Greetings from social isolation, I hope that everyone reading this is doing as well as possible as we navigate this together. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, so of course, people are using this opportunity to perpetuate fatphobic bullshit.
To be clear, there are serious conversations online about people fearing weight gain during social isolation, which is in itself indicative of the issues in a society that is built on weight stigma and diet culture. The worst of it, to me, are the memes. Because the memes are seen as “jokes” which means that they get shared and people get defensive about it when we point out that they are harmful, and go into that whole “why can’t you take a joke” bullshit. (Hint – it’s not that I can’t “take a joke” made at my expense that harms me, it’s that I shouldn’t have to.)
Of course people are arguing that this isn’t fatphobic, which is patently ridiculous. These memes are absolutely fatphobic because anything that suggests that a fatter body is a negative outcome is fatphobic. Anything that puts fat bodies in a negative light is fatphobic. This is not, in any way, complicated. And there is never any justification for fat-shaming.
But it’s not just the fatphobia – though that would be bad enough to demand that it stop. These are also harmful to people of all sizes who are dealing with disordered eating/eating disorders/body dysmorphia while dealing with quarantine – in a time when they are often cut off from their typical support and resources, memes like this reinforce a fear of body size change due to eating.
There is plenty of humor to be had without doing harm to other people. If someone can’t manage to find it, then maybe humor is just not for them. Definitely don’t share this bullshit and, if you’re up for it, consider saying something when you see them posted,
You can confront directly, or try something a little softer, like “I didn’t realize it, but memes like this actually contribute to eating disorders and weight stigma, so I wanted to pass that along” and/or you can copy this blog post if you think it will be helpful.
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