Fat shaming is everywhere. It’s in Reddit threads, comment sections, Instagram posts, it’s on television, in the news, it’s in shopping malls, and grocery stores, and elementary schools. Although some fat shaming is obvious (not to mention unoriginal and laugh-worthy), there are some surprising fat shaming terms and phrases that can be extremely hurtful and harmful to those they are said to, as well as young ears that may be listening.
And guess what? Fat-shaming doesn’t get anyone anywhere. The Atlantic reported that studies found fat-shaming doesn’t motivate people to lose weight. In fact, people who are fat-shamed are more likely to gain weight when they’ve been discriminated over their weight. It’s important to learn how to be an ally to people who are fat-shamed (whether it’s you, your friend, or a complete stranger), and it’s important to remember that even the most body-positive people don’t always get it right. Whether you’re educating yourself or a friend, remember that not all weight discrimination is obvious — and what you think might be a compliment, might not be a compliment at all.
1"You're Not Fat, You're Beautiful"
Newsflash, being fat and being beautiful are not mutually exclusive. Being fat does not stop a person from being beautiful, and being beautiful does not mean a person is thin. When people stop correlating beauty with weight, the world becomes a more beautiful place.
2"I Feel So Fat"
There is a world of linguistic opportunities out there to describe how you're feeling when you've just eaten three pieces of pizza, and fat is the most unoriginal of them all. A simple, "I'm so full," will do just fine.
3"You're So Pretty For A Plus Sized Girl"
Why not just say "You're so pretty"? Short, sweet, simple, and unoffensive. The addition of anything beyond that initial compliment only insinuates that being plus sized somehow hinders a person's ability to be beautiful, which is not only untrue, but hurtful.
4"Stop Calling Yourself Fat"
When you tell someone to stop calling themselves fat, you're insinuating that fat is negative. When you learn to disassociate the world fat with how much a person's self-worth and confidence level, the world opens new doors.
5"Did You Lose Weight? You Look So Great!"
Have I lost weight? No, I just look fabulous today, thanks. This may seem like a compliment, but it's not. Please find a way to compliment fat women with things aside from suggesting they've lost weight. There is more to beauty than size, and more to humans than beauty.
6"I'm Too Fat To (Insert Activity Here)"
I once had a size-two roommate who, when feeling like she overate, would say, "I'm too fat to live." Not only were the words utterly and completely untrue, but using the descriptor "too fat" for anything — let alone the concept of living — it's a no go, guys. You may think it'll get a chuckle from the peanut gallery, but suggesting you're too fat to do anything at all is demeaning, degrading, and self-loathing in the worst ways.
7"Do I Look Fat?"
When sporting a new outfit, why is it that women so often ask if they look fat rather than bad? This mindset immediately associates the word fat in a negative connotation. Next time you have doubts about something you're wearing, try using different adjectives. Stretch your vocabulary further than fat.