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Fat Shaming Episode 1

March 09, 2018

Fat Shaming Episode 1

Today we’re going to start a series about fat shaming.

In researching plus-size clothing I found that the root of a lot of problems in the fashion industry stem from weight bias. So, while I’ve been studying fashion, I’ve also been researching weight bias and fat shaming for about 8 years. So today, I want to define Fat shaming, explain why do we do it? And give you the first step towards reducing weight bias.

fat sham·ing


  1. the act or practice of humiliating someone judged to be fat or overweight by making mocking or critical comments about their size.

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weight bias


  1. Weight stigma or bias generally refers to negative attitudes toward a person because he or she is overweight or obese, such as the stereotype that obese persons are lazy or lacking in willpower.


Weight bias and fat shaming is so ingrained in our culture, that a lot of the time people don’t even realize they are doing it. Weight bias and fat shaming may be the last socially acceptable prejudice in our culture — occurring more frequently than gender, sexuality, age or religious discrimination (Puhl, Andreyeva, & Brownell, 2008). Click here, here, here, and here to read examples of fat-shaming incidents or google recent comments about Taylor Swift and her "weight gain". Those are examples of fat shaming.

So why do we do it?

  1. We are culturally conditioned to believe that fat is bad and if someone is large they are unhealthy.
  2. We are exposed to television and media that fat shames which programs us to think it is normal and acceptable behavior.
  3. Some people think that poking fun or making a gentle nudge about someones big belly will help motivate a fat person to be active - this is a false assumption - fat shaming actually decreases self-worth and in that space people are less likely to engage in healthy behaviors.

Weight is not a behavior and "obesity" in and of itself isn’t a disease. Despite the AMA’s decision to classify "obesity" as a disease, there are numerous individuals who are fat with a perfect bill of physical health. Scare tactics, shaming or discrimination aren’t acceptable. Help efforts should focus on modifiable actions such as self-esteem building, balanced lifestyles, and healthy self-expression. We need to be a part of the solution by ditching any shaming behaviors and supporting each other with love and compassion.

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