In our ever-more digital society, discrimination is rampant. This discrimination is even more apparent when it comes to people suffering from obesity. Or even those just a little outside what society considers ‘normal’ or ‘ideal. From young women and men posting their selfies online and getting criticized for just a small amount of chub to the overweight first-time runner trying to get healthy and getting just slammed in the comments, fat-shaming is harsh.
Clearly social media has a lot to do with the rampancy of fat-shaming and discrimination. Online anonymity and the prevalence of ‘Facebook doctors’ means that everyone has an opinion. And they are willing to share it, loudly.
Beyond just social-media, the rise of fat-shaming seems to really be tied to one class in particular. This blog will help explain exactly what fat-shaming is. And exactly what role the middle-class plays when it comes to its rise.
What Is Fat-Shaming?
Weight is not a good indicator of the true health of a person. And even less of an indicator of their worth. In fact, weight is no indicator of worth at all. However, in today’s society both kids and adults, even babies, are shamed for larger than average bodies.
Fat-shaming is, in essence, the mistreatment of judgement of ‘fat’ or even simply larger than average individuals, often manifesting as acts of bullying, discrimination, disrespect or similarly putting down said individual. This is a result of both individual and societal bias against people of a larger size. It includes the long-held belief that larger people are unhealthy, unattractive, lazy, or lacking any and all self-control. And it’s often based solely on a person’s appearance. However this is very rarely true, and even if some aspects such as being overweight equalling being unhealthy are true, pointing it out and shaming someone for it are not morally acceptable.
The rise of social media has made fat-shaming a hot button topic. With videos and photos of perfect, photo-shopped bodies plastered all over the internet, fat-shaming in turn has only grown to pervasive amounts. It is especially true when online trolls can do so easily. They feel safe in knowing that their identities are safe behind layers of anonymity.
Fat-Shaming And The Middle Class
For this article, we will primarily be focusing on fat-shaming as it relates to the middle class in higher-income countries. Lower-income countries often have reverse findings unique to their socio-economic statuses.
When it comes to countries such as America, the link between SES (socioeconomic status) and obesity is most closely tied in the middle classes. It appears that the higher on the SES scale the more access individuals have to better food and health care. (As well as time to workout or hire trainers.) On the flip side, lower-income families or individuals skew towards having lower BMI’s due to lack of food or working highly physical labor jobs. In comparison to those with higher or lower economic status, those in the middle have both access to greater amounts of high-calorie foods and more sedentary lifestyles that focus on entertainment rather than physical activity.
An Even Greater Problem
Where this becomes an even greater problem is when the middle-class not only has a greater number of obese individuals but also more access to avenues through which they can fat-shame. The internet and social media are pervasive and make up a large portion of a middle-class individual’s ‘downtime’ or activity hours.
This all combines to allow the middle class more leeway when it comes to scorning those that don’t look or act the same way they do. The ‘middle-class elite’ gain the ability to isolate and look down on the ‘lower class’ obese who simply do not have access to the privileges they themselves are allowed. Meanwhile, those in the lower middle-class want to look and seem richer and more privileged than they are. This causes them to similarly lash out at those ‘different’ from themselves aka the fat person. This creates a terrible spiral that only continues to grow.
What are your attitudes towards your body and those around you? Do you consider yourself middle-class, and if so, how often do you see instances of fat-shaming online or in life? Maybe you yourself have been a fat-shaming sufferer, or is it possible you have fat-shamed someone else?
Ethical Inc. hopes to build an informed and compassionate network of supplement users through thoughtful and engaging content. Even if it means facing unfortunate truths in the eyes. If this article impacted you in any way, let us know. So we can continue to produce high-quality material for the community. You can click here to explore our e-store and ethically sourced goods that promote transparency and dignity for our global community.