Why do I talk so much about discrimination?

In the last month I have heard the following:

I have been called fat and disgusting, and told with a sneer that I should just continue to gain weight. This type of comment is not that unusual.

I have heard that really, employers have a right to not hire fat people – after all, they have more sick days. (Let’s completely ignore the federal law that prohibits employers to not hire someone based on disability)

I have heard well meaning comments about how I just need to eat xyz and drink x amount of water. (really, you don’t think I have the knowledge, and can make my own decisions?)

I have been told that “really, if I am going to contribute to anything, then it will be something real like cancer”.

I have been told: “you plan to walk 9000 miles, well, I will believe it when I see it”

I have had people comment on the food on my plate.

I have been asked: “Well, how could you allow yourself to get this fat?”

I have been told that most fat people are that way be choice.

Ohh, and several other comments I am forgetting at the moment. And an additional kicker? Two of above comments came from someone who claims she wants to help fat people.

So here is my answer to all those comments – I am sick and tired of your sanctimonious arrogance. Being overweight is legally a medical condition just like any other medical condition. It is not something I have “Chosen”, although I have been and continue to do my best to fight it. It is time we all stood up to say that fat shaming, belittling and conscious or unconscious discrimination against fat people is SO NOT OK.

Emotions are one (of several) reasons people gain weight, and discrimination hurts us emotionally, keeps us isolated, ashamed, depressed and anxious and thus gaining weight. Above comments are – whether aware or not – cruel, demeaning and unacceptable. If you say it to me, a close to middle aged overweight woman, then you better also say it to a male or a younger person or a slender person. If you don’t – then, chances are, you are discriminating!

Not hiring someone based on their weight, no matter what the reason is, is the basest of discrimination. What would we say if people started researching if people of one color or another had more sick days and then excused employers based on that? So, So, So NOT OK.

This is the article that got me writing this post today: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/fat-shaming-weight-gain_n_3670560.html?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl17|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D351197

 

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