What is fat shaming, is it right or wrong, or perhaps it is complex?

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Being fat is not good. But perhaps not for the reasons you are thinking. Sure, obesity is related to health problems. But in recent years, ‘fat shaming’ has been the heat of the discussion. It is suggested that aside from negative health consequences, fat shaming is detrimental to the overall wellbeing of obese individuals, too.


Fat shaming has always been a serious issue. However, what exactly is it? Some may think it is suggesting ‘being fat is bad’, while others believe it is personal discrimination against obese people, especially describing them as ‘unmotivated’ or ‘lazy’.


For the purpose of this article, we are going to use the noun definition of ‘fat shaming’ from dictionary.com:


the action or practice of humiliating someone judged to be fat or overweight by making mocking or critical comments about their size


From this definition, it sounds like both saying ‘being fat is bad’ and ‘fat people are lazy’ can be critical and both phrases can be used as an act of humiliation in some cases. Therefore, they both fall within the boundary of ‘fat shaming’. Although ‘being fat is bad’ is more factual and refers to obesity’s effect on health. While ‘fat people are lazy’ is likely a discriminatory statement based on people’s weight and size. Nevertheless, ‘fat shaming’ raises the heated debate over health professions and the general public. With some encouraging ‘fat shaming’, stating it as a matter of fact:


‘Public health campaigns are not designed to flatter people’s egos,’ – Lizzie Cernik, The Guardian.


While other voices suggest that ‘fat shaming’ does not help the obesity problem at all.


Upon more research, it seems like both sides actually offer good points to the issue. ‘Fat shaming’ also seems more complex than just ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Perhaps there is more to it. Both sides may be overlooking some fundamental issues and are lopsided in terms of their arguments. This article is continued in the in-depth article section: Obesity and fat shaming: a contemporary complex issue.