A Crying Shame

Does Body Shame Drive Unhealthy Eating?

Ronda RouseyIn the midst of the growing cultural relevance of body positivity, a new study in Appetite regarding the effects of body shame on eating behaviors is well worth reading. Nicolos Troop found that feelings of body shame predicted high caloric consumption. Though the study has limitations, it certainly adds to the reasons for thinking there’s nothing benign about body shaming.

Popular rejection of body shaming is evident in a stream of celebrity headlines over the last month. This week, Selena Gomez wants you to know that her experiences of body shame have led her to seek therapy. Ronda Rousey, a mixed martial arts fighter, has a second career as a hot film star and model. The New York Times reports that her next fight will be about body image in Hollywood. “I swear to God,” she told the Times, “if anyone calls me fat one more time in my life, I’m going to kill them.”

Fat shamers, you’re on notice.

Google Trends - Body Positive and Fat ShamingEntertainers and fighters might not be your preferred role models, but the popular interest in body positivity and fat shaming is hard to deny. A YouTube comedian who tried to say last month the “fat shaming is not a thing” proved in fact that it is a big thing. She milked it for millions of clicks and an appearance on The View. Though she might have gotten the attention she wanted, her message was roundly rejected. And it led to a noteworthy spike in the already growing interest in “fat shaming” as recorded by Google Trends.

It’s not hard to find people who still cling to the idea that they’re just trying to help when they point out to someone that they could stand to lose a little weight. Yet, it’s increasingly obvious to everyone that they’re wrong. Your mother was right. To make such comments is just rude. In no way is it helpful. Even if you’re a person’s doctor, you should start by listening.

Click here to read the new study in Appetite.

A Crying Shame, photograph © Guy Mayer / flickr

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October 11, 2015