If you've ever doubted that fat-shaming is something that happens every day, just listen to the hundreds of Twitter users who shared their stories last week.
Blogger Melissa McEwan created the #FatMicroaggressions hashtag to start a conversation about the inappropriate and hurtful comments directed at overweight people on a regular basis. Microaggression, a term coined by Professor Chester Middlebrook Pierce in 1970, refers to small acts of aggression towards people of a certain group -- usually those of non-privileged races, classes or ethnicities.
Fat acceptance blogger Living~400lbs posits that overweight people are particularly susceptible to microaggressions because it is acceptable to be openly prejudiced against fat. In a January 2009 blog post she explained: "The problem is that many people figure fat people are not 'really' people, or at least don’t deserve to be treated like people."
Fat microaggressions can be subtle, which is why others -- especially those with thin privilege -- may not be quick to notice or object to them. And in a culture so obsessed with a thin beauty ideal, the idea of accepting and loving a larger body is still somewhat radical.
"The thing about living in a marginalized body is that it means there are lots and lots of people with the juxtaposed privilege who are deeply invested in defining my value," Melissa McEwan wrote in a Dec. 12 blog post. "And many of them react very badly to any evidence that I reject the value which has been imposed on me."
Here are 14 revealing tweets from people who have experienced fat-related microaggressions:
I am constantly underestimated. My intelligence, my strength, my talents, my tenacity, my cleanliness, my humanity. #fatmicroaggressions— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) December 11, 2013
Being told to lose weight first and come back when you do, at a job interview #fatmicroaggressions— Samantha Nicola (@CyV) December 12, 2013
"It won't kill you to let yourself feel hungry." Said after I'd been feeling hungry for two hours. #fatmicroaggressions— Allison Grant (@AllisonGranted) December 11, 2013
Disgusted looks from other diners when I am at a restaurant eating anything at all. #fatmicroaggressions— Sara Unrestrained (@sara4realz) December 12, 2013
#fatmicroaggressions People loudly complaining how fat they are when they are the same size or smaller than you.— Mammacake (@Katecake) December 14, 2013
Being told your wife is attractive w/ the questioning voice tone clearly implying "how did YOU attract such a beauty?" #fatmicroaggressions— Phil Prehn (@philatsun) December 12, 2013
And on that note, I've heard ad nauseam: 'If you're a vegetarian, how can you be that size?'December 13, 2013
"Fat people are not disciplined enough to get a higher degree." #fatmicroaggressions— loniemc (@loniemc) December 12, 2013
"You have such a pretty face, Jen. If you would just lose weight"- my mom. #fatmicroaggressions— Jen Banks (@JenBanksYEG) December 13, 2013
When walking into a store, immediately accosted by sales person, "we don't carry plus sizes here." #fatmicroaggressions— Jen °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖° (@kniterrupted) December 11, 2013
"Some people just don't make looking good a priority." #fatmicroaggressions— tiara.l.a. (@tiarala) December 11, 2013
"YOU have a two-piece bathing suit?" #fatmicroaggressions— Dr Tanta Tinycat (@drtantatinycat) December 11, 2013
"Your [insert any disease here] would get better if you lost weight." #fatmicroaggressions— Amadi Aec Elflace (@amaditalks) December 11, 2013
So next time you hear someone making a comment like the ones mentioned above, consider calling it out. Fat discrimination won't change until we start acknowledging it.
[H/T The Gloss]