Monday, July 14, 2014

Why People Feel No Sympathy When a Thin Person is Mocked

I'm in a moms group where one of the members, a naturally thin mom, posted this meme and expressed hurt feelings over it.

I agree. It's not nice to compare skinny people to a bone with no meat. (Actually, it's pretty offensive to compare any woman to any cut of meat.)

Skinny shaming is bad and shouldn't happen.

However -


Fat shaming is institutionalized in our culture and often even excused or encouraged by a "concern for the health" of those who are overweight. It will take a huge effort by our society to shift away from the cultural norm of f
eeling revulsion toward overweight people. 


Images like this one go too far in the opposite direction of trying to change the institutionalized prejudice toward overweight people by degrading skinny people and I don't like it.

But I think the reason why many people don't respond with sympathy when naturally thin people complain about being made fun of is similar to why many non-religious people don't respond with sympathy toward Christians when they complain about being persecuted for their beliefs. 


Being thin is the default 'good' in our culture... Being Christian is the default 'good' in our country... Even if an individual skinny person is mocked for their weight (or an individual Christian is criticized for their beliefs) that doesn't change the fact that there is a pervasive value throughout our society that being thin is good and being fat is bad (or being Christian is good and being an atheist is bad).

Until we all decide collectively to stop shaming differences and to embrace that people look/think/believe/act differently—and that's o.k.—there will always be little sympathy felt for those who (generally) benefit from institutionalized prejudices in our society.

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