Fatphobia | Tips To Overcome Fat Stigma & Fat Shaming

  • 13 months ago
4 minute read.
Fatphobia | Tips To Overcome Fat Stigma & Fat Shaming

In our society, where looks are highly valued, fatphobia has become a significant issue. It involves being afraid of, discriminating against, and stigmatizing people who are overweight or obese.

Fatphobia refers to the fear, social bias, discrimination, and stigmatization against individuals who are perceived as overweight or obese. It is rooted in a cultural emphasis on thinness as an ideal body type and a belief that being fat is undesirable or morally wrong.

Fatphobia can be observed in media representations, where overweight or obese individuals are often portrayed negatively or as comic relief. It can also be in healthcare settings, where fat people may face bias and receive substandard care due to assumptions about their health or lifestyle. Additionally, fatphobia can lead to weight-based discrimination in education, employment, and relationships.

What are the dangers of fatphobia?

Fatphobia harms people in various ways, much like any other form of discrimination. Here are some dangers associated with fatphobia:

  1. Social exclusion and discrimination: Fatphobia perpetuates social exclusion and discrimination against fat individuals. They may face bias in various aspects of life, including education, employment, and relationships. Fatphobia can limit opportunities, reinforce inequality, and create barriers to social participation and success.
  2. Mental and emotional health: Fatphobia can significantly impact the mental and emotional well-being of individuals who experience it. Constant exposure to negative stereotypes, body shaming, and discrimination can lead to low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Fatphobia reinforces harmful messages that equate thinness with beauty, worthiness, and happiness, which can affect a person's self-image and mental health.
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  1. Physical health disparities: Fatphobia can contribute to health disparities by hindering access to adequate healthcare. Negative biases and assumptions about fat individuals' health can lead to medical professionals dismissing or overlooking their symptoms, leading to delayed diagnoses and inadequate treatment. It can exacerbate existing health conditions and prevent individuals from receiving the care needed.
  2. Impact on body image and self-acceptance: Fatphobia reinforces adverse body image ideals, making individuals feel ashamed or inadequate due to their size or appearance. It can lead to a lack of self-acceptance, poor body image, and a preoccupation with weight and appearance. Negative body image can have a huge impact on mental health, self-confidence, and overall well-being.
  3. Weight cycling: Fatphobia perpetuates that weight loss is always desirable and achievable through willpower and personal responsibility. It can lead to weight cycling (yo-yo dieting) involves repeated cycles of weight loss and regain. Weight cycling is associated with negative health outcomes, including increased risks of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and metabolic disorders.

How to fight fatphobia?

1. Educate yourself

Learn about fatphobia, its origins, and its impacts on individuals. Read books, articles, and academic research to gain a deeper understanding of weight stigma and its harmful effects.

2. Do not comment on people’s bodies

Avoid commenting on people's bodies, whether positively or negatively. Complimenting weight loss perpetuates that being in a larger body is undesirable. Instead, focus on appreciating other qualities or achievements unrelated to body size to promote inclusivity and avoid unintentional harm.

Also check: Do you know your body type and what it tells about your health?

3. Respecting personal boundaries

Respecting personal boundaries includes refraining from offering unsolicited health advice, regardless of the intentions behind it. Such behavior is impolite, often causing more harm than good, and may not even be relevant. It is crucial to remember that body size or weight does not automatically indicate someone's overall health. Assuming that a person with a higher weight is unhealthy is an inaccurate assumption, just as assuming that someone with a lower body weight is automatically healthy.

4. Support inclusivity in media and advertising

Encourage diverse representation in media, fashion, and advertising industries. Demand that companies and brands promote realistic and inclusive body images. Support content creators and brands that prioritize inclusivity and representation.

5. Speak up for yourself

If you find yourself in a situation where someone is causing harm or making inappropriate comments, it is essential to assess the situation and decide to speak up. Remember, setting personal boundaries is completely acceptable, even if the person claims to have good intentions. You have the right to express your discomfort and say, "I find these comments unhelpful, and I would prefer not to discuss my weight with you any further."

6. Promote body positivity

Celebrate body diversity and challenge narrow beauty standards. Share positive messages about different body sizes and shapes. Amplify voices of body-positive activists and influencers who promote acceptance and self-love.


What is obesophobia?

Obesophobia refers to an extreme fear of gaining weight or becoming overweight. People with obesophobia often experience intense anxiety when it comes to discussions about weight, the possibility of gaining weight, or even just stepping on a scale.

It can affect men and women of various ages, although it is commonly observed among teenage girls.

What is anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa (anorexia) is an eating disorder that involves an obsession with weight and food. Anorexics develop abnormal eating patterns to cope with stress, low self-esteem, and anxiety. By restricting their food intake, they may feel a sense of control over their lives.


It is essential to recognize and address the damaging effects of fatphobia in our society. Fatphobia goes beyond mere judgments based on body size; it is a deeply ingrained bias that perpetuates discrimination and marginalization. By understanding what fatphobia truly means, we can begin to dismantle the harmful beliefs and attitudes surrounding weight and body image.

Luckily therapists are now available to deal with such psychological issues. The Wellness Corner can help you choose the right therapist who can make positive changes in your emotional life.

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