Enough with the fear of fat

Are we as open-minded as we think we are? Do we sometimes unconsciously make judgements about people’s appearances when they are a little bigger than yourself? Fatphobia is one of the phobias that are shared by many. It is the fear that makes many hit the gym twice or thrice a week because we believe that we need to look thin in order to be accepted by society.

In a TED talk titled "Enough with the fear of fat" at TEDxSydney in May 2016, fat-activist Kelli Jean Drinkwater discusses people's perceptions of bigger bodies by talking about the taboo that is fatphobia.

In the TED talk, Drinkwater claims that we live in a society where people focus more on obesity than mental health, both in proportion to themselves and others: “You may have wondered, consciously or not, if I have diabetes.... or if I eat carbs after 7pm”1. “You may have worried that you ate carbs after 7pm last night, and that you really should renew your gym membership”.

She argues that these judgements are symptoms of an irrational fear of fat: “These judgments are insidious.

They can be directed at individuals and groups, and they can also be directed at ourselves. And this way of thinking is known as fatphobia”3. The grounds for these claims are that society has painted a picture that says being fat is shameful and that being thin is the ultimate goal:”

We live in a culture where being fat is seen as being a bad person.... And we tend to see thinness as being universally good.”4 This quote tells us that we have been taught to strive for these body ideals rather than focusing on our mental health.

The warrant for Drinkwater’s argumentation is that we should focus less on how society views our bodies and that we should be happy with the way we are: “It’s simple: it’s your body, and you decide what’s best to do with it.”5 In short, she believes that mental health is as important as physical health when it comes to a person’s overall wellbeing.

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