they are that thin because they only ever drink coffee and do cocaine. Are they healthier than me? No. There are also invisible illnesses that affect health. There are so many factors that affect health, and how much fat you have on your frame is only one of them.

You can’t tell how healthy/unhealthy someone is by looking at them.

3. No one is 100% healthy.

“Let those without sin cast the first stone” or “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Sure, I might eat too much. But what do you do? No one is living a completely healthy lifestyle. For that matter, those who try to be that healthy get a lot of flack and are told to “loosen up” and “live a little.”

Come on, guys.

4. I’m not fat because of lack of knowledge.

“Oh, you’re overweight? Well, here’s what you need to do…”

If you’re overweight, or have been overweight in the past, you’ve probably had some well-meaning friend/family member/stranger start that sentence. Guess what, I know how to lose weight.

In fact, most of us bigger people do. I’d hazard a guess that overweight people tend to know more about losing weight than people who’ve never been big. That’s because we HAVE lost weight. We just gained it back. You’ve never had to try. We’re not fat because we’re stupid. We’re fat for other reasons. Mine’s food addiction, but there are other reasons, too.

5. It’s never okay to be mean to someone when it comes to their mental or physical health issues.

Imagine if someone posted a video on YouTube talking about their clinical depression and suicidal thoughts, and all of the comments were telling that person the same sorts of things that they tell people who are overweight? “Just get over it!” You know what, it wouldn’t happen.

It's a week 'til my birthday! I'm celebrating with my free Red Robin burger. #365days

A photo posted by Trisha (@trishainfinity) on

Yet, for some reason, people think it’s perfectly acceptable to attack an overweight person because of the way they look. Let me tell you something: When you look at me, and see my size, you’re seeing my illness. My food addiction. Rather than being school-yard-style mean, treat me with the respect you would someone with any other kind of illness.

If someone started yelling these kinds of mean things to someone with Down’s Syndrome, they’d get beat up! Yet it’s okay to say it to bigger people? Unfortunately, our illness (whether it’s food addition or emotional eating or a thyroid condition) is usually very apparent to anyone who looks at us. You look at me and you know I have some kind of problem, and that sucks.

6. We KNOW being overweight is unhealthy.

One comment I see a lot, when it comes to body-positive videos, is “But they’re going to think it’s okay to be fat! That fat is healthy, blah blah blah.” That’s when mean people try to justify their meanness, saying that they’re really HELPING us by saying the things that they do.

Newsflash: We already know. You’re not the first person to tell us we’re ugly or that we should lose weight or that this is unhealthy. We hear that from everywhere, whether blatant or subliminal. Please don’t counter every body-positive thing or self-esteem thing with well-meaning “But it’s not good for you!” stuff. WE KNOW.

7. My body is none of your business.

“But I have to look at you.”

So? There are lots of worse things you could see than my ample, womanly curves.

8. Bottom line: Keep it to yourself.

Personally, I don’t care what you think of me. You’re free to think I’m a big, fat, ugly mess. You’re free to think every bigger person you see is a heart attack waiting to happen.

On the Topic of Fat-Shaming: Keep it to YourselfBut, if there’s one takeaway that you should get from this entire post, it’s this: Keep it to yourself.

And, even better, you follow Wheaton’s Law.

Have you experienced fat-shaming

Are you bigger and have experienced fat-shaming? Do you agree with my points? Have you been one of the haters?

Let’s chat about it (as civilly as possible) in the comments!

Trisha

Photo credit: markus spiske

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5 Comments

  1. Wow, Trisha, great post! LOVE THIS!!!

  2. Very well stated! I love it!

  3. Well said, Trisha! I’m so tired of seeing people being abused because their weight. And it is usually done under the pretext of health… Since when is abusing and shaming someone healthy? *sighs*

  4. My favorite line: “There are lots of worse things you could see than my ample, womanly curves.”
    So true!
    Love you Trisha!

  5. Hi Trisha. I came here after watching the YouTube vid where you lost 100 lbs. Great job, btw! At the end of the video, you invited people to come to your blog and see how you were doing after Nutrisystem. I just started Nutrisystem this week and found your videos very inspiring. I can’t seem to find the updates though? I know that you’ve gained some of the weight back but I just wanted to see how that came about, was it slowly or quickly, what was the downfall, etc.? I’m not trying to be rude, just curious, and you invited comments about it at the end of the video, so I’m hoping that’s ok to inquire about. I have about 30 lbs to lose due to high blood pressure and I’m feeling a little discouraged wondering if I do this, only to gain it all back, then what’s the point? Some of the food is good but some of it is just terrible so far. I’m sure I cannot be the only person curious about your journey afterwards and would love if you’d consider doing a video about it.

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