“My body never stopped me. The attitudes did.”
Today is World Obesity Day and people are taking to social media in an effort to change the narrative around obesity across society. Weight stigma, also known as weight bias or weight-based discrimination, is an issue that many people face on a daily basis, it refers to discrimination or stereotyping based on a person’s weight or size.
Fear of this stigma can lead to an avoidance of seeking medical care, disordered eating, depression and in extreme cases weight stigma has been directly associated with suicidal ideations and acts.
Broadcaster and beauty columnist, Louise McSharry, has spoken out today in an effort to highlight the need for change when it comes to other people’s attitudes towards weight. In an Instagram post, Louise shared that her weight has never negatively impacted her life, and that it’s society that has the issue, “Today is #WorldObesityDay, the day the world gets together and tries to solve the problem of people like me. Except, I’m not a problem.”
Louise went on to explain how she was placed on her first diet at the age of six and how it led to years of pointless dieting:
“Their feelings about my body led to years of pointless yoyo dieting which, would you believe, is really bad for your health. Their feelings about my body and what it is and isn’t capable of meant I never tried out for the school dance team, even though I wanted to, because I had been taught that bodies like mine didn’t belong there. It meant I stopped going on acting auditions because an agent told me I ‘better get my body together’ as she handed me a script at age sixteen. It meant I settled for substandard relationships with shit people because I had been taught that I’d be lucky if anyone was ever attracted to me. I can dance. I can act. I am attractive. My body never stopped me. The attitudes did.”
The drivers of any sort of stigma are usually rooted in deep misunderstanding. It is never acceptable to discriminate against someone based on their size, but shaming, blaming and concern-trolling is something we’re seeing more and more of in today’s society. If you’d like to educate yourself on obesity and issues surrounding weight, you can find further information here or follow the hashtag #EndWeightStigma on social media.
You can read Louise’s post in full below:
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