Fat Shaming – Making overweight people feel bad about themselves by calling them out on the issue publicly. Its back in the spotlight again at the moment due to Nicole Arbour’s viral YouTube rant. Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here:
The video above went viral and was originally taken down as hate speech on YouTube. Does Nicole hate fat people? She says in the video that if anything she’s being selfish because she wants you around a little longer. She has now also reportedly been fired from an unconfirmed movie job as a result of the internet backlash.
A few years ago there was the case of Maria Kang. You may recognise her “What’s your excuse?” picture that made headlines and outraged people from all over the world:
Maria was crucified for trying to motivate others into taking action within their own lives. Maria was blocked from Facebook and has had countless articles written slamming her and defending mums who “Don’t need excuses”. People seemed genuinely upset at the idea that she could possibly think that having 3 kids is no excuse not to go out and achieve your health and fitness goals. That prompted this blog post by her titled “Sorry but not sorry”, which can be quite simply summed up with this quote from within the post:
When we normalize being unhealthy we create complacency to positively change.
Many health and fitness professionals will agree with that quote.
So what’s the issue with these examples?
Both are trying to make people take note of the consequences of their unhealthy lifestyle and motivate them in to doing something about it. I’d argue that they aren’t doing anything that isn’t already deemed OK by the mainstream media, but because they did it on the internet people feel they can be outraged and attack them from the safety of their computers. It’s easy to find a target on the internet and get all SJW on them with the Mob Mentality that you often see on the internet.
Why did I mention the mainstream media though?
Here in Australia we have our own version of The Biggest Loser and the latest round of promo’s we’ve seen for the current iteration: The Biggest Loser: Families, has just started on channel 10. The trainers spend time with each of the families, they eat and drink what the families eat and drink which results in them expressing their horror and disgust by way of facial reactions, gasps and running commentary cuts expressing their disgust at the lifestyle and habits they are seeing the family undertake every day.
These are fitness professionals…on TV…expressing their feelings of disgust throughout the visit and gawking at the spectacle of these people consuming obscene amounts of calories. Fat Shaming much? But because it’s on TV it’s different to the internet right?
We at home then get to sit there, judging and commenting on social media about how it makes us feel. Doesn’t this constitute fat shaming too? I think so. I think everyone’s just as guilty in that department.
Think its just been happening recently? Nope.
Previous contestants have come out and spoken about how they were belittled, called fat and told that the excessive exercise and pain was their punishment for a lifetime of bad lifestyle decisions.
Is it just TBL? Nope.
Another reality show – Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition makes the same kind of spectacle of its contestants, just produced to give you the warm fuzzies. This is apart from the fact that losing that much weight in such a relatively short period of time is completely unhealthy for the participants as well.
Can you see the problem here? Its OK to do it on TV, but when you voice an opinion on the internet its not. Mob mentality takes over – because it’s an individual the group can target.
All thats happened here is with the advent of YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter you no longer need to write an angry letter to a faceless broadcasting company complaining and have it ignored. Now you can instantly see and contact the person who you feel has wronged you from the comfort of your couch and let them have it. You can connect with others who also feel the same and launch an angry tirade together, judging the person for the small portion you know about their life.
In my opinion it’s human nature to be judgemental and thats ultimately what reality TV plays on. They want you to judge the subjects and talk about it with your friends at work. But by jumping on the SJW bandwagon and joining the mob going after someone you’re just doing the same thing.
If the mob focused their attention on the problem of obesity in the first place, imagine what they could accomplish. Isn’t that a social issue holding so many people in back from their potential in society?
The real cost of obesity
There’s a cost to all this which is much higher than attacking an individual and causing them to lose business opportunities in the short term – its the cost we all share because of it, yet most people are too insulated to see that.
Lets take a step back and look at the cost of unhealthy lifestyle’s on the country for a moment. In 2014 the rising obesity epidemic cost Australia an estimated $12 Billion. By 2025 it’s projected to be $21 Billion. Total costs including governmental, carers and productivity were estimated to be about $58 Billion back in 2008! The Huffington Post reported that lateraleconomics.com.au was able to measure it to cost $120 Billion.
That smaller cost is a cost we all share by way of paying taxes – and it will continue to rise along with the measurements of waistlines all over the country unless people realise the error of their ways. The higher cost is a collective between us and the government and what we all lose out on because of it.
That’s not to mention the cost to the individual:
- Heart disease & eventual heart attack
- Skin disorders
- Hormone deficiencies
- Sleep apnea
- Multiple types of cancers
- Conception issues
If the person manages to conceive a child, all of this is what’s waiting for them as well.
So you know what? Fat shaming isn’t a bad thing – it’s a shame people get to be that overweight they can’t enjoy a decent quality of life. If your friends and family haven’t called you out on it then its time someone else did. If it effected just you, its fine, but it effects the rest of society too, even the ones rushing to your aid online.