• Fri, Dec 13 - 1:45 pm ET

People Reveal Their Most Devastating Fat Shaming Moments In Just 140 Characters

salad

I don’t think my friend meant any harm when she said “You’ll probably just want a salad, right?”, but the assumption that I was dieting wasn’t great.

There are a lot of ways to insult, shame, or oppress someone, but perhaps the most detrimental tools are the subtle microaggressions that we don’t even think about. #fatmicroaggressions has been trending on Twitter for the last couple of days, and I think it’s an excellent way to explore microaggressions on the whole, which are less understood than blatant insults or bullying. Everyone should check out the #fatmicroaggressions hashtag on twitter, since we don’t often realize that we’re committing microaggressions, which are extremely harmful.

This tweet (by Amy McCarthy, who wrote beautifully for us about diet culture) perfectly summed up the false but ingrained idea that not only are fat women less sexually desirable, but less picky about their partners.

“Fat girls don’t say no, they’re all desperate for the d.” - #rapeculture and #fatmicroaggressions all in one place.

— Amy McCarthy (@aemccarthy) December 11, 2013

Microaggressions often hide behind compliments, effectively hiding oppressive ideas in plain sight.

I used to be fat and now I’m not, and I can tell you from experience that people fall all over themselves to say things about weight loss. Of all of my (admittedly humble) life’s accomplishments, I’ve never gotten as much praise as I received for losing weight.

These tweets shine light on the cavalier way we refer to fatness as the ultimate punishment, which I think may be the most pervasive microaggression of all. We’ve simply assigned “good” to skinny people and “bad” to fat people, end of story.

Here’s the reality about bodies: bodies are neutral. No body is inherently better than another based on size, yet we assign significant privilege to certain body types based on arbitrary standards (this of course extends far past body size to include race, gender, ability, and tons of other intersecting factors). We take for granted that people who fit the conventional standard for body types aren’t the only people on earth, and are hardly even the majority. It somehow became assumed that this bullshit standard is “normal,” and everyone else is a deviation.

Microaggressions are more dangerous than blatant bullying or shaming, because they’re cloaked in compliments or worse, as “just the way it is.” The implicit assumption of factual accuracy makes them all the easier to internalize, and then these backwards notions get even more entrenched in society. Please go read through the rest of the #fatmicroaggressions tweets, because we’ve all been guilty of them, and it’s time to stop.

Image: Shutterstock // [h/t] Handbag

From Our Partners

Share This Post:
  • Samantha_Escobar

    “”I hope [some person at whom I'm angry] gets fat!” (Because fat is the worst fate one can wish on another person obvs.)”
    AGHHH this drives me so nuts. Or when people say, “But it’s okay, because she got really fat” when referring to somebody they hate.

  • Sacher

    My worst fatshaming events:
    1. Walking home in London on New Years’ eve, some drunk lads shouted, “cor look at the arse on her, it’s the biggest arse I’ve ever seen” and proceeded to throw glass bottles at me.

    2. Waiting for a train in Dublin, one rolled through, and some lads leaned out the window and threw ham and bits of sandwich at me.

    There’s been more but those were the two most humiliating.

    • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

      I want to hug you.

    • Alexis H

      Same. E-hugs all around.

    • Nami

      the thing is though, I can 100% guarantee that if it hadn’t been your weight, those guys would have yelled obscenities about something else (and probably still thrown things). I’m skinny and I’ve been beaned with beer cans on my bike and had countless things yelled at me by assholes. One memorable moment I was out with my friends and a car full of jerks slowed down to yell at us. One guy called us fat/ugly, another guy cat called and offered to show us his dick–it’s like they couldn’t agree on how to negatively engage us because their comments weren’t based on any sort of reality.

  • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

    I have friends who make fun of fat people (especially their clothing choices), but, oh, not me, because I’m their friend! Because yeah, every time you wrinkle your nose at another fat woman or act like being fat is the worst thing a person can be, that doesn’t hit me emotionally. That doesn’t make me wonder what you really think of me.

  • Amanda

    “Fat girls don’t say no, they’re all desperate for the d.”
    This is such a prevalent belief and it drives me nuts. A guy once walked up to me and my friend in the WalMart parking lot. He proceeded to ask us if we would like to see his d and when we (politely for the situation) refused and kept walking, he shouted after us that he hoped we had bought some weight watchers because we were disgusting.

    • LouLou

      man, that guy must be such a winner. He’s got time to loiter the parking lot, asking random girls if they’d like to see the d. Can you say hottieeeee? Yeah. Some guy did that to me when I was standing in line at the store. When I told him to get lost he shouted at me “whatever b! Too damn skinny anyway!” They’re the ones desperate enough to go up to random women like that, but we’re the dumb ones when we refuse them. Yup, totes makes sense.

  • Chelsea

    I think that if a friend/co-worker/etc puts the effort into slimming down (because it almost always takes effort, and it is often hard work), they should be recognized for their accomplishment. If a friend got a promotion or completed a marathon, I would celebrate them. Why shouldn’t we celebrate weight loss as well? It was most likely a goal for them that they have acheived.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      It’s one thing if you know that someone was trying to lose weight. Like if they were on an exercise regimen or dieting openly. Then I think you’re absolutely right. Not only are accolades appropriate in that case, but they’re probably welcomed.

      On the other hand, if you don’t know for sure that the person is actually trying to lose weight, I think comments like Julie described are out of line. You don’t know what is going on. I recently lost over 50 lbs due to a change in medication. I wasn’t trying to lose weight, it just happened. I also lost a ton of weight in high school due to an eating disorder. The praise I received back then was actually detrimental, though no one realized at the time.

      My step mom lost over 75 lbs in two years, after being diagnosed with diabetes and then going on an exercise and dieting plan. She was very open about her struggle, and greatly appreciated the praise she received. So I totally get your point, I do. But it isn’t always the right thing, in my opinion.

    • thurs

      Agree to an extent but you don’t know the cause of the weight loss. It could be an illness, it could be that the person is going through a difficult time. When I got divorced, it was so difficult that I couldn’t eat for months. Having people comment on my weight loss was NOT helpful- they would comment and then also ask how I did it and I just tried to brush it off instead of answering “well, I’m so anxious and unhappy that food has absolutely no appeal to me and I’m actually plummeting way below what I should weigh and am in no way healthy but hey- glad you appreciate that my bones are sticking out of my skin”.

      As a general rule- unless I know the person well enough to know exactly what’s going on- I never comment on people’s bodies. Why not just say “I love your scarf, shirt, outfit, etc”?

  • Wawa Skittletits

    “bodies are neutral. No body is inherently better than another based on size”
    Except that this is false. Sometimes a body is fat because of a slow metabolism or a glandular problem. Sometimes a body is fat because a person is greedy or lazy. The problem is lumping those who eat little and do much together with those who do little and eat much, as if they were the same thing. (They’re not, whether you try to be judgmental about it or not.)

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Okay, so here;s my question. IF someone is “lazy” or “greedy” when it comes to exercise or eating, so what? Does that speak negatively on their character? I don’t think it does.

  • yuio

    what bullshit. some bodies are objectively better than other bodies. are you seriously going to tell me that someone so obese they need to scoot about in a motorized chair has a body the equal of an olympic runner? I don’t think having a better body makes you a better person than someone else, but a fit healthy body is better than a fat sluggish body.