Stop Fat-Shaming!

The other night, Kelly Clarkson appeared on Jimmy Fallon. They performed memorable duets together. I loved it! The performance was amazing and made me smile. Win, win. While I noticed that Kelly had gained some weight (and wore a less than flattering outfit), I didn’t give it much thought. After all, I’m no Skinny Minnie, and, besides, who cares.

A few days later, I noticed comments on a clip from the Tonight Show with the performance. Most comments stated how much they loved what they saw and how much they loved Kelly and Jimmy. However, there were a few that decided that no one should like Kelly because she is *gasp* fat! I shrugged it off to trolls and moved along.

Then, yesterday, a story came out that some British “journalist” (I use the term loosely) vocally criticized Kelly Clarkson and fat-shamed her on Twitter after watching her on The Graham Norton Show. Now I was pissed! Here is just a sampling of her nasty tweets…

Apparently this woman does not like fat people. She’s been quoted as saying that she would never hire a fat person because they are lazy. She’s gone on to justify those comments saying that being fat is unhealthy.

Personally, I’ve had enough of the fat-shaming, whether it be from a troll or so-called “journalist.” Most people who fat-shame excuse their behavior by saying they are just concerned about the person’s health. They aren’t. They are bullies! Their concerned about getting attention for what they say or how they beat up on a person.

It doesn’t just happen on Twitter or Facebook. It happens everywhere. I have a friend who works out several days a week and does her best to eat healthy. Despite her efforts, she remains overweight (although, I should point out that she has lost over 100 pounds). Recently she decided to take part in a nutritional study in the hopes to further improve her health. During the first session, the presenter looked at her and said, “You need to work out.” He assumed that she didn’t because of her current weight. How wrong he was! 

The greatest problem with fat-shaming is that people assume that the overweight or obese person is not healthy. They assume the person eats unhealthy food. They assume the person does not exercise. And, by these assumptions, they must assume that all thin people are healthy. 

My dad taught me long ago that assume means making an ass–out of -u- and -me. I wish everyone would consider that. Just because a person is skinny doesn’t mean they are healthy. And, by the same token, just because a person is fat doesn’t mean they are unhealthy. 

Stop Fat-Shaming
I may be fat, but I’m happy.

I’m far from thin. Technically, I am obese. (Ugh!) However, one thing I’m not is unhealthy. My cholesterol is normal, and my blood pressure is perfect, even pregnant. I’ve not shown any signs of diabetes and no other weight-related issues. Oh, and did I mention I love breaking stereotypes? 

Do I want to stay obese or even overweight? No. There are too many cute clothes in the “normal” sizes that I would love to wear. (Yes, clothing is my motivator.) Besides, I like it when I’m in shape and thinner than I now am. Soon after I give birth to my little Sweet Pea in June, I plan to get back to walking 2-3 times a week and losing weight.

I know losing weight isn’t easy. I struggle with it. I imagine most people do, especially those who want to lose weight in a healthy way or have physical issues that limit them, like I do. (I have drop foot, an artificial hip, and asthma.)

I refuse to judge someone for being fat. They don’t deserve it! I’m not in their shoes. I don’t know what is going on in their life. Are they on medication that causes them to gain weight? Do they have limits on what they can do physically? Is money tight and they can’t eat as healthy as they wish? Are they struggling with depression and unable to get themselves off the couch? Are they exercising and eating right but still not losing weight? Do they have a medical condition that makes it difficult to lose weight? 

Who am I to judge? Why do people feel so free to fat-shame? Is it just because they are easy targets?

It’s time we stop fat-shaming! It needs to end. Not only is it not supportive or compassionate, it also does no good. Being told you are fat doesn’t motivate you to lose weight. Most fat people, like myself, are aware we are fat. Instead, it would be nice if we could accept each other the way we are already. Love each other, and if you have nothing nice to say, keep your mouth shut!


This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday, with the prompt “You wanna know what really grinds my gears?

