BeautyIs Losing Weight 'Fatphobic'?

Is Losing Weight ‘Fatphobic’?


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There is an increasing social media trend to label weight loss as ‘fatphobic’. This has created a conversation around ‘if losing weight be considered ‘fatphobic’?

A brief history

The body positivity movement focuses on challenging societal standards on appearance. It started with accepting bodies regardless of their shape, size, skin tone, gender, and physical abilities.

The body positivity movement began in the 1960s with NAAFA (National Association to Aid Fat Americans – known today as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance), and it continues to change the way people talk about weight.

On the other side of the U.S, a group of feminists were angry about the treatment of fat people and believed that the NAAFA were not radical enough.

They formed the Fat Underground, where they released a Fat Liberation Manifesto demanding for “equal rights for fat people in all areas of life” and “reducing industries (i.e., the diet culture) and declaring them enemies.”  

In recent times, inclusivity has become a trend. The body positivity movement we know today really took off in the 2012 when the hashtag #bodypositivity started to promote fat acceptance to turn attention towards underprivileged bodies.

However, the body positivity movement has changed drastically.

Katherine McCabe / Gavel Media

TikTok and Toxicity

The promotion of positive body image is a good thing but there are many people who thinks it promotes unhealthy habits and obesity.

For example, in December 2021 – “a popular TikTok content creator Mark Gaetano shared his weight loss journey with his followers and was branded as ‘Fatphobic.’ Many claimed that he was promoting disordered eating and diet culture.”

Collins Dictionary describes Fatphobia as “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against obesity or people with obesity.”

But does losing weight make you Fatphobic?

The decision to lose weight is very personal; there is some healthy and unhealthy way to go about it. Diet culture has shaped how we view healthy and desirable bodies for decades, so I understand where the backlash regarding body size stems from.

However, I don’t think choosing lose weight for your personal health makes you fatphobic. I understand that the conversation around this topic is quite broad and fatphobia cannot simply be described as the hatred of fat people – it is more nuanced than that.

According to Medical News Today “all over the world, obesity is becoming an increasing concern…with an increase of 27.5% worldwide over the past 33 years.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, states that obesity increases a person’s chance of getting “diabetes, high blood pressure, joint conditions, breathing problems, such as asthma and gallbladder disease”.

It seems like whilst promoting ‘body positivity’ is good, as it teaches many to become accepting of everybody – not just fat bodies. It also seems detrimental to those that want to improve their quality of life.

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