16 March 2016

Fat & Fate

Seventeen year old Sabeena is tall & fair. Her hazel nut coloured wavy hair flows open to her waist. Her light brown eyes elegantly compliment her pink chubby cheeks. Imagine her once in your mind. You see a pretty girl, right?  

Now I'll describe her more. She sings well & painting is her passion. Sabeena is a good student and a happy-go lucky girl who is always smiling. But something worries her mom about her. Sabeena's mom says, "My daughter is 17 & weighs 86kgs. I am worried."

Are you imagining Sabeena to be ugly now? Well if 'no' then congratulations if 'yes' then I insist, please continue reading.

Sabeena leads a healthy life inspite of being obese but what worries her mom is her wedding. Who will marry a fat girl?

"My relatives come home and taunt us. They blame me for feeding her. But the truth is Sabeena was born a healthy baby. As a teenager she eats less. I have still tried feeding her only boiled vegetables but tell me, which child would like bland food? I feel bad for her when her friends call her different names but somehow she has overcome it."

According to a survey, more than 70 percent of obese people reported being ridiculed about their weight by a family member.

You are obese & maybe you hate it. Even if you are not, you wouldn't like to be obese. You might cite reasons of unhealthy life for hating it but the fact is... every obese person hates it because of 'fat-shaming'. It seems to be a crime if you are over-weight. People taunt and make fun of you at school, college, office & roads.

 “All the time people go about mocking us. You are like the butt of all jokes" says Rajat Subhra Ta.

Why are overweight people judged so harshly?

Our society views thinness as a symbol of beauty, hard work, self-discipline and willpower. People who are overweight are presumed to be lacking these virtues. In one study shows, two in five women said they would trade three to five years of their lives to achieve their ideal weight.

 No thigh gap?
-You're ugly.

No toned legs.
-You're ugly.

No flat tummy.
-You're ugly.

Double chins?

 While we admire zero-size in awe, let's wake you up and tell you that there are extremely 'beautiful' & successful plus-size models. Models like Robin Lawley, Sydney-based model didn’t just make history with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She’s also the first plus-size model star in a Ralph Lauren campaign, cover Australian Cosmopolitan, and be shot for the Aussie version of Vogue and GQ.

Being chubby isn't cool? You're not a swagger enough if you are fat?
These misconceptions flourish in spite of five decades of scientific research documenting the negative consequences of weight stigma and the fact that many causes of obesity are beyond the individual’s control. For example, genetics, economic status, hormonal disorder, depression, upbringing and the way parents talk to their children about weight all have a bearing on obesity. Every one out of five obese teenager who have been a victim of fat-shaming commits suicide.

A girl from Kolkata's one of the well-known colleges said, "I attempted suicide thrice when I was harassed on the bus by some people for being fat. They called me names and abused my dad. One person said that I should be carried by a crane. Another lady said that the conductor should take the triple of the actual fare because I was triple the size of a 'normal' person. My fault was just that I asked the woman to shift a little so that I could sit."  

“All of these manifestations of fat stigma not only hurt emotionally and psychologically—increasing the risk of depression, body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem—but they also contribute to the problem of obesity itself. Arguing “it’s for their own good,” some people use blame and shame in an attempt to motivate obese individuals to lose weight. We know this doesn’t work. If it did, as stigma increases obesity would decrease. Instead, as obesity rates have risen, weight discrimination has also increased by 66 percent in the past decade” says Carolyn C. Ross who is an expert in Eating Disorder research programme.  

Rather than focusing solely on personal responsibility, let’s tackle the bigger issue and work on changing the obesity-promoting environment. Rather than lecturing people about exercise, diet and weight loss, let’s emphasize more effective approaches because health comes in all sizes. Blaming the victim frees everyone else of responsibility, but with an epidemic as complex as obesity, we all have a role to play in prevention and treatment – and that includes not discriminating against people based on their weight or any other factor.

Probably half the world is unaware of the fact that you can be fit but fat too. This is all a game of BMI or the Body Mass Unit. Not every fat person is overweight or at risk with their health. The body mass index (BMI) has replaced the old height and weight charts as the most widely used tool to assess whether someone is at a healthy body weight. Both men and women use the same formula, a ratio of height to weight that helps assess whether they are underweight, normal weight, or overweight. Is being fat healthy?

Yes, you can be overweight and healthy, according to the National Institutes of Health's 1998 report, Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults.

People who are overweight can be considered healthy if their waist size is less than 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men, and if they do not have two or more of the following conditions:

    -High blood pressure

    -High blood sugar

    -High cholesterol

Sabeena is also healthy. She has no ailments at all. She eats like a normal teenager, goes out for a walk, plays & exercises but she is still chubby and she does not regret it all. When asked about what Sabeena would like to tell the people who mock chubby girls, she said to EXPRESS MAGAZINE, "Don't repeatedly make us realise that we have extra flesh to our body. It's my body and I already know that. And for the people who call us cute or golu-molu, I would say do not compliment at all. It shows how you judge my body when you say so." 

About the Author:

Jaismita Alexander loves to write, eat, travel & sleep besides being an admirer of Art and Literature. She is also the Co-Founder and Editor of ExPRESS Magazine.  



Do share this post if you are against fat-shaming. :)


  1. It's really worth reading as many people still continue to harass fat people just for their body structure.They don't see the person inside them

    1. Absolutely true Anumita.If people start seeing the soul and not merely the body,the definition of beauty would have been something different. :)