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There Is The Difference Between Body-Shaming And Genuine Weight Concerns

  • IWB Post
  •  August 10, 2018

Pop culture, movies, dinner-table conversations, family and friends gatherings, body-shaming has been present almost everywhere. However, today, the tough stand by social influencers and body activists has made body-shaming a much more conscious topic in casual interactions.

The question is, “how to talk about fat without fearing of being accused of body-shaming?”

“It’s the same thing that separates humour and satire — the difference lies in how you say it, not what you say,” said Dr Kedar Tilwe, consultant psychiatrist and sexologist, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai to Elle India.

According to Dr Tilwe, the basic definition of fat-shaming is when you use terms that are derogatory or socially stigmatising words. The intentions might be different but our words could lead to eating disorders, loss of self-esteem, anxiety, and depressive tendencies.

“Avoid making an obvious statement like, ‘You’re putting on weight’, and just leaving it at that. Follow it up with a helpful suggestion like, ‘Let’s go for a walk together’,” recommended Dr Tilwe. The person may or may not take up your advice but the way we say it will shift our sentence from mere criticism to demonstrating genuine care, empathy, and a willingness to support.

“The nature of body-shaming is malleable — it changes from person to person. Most times, people make fun of those who are not even medically obese. There will always be banter between grown-ups and friends have the right to pull your leg —you need to let it go. But if it goes overboard, you can put your foot down and let them know your point of view,” he said.

The important thing is to realise while conversing is that weight doesn’t define a person, which should be taught since childhood. And, when it comes to overweight children, parents need to make them feel accepted. “Avoid comparisons — not just with siblings or cousins but also with the child’s previous body frame,” said Dr Tilwe. When dealing with children too, follow up your comment on their weight with a helpful suggestion, he added.

“If your friends are not taking you seriously, get them to empathise. Usually, people make a statement and wait for a response. Instead, say you’ve put on weight and explain why it’s bothering you even if you haven’t become fat,” he advised.

H/T: Elle India

Image used for representational purpose/Source: Ashley Graham’s Instagram

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