You’ve surely heard the word “fat-phobia” by now. In the typical sense, you hear it used to describe someone who harbours animosity and discrimination towards those who live in fat bodies. Though, is it possible that this phobia has risen to an epidemic level? Is there a new plague in our midst? The answer is a resounding YES, and it’s name is internalised fat-phobia!
As a society, there has become far too much emphasis on attaining a thin body and the focus has transformed from obsession to full on phobia. We count calories, macros, carbs and more. We cut out ingredient after ingredient to achieve a goal that always morphs into something more extreme at each step. We binge, we purge and even spend hundreds of dollars on products that celebrities in the media are paid to say was their miracle cure. All to try to attain an image that is forced onto us as the standard to strive for.
No longer is it just society that has to be taught that thin isn’t the only way and health is possible even in a large body. We have to look inside ourselves and unlearn these behaviours that have become so commonplace. It is not just society that has become phobic of extra curves and bumps.
Fat-phobia has wriggled its way into our brains and distorts that image staring back at us in the mirror.
Instead what is staring back at us has become that cupcake we enjoyed or the carbs we promised to cut out. We tell ourselves we’re cheaters and bad people for making choices out of want not need. No longer is the bathroom safe with a scale inside it. We destroy our bodies and our health out of fear of a few extra pounds. Our thoughts are no longer a safe space thanks to unrealistic expectations and insecurities. This phobia has worked its way into our soul and is poisoning good hearts and minds. It’s time to drown out that nasty little voice.
Fortunately, we aren’t living in the dark ages of self acceptance anymore.
We are living in an age that encourages people to stand out and stand up. To be heard. To be seen. To be visible and vulnerable. Slowly we are realising that perfection comes in all shapes and sizes. The realisation that curvy is just as worthy as thin now exists.
... Or so we thought. Just as we think we are taking steps forward, the Telegraph publishes an article shaming women who aren't replicas of a traditional sized mannequin (note: thin). Yes, Nike give many women all around the world visibility and representation by introducing a new, larger mannequin size, and (many) people turn directly to fat-phobia.
You see, the world shames fat people everyday, branding them lazy 'slobs' and demand they start exercising. Then, in an act that really should have occurred decades ago, Nike visibly displays clothing for those receiving this on-slaughter of ongoing critcism to do said exercise. And what happens? Fat-phobic, contradicting, self-righteous keyboard warriors are up in arms claiming it 'promotes obesity'... can anyone else detect the irony here?
So, what's a girl to do? Here's what we think. Whether you are a fat bodied goddess or a beautiful thin ally, we are all involved in changing the narrative. Allowing those around you to spout fat-phobic propaganda only strengthens the root of the problem. So, speak out against inappropriate terms or unwanted advice. Unfollow pages that are harmful to your mental health and body image. Support only those who have truly positive messages and empower you to feel good. This also includes brands. Once you find your power and your voice, use it to give strength to others, too.