Like homophobia and claustrophobia, fatphobia is fear or strong dislike for bigger bodies. This is an issue that runs rampant throughout society and especially in the black community. We see fat people as vulnerable, desperate and unattractive due to society’s perspectives on bigger bodies. It’s an issue that needs to end. Living as a fat person, my entire life has been nothing short of difficulty. I and many bigger persons have suffered through discrimination in our workplaces, our dating lives and even in the doctors’ office. This is known as weight bias. Where people take a liking to those who have smaller and skinnier bodies and treat bigger bodies as the lesser. People tend to formulate negative opinions against fat people but with skinny people, they tend to formulate positive opinions whether it’s subconsciously or not. There’s been a huge discussion concerning if skinny shaming exists or not. In my opinion, it does, however, if it did, it “holds no power in a society that values and uplifts thinner bodies.” – Jai Grier.
However, in the Black community, thicker bodies are more exceptional and preferred than fat bodies. By thick, I mean a slim waist, wide hips, and thick thighs. I’ve heard millions of stories where Black families make their family members weight the butt of the joke or the topic discussion at the dinner table. It still confuses me how my weight holds any importance to dinner table discussion and how it negatively affects any of my family members. My body is mine and whatever I look like does not concern you.
“Even with “thick” being popular in the Black community, being skinny is not viewed at all like being fat is. And you still get all the societal privileges of being skinny. Hurt feelings don’t equal not being able to get a mental health referral even with an extensive trauma history because your doctor thinks you should lose weight instead. Skinny Black women don’t struggle to find clothes. I’ve never heard of someone being ashamed to openly date somebody slim. The comparison is absurd.” – Brandi Chambray
There’s a game called “pull a pig” which rules are simple. Dare one of your friends to date a fat person and then ghost them immediately after. A woman named Stephanie Yeboah wrote an article about the cruel joke and how one of the friends emailed her because he “felt bad”. Even in the dating world, bigger bodies are seen as a joke. Society treats bigger bodies as if they’re undesirable and unfathomable. Why on Earth would you want to date a bigger person, right? This type of thinking has to end. We are humans. We should be able to exist amongst other people peacefully, and without our size being the butt of every joke, the start to every conversation, and to doctors, the cause of our mental health issues.
“ It negatively affected me growing up since people would always bully me. (Elementary school and some of middle school). Doctors would always blame everything on my weight. When in reality it really wouldn’t have anything to do with it. When I was younger boys really wouldn’t want to date me or talk to me because who would want to talk to the fat girl. Things like that took a toll on my self-esteem because I would think no one wanted me or wanted to be my friend. I started to think I wasn’t pretty enough. Once I got to High School my self-esteem started to change and I started to be a little more confident but I still wasn’t happy in my skin and my body.” – Katelynn Ashley
When I gained weight rapidly my freshman year of college, my doctor just told me to go on a diet and just assumed I was overeating. Come to find out, I was suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which causes a fluctuation of hormones and abnormal periods, weight gain, and facial hair. Doctors don’t try to actually find the root of your health issues when you are a bigger person. They just assume it’s your weight, tell you to go on a diet, and send you home. This is dangerous, and this is how many people with bigger bodies end up in the hospital for a long period of time or dying because we are ignored by our doctors. It’s time to end the stigma against bigger bodies, it’s time to end discrimination against fat persons and realize that we are human, and every single thing that we go through isn’t because of our weight.