Why is it still acceptable to stigmatise overweight (“fat”) people?
Fattist attitudes are so widespread and harmful that overweight people face chronic stress most of the time.
When we think of prejudice and discrimination, most of us tend to think of harassment or discriminatory behaviour. Obvious examples of prejudice do still occur with depressing frequency (e.g. “You fat bastard”-chants from football fans hurled against an overweight football pitch steward at the Brighton football stadium, and also across Britain). But for most members of stigmatised groups, it is not these experiences that shape their daily lives. Instead, it’s the multiple small reminders of one’s devalued status – micro aggressions that might seem subtle but that can build up to create an overwhelming feeling of being oppressed by society.
We, at IDEAL-English Language and Culture in Brighton/UK, do not tolerate any form of verbal abuse and discrimination, not only directed towards overweight individuals. Those who get caught by us doing it are kindly but forcefully requested not to do it again in the future.
Despite the fact that about two-thirds of Britons are classified as overweight, negative attitudes towards overweight people are still very common.
Stigmatised individuals go through life anticipating, fearing, expecting and preparing for these events. This must consume an enormous amount of mental and emotional energy and is itself a form of chronic stress.
Most of us like to think of ourselves as unprejudiced. We would never harass overweight persons in the street or give them inferior service in a shop. But if we genuinely want to be part of a kind and decent society, it is up to us not to let hostility go unchallenged, for overweight people just as for any other group.
We, at IDEAL-English Language and Culture in Brighton/UK, would love to read your opinion on this matter. What is it like in your country?
Enjoy the summer season!
All best wishes to you and your family,
Peter from IDEAL-Brighton/UK