Body shaming is defined as inappropriate negative statements and attitudes toward another person's weight or size. It can also reach into the discrimination against individuals who may be overweight.
I can only speak about how I feel and my experience and my thoughts on the body shaming and what it means to me. I can say this body shaming never once motivated me to make any changes. In fact it almost made me want to stay the way that I was to spite those that were only focused on what I looked like not the merit of my character. I would become angry and militant in my determination to be fat. When I was younger I pretty much took the "screw you, I am going to be fat and you go take a flying leap" attitude. This was my outward reaction.
On the inside things were much different. I felt shame, worthless, hideous, and unlovable. I believed that only certain types of men would love me. I also felt I would forever be stuck in jobs I hated. When I interviewed for jobs I hoped I would see another fat woman in the office so that I would at least have a chance of being hired. I hated myself but I never made any changes to get healthier because of what someone else said.
My personal epiphany came after a trip to Arkansas to visit one of my best friends and my uncle. Two things happened on that trip. The first happened when I saw my uncle. He is the brother of my late mother. She passed away 13 years ago at age 56. She was morbidly obese most her adult life. When she died she had diabetes. congestive heart failure, and was in kidney failure. My uncle loved her very much. When I stepped out of the car to greet him there was something in the way he looked at me. It was a look of fear. He does not remember doing it but I saw it. Real or not something hit me that afternoon. On the way home on the airplane a couple days I just thinking about my upcoming birthday. I was going to be 44. In a year I would be marrying my fiance'. My mother had died when she was 56. I realized 12 years would not be enough with the man I loved. I didn't want to leave him because of my health. So I changed my lifestyle. I joined Weight Watchers. And I have lost almost 90 pounds.
There was an outside influence in my decision but not one that was body shaming. My uncle never said a word to me about my size or health. No one said anything to me that trip that was hurtful. I believe that the change came from my own realization that my life was in danger. For me it was a self realization. Rich shared with me that his wife's moment of realization came when their daughter told her she was worried that Mom wouldn't be around for a long time. Outside influence yes, internal realization definitely.
Whatever the influence, it is up to us to make a change if we want to. Not every fat person is unhealthy and not every thin person is healthy. Whatever the situation, shaming someone for their size just can not be acceptable anymore.