Fat Shaming, Skinny Shaming, and Why ‘Dad Bod’ Might Save the World

I am a bigger guy. I’m not morbidly obese or anything, but I’m over 200 pounds, have love handles, a thick neck, and well on the way to man boobs. I’m not proud of it, and admittedly I do little to correct it. I come from a long line of “big” people on both sides of my family. I’ve always kind of had a “whatever” attitude towards fitness. I’m much thinner than some members of my family and I’ve always thought “well, if I start getting that big, I’ll do something about it”. Here I am, 37 years old, and on the way there and have been on that track for quite some time. Motivation, or the lack thereof, is my major setback. Along with the constant fear of being judged if I went to the gym.

“Fat Shaming” is a relatively new term for when people make their “larger” peers feel bad for looking the way they do. Sometimes it’s subtle hints they should diet, other times it’s flat out calling them names or making fun of them for being fat. A lot of it goes on in public, but the internet and over use of social media has made it worse.

The same thing happens to the skinny people. I’m married to one, I know. My husband is really thin, and while discussing fat shaming last night, he pointed out that the same (but opposite) things happen to skinny people. Folks are always yelling him to eat, that he needs to fatten up, and my personal favorite “no one wants to cuddle a twig”.

I have never thought about it going the other direction. But I see his point. If only think it is wrong to make fun of bigger people, than what would make it right about making fun of a thin person. And honestly, he can’t help it, he has a really high metabolism. He really does eat, probably twice what I do actually. So making fun of him (and people like him) is really dumb. I wonder if people do it out of jealousy? I’ll admit I’ve called him skinny or whatever, and that’s usually my motivation behind it.

But what is the motivation behind fat shaming? Surely it isn’t body envy. Is it because people feel they need to take it upon themselves to be a personal trainer for all people they feel are too fat? That it is their job to change all big people?  Something my dad always said growing up seems to apply here, “if you don’t like it…don’t look”. I do want to lose weight. But I want to do it for my health, my self esteem, my personal satisfaction, not because you want me to look better. I never asked you to look at me.

The new trend now seems to be “Dad Bod”. This is not the fit body that everyone seems to think that everyone should have. This is more the “not fat, but not in shape either” look. I think this is wonderful. It’s good to see that the world is embracing something that doesn’t cause people to strive for perfection they may or may not ever achieve. The fact that people can just be free and comfortable in their own bodies is awesome. Unfortunately, this trend doesn’t apply to the ladies, but your day will come.

Not everyone is rail thin.
Not everyone is obese.
But everyone is human. And ALL humans deserve respect.

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