About Denise

Hi! I'm Denise, a 40+ year old SAHM trying to navigate the world of motherhood. I blog about parenting, food, and have been featured a few times on BlogHer. I enjoys solving mysteries (Okay..reading mysteries or watching them on TV), cooking, and drinking way too much caffeine than I should. Basically, anything I needs to do to survive the toddler years.

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  1. I’ve struggled with weight all my life. And believe it or not, I can be judgementalsometimes but I think it is because I am SO JUDGMENTAL of myself. You know what I mean? I currently have 4 different sizes of clothing in my closet and wearing almost the biggest one these days…

    However, there have been performers of ALL sizes in every entertainment category for as long as I can remember. I don’t understand why this is such a thing these days except that maybe our brains are SO TRAINED to see only skinny people on the t.v. and in magazines that we have a skewed view. It’s so sad. I don’t understand why we cannot just accept people for their amazing talents and not how they look.

    Good for you for putting this out there!!

    1. I understand, Elaine. I can be judgmental too, even though I am obese. I try to keep it to myself though. Usually I judge poor clothing choices for the weight but I wonder if that is wrong too. Part of it comes from being hard on myself.

      Current celebrity culture tends to only embrace thin women. I wonder the reaction to Mama Cass of the Mamas & Papas in today’s culture.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

  2. Bravo!! I am currently struggling with my weight. Although I didn’t change anything in my lifestyle, I started gaining weight almost a year ago. I started eating healthier and I started working out 2-3 times a week, butI kept gaining weight until I had packed on nearly 25 pounds in 9 months. I even went to my doctor who dis al kinds of blood work and everything – cholesterol, thyroid, etc. – came back NORMAL. Now, I would certainly love to lose some, but I am struggling just to keep from gaining anymore. I think when celebrities are judged this way, it makes the rest of us feel even worse about ourselves.
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted…When You Can’t Write What You Want to Write

    1. Lisa,

      I feel you! I’ve exercised and eaten well and still can’t get rid of a lot of my weight. It’s frustrating. Then, when you add people judging you for your weight instead of you as a person, it hurts. My biggest issue with going after celebrities is what message does that send our kids, particularly our daughters?

  3. If people were truly concerned, they would take care to talk to the person privately rather than in front of a large group of people!! Isn’t that how it it with anything else?!
    It’s truly disgusting how judgmental some people are!
    Roshni recently posted…Dear all,

  4. Oh my God YES! Thank you! I think that woman’s tweets about Kelly Clarkson are reprehensible. SHE should be ashamed of herself, yet it is probably Kelly feeling the shame from those comments. Society has it ass backwards when it comes to fat shaming. Like you, I am overweight but otherwise very healthy. I recently had a hip replacement and sometimes when I think about it too much I become embarrassed like will people think that I needed that just because I’m fat? Why should I have to worry about that?! The fat shaming and all types of bullying need to stop already! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience.

    1. You shouldn’t worry about it! Welcome to the THR club! LOL! (I got mine at 25 before I gained my weight.) Bullying just needs to stop. I just wanted to highlight the awfulness of fat-shaming! Thanks so much for your comments.

    1. I meant to add Kelly’s response. I loved it too! She is a class act and good role model! (And it bugged me too about the amount of RTs and positive comments she got in response to her nasty comments.)

    1. OMG, Lizzi!! I think that is what disgusted me the most. Not only did she have lots of retweets and favorites, but also lots of comments supporting what she says. Have people gone mad?? And yes, I’ll add it on the 20th! I need to mark it in my calendar so I don’t forget.

  5. YES! I’m so so glad that you linked this up for Finish the Sentence Friday. Fat shaming is disgusting. Any type of shaming is disgusting and I really don’t get it. I have gone up and down with weight my entire life and can tell you now that I was probably the very most unhealthy at my thinnest because I wasn’t eating well at all. That “reporter’s” tweets are terrible.
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…Snow Days Are Hard, DC is Wimpy and 7 Activities for Kids on Snow Days

  6. *standing ovation*

    This crap needs to stop. I frankly don’t see why fat shaming is still acceptable. We’ve said that looking down on someone else for their gender, religion, race, sexual orientation is unacceptable.

