Monday, September 24, 2012

Weight Stigma Awareness Week

BEDA's take action for Tuesday: Express
We just saw the end to suicide prevention awareness week just as we're coming up on the first annual weight stigma awareness week. According to BEDA, the binge eating disorder association, " BEDA’s goal is to bring awareness to a common and entrenched social injustice that often results in serious physical and mental health consequences for those affected". Consequences indeed. I feel the need to point out that suicide and attempted suicide are common results of those consequences BEDA is talking about. 

Perhaps it's no coincidence that the two awareness weeks are almost back to back. Considering that teens who even think they're fat are more likely to attempt suicide and, let's face it, the fat  hate starts early  and children as young as three years old show weight bias against heavier people, attributing things such as being ugly, lazy, and stupid. By three years old, people. That's some seriously early weight hate indoctrination. One study shows that children 5-11 prefer underweight friends and react more positively to underweight stimuli than overweight stimuli (which they, of course, reacted negatively to).

So what's the purpose of weight stigma awareness week? It's just what it sounds like- to shed light on the constant discrimination and stigma that is associated with weight. Fat people get the majority of the load, but thin people aren't without their burdens and stigmas as well. Assuming a thin person doesn't eat does just as much harm to the fat liberation movement as assuming fat people eat too much- it's all playing back into the idea that weight is a choice and you have to choose to be one specific size and shape. We have a long way to go on the road to destigmatizing weight and especially fatness, but that's part of what this week is about. Banding together as a community, getting the word out, and making a change. 

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