Nowadays, many Americans are struggling with obesity. However, this is not the only battle they have to fight, since studies found that fat shaming is causing them more harm than obesity itself.
Body shaming is the prejudice that is brought against certain body types that do not correspond to the current standard of beauty. These people are insulted and stigmatized based on how big or how skinny they are. Thus, there are two types of body shaming: fat shaming and skinny shaming.
Think that people cannot possibly be ostracized for being thin? For example, if you call a person anorexic for being too thin, this is a clear example of skinny shaming. On the other hand, there is fat shaming that targets people who are obese or, as the cruelest form, those who only appear a bit bigger than the standard. Overweight people are generally the victims of jokes, they are ridiculed and considered lazy and unattractive.
Usually, the victims of fat shaming were celebrities and famous people. However, with the dawn of the digital age and the rise of social media platforms where people make their private lives available to a wider public, the number of cyberbullying attacks increased.
One of the most recent public body shaming events was the confrontation between President Trump and former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado. During the presidential campaign, Trump subjected Machado to fat shaming. She accused him of making traumatizing comments regarding her weight that left strong emotional marks.
Trump made mean comments about the former Miss Universe, calling her “Miss Piggy” and an “eating machine”. Also, he challenged her to exercise in front of everybody, claiming that she would no longer be allowed to own the beauty title if she refused.
But what is it with all the fat shaming? Some people think that the constant bullying will motivate the targeted ones to start exercising and lose weight, but a study published in the journal of The Obesity Society disproved this preconception.
When they are fat shamed, people are subjected to massive stress and they cope with it by consuming more calories. Also, these people develop an internalized weight bias when they are bullied and the combination between this bias and obesity leads to risks of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.
Thus, it is very important not to humiliate people about their weight and try to treat them with respect. The majority of people do not handle stress and pressure so well and they should not be persuaded via aggressive methods.