    Seems like fat shaming and ageism are the last two bastions of acceptable shaming and judging.
    The Imp recently posted…Random Thoughts

  7. Well said, Denise! It’s just awful, the things people will say and ‘assume’ if someone is ‘more than ideal body weight’- it’s everywhere- and I hate that people like that ‘journalist’ would say such hurtful and harmful things. What is wrong with people?

    Just another means to bully and put down another, for some kind of self gratification and superiority complex. It’s simply not fair.
    Chris Carter recently posted…I Am What I Am, And I am Enough

    1. It isn’t fair or right. It’s also not right to assume that someone who appears too thin isn’t eating. You might be right, but you never know what is going on with that person either. (I’ve had friends who could eat tons and not gain a pound…grrrr….yes, I’m jealous.)

      Thanks so much!

  8. I guess it makes them feel better about themselves by pulling someone else down. It is ridiculous really! Glad you wrote about it.

  9. I saw that woman on Access Hollywood last night! (It was on for background noise. No, really. I promise) And she was terrible! Katie is known as “The Most Hated Woman in Britain” – the hosts of the show were disgusted with this woman.

    Regarding fat-shaming, I didn’t realize until reading your post that I am desensitized to the fat-shaming because I grew up with it. By my mom. Starting at age 11. Ouch. So, there’s that. Ugh. New blog post idea? Oh, life, what you do to us.

    Great blog post, Denise, and very much needed.

    P.S. Here’s the link to the interview of The Most Hated Woman in Britain.
    Err, umm…enjoy?
    http://goo.gl/KNGpvI
    Jennifer Quinn recently posted…The First Step is Truth

    1. She’s awful, isn’t she? I read several things about her and felt more disgusted, especially her comments about not hiring fat people. WTH? I’m sorry that you are desensitized to fat-shaming. You shouldn’t have had to grow up that way (sounds like a great blog post idea, FYI). Unfortunately, you are not alone.

      Thanks so much!!

  10. Very well said!

    I struggled with weight the other direction (anorexia) and thanks to a very, very supportive husband and my first pregnancy, I am now as healthy as I could be.

    I agree that fat-shaming is despicable; Kelly may have gained some weight, and that’s ok, if she feels comfortable in her body. However, insisting that morbidly obese people (as in a 5’4” person at 350lbs, as an example) are normal and that doctors insiting that they have to lose weight is fat-shaming, is equally wrong.

    Generally, people should mind more their own business and not put their noses in others’, no matter if it’s about weight, or how to raise children, or whatever!

    1. Gosh, anorexia is a tough one, as is any eating disorder. And talk about a place where you probably fat-shamed yourself regularly. I’m glad you are healthy.

      However, I never insisted that any weight is normal. I believe most morbidly obese know that they are too heavy, but it can be overwhelming to deal with it. But, and here’s the rub, we don’t know what they are doing to get healthy. We don’t know their story and what’s going on in their life. Being positive and loving yourself does more, I believe, to motivate someone to be healthy and move than to fat-shame or be critical. As for doctors, they should say something but they need to be compassionate when they say it. I’ve had a doctor fat-shame me years ago. I knew I was fat, but she made me feel even worse about myself. It’s all in the approach. 🙂

      And I agree, people need to mind their own business.

  11. I still cringe when I think of a fellow preschool mom who told me (in front of her daugher) “we’re putting Kayla on a diet. She’s getting too fat.” Her daughter was 4. Yes 4. Fat shaming is everywhere. Good on you for churning up the need to stop it.
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…Remember To Spring Forward

    1. Yikes!! While I know some children need to lose weight, there is NO reason to embarrass them or talk about diets, ever. Some people are fat-shamed their whole lives, unfortunately (some who aren’t ever really fat, too). The cycle needs to stop! Thanks so much!

