As you may have already heard from your favorite fat bloggers, today kicks off the Weight Stigma Blog Carnival in order to raise awareness for National Weight Stigma Awareness Week which takes place September 26th-30th, created by the Binge Eating Disorder Association. The Blog Carnival is being done by Voices In Recovery Anyone can participate in the Blog Carnival so jump in and join me if you have a blog! So this is blog 1 of 3 from now until September for this particular event.
Today's topic: What does weight stigma mean to you?
Let's see if I can properly gather my thoughts on this. Apologies in advance for any rambly-ness as this wasn't a planned post.
To me, weight stigma is a form of systematic oppression. There are a lot of components that include fatphobia, sexism,ableism, and homophobia. Fist I'll point out that the majority of body shaming and weight stigma is perpetrated against women. Reducing women to their bodies, to how sexually appealing they are, is simply another means of controlling them. In our society a woman's body is pretty much free for public commentary. Our bodies are constantly a source of debate. Weight stigma is used to judge our sexual worth, our value as "real" women, our to ability birth children, and even our fitness as parents. Women have a narrow range of body shape or size which is socially acceptable and there are very few places where we don't see weight centered issues specifically targeted at women. I'm sure you've noticed that the vast majority of diet ads, for example, target women.
That's not to say that men aren't also effected by weight stigma. When male bodies break gender norms by being either too big or too small, then you suddenly get a heavy dose of homophobia thrown in when these men aren't seen as "real" men.
So what does weight stigma mean to me? It means discrimination and oppression and control and ruining a lot of peoples' lives. It's control on so many levels because it encompasses so many topics and groups of people. The diet industry brings in (come on, we've heard it enough- we can all say it together!) 60 billions dollars a year. If that doesn't shout control I don't know what does. People are so desperate to conform to the right body type, and the right size that they'll do almost anything, listen to almost anything, believe almost anything just to reach that goal. The best way to control someone is to break them and weight stigma has done a great job of that.Weight stigma is violence against women (among other groups, but primarily women) and is part of a larger culture of misogyny.
Of course, that's not all that weight stigma is, but it's an important part and my brain just sort of took it and ran with it. So what does weight stigma mean to you?