Fat Shaming: It’s Not A Matter Of Health, It’s A Matter Of Appearances
“In a special four-minute comment that aired during this morning’s news broadcast on La Crosse, Wisconsin’s CBS affiliate WKBT, news anchor/reporter Jennifer Livingston responded to a viewer who wrote in to the station to chide Livingston for not providing “a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular,” by appearing on television despite being overweight.
“If you needed another reason to be a fan of Gabourey Sidibe, the words she spoke at a recent Women’s Inspiration and Enterprise conference in NYC last week just might give you what you’re looking for. The actress, who receives a lot of rude remarks and inquiries about her weight, touched on people’s obsession with her size, and the struggle she dealt with to feel confident about who she was as a young woman. And she also touched on how even with the confidence she gained, she still gets her feelings hurt by how cruel Hollywood and the media can be.
What do these two stories have in common? Well they are both about to plus size women proudly declaring their sense of worth in the face of people, who think they should feel otherwise. Let’s be frank here: despite all the “concern” about role models and their health, these ladies physical condition and mentor status is the less of people’s real uneasiness. People do unhealthy stuff every day. Heck if you are right now sitting at your computer for eight hours a day, like many of you are, you probably are at risk from a number of ailments including carpal tunnel syndrome, cancer and stroke. Yet there is no national campaign to rid the nation of office chairs and cubicles. So the least we can do is be honest about the root of our angst: this is not about health. It’s about appearance. And the whole, “you know…for your health” thing is just a way to be a passively aggressive mean girl/guy to someone you are repulsed by.
Repulsion may be a strong word however there is one study, which has proven that at least the word “disgust” was the strongest predictor of negative attitudes toward obese people. Moreover, obese people were considered less favorably, as well as more disgusting, than almost all socially defined groups. The reason being that fat people are believed to be more lazy and lacking of self-control than the rest of us smokers, reckless drivers, texting while walkers and fans of “Basketball Wives.” Therefore it is okay to publicly shame fat people because there is no greater form of deflecting your own internal fear of not measuring up than “hey fatty, get off your lazy bum and go work out.”
However, contrary to popular belief, you can’t always tell a person’s health just by looking at them. I know, shocking, right? In fact if we were looking at a side by side picture of fat person a double cheeseburger supersized meal and one of a skinny person eating the same meal, guess who has the unhealthy diet? Here’s a hint: it is likely both of them. There are fat people, who live for a very long time. There are also fat people that are vegans (which mean they are likely to eat fruits and vegetables), exercise regularly, even running marathons. Likewise, there are fat people, who actually really truly do have health conditions, which prohibit them from maintaining a healthy weight.
But let’s say that there are folks (because there are) out there that are gluttonous lazy pigs, who are really eating themselves to death. What business is it of yours? No seriously, how does another person’s health really affect you personally? Before you open your mouth to dish out some weak argument about your health insurance co-pays, consider the fact that there is more and more evidence, which suggest that your personal health decisions/ailments have less of an effect on the rising cost of health insurance premiums in America than the health insurance companies themselves. And since we don’t blast granny about her over-reliance on prescription pills, which killed about 41,000 Americans in 2008 alone; or prohibit children from swimming, since drowning kills more children than any cause except birth defects; or chastise people, who choose to drive, because car accidents still remain one of the leading cause of accidental deaths in America, then there is really no need to remind a tubby what having all that extra weight on their bones might be doing to their health. Plus odds are, they already know.
B-b-but I eat fruits, lean meats and green veggies with every main meal and I run five times a week and can do 5 reps of 10 on a 200 pound bench press. If I can do it, than that fatty over there can do it too. Cool story Bro, but I care as much about your personal diet and exercise regiment as I do about how many times a day you went to the bathroom. In other words, I don’t give a shat. However, I do care about people dying from famine and poverty around the globe while the most prosperous people seem to horde all the resources. I also care why it is that more than one-third of adults who earn less than $15,000 a year were obese, while only 25 percent who earn more than $50,000 a year were classified the same. And I care about the reasons behind why the cost of an apple is three times as much as the price of a Twinkie. So if we really were concerned about the health of nation, then that’s where all of our “caring” needs to be directed. But if not, then do us a favor and properly label your “concern” for the fatties for what it really is: the shallow ravings of an insecure, overcompensating, mean-spirited butthole.
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