  12. Hi: I have to admit that I was only dimly aware of the comments about Kelly Clarkson. I’d chalk them up to the fact that Kelly Clarkson is a world famous performer — and the commenter is not. More serious is the role of “fat shaming” in achieving better health habits (better health habits are a very important part of my blogging). Shaming anyone isn’t really going to achieve the end goal of improving that person’s health. Positive motivation is much better, and perhaps more appreciated by all involved! I continue to believe that it is important to teach kids about good eating and exercise habits; there’s some great recent research (I may blog about it at some point) that suggests that it is much, much harder to lose weight once your body becomes accustomed to carrying it. Great that you are feeling healthy, and I wish you continued success in your ongoing journey!
    Anna Fitfunner recently posted…FTSF: You wanna know what really grinds my gears?

    1. I really think that one of the keys to getting to a place of losing weight through exercise and diet is loving yourself as you are in the moment and not feeling ashamed. When you feel ashamed, it is hard to put on those work out clothes and go into a gym where you fear other people will look down on you as much as you look down on yourself. Of course it is important to teach good habits young.

      As for the Kelly Clarkson part, it isn’t the first celebrity or non-celebrity I’ve seen fat-shamed. A fellow blogger and friend received comments on her blog from a troll telling her how fat she is. I’ve seen it directed to people a lot. I’ve been fat-shamed…just one example was riding my bicycle and some boys laughing at me and calling me a pig on a bike (this was over 15 years ago). That’s why I felt motivated to write about it. Those who are fat can tell you we have heard it in our life directed at us and seen it directed at others. It’s hard to miss when you aren’t the target.

  13. I loved this post. I have heard the comments of this disgusting woman before and she honestly makes me sick. I am also overweight but am losing it very, very slowly. I eat very healthy, I also have low cholesterol and my blood pressure is perfect. I was diagnosed with a rare form of RA several years ago so it is exercising that is harder for me. I do walk whenever it is possible, but I also understand that sometimes it just isn’t possible and that it’s nobody else’s business.
    Rena McDaniel recently posted…THE BULLY…#1000SPEAK

    1. Yes, yes, yes! When you are immobile for any reason, it does affect your ability to maintain a healthier weight. I truly believe that. Heck, I’m not nearly as mobile as I wish because of the issues on the right side of my body. I keep trying to get stronger and improve, but it isn’t easy when you have physical challenges. And, you are right…no one else’s business except you, your doctor, and maybe your family.

    1. Thanks, Chrissy!! Oh, she’s so irritating. She triggered my response, but I’m sick of reading it in comments to a picture of any overweight woman. I also notice that overweight men aren’t criticized and fat-shamed to the degree women are, and it makes me ill!

  14. Hi there Denise! First off, I am originally from Kansas! When I see somebody else from KS, I get very excited:) Secondly, I just read your amazing post on Huffington Post and it really honked me off. Like you were saying, I feel most of the overweight people struggle with their weight, not because they’re lazy or don’t care, but they have a disability to where they are physically unable to do a lot of activity (my mom has terrible RA), they have an eating disorder (I struggled with my weight for years because of my binging), depression, meds, etc. People that have never had to deal with weight issues have no idea what it feels like. They don’t realize that it’s not so black and white. I wrote a post on not too long ago similar to fat-shaming at http://hungrybeastling.com/exercise-and-humiliating-motivation/ where trainers would actually throw cupcakes at their clients. Pretty disgusting. Thank you for your awesome post Denise. You rock:-)

    1. Thank you so much for your positive comments!! Unless you have been through it, you have no idea how tough it can be (or been with someone trying to lose weight). Some people have an easier time than others. Others, like myself, struggle because we have additional challenges. And I love the post you wrote! Simply amazing and spot on. You motivate someone to go to the gym or lose weight through positivity and hope, not humiliation and shame. Thanks so much again!

