On Why We Need to Ban the F Word
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Take a look around you, and I would be willing to bet money that if you really looked closely enough, you’d see some sort of fat-shaming every single day. It’s sadly something that has become second-nature in our society. Despite the fact that I work for a patient advocacy organization in obesity who fights against weight bias, I still see fat-shaming all around me: in the media, the fashion and beauty industry, occasionally from healthcare professionals, even from some of my most well-intentioned friends. And guess what? I’m not just talking about people shaming others; I see them shaming themselves, too!
Fat-shaming has been a real hot-button topic as of late in the media and online in various forums. Reports on people attacking others, telling them to lose weight, giving unsolicited advice to “push away from the table,” calling them derogatory names and plugging the word “fat” into the statement to add that extra “burn.” It’s as if judging someone by their weight has become this go-to insult and ultimate dig. I would say that 99.99% of the time, the comment about someone being “fat” is completely irrelevant to the rest of the conversation, too. So why is this okay? Why do we stand around and let this go on? What can we do to stand-up to it?
There’s a stigma around the disease of obesity because weight bias is all around us – and it needs to stop. Because not only is it wrong, and in the words of our Chairman Ted Kyle, “just plain RUDE,” it is actually hurting those affected by obesity in a severe way. Weight bias and fat-shaming is hindering our ability to treat obesity as what it is: a serious medical condition affecting more than two-thirds of our country. On the other side of the coin, it’s hindering our ability to treat PEOPLE with obesity with dignity and respect.
This is why we need to “Ban the F Word.” While we don’t think the word “fat” should be completely banned, we do strongly believe there needs to be a shift in how we are using it in our society. What we really mean when we say we want to ban the “F Word” is that we need to stop using the word “fat” as an adjective to describe someone who has excess body weight. Using the word as an adjective to shame people dealing with the disease of obesity is unacceptable.
In other words, we want people to stop bullying others by using the word “fat” as a missile aimed at trying to make them feel like less of a person because they have excess weight or obesity. An individual’s BMI bears absolutely NO reflection on their character, achievements or work-ethic, and it certainly does not define them as a person. We need to see past the “F Word” and start seeing the person.
If you believe that people deserve to be treated with respect, if you believe that bullying needs to end, if you believe that fat-shaming is wrong, then there IS something you can do to put a stop to it! STAND UP with the OAC in our movement to Ban the F Word and SIGN OUR PETITION calling for an end to fat-shaming once and for all. We will continue to fight and fight hard for a world free of weight-bias, stigma and shame, but our fight will be much stronger with you by our side. Only with your support can we end fat-shaming, and only together will we eradicate weight bias forever. Now, let’s Ban the F Word.