I was doing my usual browse when I came across this article that didn’t surprise me as much as I thought it would have. I originally saw this via Slimming World’s Facebook page but the actual article is on the Daily Mail’s site. The article talks about the prejudice against fat/overweight people in society today and how some are filmed or poked fun at by onlookers.
Now, if I hadn’t experienced this, I would be gobsmacked at the audacity of those who prod and poke at the insecurities of the overweight for their own amusement. However, I know all too well the hurt caused by this discrimination. I have had words called out to me like ‘fatty’, ‘go eat a burger’, or the most blatant ‘f*** she’s a fat b*****d’. I got used to these terms as would hear them every time I got on a bus or went outside.
People would avoid sitting next to me for fear there would be no room or would make it so I couldn’t site next to them on the bus. I was made to feel self-conscious if I walked into Topshop with my sister (I never shop there as sizes genuinely are too small for me) and groups of teenagers would point at me and whisper things. I even had quite a few times where I would be walking, minding my own business and a car would drive past with someone yelling, ‘oioi fatty!’ out the window.That happened quite a lot actually.
Reading the article, the thing that does surprise me is that it states,
‘their opportunities to get a job or promotion – and so improve their lives – have been blocked by discrimination.’
This should not be allowed. Before I began this journey, I remember my mum always going on about how I was more likely to get jobs if I lose weight. I always thought she was just saying that to goad me into weight loss but now I realise there may be some truth to what she said(though to my knowledge, I have not experienced this.)
There’s no point telling a person who is overweight that it’s all their fault, they have no self-control and shouldn’t even be wearing the clothes that they’re wearing because they make them look ridiculous. This only fuels our comfort eating, or it did for me anyway. Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight and when you have a genuine conversation with someone who is bigger, you will see that it’s not all black and white. There are reasons as to why we are a certain size, whether it’s a size 10 or a size 24. It’s none of your business why we are overweight and the way I see it, the only reason people call names and point and laugh is to hide their own insecurities. As cliché as it sounds, this is true.
The abuse I received as a teenager made me feel inadequate, like my feelings didn’t matter. Writing this now is upsetting me because it reminds me of everything I went through just because I was fat. People didn’t know me or my quirky personality or my love of writing or any of that. I know my faults and felt hurt when others pointed them out to me as well. I would go home and cry into my pillow because I hated how I looked but then I ate more to make myself feel better. I couldn’t see the woods for the trees and just felt empty inside.
Those groups of young boys who would shout names at me and those people who would watch me as I shopped for clothes; I saw you. You couldn’t have been more obvious if you would have tried.
Prejudice and discrimination hurt. If you scroll to the bottom of the article, it has a section of real life experiences from people about their weight. I have experienced the majority of these for myself and some of them are pretty disgusting considering we are supposed to be an intelligent race of people.
The next time you see someone who is overweight, smile at them or do something kind. Don’t stare. We are not aliens. We are people too,just like you.