Why is ‘Fat-Shaming’ a Thing?
Today I read a post about Nike featuring a "plus-sized" model in an ad for their new series of sports bras.
The response was mixed. Some people applauded Nike for challenging what it looks like to be an athlete. Others, because it's the internet, decided to bash Nike.
It got me thinking about something. Why has "fat-shaming" become something in society? Why do we constantly look at other people's bodies and automatically cast judgment on how they live their life? I honestly ask this question because the issue of weight is something that rules my life since I stepped on the scale when I was in 4th grade. I remember standing in my parents' bedroom and my mom standing with me. We both looked down, astonished that a little 4th-grader was tipping the scale at 143lbs. What I wouldn't give to see 143lbs on the scale today!
My weight is a daily struggle. No, wait, hourly struggle. I am not skinny. In fact, I don't think anyone has ever described me as such. Have I been called fat? More times than I can count. Have been publicly shamed for my weight (via social media and to my face)? Continually. The funny thing about working in the media is that people will draw conclusions about you saying I am terrible at my job because I am not skinny. There are many other reasons I am terrible at my job at times, but I can assure you my weight isn't one of them.
I think about all the girls and women who struggle with their weight and have to deal with reading comments from people on the internet when Nike posts a picture of a plus-sized model or when being plus-sized even dominates the headlines. Maybe you look at someone like Amy Schumer, who gets "fat-shamed" often and think to yourself "Man, I've got her beat by a few pant sizes." It sucks.
It sucks that people who don't know you or your life pass such harsh judgment on you. I understand. I get it. When you say that you exercise, and they give you a side-eye glance as if saying "yeah, right."
I've been there. Still, am. I go to CrossFit at least four times a week. Eat clean about 90-95% of the week and have eliminated sugar from my diet. Ridiculously healthy. But I'm not skinny. Not close. It's that assumption about what I do when I go home. I had someone email and asked "What do you do when you go home? Go home and eat an entire jar of mayonnaise?" Dude. I don't even like mayonnaise. Mustard maybe, not mayo.
Do I binge on ice cream or cookies? No. Do I just lay around on the couch eating chips? Sometimes I lay around on the couch like after working all day and going to workout. But no. I don't eat chips. And if I did, why is that any business of anyone else?
The thing "fat-shamers" don't see are the tears people cry because of it. Maybe people are doing everything they can to be healthy and take care of themselves, but it may just be harder for them to lose the few pounds that you were lucky enough not to gain.
Kindness goes a long way. Kindness. Acceptance. Weight doesn't define a person. But being mean to someone else does. I leave you with this, as I was talking to a girl at the gym the other day, she said, "I love coming to CrossFit because, as you can see, I'm a bootyful woman, and no one judges me, they are just excited to see me."