Have you heard the term “fat shaming”? You can probably ascertain what the term means without an explanation; however, it can be subtle and is so common in our culture that you may overlook it when it happens.
A few months ago, there was much discussion about a photo posted by Maria Kang on her Facebook page. She is a mother of three young children and a fitness enthusiast. The photo, seen above, calls into question the excuses busy moms often use to explain their lack of an exercise regimen.
This photo is an example of fat shaming.
Fat shaming is a type of body shaming, most often used against women in our culture. It is one of the more common types of shaming of women as it seems to be socially acceptable.
In fact, a lot of people think fat shaming is actually a good thing and is helpful in order to motivate women to lose weight or be thin.
The problem is that shame is not a motivator.
It is not a catalyst for change. It is quite the opposite: a deterrent for making changes. Shame doesn’t make one a stronger person or promote growth.
It actually keeps people stuck and damages self worth.
Maria Kang’s can definitely be interpreted as fat shaming of women, particularly those who are mothers. It should be seen as a type of bullying: mocking and putting down mothers who do not look like her.
It needs to be an example we learn from. We need to become more aware of the fat shaming happening all around us. And most importantly we need to be more aware of our own actions: are we participating in the problem? ignoring it? or working to fix it?
Stacey Wald, LAPC, RD