Not too long ago, I came face to face with an issue that has always disturbed me, yet I had never thought about others like me that go through it on a daily basis. It was just another day, and as I ironed my clothes before going to bed, I came across a post of a couple that somehow were the opposites of each other in terms of appearance or to make it pretty simple, one of them was slim and the other fat. The question in particular was from the slim person who was being accused of fat shaming by the other person to which the poor guy had no idea. A few months ago, I was dealing with the same thing. A friend of mine had told me that I had fat shamed him. On the contrary, I’m the only person who supports him in his life-choices to lose weight (if needed) and to reassure him that he’s fine just the way he is.
Before I come towards my view of the body-shaming issue, let me say I’m extremely proud of the couple. Not many people look par beyond what they can see. And where body image rules, you hardly see a couple in comparison as those two. So I was really happy to hear that the two of them, both being at the ends of the body-weight spectrum (pun-intended) fell in love (I hope so).
Unfortunately, the society that we live in isn’t a very forgiving place and where certain body types are promoted and celebrated, one feels adequately shy and intimidated when they feel they’re not good enough to fit a certain crowd.
Let me give you an example. No kid wants to have poor grades. And when kids are compared, the brightest ones usually get the appraisal while those who fail or did not get good grades are ignored. No one cares about how much effort they put in.
But, there is still one person who will love them and watch out for them without reason. They might be the grandparent, or the parent, or the sibling, or a cousin, or an uncle, or just a neighbor; it could even be the high-school gate-keeper.
In their case, the slim person should be that person for their partner. When I read that (let’s call him Shaggy because slim or skinny is indeed shaming) Shaggy wrote beautiful when he described his partner, I realized he really was in love.
However, we need to understand that with time, the essence of beauty has been redefined by media into what teenagers commonly know as “sexy” (which is entirely wrong). You can find a lot of people attractive and sexually appealing but you can’t say they are beautiful unless you know what’s inside their hearts.
Now, fat people, or people struggling with body issues (that includes skinny guys like me) go through a plethora of shit that they have to deal with on a daily basis. Since, I’m not fat, I’ll try to answer it from the skinny side, that you might have experienced as well.
- I couldn’t take off my shirt in public. I was afraid I would be poked by the rudeness of the people.
- I preferred to socialize less and avoided meeting others who had well-built bodies.
- I constantly undermined myself for not being healthy and confined myself to the labels thrown at me.
- I could never look at myself in the mirror.
- I could never say to myself that I’m handsome or beautiful.
- I could never buy the correct clothing size. It was always either too loose or too tight.
- People thought I was easy to be intimidated. (You don’t mess with a big guy, do you?)
- People would usually find it funny to reciprocate me with a skeleton in order to count the number of ribs.
To be honest, I was unable to love my body for being mine and continuously chased the dream of having a figure like weightlifting models.
But sadly, the world is not perfect, and everyone has issues that they have to deal with sooner or later. My issue is genetic and not hormonal (found out after loads of blood-tests) and my metabolism is insanely fast. I eat and in the next hour I want more food (no worms in the stomach either).
All of the things I wrote about how I felt when I had low self-esteem about my body are faced by fat people with the addition of a lot more.
Meet my best-friend Farhan. He’s the fattest guy I’ve ever met.
- His marriage proposal was declined three times because of his weight.
- He can’t sit comfortably in most of the cars except mine.
- Even if he fits, getting out is embarrassing.
- He has to force himself to not eat his favorite food (pizza in his case) to not gain more weight thereby causing more discomfort. And shame.
- It’s ALWAYS embarrassing to buy clothes your size.
- It’s ALWAYS embarrassing and humiliating to go to a fitness center.
- And asking for an admission.
- And asking for a trainer.
- And trying not to skip going to the gym after the first day.
- And remembering people staring at you.
- And hearing them gossip about how large is your butt.
- It’s always hurtful getting turned down by people you like, more when you’re turned down by a potential date.
But do you know what all of that sums into?
The need to be accepted and loved.
Fat people are denied a place of comfort among their friends/peers/families. They are continuously being subjected to negative feedback and continuous backlash around them that self-shaming tendencies seem to develop in them. And they long to be able to look like a certain body type to fit in.
Do you know that the majority of teens workout just to get checked out by girls and get laid? If you didn’t well that’s the mindset of the current generation.
I’m sorry for such a long post. I can’t give you a potato at the end of this but for all those of you who are going through this issue with their loved ones, you have to sit down with them and talk. Tell the person that you love them unconditionally and ask them how you can be of help. You have to let them feel accepted and open to be themselves.
If they want to go to a gym or follow a certain diet, don’t judge, don’t offer your opinion. Support them. Help them. Go to the gym with them. Take care of their diet plan. Make sure you don’t let them feel lonely. Change is never easy, be there for them every step of the way.
Introduce them to people and talk highly of them. When you appreciate people in public, they feel more confident about themselves. Highlight the positive qualities, make them realize their strengths and the goodness in their heart.
I’ve never been fat, but my best friend is. And I’ve always looked out for him, supported him, and motivated him no matter what. But I’m not a stranger to shaming. If we need a term, then I was skinny-shamed for having less muscles and more bones. And yes, it did affect me. It still does. You can’t say to not give a shit about it. Of course, words hurt. So in the end, you still need love, if not the only thing, it is still the best thing to start healing with.