Fat is a term that holds a great deal of power for a significant number of people. It is hurled as a weapon, a ruthless mace tearing through too many of us.”
The word “fat” shouldn’t have a negative connotation because being overweight is not bad. It indicates that you are a larger person, which shouldn’t diminish your attractiveness. After all, a person’s attractiveness is determined by more factors than just their outward appearance. But some people still hold the absurd belief that being fat makes you ugly, which is a restrictive manner of thinking.
Fat-shaming is a sub-sector of body-shaming and comes in many forms. A fat person could be criticized for doing the same thing as a skinny person. Too often, the stigma fat women face is thinly veiled by a purpose, “concern for our health,” a kind of well-intended bullying that only ends up compounding the harms we face.
Society has its perception of how you should lead your life. Let a fat woman wear a vulgar t-shirt and go out in public, the way everyone would look at her as if she had just killed three people and judge her based on that t-shirt. They don’t care if a person has poor self-esteem or health/metabolism issues. Most fat women have low self-esteem, feel unattractive, have low expectations, and feel embarrassed that they can’t face the world.
“When you become a [fat] woman, you will forget the number of boys you let climb over you, just because they called you beautiful.’
‘Conversations with Your Mother’ – Wanawana”
You’re with your partner, lying in bed, chilling on the couch, or maybe you’re cooking. You’re happy, at peace. They kiss you, and you smile as you return their affection. But then you stop because you feel their hands on your back, moving towards the stomach you hate. You pull back, fake smile at them, and continue with what you are doing. Soon after, you feel their arms wrap around your waist and stop again. You can’t get out of it this time, and they can already feel the thing that makes you so angry, so ashamed. Panic rushes over you as their hands travel under the protective fabric of your clothes. You want to scream that you know it’s awful, but instead, you look away and try to ignore it. Images of the look of disgust you picture on their faces flash through your mind as you shrink into yourself, wishing the ground would eat you. You want to tell them that it’s okay if they think you’re ugly. Eventually, you bring yourself to look up at them as they hold your hated stomach in their hands. You look at them slowly, ready for the hatred in their eyes, but instead, you’re met with adoration and lips on your cheek. They whisper their love to you.
I know you’re so used to hating your body, protecting yourself from society and ridicule. You need them to let you know it’s okay and that you’re perfect every day. But how can you tell them that? They’ll never understand what you go through. Their slim, toned body has never been anything like yours, has never experienced the fat-shaming yours has. So how will they ever be able to know what it’s like to hate every inch of your body because you’ve been told to? Nobody understands the nights you have spent clawing at your stomach, wishing it would disappear as you sit and are unable to sleep. But they’ll never understand how much you hate your body because society told you to.
Fat shaming makes it more likely for overweight people to gain weight. They may also experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Fat shaming, in the end, causes more harm than good. Fatphobia is a very real issue. It wrecks self-esteem, results in poor health outcomes, and makes it harder to lose weight. Allow fat women to live their lives without being judged by others. There is no need to bring up their weight or how they will look once they lose it. Human beings do not exist solely to be concerned with how much we weigh or how big our thighs appear. Allow fat people to live without unsolicited advice.
People should be allowed to exist freely, devoid of unsought opinions. Fat people do not require constant affirmation that they are brave and beautiful simply for being who they are. These remarks are deceptive and support the notion that a person’s value should be determined by their outward appearance. Not every feature of our body needs to be beautiful to accept how we look.