Fat Shaming



  • GothyFaery
    GothyFaery Posts: 762 Member
    I am not exactly sure what fat shaming is or how it is defined, but I think I may have witnessed it today coming from my own sister. My little sister (who is my pride and joy and my total motivation for losing weight) suffers from PCOS and in order to get her condition under control, she lost 60 pounds. Seriously she looks like a model now. SHe didn't just lose the weight but she also became a total fitness buff. She runs marathons, does spin classes, even bikes. But before she lost the weight, she was a pretty big girl, especially for her height. But there is something that I am noticing about her attitude towards obese, large, chunky, overweight people (whatever you want to call us). She seems to almost hate us. I say us because at this very moment, even though I have lost a few pounds, I am officially considered obese. If someone who is "of size' pisses her off or irritates her, she will throw fat slurs at them. Not so that they can hear it of course. Phrases like, fat *kitten*, lazy fat slob. She even called one group of girls (granted they were rude and very mean) fat sluts. She will also go on diatribes about fat Americans and how we need to do better. We saw some chairs at the furniture that were made for larger people with the wider seat and sturdier structure and she launched into a tirade about how fat people needed to be forced into losing weight and we should NEVER cater to them being fat. So I ask you MFP, is this fat shaming? OR, is her new found fitness awareness just clouding how she views the world? I have been hesitant to remind her that just a few months ago, she needed one of those extra large chairs. I will never be so cruel as to bring that up, but a little empathy from her would be nice! SHe of all people knows how it feels to be looked down upon, judged, even hated because of your weight. I am just so surprised sometimes to hear this coming from her. She is a sweet and loving person but somehow she has developed a hatred for fat. Maybe because we remind her of what she used to be. I try to remind her that when she speak ill of the overweight, she is also talking about me. She gets upset when I say that because somehow she doesn't feel I should be included in the fat group. Give me your opinions. What is the best way to talk to her about this?

    I'm not going to lie, I've had thoughts like your describing since I started losing weight. I think it's because I always told myself that I was happy about the way I looked because I would rather enjoy life and eat what I want instead of being skinny. After seeing how simple it was to lose weight and that I can still eat all the foods I love, I'm really angry at myself for not losing weight sooner. I honestly wish someone had told me "Losing weight is easy. You can do it! You'll still be able to eat what you want. You'll be so much happier..." I wish people had said these things to me so I kind of want to say them to people who are where I was 4 months ago. Just support your sister. She worked so hard to get where she is now.
  • lilbearzmom
    lilbearzmom Posts: 600 Member
    I think it's a reflection of how she feels about herself, and has very little to do with overweight people. I think she carries a lot of anger and hatred of herself....just saying.
  • LozPenguin
    LozPenguin Posts: 139 Member
    I have been hesitant to remind her that just a few months ago, she needed one of those extra large chairs. I will never be so cruel as to bring that up, but a little empathy from her would be nice! SHe of all people knows how it feels to be looked down upon, judged, even hated because of your weight.

    Maybe you should remind her? It isn't a cruel thing to do. She's obviously spent so long hating her larger self, being angry and disappointed with herself, that now she's directing that anger at other people who remind her of how she used to be and feel. To me she doesn't sound like an inherently horrible person; but it’s just the anger and upset she had for herself is still inside her and hasn't been dealt with. I’ll bet she also holds some fear of becoming that way again.

    Talking to someone (therapist, trusted friend, you) about this would be a good idea if she's ever willing. Try reminding her what it used to feel like when other people made her feel worthless because of her size, how what she says feels for you right now. Remind her how hard it was for her to get the way she is now-and ask her if she wants to feel anger and hate for the rest of her life, or if she'd rather learn to accept others and be happy within herself.

    All that bottled-up pain and bitterness is toxic!
  • LadyMustard
    LadyMustard Posts: 105 Member
    All that bottled-up pain and bitterness is toxic!

    It spreads fairly quickly too. Fat shaming is pretty quickly evolving into "fat discrimination", and its terrifying. My husband was often bullied for being overweight as a kid and after we got married, I brought it up that we should work together to get more healthy. It became quickly evident to me that the bullying as a kid had created a hurtle in his mind that said that "he could never lose weight". It took A LOT of encouragement, not shaming, to help him jump that hurtle.

    I understand where people come from when they try and "motivate" people into losing weight, but it usually does more harm than good. In my husband's case, with real, POSITIVE encouragement he lost nearly 50lbs, and instead of becoming a fat-shaming psycho, he became more confident and much more willing to look into working out or cutting calories.

    If fat-shame is what helps you get results and keeps you motivated, fine. But please PLEASE be considerate of others and make sure that is what the person really needs before you start dishing it out to other people.

    And in regard to the OP, yes. I'd consider what your sister said to be fat-shaming.

    Here is an article from last September that I read just this morning:
  • craziedazie
    craziedazie Posts: 189 Member
    I have been hesitant to remind her that just a few months ago, she needed one of those extra large chairs. I will never be so cruel as to bring that up, but a little empathy from her would be nice!

    That's not called cruel, that's called a reality check IMO. And even if she wasn't fat before, name calling and hating people for their size of all things, is uncalled for.

  • MysteriousMerlin
    MysteriousMerlin Posts: 2,270 Member
    Chances are very good that she loathed being fat, perhaps even more than you imagine, and is projecting that self hatred (or former) out into the world.

    It's not uncommon for people who were once fat, and put in the work to correct that, to start acting like this. I have some very strong feelings about the obesity problem in the US, but then again I also had all of those exact same views when I was over 300 lbs.

    Some people do adopt a "If can do it, why can't you" mentality. But, again, often times all you're hearing is a hatred that was already there coming out because they now have a comfortable distance. She probably really, really hated being fat and you're only now getting to see her true feelings about that, just reflected in how she views others.

    :drinker: Well said.
  • toutmonpossible
    toutmonpossible Posts: 1,580 Member
    It sounds like self-loathing. Hopefully after a period of time successfully maintaining her weight she'll be more compassionate. She's afraid of regressing and while what she's doing is a crude way of keeping herself on the right side of the line, it is understandable. At least she's keeping most of the comments to herself. You should talk to her if she continues to hurt your feelings, or at least get some support from her in your own continuing weight loss efforts.
  • LeahNMe
    LeahNMe Posts: 73 Member
    It sounds to me like your sister is trying to fit in with what she would consider the "cool kids" Trying to get away from her own thoughts and feelings about fat people by doing what the "cool crowd" does.
    The only way she will stop is if you, as someone who cares about her, point it out to her. But be prepared for some lash back. Sisters are like that.