Stop Sharing and Start Caring

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a “techy” guy. I like technology and I even like it when it doesn’t work because I like figuring out why it isn’t working. There is one thing about technology that I do not like though – the lack of compassion when others use it.

As 2013 begins, you can’t help but look around and see the digital world we have become. With the tap of a button, a photo taken in New York is shared with thousands of people across the world. Or with the click of a mouse, opinions are disseminated for all to see. Recently, I came across a picture on Facebook portraying a child affected by obesity in a shopping cart at a popular shopping store. The text that went along with it said, “Now you know why you get the cart with the broken wheel.”

Next, you could see all the people who “shared” it and “liked” it and then came the comments. “I hate fat people.” “Dude needs to stop eating Twinkies.” “Gross!” What was the point of posting this picture? Furthermore, what is the point in commenting on it? Did we further raise awareness of the severity of childhood obesity by posting this picture? No. Did we educate the public on weight bias in children? No. It did accomplishing something though – it further perpetuated weight bias.

Shifting gears for a moment, I read dozens of articles daily on obesity, treatments, etc. And there is one thing that is always 100 percent consistent with every article I read. You know what that one thing is? It is the absolute guarantee that someone (mostly everyone) will share an ignorant, hurtful comment in the “Comments” section. Why? Did they further educate the public on the effects of obesity? No. Did they encourage someone affected by obesity to improve their health? No. Did the comment provide some astounding breakthrough concept/thought that has now restructured the way in which we treat obesity? No. It did accomplish something though – it further perpetuated weight bias.

As much as I love technology and the ability to share my thoughts with everyone around me in cyberspace, I pity those who share the photo making fun of the child affected by obesity. I feel bad for the person who’s sitting in front of a computer or mobile device making hateful remarks in a “Comment” section online. But what can I do? What can you do? As OAC members, what can we do?

I’ve got a couple ideas. Next time you see someone post a distasteful picture, say something. Post a comment back letting them know that the picture is not funny. In fact, ask them to remove it. And if they won’t, maybe you need to reconsider if they’re a real “friend.” For news stories, check out the comments section. See a comment that is hateful? Write back. Let the keyboard be your mighty sword to fight back against hateful comments. Now, as the old saying goes, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” So as you post a comment, take a moment and try to educate the person. Tell them why it’s not funny. Explain how bias only hurts people.

The title of this post is not meant to be taken literal, but it is meant to be taken into consideration. Before we post that “funny” picture, regardless if it’s weight-related or not, let’s think twice. Is it really “funny?” If you’re going to share, be sure to care.

Think about it…

James

Weight Bias Information
The OAC produces a wide variety of information on weight bias. For more information, please click here.



5 Comments for this Post
  • Le Moore
    January 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Thank you for this article. I have tried to do this in the past. Unfortunately I am attacked by other people who make posts regarding my comment. They just don’t get it. There is a huge misunderstanding about weight bias, and I’m afraid it’s going to take a long time to make this go away. Right after I saw a post with an awful picture of a very heavy woman, I saw your post. I’m going to go back and make a post at that picture and see if it has any effect. Thanks again.


    • oacjames
      January 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Le Moore,

      Thank you for your comment. I agree it’s not always easy voicing your own opinion about weight bias. In fact, I usually count on someone attacking me after I comment on a news story, but I just keep on commenting. Good for you that you’re going back to post on that picture. It’s one more step forward in the right direction.

      Thanks
      James


  • Pam Davis
    January 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Childhood obesity is not a laughing matter. Just as with bias toward adults, we have to stand up, speak out and EDUCATE. Great article James.

    Pam Davis,
    Chairman of the Board,
    Obesity Action Coalition


  • Brooks Green
    January 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Great posts! We must stand for something and evaluate our core values. It’s human to have a personal bias, BUT to actully behave in a descrimanatory manner and make derogatory comments is unacceptable!


  • Nichole Scott
    February 2, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I ask my friends to stop body shaming of all sorts. I have lots of plus-sized friends who think it’s OK to post things like “Real women have curves” and “Sir Mix-a-Lot didn’t sing about Baby Got Nice Hip Bones.” Body shaming of any sort is wrong.



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