In television, movies or online it is no longer socially acceptable to denigrate people based on skin, sexuality, nationality or gender. It does, however, seem to be acceptable, whether it be television, movies or online, to dehumanize people based on weight.
No other prejudice is politically acceptable to be voiced in our society. Obesity is the only physical trait allowed to be publicly satirized for the amusement of the populace. Respect given to obese individuals falls short of that given to thin individuals. Although weight is only one factor in what makes an individual, the obese are treated as a homogenous group unworthy of respect.
Many leading publications, including Men's Health and Marie Claire, employ writers and editors who publish articles treating the overweight as less valuable. They direct disgust toward them or convey hate for them. These are the magazines millions of Americans look to for guidance on their health.
As a result of the backlash from the recent Marie Claire blog post, which put down a new show featuring an overweight couple, society has been forced to re-examine their treatment of overweight people.
Overweight people are exposed on a daily basis to contempt and do not need to have it reinforced by major publications. These harmful words provide society the excuse for various traditions such as fat jokes, social alienation and job discrimination to which they subject the overweight. Rather, these publications need to encourage an understanding of the challenges that everyone faces in the pursuit of a healthy life.
Although some choose not to believe, weight loss can be impaired by a variety of uncontrollable factors. These factors can vary from genetics to psychology. Certain individuals are genetically predisposed to store fat more efficiently for times of famine while others are more efficient at disposing fat for times of plenty. Faced with depression, food is frequently used as a comfort device and some individuals are too lethargic from the depressions to consider exercise.
During my own personal struggle to lose weight, I remember the pain and embarrassment that I felt from my body image. When having to deal with other's negative comments toward my body, the pain was doubled. The path to being healthy is enough work without having to deal with others' ideas about your stomach size.
If you are in the middle of your journey, strive to ignore the negative comments and remember that becoming healthy is a gift you give yourself for the rest of your life. If you are faced with the challenge of negative feedback, remember how you felt in your future treatment of overweight people. Together society can end this negativity by making it completely unacceptable to make fun of overweight individuals simply for enjoyment.
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