Body-Shamer in Chief: Why Does Trump Hate Fat People So Much?

Just in time for Weight Stigma Awareness Week, we were reminded during last night’s presidential debate—and again this morning—why body-snarking and fat-shaming is so damn dangerous. Not only did Donald Trump make an attempt at comedy(?) during the debate by saying “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” could’ve hacked the Democrats’ email accounts instead of Russia or China, but he doubled down on an earlier offense by defending his poor treatment of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado by explaining that she was the worst winner ever because “she gained a massive amount of weight.”

Shortly after Machado’s win, Trump called her “Miss Piggy” and publicly discussed her weight, estimating that she’d gone from 118 pounds to 170. In a nod to his future in reality TV, Trump even turned her quest for weight loss into a television event, sending reporters with Machado to the gym to film her workouts. And Machado? She went on to suffer from years of eating disorders.

The fact is, it’s not harmless, or cute, or “throwback” for anyone to shame people for their size. Especially not a powerful person like Donald Trump who could become an example for the rest of the country, and even the world, to follow. Studies show that shaming people about their size or shape, even if it’s in some sadly misdirected effort to get them to be “healthier” has negative effects. One recent British study that followed thousands of people over the course of two years found that overweight people who were teased or shamed about their bodies gained weight over that period, while people who did not experience body-shaming actually lost a couple of pounds. A pile of other research has linked body shame to an increased risk of eating disorders like binge eating disorder—which often leads to obesity—and anorexia, which is the most deadly of all mental illnesses. (In case you for some insane reason need further proof of Trump’s habit body-shaming, there was the time he said of Rosie O’Donnell, “If I were running The View, I’d fire Rosie. I’d look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers and say, ‘Rosie, you’re fired.” And of fellow Republican Carly Fiorina, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?”)

It’s obvious that this man hails from a time when women were objects, and when their figures accounted for more than their brains. I don’t know about you but I’ll be well pleased when cultural dinosaurs like him no longer walk this Earth. His is a dangerous thought pattern, one that leads to bad health outcomes, bigotry, discrimination in the workplace, and even sexual violence against women. If you agree, join the Twitter campaign that’s gaining steam, and tell Mr. Trump and his campaign that his body shaming is unacceptable:

I have one last note for Mr. Trump, and it comes from a children’s book called Shapesville. Fitting, I thought, since any child would know that what he’s doing is wrong: “It’s not the size of your shape or the shape of your size, but the size of your heart that deserves first prize.”