Weight Bias – Why is it ok?

My name is James Zervios and I am the Director of Communications for the OAC. Working for the OAC since its inception in 2005 has been a blessing in my life as it has given me the opportunity to meet some incredible, intelligent people – people of all shapes and sizes. It has also opened my eyes to what some, including myself, consider the last acceptable form of discrimination – obesity.

I was recently at a gas station refueling my car when I overheard a comment made by a man at the pump next to me. A woman of size exited her car and walked toward the store. As she passed the man next to me, he made a derogatory comment about her weight and gender to his friend. Thankfully, the woman was inside the store when the comment was made. I quickly turned my head and looked at the guy with a look of disgust. Who was this guy to make a comment like that? What made him so perfect that he could judge another person based on their weight?

The man’s friend laughed at the comment and the laugh expressed to me that he and his friend were used to making these types of comments. What was funny about this situation? What is funny about someone’s size or someone’s gender?

The point I am trying to make here is when did it become ok to make fun of someone because of their weight. We don’t make fun of any other health condition. You’d never say, “Hey, look over there, that person has diabetes! That’s so funny!” But yet, when it comes to weight, this is ok.

Society is in need of a wake-up call when it comes to size. Look around, we come in all shapes and sizes. Furthermore, our size does not define who we are, our character, our abilities or our intellect. While obesity may be the last “acceptable” form of discrimination, it is in reality, very much so, “UN-acceptable.”

Think about it…


One Comment for this Post
  • Pam Davis
    March 31, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    James, you are absolutely correct. We must address these issues every time they arise. When we laugh at a joke, or just simply allow it to pass, we are then feeding into the social acceptance that weight is okay to ridicule.
    Not acceptable! I am so grateful to be a part of the Obesity Action Coalition as I know together we will affect change in this area.


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