If you ask any overweight person how often people make comments about the way they look, nine times out of 10, they will tell you it happens almost every day.
Whether it is a joke or not, overweight people receive daily ridicule for the way they look, often from people who know nothing about them or their stories.
Last week, comedian and talk show host Bill Maher thought it would be a good idea to make the argument, “Fat-shaming shouldn’t go away – it needs to make a comeback.”
First off – no.
Second off, there are so many reasons why fat-shaming won’t do anyone any good.
While it may seem that Maher is simply making a joke – as comedians do – telling his audience fat-shaming needs to make a comeback is bullying.
As someone who has struggled with their weight since they were 8 years old, and has been the subject of bullying since they were a kid – specifically because of their weight – this particular attack hit a nerve with me.
I know I’m fat – I’m not blind. I don’t need someone who doesn’t know me telling me to eat a salad.
Many people don’t realize there is also a line between comedy and bullying.
Maher claimed in his monologue genetics do not play a large factor in obesity. “No one comes out of the womb needing to buy two seats on the airplane,” Maher said.
Again – no.
While yes, people may have gotten a laugh out of the “joke,” the overall message he was trying to share is – at its core – bullying and degrading.
Maher’s comments have created a whirlwind of backlash from multiple outlets.
Fellow late-night talk show host, James Corden, took it upon himself to respond to Maher’s comments.
While Corden agrees with Maher that obesity is a problem – he believes Maher is going about it the wrong way.
Corden finished his eight-minute monologue by saying, “While you are encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours.”
Obesity affects everyone in the world, but obesity is not an epidemic that attacks the “lazy and stupid” people Maher claimed it does.
According to the University of Michigan Health System, obesity is directly tied to poverty, genetics, chronic illnesses, and levels of access to healthcare and education.
Bullying someone for the way they look won’t help solve the obesity problem.
In fact, it is proven that fat-shaming makes the obesity problem worse.
In an article published by Michigan Health, fat-shaming has been shown to cause depression and heighten the risk for suicide, as well as jump start eating disorders – including anorexia and overeating.
According to the CDC, 39.8% of the country is obese.
We know we are fat, we know we have a problem – stop making us feel like we are less than human because we don’t have a BMI of 20.
By the way – according to the CDC – it has been scientifically proven that BMI is not an accurate indicator of health.