  15. Thank you so much for your positive comments!! Unless you have been through it, you have no idea how tough it can be (or been with someone trying to lose weight). Some people have an easier time than others. Others, like myself, struggle because we have additional challenges. And I love the post you wrote! Simply amazing and spot on. You motivate someone to go to the gym or lose weight through positivity and hope, not humiliation and shame. Thanks so much again!
    jayhawk.mommy@yahoo.com recently posted…Slow Cooker Taco Dip

  16. I also struggle to lose fat and I understand that some people have legitimate reasons why they can’t exercise – like the poster above with RA. However, I feel like the VAST majority of overweight folks are indeed lazy. Not lazy in a relative sense. They are just like everyone else, we are all very lazy. An example of this, and what motivated me to comment, was when Jayhawk wrote, ” I plan to get back to walking 2-3 times a week and losing weight.” Seriously? I’m sorry, but walking 2-3 times a week is, unfortunately, nowhere near enough. I have to bust my butt to lose a few grams. I’m up at 4:25 AM, at the gym at 5 for an hour doing various resistance and HIIT routines. Often times I will take a 2-3 mile walk during my lunch hour, plus a trail-run or soccer once or twice a week. I’m burning between 200-100 calories per day on exercise alone (avg. about 300). In order to meet my target this week, I’m forced to do 2 routines per day – it’s killing me. My legs are sore just sitting at my desk. And all that moaning pertains only to half the battle: “Calories out”. Calories in is a whole other pain in my backside involving calorie tracker apps, constantly checking nutrition facts and some serious self control. You would NOT believe how many calories are in a handful of almonds. Almonds!

    So kill myself as I do, I am still overweight according to the BMI. Not obese thank god, but I was obese before. It’s not hard to fall into that sad category living in this food-rich and activity-starved environment. So my point is that it takes work to not be fat, a lot of work and a lot of suffering and a lot of self control. Not for all people, but for most. And for most people it’s too much work. It’s much easier to succumb to the occasional guilty pleasures and go for a walk 2-3 times a walk. But make no mistake, that IS lazy. It’s just that lazy is the status quo.

    1. Wow. So instead of reading about why it’s wrong to fat shame and taking that to heart, you come to MY page and decide to shame me and call me lazy. What arrogance! For someone who claims to understand that there might be issues relating to why one can’t lose weight, you are awfully judgmental. Are you proud of yourself for fat-shaming me and calling me lazy??

      What you fail to realize (or ignored in what I wrote) is that I have my own circumstances and challenges. First off, I will be a mother to 3 little ones in June (when I give birth to baby #3). Trying to get them all out to go walk with me is a challenge and slows down any walk I hope to have that will make it a good work out. So, I will do that on occasion, but also try to work within my husband’s schedule so I can go out by myself. Second, along with having 3 little ones, I will be nursing one on demand which means very little sleep for me for the first 3-4 months. Additionally, (and here is the part you missed) I have DROP foot and asthma. I can’t walk with a normal stride. I have a slight limp which puts more pressure on my hips. The asthma, particularly in the summer when I will be able to resume walking, limits me. With those two combined, I need to build up my endurance. So, as I stated, after I have my baby, I will start walking 2-3 times a week and start working on losing weight. I never said that was my end goal. People fail who start working out 5-7 days a week and injuring themselves. My ultimate goal will be to start doing 5Ks again (yes, I’ve done them before). And here’s the clincher for you….when I’m pregnant, my asthma worsens. I’m at the point that I can’t even walk across the house without having problems breathing (1/3 of asthmatic women have this issue when pregnant). So, I will need to get my “lungs” back and in shape so I can have effective workouts.

      But….you never asked that, did you? You never asked why only 2-3 times a week. You assumed that was my end goal and there were no reasons. It’s a shame that you couldn’t look beyond yourself. That is the problem with fat shaming. You assume and make a jerk of yourself in doing so. And heck, with 3 little ones, who the hell has time to be lazy? I sure as hell don’t.

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