Tag Archives: fat shaming

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones But Words Can Hurt You Forever

I was recently having lunch with a beautiful and talented young woman, one who was enrolled in a good school getting a professional degree at a good school, who had a wonderful boyfriend who adored her, who was working at a decent job to help pay her school bills and is kind.  I was somewhat surprised when I heard this woman say that she had seen a television commercial showing a lazy chubby young boy, calling his grandma on the phone to ask her to bring something to him from the other room.  Not surprised that she had something to say.  But rather surprised that she had something so vicious to say about that pudgy, fat kid.  That if she was that fatty’s parent, she would smack him.  I was surprised not only because this seemed a little out of character for her, but also because she knew very well about my work as The Fat Chick and my views on this subject.  She went on to say, she used to be thin but then this happened (pointing to her stomach) and this happened (pointing to her butt).  I told her that she was of course beautiful, and further more, she was under no obligation to look any particular way for anybody’s approval.  Then she burst into tears.  At a recent family gathering, a close family member of hers had commented about whether or not she should wear a bikini and whether or not she would keep her boyfriend in light of her current weight.  She was devastated.  She didn’t eat for the rest of the day until her worried boyfriend brought her some food and asked her please to eat something.  Apparently this same family member had given her grief some time before for not eating, for being too skinny and suspecting she had an eating disorder.

As I talked her through the pain and drama, my heart was in my throat.  It brought me right back.  I was 15 again and listening to haranguing by family friends and family members about my weight.  About how I would never find a man, or if I found one, he would cheat on me and ultimately leave me because who wants to be with a fatty.  I was listening to people constantly asking if I “needed to eat that?” if I was sure I “should wear that?” and if I knew “what I looked like?”.  I was there with the constant self doubt, the devastating and crippling crash in self confidence, the firm desire to wait until I looked the right way to pursue the life I wanted.  I remembered how many years I wasted, obsessed about the size of my weight.  And I got monumentally pissed off.

How dare people do this to aspiring young women with so much to give in the world.  How DARE they pass off their insecurities and bullying as concern for a woman’s well being.  HOW DARE THEY?  Once my little PTSD moment passed, I told my friend in no uncertain terms that if people feel the need to spread their own insecurities around this way, it is her job to tell them to stuff it.  She is the gatekeeper for her own soul.  She gets to decide who she lets in.  And perhaps, if people are going to behave in such a toxic way, they don’t get to talk to her any more.  Not until they learn how to behave.

I honestly don’t know if she will find my comments helpful.  But I sincerely hope she does.  Because the world needs bright, young, talented, kind young people.  And it would be sad to think they won’t leave their house and make their way in the world because of how somebody feels about how they look in a bikini.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Why do we pay good money to feel bad?

Look, you can buy your very own "Food Police" cookie jar.  Click to watch the video...

Look, you can buy your very own “Food Police” cookie jar. Click to watch the video…

Okay, I was reading through my email and I came across a wonderful new app that checks your BMI and hurls insults at you if you gain weight.  Yup, drink an extra glass of water and this wonderful app might say things like, “Greetings, chubby human,” “Smile, meatbag” and “Prepare yourself to be judged”.  Please note that there is NO WAY I’m going to link to this app or even tell you the name of this app on my blog.  The dude who created this nonsense is already getting way too much attention and I won’t add to his traffic.  But I’ll just drop off this here screen shot to give you an idea about just how awesome this thing is:

meatbagNice.  And this bozo (who conveniently places his press kit front and center on this site) is actually charging cash monies for this.  Now I recognize a good attention-grabbing publicity stunt when I see it.  And this “bad boy” has already garnered plenty of media attention.  I’m not sure that he really has any intention of helping people at all.  However, this approach to health and wellness is hardly new.  Just check out the talking “cop” cookie jar in the video above.  When you open the lid, the cookie jar says, “Stop!  Step away from the cookie jar!”  (Click the photo above to see the video).  Wow, your very own, battery-operated, food police–available 24-7 from your very own kitchen.  You can also get a pig-shaped cookie jar that oinks at you when you open it.  And now you can even buy bed linens that fat shame you.  How neat!

Yay, fat shaming while you sleep!

Why do we do this to ourselves?  As I have said, literally a gazillion times on this very blog, shame does not make us happier, healthier or thinner.  Shame makes us gain weight and engage in more dangerous behaviors.  So why do we pay for the privilege of being electronically shamed?  It’s not enough to face shame from friends, family, coworkers, medical professionals, the television shows we watch, the magazines we read, and virtually every other corner of the entire universe?

