It’s amazing how there are certain things we buy into without question. And I mean everyone: the general public, scientists, the media, medical professionals, politicians, activists. The very same people who are disgusted with climate deniers and creationists ignore other types of science that just might challenge their biases.
The same people who are on board with movements to end the stigmatization of mental illness or homelessness, willingly engage in a socially acceptable form of prejudice that’s so prevalent that it’s not even recognized as prejudice.
And what is this prejudice? It’s the conscious and/or unconscious negative attitude towards fat people. It’s the assumption that there is only one type of body that’s completely acceptable and healthy: slim. While there are some great studies that show that fat bias is rampant and how destructive it is, fat bias keeps us from correctly interpreting data from research, not to mention keeps us from creating appropriate studies in the first place.
This prejudice leads to body hatred, food and weight obsessions, disordered eating and has helped build a multi-billion dollar diet industry that we allow to deceive us. It’s simply not acceptable that a whole class of people are routinely reviled, pitied and stigmatized.
So, maybe now you’re saying, ‘This doesn’t have anything to do with me.” This is exactly like saying that racism doesn’t have anything to do with you or that you don’t see much evidence of racism yourself. Well, racism affects us all and so does fat-phobia.