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No matter what your size, gender, or age, you can play a part in stopping fat shaming—whether it’s done privately by someone you know or publicly by someone like Donald Trump shaming a former Miss Universe contestant’s weight gain and opining that a recent hacking of the Democratic National Committee could have been done by “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.” (“The shame of fat shaming,” by Gina Kolata,10/1/16, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/02/sunday-review/the-shame-of-fat-shaming.html?_r=0) Science writer Gina Kolata describes studies on the impact of weight stigma on children and adults. The effects are real, harmful, and they’re lasting.
Finally, fighting discrimination against higher weight people is becoming a major issue in this country and the movement behind it is growing stronger. It’s taking its rightful place next to movements to end prejudice against people of color, women, gays, lesbians, transgendered people, and the physically challenged.
What are you—yes, you in particular—doing about fat shaming? Here are five ways to take action. Pick one or do them all, but for goodness sake, do something.
If you let slamming fat people happen without confronting its perpetrators, you’re giving tacit agreement for them to do it. Standing up to fat-shaming is useful both to the creation of a more civil and just society and also is immensely helpful to your own emotional growth and self-efficacy. By deciding right now that you won’t let fat-shaming happen on your watch, you’ll be more likely to challenge it whenever it occurs.
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