And even if we refrain from buying fat-shaming apps and cookware, are we free from paying good money for shaming ourselves?  How many of the magazines we subscribe to have fat shaming messages in them?  How many negative body images come to us each day as a result of the cable subscription?  And even if we aren’t paying for those things, how often have we purchased expensive healthy foods, extensive long-term gym contracts and overpriced and cumbersome exercise equipment with the notion that if we pay for it, we will feel guilty enough to use it?  How did that work out for you last time?  Still drying your unmentionables on the treadmill downstairs?  You’re not alone.  You almost can’t give away a used exercise bike or treadmill on Craigslist any more.

And in case, somehow the previous gazillion mentions were in some way unclear, here it is again:

Shame does not help.  Not at all.  Not even if it talks to you in a hokey electronic voice.  Not even if you pay good money for it.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

By the way, if you want to buy a fancy cookie jar, I recommend the Tardis version (because it’s bigger on the inside!)  And if you’d like a shame-free approach to fitness, may I recommend:

The Fit Fatties Virtual Events  (Early bird pricing ends soon!)\

My book, “The Fat Chick Works Out!”

or

My DVD  (all of which make wonderful Valentine’s Day gifts to yourself!)

And if  you book me in February, you can receive 25% off my speaking services.  W00t!

 

Fun with Dick and Jane (and Why Tim doesn’t Exercise)

See Tim develop an eating disorder...

See Tim develop an eating disorder…

Oh my God.  Where do I even start with this monstrosity?  I was going along, minding my own business, eating my breakfast and checking out this wonderful post on Adios Barbie when I ran into this picture linked to by Allison Epstein.  And I nearly choked on my Cheerios.(R) Seriously? SERIOUSLY?  Look! It’s Fat Shaming with Dick and Jane:

See Dick and Jane and Pat.  She Dick and Jane and Pat fat shaming Tim.  See Tim.  See Tim embody negative fat stereotypes.  See Dick and Jane and Pat revel in their thin privilege.  See Tim go on a diet.  See Tim get slimmer.  See Tim get fatter.  See Tim get even fatter.  See Mom and Dad panic.  Panic parents panic!  See Tim get a gastric sleeve.  See Tim learn about dumping syndrome.  See Mom and Dad buy Tim dark colored pants.  Dump Tim dump!  Oh No!  Now Tim smells funny.  Isn’t he funny?  See Dick and Jane and Pat laugh.  See Tim want to die.  Die Tim, die…

The thing that really scares me, I mean full-out, ooga-booga, petrifies me, is that there are three organizations that have signed on to this ad.  That means at least three, purportedly professional people (and probably more) not only signed off on, but actually paid somebody to create this crap.  But that’s okay (they reason) because kids need to get out and play more, right?  And research shows, the way to get kids to go outside and play is to shame them, right? Right?

No, no, no, no, no, no, no and how about, no!

Despite the ongoing research that indicates that fat shame does not lead to permanent weight loss, and that fat stigma leads to even less healthy behaviors among kids like disordered eating, binge drinking, and more smoking, various white-coat-wearing idiots feel the need to create ads like this one.  Why?  Are they trying to create the medical equivalent of this exercise video “accidentally” catching a pooping man on camera?  (Is it an accident, or an all-new, low-bar in publicity stunts? Either way, it’s a hits bonanza!)  Do they not care that they are harming families and especially children with their stupid ads as long as they fuel parental panic and get lots of clicky poos for their hit counts?  Or have they really just not bothered to check any of the literature that shows that fat stigma harms people?  Hmmm, evil or simply, criminally irresponsible?  Hard to imagine that either are qualities I look for in a medical professional.

What is so sad, is that this ad is likely to make Tim less interested in exercise.  And this ambivalence towards exercise may last a lifetime.

But for those of you out there who are still twisting a hankie in your sweaty fingers or running around in circles yelling, “But what do we do?”  I have this advice.  If you want Tim to exercise:

1.  Create emotionally safe places for Tim to play–free from bullying or shaming.

2.  Create physically safe places for Tim to play–safe from assault and other crimes.

3.  Help Tim reconnect with and feel pride in the body he has right now.

4.  Provide safe, well-planned and excellently-executed physical education classes, and

5.  Surround Tim with role models for physical fitness that embody all shapes and sizes and abilities–like the amazing Ragen Chastain in this recent video interview from Huffington Post Live.

Seriously people.  If you want kids to exercise, give them physically and emotionally safe places to do it, give them proper instruction, provide them with great role models and teach them that exercise is something that we do because we love our bodies.

Then Dick and Jane and Pat and Tim and Sally and everybody can live happily ever after.  That is all.

Love,

The Fat Chick

P.S. Want help getting started with exercise?  My book and DVD are designed to help beginners to safely and joyfully integrate physical activities into their lives.  Enter the code DickAndJane in the discount code box to save $5 off the cover price!