Shaming the Fat-Shaming Movement: Looking is NOT shaming
Every single person on the planet gets shamed. Some, for spectacularly disturbing reasons, whilst others singularly because they romanticize the concept of being shamed.
‘Shaming’ is the latest addition to our urban dictionary. Its defined as an act of bringing embarassment to drunk people after they’re, well, drunk. However, over the last few months, the suffix ‘-shaming’ has been applied to the word ‘slut’ and its definition changed to humiliating, anxiety-causing behavior towards people who are being shamed. It has become the voice of people trying to rise against social evils like misogyny, racism among many more. I can see an immense value in the anti-shaming movement, which aims at uplifting the society by force of collective voice. These movements have significant reach and serve as a form of education for a large number of uninformed people.
Having said that, however, there is a kind that bothers me — it is the anti-fat-shaming campaign I see rapidly spreading. Mainly because these people have the audacity to think that their victimization (for being fat) compares to slut-shaming and other societal devils which have wreaked devastation in lives of the victims.
Let’s briefly summarize the psychology (or the lack of it) for the supposed victims of fat-shaming:
- People stare at me…they’re looking at my fat…I’m being shamed
- I resent their looks, who are they to judge me! Its my body, so what if I chose to lead an unhealthy life?
- I feel so much pain, and this is all their fault (not of my binge-eating, couch-hugging, slug-like existence)
- How do I shirk away from doing something about my body and find a way to place the blame onto the entire world?
- Got it! Its the people who look at me and stare who are responsible for me feeling this way. (Obviously not the fat)
- Let me spread this movement everywhere so people can sympathize with me and persecute the ones who stare :D
For these people, let me share a rather basic physiological concept — we have eyes for a reason and whether we like it or not, they see things. Our brain, unfortunately processes them and results in an expression for most people; whether it’s a glare or a scowl or a violent desire to slap that person’s face off (this happens all the time when I read about all these people wallowing in self-pity because someone looked at them). It’s simply natural to react.
In case, you’re wondering what brought all this rage on, let me explain. I recently read an article written by a woman who claims that due to constant staring (also known as fat-shaming), she felt humiliated and sad about being obese. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pro making people feel miserable and questioning their life choices, however, this particular piece enraged me.
How could this woman assign blame so blatantly to a bunch of unknowns and ever so casually throw around a word like depression?? Is this what we’ve come to? Are we going to judge people for judging? (notice the irony)
Now, as much as I can empathize to feeling sad about being fat, (been there, still there a bit) since it implies an unhealthy state of body and mind, I refuse to blame other people who look/stare/glare at the fat for my sorrow.
Sometimes I think, it might actually be good for over-weight people to be shamed, if it manages to motivate them to freaking do something about it. It worked for me.
This is a cry for attention and a ploy at exploiting the gentleness and vulnerability of unsuspecting readers. This is the free-pass on which these people will ride away a life of poor decision-making and still come out the heroes and survivors.
On a serious note, being over-weight is alarmingly unhealthy for numerous legit reasons (if you don’t know them, don’t bother reading ahead). Aren’t we being a little prejudiced if we automatically assume that anyone making a face or staring at us, is shaming us for some discrepancy which the person might not have noticed to begin with? Yes, we are.
You know why that is? Humans are inherently presumptuous (revisit the paragraph where I’ve described how we are physiologically built to have a response to what we see). Do we pause and consider for a minute that there might be other reasons for someone to stare at you — maybe, they’re looking at what’s written on your t-shirt, or wondering how you got fat, or mentally trying to figure if you’ll occupy more than one seat on a flight OR maybe they’re genuinely trying to empathize, thinking how terrible it might be for you to go through that?
This might come as a surprise to you — the anti-fat-shaming movers & shakers — but attractive people get stared at a lot too. It isn’t exactly a cake-walk living life constantly being leched at or deemed stupid because you’re pretty. Hell, we live in a time where belonging to a gender itself opens you up to a plethora of shaming. A personal and intimate choice, like sexual preference can fester an absolute hatred by a staggering amount of people.
Colour, cast, creed, clothing & catharsis. I reiterate — every choice gets shamed.
So, to all the fat people out there — admit this, you are sick. Do not cheat your way out of your problems. The world isn’t out there to get you. Seriously. We have bigger issues to fix.
Instead of engaging in the futile exercise of trying to decode the psychology of over 7 billion people its probably better to work your own. Square your shoulders, take a good look at yourself, and accept what you’ve made of yourself. If you don’t like what you see, try like hell to fix it. Life is long, you’ll get there.
To all the sane over-weight/obese/fat out there — I apologize. I do so sincerely. I do not wish to understate your struggles, for some it might be a long road ahead and for some, maybe, no hope. Nevertheless, if you’re the mature adults that I know you can be, please discourage yourselves to point a finger at the world for causing depression, sorrow or anxiety. Rise above visceral human tendencies, take the high road. You’re not alone and the human will is capable of unimaginable things. Try harder, fight longer, fight forever.