Fat shaming is a very real thing, and what’s worse is the fact that it seems to be a socially acceptable form of bullying. Probably because the media sees obesity as a growing epidemic and something to be ashamed of. As a plus sized woman I can honestly say that I experience it on an almost daily basis in some shape or form. I’ve had it from staff in shops I use, in bars and restaurants, when out running and even when I’ve been to the doctors. I was actually told at my first follow up appointment for my broken foot that it wasn’t healing quickly because I was overweight. The next appointment I was told that it was healing really quickly for the type of fracture I have, and that they are notorious for being slow to heal. Nothing to do with my size, so really there was no need for that comment at all!
There is definitely a lot of fat shaming in the running world. In fact I experience the most negativity about my size from the running community. Don’t get me wrong, most other runners are nothing but supportive, and even those who comment about my size do encourage me to keep going. However, there is definitely an element of the assumption that if people run then they must be thin because of all the calories that it burns. Those people have obviously never heard of wine or chocolate!
Within the running community I’ve had so many comments made about my weight. When I was in the starting line for the London Marathon in 2017 I wasn’t the only plus sized runner but I still heard a few comments about how only ‘serious’ runners should complete the marathon, and that I obviously couldn’t have trained hard enough if I was that size. Yes, that’s right! I had people assuming that I wouldn’t be able to complete the marathon at a size 22/24. It was definitely one of the motivating factors to keep me plodding along when it got tough, and that finishers medal now hangs proudly in my house!
Fat Shaming also seems to happen in the shops when I go to buy running gear. The clothes in most running shops automatically seem to assume that plus sized women do not run. An xxl is a 14 in some places. It’s really embarrassing when you can’t buy the really nice running gear, and it’s even worse knowing that even an average sized women is going to feel demoralised in some of these shops because they will need to take an xxl. How can that be right and acceptable.
I don’t only say this as a plus sized women, I say this as a human being with some moral standards. Fat shaming is a form of bullying. It is just as bad as picking on somebody for their skin colour, gender or sexuality. These are not acceptable, in fact they are often illegal. So why is it considered acceptable to judge somebody on the size of their body? The comments made hurt just as much, cause just as much damage and have just as big a negative impact. Kindness cost’s nothing and a few kind words can change a person’s day and outlook for the better. It’s always better to be kind, and only say positive things. Always!