Hi Dr. C chiming in! Today on ask Dr. Deb, we're looking at the 6 main types of fat shaming on TV.
Last month, I was asked:
“From your point of view, do TV Shows have a bad influence on what people think about fat/plus-size people?”
So today we’re dedicating a whole video to it!
YES. 100%. Absolutely. Television and movies are among the worst influence in normalizing negative beliefs, attitudes and behaviors about plus-size/ fat people. it is an area that hits me in the heart because many children’s shows and movies portray fat people in a negative manner and this teaches our children it is acceptable behavior. Substantial research shows that fat children, adolescents and adults are negatively stereotyped, treated differently, and face discrimination in television and movies (Obesity Research Journal).
The media is powerful because provides us with visual and verbal information on acceptability of behavior which contributes to the shaping of norms and beliefs about weight. Yes this is a big deal. Based on the media, the social consensus of our culture is that fat is bad. A 2017 study found that 84 percent of the top-grossing kids' movies released between 2012 and 2015 promote weight stigma. A separate 2014 study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders showed that 58.3 percent of youth-directed TV shows and cartoons also contain some kind of negative comment or incident related to a character's weight or appearance. We see it and hear it on our television every single day. How do we spot it? There are 6 main types of fat shaming or weight stigmatizing on TV
This is why I think fat children are a target for bullying.
Here are only a few examples:
Adolescent/ Teenagers/Adult – I have old shows and movies listed to demonstrate how long this has been part of our media culture – as children we were exposed to this and probably adopted these beliefs.
This reflects a society that is overly critical about body shape and size, particularly for females but men are targeted as well. This stigmatization sends a message to young people that no matter what their weight, their bodies are not good enough.
Such a social norm is expected to contribute to body dissatisfaction and associated health problems such as disordered eating and depression (Harvard Medical School).It also teaches kids that, as adults, we believe it’s okay to single out a particular group based on physical characteristics that are different from us - not too different from racism - which we can all agree is not ok.
I would challenge everyone to take note next time you watch TV, how many fat jokes are made? Or what subtle ways are fat people made to appear lazy, stupid, overeating or messy? It’s more often than we think because we’ve become so used to that image of a fat person in the media.
Thanks for watching episode 3 of our fat shaming series. Did i ruin your favorite TV shows? Do you notice any fat shaming in TV shows? What about your kids shows. Let us know what you think and like subscribe, share this with your friends! People need to know about the fat shaming! Catch ya on the flippity flip.
Thank you Mary for your comment! I think the best thing we can do is to watch as much TV and movies with our children and use each instance of shaming as a learning moment. Explain to your child that while the media shows fat people in a negative context, not every fat person is mean or a villain or a glutton. Then ask them to point it out next time – but be sure that you continue to address it until they start to see if for themselves.
There are some kids approved books that you could get for you and your daughter to read together (https://www.sizediversityandhealth.org/content.asp?id=33&category=Children%2FTeens#results).
There are many non-profit groups that are working to educate people in the media about how their portrayals of fat people has a negative impact. Here are some of the groups working in social justice:
Plus Positive http://www.pluspositive.org/
There is even a special group for teens (http://www.re-bel.org/). It’s a non-profit where they are empowering individuals to play an active role in changing the world, not our bodies.
And while it may not seem like letter writing is helpful, the Council on Size and Weight Discrimination thinks it will (http://cswd.org/letter-writing). I’d encourage you to send letters if you feel compelled. You could even rally other famiiles in your area to do the same.
Thank you for the list – I believe it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I started noticing so many fat shaming references in kids shows and movies after my daughter was born. Disney is a prime example. Most of it’s villain or idiot characters are the fat ones. What can we do about it? Me sending a letter isn’t going to turn the tide. Thoughts?
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Our Size Inclusive Guarantee: Don’t see your size? let us know and we’ll get it for you at no additional cost.
Use the chart below to determine your size. If you’re on the borderline between two sizes, order the smaller size for a tighter fit or the larger size for a looser fit.
Don’t have a measuring tape? No worries! We’ll send you one for free.
At Kade & Vos, we do not use the term "Plus Size". We feel that calling some sizes "Plus Size" means that these sizes and shapes are somehow different from other sizes.
Still unsure about your size? Check out our sizing videos for a more detailed tutorial on measuring yourself.
June 28, 2018
I don’t know. I’m fat and I like quite a few of those films, especially the My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the Bridget Jones franchise. I grew up with
Fat Albert. EVERYONE liked that show, even the fat kids. Maybe you’re being just a bit overly sensitive? I know who I am and am not easily intimidated or shamed by some movie or insipid TV show like Friends which has been off the air now for more than a decade…try to catch up, honey? There are worse problems in the world than a lousy kid’s show.