There’s been a recent discussion about how fat-shaming can be beneficial for people to lose weight. We’re sure many of you have already experienced it in the form of greetings from relatives (Read: Solenn Heussaff’s blog post on saying “Ang taba-taba mo“) to unwarranted comments from strangers about your belly rolls. While this is dismissed as a form of endearment and concern, there are those who would rather use harsh words and insults to change someone’s appearance and lifestyle.
So we’re setting the record straight: Fat-shaming is not, and will never be, okay. Here are some pointers you should consider before you tell someone off about their weight.
It’s difficult to parse someone’s health or eating habits based on their weight. Some people have naturally fast metabolism, so even if they don’t work out and eat junk food all day, they won’t gain weight. Meanwhile, there are those who do work out but aren’t thin according to society’s standards. Just look at yoga teacher Jessamyn Stanley; Bubbles Paraiso (who was even called “amazona” because of her figure), and also model Kat Gumabao, among many others.
It’s also important to dissociate weight gain from overall health. Thinness doesn’t always mean healthy, same with being fat doesn’t always mean you’re sick. In fact, there’s even a thing called “skinny fat,” which is having high body fat even though you have a normal weight. Skinny fat is also considered as dangerous as obesity.
Sexiness is also not a measure of health. Society’s definition of “sexy” is mostly “a slender, feminine physique with a small waist and little body fat.” This creates unrealistic body standards that, according to The Conversation, even “women in most urban, developed settings—including places like India and China—reporting an idealization of thinness and a desire to be thinner.” This type of thinking might also lead to other problems like eating disorders and poorer psychological well-being.
The New York Times reported that shaming people about their weight often doesn’t help them. In fact, it can worsen a person’s situation, both physically and psychologically. “The effects of a lifetime of shame and stigma can be profound. Fat people are more prone to anxiety and depression, and weight shaming can set off rounds of binge eating and avoidance of exercise because of embarrassment at how they look exercising and wearing workout clothes.”
Likewise, Psychology Today noted that shame imposed on aspects of people are has no discernible goal other than expressing your prejudice onto their appearance. “Shaming someone for what they cannot change places them in an impossible situation that can yield nothing beneficial.”
It’s true that you can find anything online now regarding health and wellness. But again, shaming people for their lifestyles doesn’t really motivate them. There are also those who don’t have the time and/or money to subscribe to strict diets and work out. The Guardian reported that laziness isn’t the reason why people, especially children, are eating junk food and gaining weight. It’s the fact that good, healthy food items can be more expensive and it’s their living situation that might be contributing to their health decline. So, no, saying that one is simply too complacent about what you eat and “stupid” aren’t plausible reasons, nor good motivators.
It’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to the topic of weight gain and health, as well as other matters. What you think is right in your opinion isn’t always right. Remember to be sensitive of people’s feelings and situations, have a discussion and not dictate them on what to do.
Art by Yayie Motos
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