Can we rectify the problem of “fat shaming” in our society by promoting well being and a healthy positive attitude toward body image? Not the way we’re doing it now I can assure you.
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,”
Model Kate Moss said this during an interview with the fashion magazine WWD in 2009. The interviewer asked the model if she had any mottos and this is the gem that popped out of the usually silent woman’s mouth. Whether it was genuine or planted to raise scandal and awareness, the statement boomed across the western world. During 2009 our generation was very impressionable, we were just sprawling out into the world, finding out who we were, what we wanted to be, and discovering that new hit song “Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas. A statement that promotes a skinny image would of course impress upon our young generation.
For as long as there has been school there has been, the “fat kid”. They’re singled out based on size and even bullied by their peers. In many cases their treated differently by the faculty and staff of the schools they attend. Doesn’t that seem degrading? Doesn’t it paint the child who happens to be on the heavy side in a negative light? This called “Fat Shaming”. It’s actually a pretty big problem, and it didn’t just start with Kate Moss and her controversial quote. Of course mean kids and with no sense of empathy would pick on the bigger specimens in the preverbal gene pool that is the American Public School System. This problem is so prevalent, that in 2004, a study showed that 30% of teen girls were using diet pills to get thinner.
Most of these were taken off the market before 2010 because of the dangerous side effects they caused, ranging from brown colored urine, to serious lung side effects, and even heart attack. The most common “Diet Pill” out today is known as Alli. It, and drugs like it, have been associated with rare liver injuries that can lead to yellow skin or eyes, a symptom of liver disease known as jaundice, as well as itching, and pale or tarry stool, which are also symptoms of liver disease. The risks people, particularly young impressionable girls, will do to reach a desired body image are staggering. Which brings us to our next topic. Eating disorders.
Eating disorders are no joke. As someone who has family and friends who have suffered from bulimia and anorexia I can say that it is utterly awful for everyone involved.. Kate Moss’s quote sent a boom across the west that it didn’t matter if you were eating right, or even happy, if you weren’t skinny, there was something wrong with you. It uprooted people who actually promote anorexic lifestyles and brought them into the light of day. I myself, during my teen years, had Kate Moss’s quote sticky noted on my mirror. It’s fat shaming through and through. Some of us can’t help but be a little big, some of us choose to be big, and others may be too apathetic or suffer from depression or anxiety. There’s a mixture of faults in the reasoning behind being big, but should bigger humans have to face the day where everyone stares at you and you feel uncomfortable going out and buying clothes for yourself because if they don’t have a size big enough for you, they’ll know. It’s a mysterious they, they the media, they your friends, they that cute waitress at the restaurant you like.
Welcome to the world of thin privilege. I leave you with the website http://thisisthinprivilege.org/ Read the blog posts and stories and make the decision for yourself about this new kind of oppression, or is it not so new? Again, decide for yourself.
So to answer my starting question, the only way to bring a positive imagine on getting healthy or thin, is to start with a healthy mind. Creating a positive self-image is about thinking positively, following through with a plan, and creating small achievable goals every day. I believe this is how we promote wellness and a healthy mind set toward dieting and exercise.
This article was written by Ben May, a writer for dusk magazine.