Lawson: Body shaming hate crimes should not be tolerated


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After citizens of Britain have been handing out fat cards and body shaming should not be tolerated

Angelica Lawson

Is it acceptable to tell smokers they are stupid for willingly poisoning their bodies and that they should be ashamed for their horrid habit? Is it condoned for people to walk up to others who they find less than attractive and scream at them at the top of their lungs, telling them they’re ugly?

No, it is not. But our society is heavily focused on telling people who are overweight and underweight that they are disgusting or that they should be ashamed of their weight.

Body shaming is not new or unheard of. In fact, it is alive and well. But there are still people who take this disgusting and rude pastime to an entire new level.

It’s evident in almost every media source consumed that we, as a society, are obsessed with bodies and how well they fit the norm. People make livings by informing the public about someone’s recent weight gain or loss. There is no good, bad or happy medium for these people.

You are too skinny, so you must have an eating disorder; you have too much fat, so you must go to fast-food restaurants for every meal and not care about yourself; or you’re somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. If you find yourself in that kind of limbo, you’ll most likely experience a little bit of both. 

People who suffer from eating disorders and people who suffer from obesity pose a cause for concern, but the way to encourage them to find a healthy weight is not by shaming them into submission. Instead, encourage them to develop a healthier lifestyle.

A healthy lifestyle is not synonymous with being skinny or thin. A healthy lifestyle is living the best life for you, your body and your medical circumstances. It’s a lifestyle in which you consume a regular amount of food and have some healthy exercise and are ultimately happy with who you are physically.

Finding a way to end body shaming from both ends of the spectrum is a big task to conquer, making the goal of being happy with yourself a monumental one. People will never reach that point of acceptance if we constantly bombard them with negativity. People obviously know what they look like — they dress themselves every day.

But there is a London-based organization that calls itself the Overweight Haters Ltd, and it has been so kind as to distribute “fat” cards to people who it thinks are too fat. The purpose, I suppose, is to encourage these “fat” people to lose weight. This is what I would call the ultimate manifestation of body shaming in modern culture.

The message on the cards is as follows: “Our organisation hates and resents fat people. We object to the enormous amount of food resources you consume while half the world starves. We disapprove of your wasting National Health Services [the United Kingdom’s publicly funded health care system] money to treat your selfish greed. And we do not understand why you fail to grasp that by eating less you will be better off, slimmer, happy and find a partner who is not a perverted chubby lover or even find a partner at all. We also object that the beatiful [sic] pig is used as an insult. You are not a pig. You are a fat, ugly human.”

This specific act of body shaming has taken several media outlets by storm. Some applaud the group, while others are disgusted with its hateful and cowardly ways.

Pointing out something that people find unappealing in people does not flip a switch in their heads to motivate themselves to remake their bodies into society’s desired perfect image. That is just not how this whole thing works.

There needs to be less of a focus on people’s images and more of a focus on arriving at a weight that makes them happy and healthy. By this I don’t mean my definition of happy and healthy, but an individual’s definition of happy and healthy. In all honesty, people need to mind themselves and their manners and maybe at that point we can start to defeat the body-shaming epidemic.

The pro-body shaming crowd needs to re-evaluate why it feels so compelled to make someone feel bad, and if what it thinks it is trying to accomplish could actually accomplish anything. While the people handing out the cards think they are sending a message, it says a lot more about the person handing out fat cards and running away than about the person who carries a little more fat in their midsections.

This is a bunch of people with too much time on their hands, and these hate crimes are not being tolerated in London. The police there have requested that anyone who sees or receives a fat card call the police so that the Overweight Haters can be brought to justice for their hate crimes committed. 

It’s a good thing that the police are involved to stop this injustice. However, what the card givers were doing is just an outward expression of a popular inward opinion. So why are we so OK with allowing the inward version to continue if we deem the outward version worthy of police involvement? 

If anything, this should show popular culture that now, more than ever, something must be done to end the perpetuating of body shaming.