Pop Culture

Weight stigma is strongly reflected in pop culture.  If obesity = depravity, weakness, and laziness, the alternative, thinness = virtue, strength, and determination.  Because our society views these qualities as desirable, fashion, television, news, and celebrity lifestyles all show an unhealthy fixation on thinness and how it must correlate positively with quality of life.  This reinforces ideas that only thin people can have complete, full lives and non-thin people's lives should (and do) revolve only around becoming thin.

Television shows do not reflect the variety of human bodies.  And not only are obese people not equally represented on regular TV shows, there are also shows that specifically shame and discriminate against us.

 

The misrepresentation of obese people in this form of media teaches us that the obese do not and can not have normal, interesting, conflicted, human lives that are worthy of our attention.

News sources focus heavily on the dangers of obesity and the calorie-in/calorie-out model.  Driven by headlines and sound bytes, journalism often leaves out complex health issues.

 

Headlines tend to parrot the incorrect assumption that obese individuals merely need to eat less and move more.  In addition, political focus narrows stories down to policy issues such as health care costs and food regulation rather than appropriate treatment or care.

Celebrity lifestyle media has a very strong preoccupation with fatness vs. thinness.  You only have accidentally glance at a gossip mag to be bombarded with the latest weight loss stories and trends of Hollywood.

 

Stars are regularly shamed about body size, further pushing the idea that public weight discrimination is both okay and entertaining

The great majority of fashion focuses only on "normal" sized clothing, modelled by often dangerously underweight men and women.  We learn that only the thin are deserving of beautiful things.

 

In addition, "plus-size" clothing that reflects personality is often hard to find.  This can have a strong impact on identity and self-worth.

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