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Society’s Perception of Fat People

Today’s society causes overweight, obese, or fat people to suffer discrimination, prejudice, and humiliation in several areas throughout our nation.

Some television programs like The Biggest Loser hold the overweight up to contempt and public shaming while the whole nation watches and judges. News media reports on obesity constantly show pictures of fat bodies while omitting their heads in the photos, commonly referred to as the “headless fatty”, and often use derogatory expressions such as lazy, flabby, fat asses, and even unsightly slobs.

This is especially true in the dating world, too. Unless finding potential matches on bbw dating sites, which is geared towards the overweight meeting others in same discriminating situations, fat people are subjected to first dates being humiliating and even hurtful when they meet someone who wasn’t expecting an overweight person to arrive.

The stigma of being overweight has significant effects on a fat person’s life. Compared to thin people, fat people are statistically more likely to live in poverty due to earning less money, having lower education levels, being employed in lower status jobs, and experiencing lower living standards. BBW women in professional occupations are particularly discriminated in the workplace if they are overweight. Many companies prefer thinner women to represent their company’s image. As a result, failing to reach the higher echelons compared to thinner colleagues, often causes fat women to be overlooked for higher positions.

From a social aspect, fat people tend to receive less respect from others and are often subjected to derogatory humor and comments from co-workers, friends, and family members. In public settings, strangers also voice their judgments and cast their disapproving looks. Healthcare workers openly admit to being “repulsed” by fat people.

Sadly, fat children are subjected to greater bullying and prejudice than other children. They often experience ostracism and teasing to a greater extent. More sadly, even their own parents may favor their thinner children over their larger ones.

Fat bodies are culturally regarded as inferior, lazy, ugly, and disgusting. These terms were derived over the centuries from the Judeo-Christian theory that a disciplined body is closer to God. Self-control over bodily urges, like hunger and sexual desire, was evidence of moral superiority and relative lack of sin. However, we live in a more secular society today, and these moral assumptions still dominate our understanding of the value of self-discipline and how it’s reflected in our body size and shape.

Again, this is evident in the dating world, as well. Men and women, alike, dream of finding that perfect someone and more times than not, are repulsed by a fat person showing up for a first date. Many overweight people, however, have found confidence-building dates by finding them on bbw dating sites. These sites are specifically designed for men and women to find the common interests in people and genuine qualities, rather than focusing on superficial aspects.

Newer theories derived from medicine and public health research, which intensified in the late 1990’s, found obesity to be an epidemic that has emerged in many countries and is predicted to lead to higher rates of disease and premature death. Intensive mass media coverage on this issue has led to the conclusion that fat people are not only ill-disciplined, but also sick and physically unfit, regardless of where they fall on the body weight spectrum.

Unlike other attributes that commonly attract discrimination, such as skin color, gender, or disability, fat people are viewed as deserving of their fate due to a preconceived notion of no self-control. They are also often represented as attracting higher healthcare costs. As a result, fat people often avoid medical attention due to their concerns and apprehensions of being judged negatively by the doctor. This means they may not receive early preventive treatment for medical conditions they may have.

People identified as fat or overweight are highly aware of the moral failure that their bodies represent. Research studies with fat people identified the shame they felt about their bodies and the social humiliation to which they are often exposed to by others. The studies further showed that fat people often expressed highly negative thoughts about their own bodies, stating that they “felt ashamed”, “felt ugly”, and were “self-conscious”.

Fat people often feel very self-conscious about going out in public, especially when eating out or grocery shopping. They are very aware of others who are watching and making derogatory judgments about what and how they’re eating, or what they’re buying. They feel very exposed.

This feeling seems to diminish, however, when couples who have met on bbw dating sites  venture out together. The confidence each feels from the other help relieve some of the stress and eventually eliminates paying any attention to hurtful people who may have them in their sights.

Given the discrimination that fat people are subjected to, it’s no wonder that they’re more likely than others to suffer from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. This, in turn, can lead to a greater likelihood of eating for comfort. Medications offered for these conditions can also lead to gaining weight, thereby compounding the problem.

A lower socioeconomic status of fat people, in itself, is more likely to cause health problems. The combination of living in poverty, experiencing stigmas based on body weight and accompanying diminished social status, may cause continuing high stress levels.

In conjunction with poor living conditions and the lack of opportunity to exercise and maintain a high-quality diet, disadvantaged people’s exposure to stress may result in illness and disease. These medical conditions may, in turn, not be treated effectively because of the lack of access to high quality medical care.

People who discriminate against fat people and consider it appropriate to use “fat-shaming” terms when talking about them or to them, don’t seem to view fat people as genuine human beings who are deeply hurt and humiliated by the actions and words of others, and who may be struggling with significant socioeconomic disadvantages or mental health conditions.

Or perhaps, however, people simply don’t care about hurting and judging fat people, or that fat people somehow deserve punishment and scrutinizing for their supposed inability to control their urges.

 

In a supposedly modern and compassionate society, shouldn’t fat discrimination be viewed for what it is? A kind of bigotry that represents a lack of understanding, compassion, and tolerance for bodily differences? It is comforting to see bbw dating sites trying to combat the stigma and offering a safe place for overweight singles to meet others and find love.

It shouldn’t just be fat people who call attention to fat bigotry and fat phobia. We are all guilty if we tolerate, contribute to, and accept the negative judgments of fatness that run rampant in our society. We should all just say “no” to fat discrimination.

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