Bias Against Fat People is So Endemic We Don’t Recognize It


From Medical Xpress: People from all marginalized backgrounds are subjected to microaggressions and hostility every day, which has serious physical and mental health consequences. But our biases against fat people are so entrenched and normalized that we don’t even recognize these attitudes as prejudice.

“Microaggressions against fat people are so pervasive and normalised in modern society that people, even fat people, may not recognise them as stigmatising at all. The sometimes ambiguous nature of microaggressions means that the target may be unsure of the intent or underlying meaning, wondering if that person was actually stigmatising them or not, making it difficult to respond. What is more, fat stigma is so entrenched that many fat people are complicit in their own stigmatisation, believing that they deserve it, or that the perpetrator was just stating a fact (‘fat people are ugly and disgusting’).

On the other hand, if they do challenge the stigma, at best, they may be told to ignore it; at worst, their experiences are invalidated. Victims of microaggressions are told they are just imagining the slight, that they are overly sensitive or even paranoid, or that they simply need to develop a sense of humour. Fat people may even be told to lose weight if they don’t like it. Most people would never tell a member of another stigmatised group that they should change themselves if they don’t want to be discriminated against.”

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  1. I made the argument on another site that even if fat is ugly and unhealthy (ugly is subjective, but if the majority of a society deems something ugly then I guess it is) it still does not make treating fat folks with cruelty right. Cancer is ugly and unhealthy but no one mocks those with cancer.

    I am struggling to lose weight and it’s more difficult than a naturally slim person can imagine. I sigh and realize I never will weigh 120 pounds.

    The genetic lottery plays a role. So do psych drugs. (Don’t go on those if you don’t want to be fat!) So do behavioral factors like exercise and eating right.

    I am walking 2 miles a day now. And I will walk even more in the future. Maybe anaerobic exercise too. Changing my eating habits is essential since just dieting doesn’t work. Replacing fast food with batch cooking healthful, nourishing meals and organizing community potlucks are a few examples.

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