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Are you fat phobic?

by Jennifer Muirhead (follow)
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Kira Nerusskaya, documentary film maker, fat activist
Documentary film maker and fat activist Kira Nerusskaya. Photo by David Shankbone.

We hear all the time in the media that being fat is unhealthy and unnatractive so it understandable that people think it is a cause for concern. However some people even go so far as to direct rude remarks towards fat people, particularly fat women. Sometimes it is well intentioned, couched as concern for the person's health or well being, while other times it is just plain rude or cruel.

When you see a fat person, do you assume that they are unhealthy, or that their weight is due to laziness or overeating? Have you ever made an unsolicited comment about a friend or stranger's weight, or told them they shouldn't eat that piece of chocolate cake?

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As someone who struggles greatly over food issues, I never make any assumptions about a person's eating habits or weight. I know how harmful it can be.
At the end of the day I'd just consider that it's none of my business and I'd certainly never comment on it unless I'd been asked. If people are offended or don't want to look at a heavier person, then they can avert their eyes. I find it offensive when I hear others talking about or ridiculing someone's weight. Whilst some people make unhealthy choices and are obsese as a result there are many people who are simply struggling with their weight and are stuck in a rut. There are also many people who are overweight due to medical issues. A friend of mine had chemo when she was younger and became overweight and bloated. It would have been very cruel to call her fat when this was a side effect of the treatment. We likely know very little about the strangers we make judgements about so I would definitely not make unsolicited remarks on someone's size.
Depends what you term fat. I have seem some seriously obese people which I find unattractive. However, other obese people which are attractive. It does not come down to physical appearance, more so attitude. And this can be applied to everyone. So I would not say fat phobia....more so attitude phobia! ;)
It's not about whether you find attractive. It's about how you treat them (ie. as human beings with dignity or not).
I think it's rude to comment on someone else's weight. I guess compliments are okay, though even that could be offensive depending on the circumstances. It's especially rude with strangers. You don't know their history or medical issues, or whether they are happy with the way they look or not and it's just not your business.

I really hate it when people feel free to comment on what someone else (nearly always a woman) is eating. I'm not fat but I have had people tell me I shouldn't be eating a bowl of cheesy pasta or a chocolate bar because it will ruin my figure. Actually I have a pretty fast metabolism, so no, it won't (at least not until I quit breastfeeding and maybe stop exercising as much), but if I do get fat that won't be anybody else's business.
And yes, I do realise that sometimes when people say this kind of thing they are joking, other times not so much. While trying to eat I have sat through people going on and on about all the carbs in my food (yes, I do know there are carbs in grain products. I like carbs) or calling me a pig for wanting a bigger portion than they thought I should be having.
Being overweight is mostly emotional.If one really took the attempt to see the root cause of emotional eating, the weight loss is easy.

No I have never judged someone fat as lazy.I have been there and I know what it feels like.My thought is mmore towards how soon they can get some help.
Yes I have -once i hadnt seen my daughter in law for a few months for some reason, and she had gone from a size 8 to a 12 -and i heard myself saying"gosh, you have put on some weight!" As it came out, I knew it was totally inappropriate, and she didnt speak to me for a while.
Happily, today we can joke about it.
And Yes, I have tried to tell an overweight friend she needs to lose weight as she is often complaining about health matters.
by Finy
No, I'm not fat phobic. Some heavier people are very healthy, they exercise regularly and eat healthily. You never know why a person is overweight, it could be because of a thyroid issue, them might be in the middle of a life change and not looking after themselves as the would like to be able to, or simply because they are happy that way!
In my opinion, it's not anyone's business!
I'm overweight.
Have been most of my life.It is strange to be overweight....because people do judge you.After years of abuse from my step father, and husband...I guess I felt Chocolate was my best friend.
I don't drink...have never used drugs, so the brown stuff helps me feel happy.
Not a foodie, but I LOVE chocolate.
I have been a size 12, but that was years ago....Thanks Jennifer for this question....You have a kind heart. :)
p.s. I work long days, and the weight is still there, good news is, haven't had Chocolate for a few days..
I have always had weight issues. Under weight as a teenager and post 25, just piled on. It has something to do with the hormones, sometimes I binge eat, sometimes I am too lazy to exercise. People comment, joke and I know how it feels. Hence I refrain from ridiculing others.
I am guilty of assuming that all morbidly obese people are not happy. I know this is ridiculous, but I felt uncomfortable enough being pregnant and not being able to move about as freely as I could pre-pregnancy. I couldn't imagine living life larger. Having said that, I don't treat any differently if they are 'fatter' or 'skinner' than what is deemed 'normal' - it's none of my business how people choose to live their lives - and I certainly wouldn't make any snide comments.
by Vee
What gets to me is how often asking 'have you lost weight?' is used to compliment women. There are some seriously harmful assumptions regarding health and body size which are projected onto women. Some of the thinnest women are the most unhealthiest. We are all individual, and as such the ideal weight is subjective. As a woman, I believe it is my duty not to become involved in the perpetuation of these harmful, degrading stereotypical projections which are projected onto women. A woman is so much more than a number of set of scales and as a woman I support all women in their uniqueness.
Preach it, sister!
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