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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

Business Spectacle: Lilys Hair Studio (video)
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October 26, 2023

Right, wrong can’t be applied to shape, size

Graphic by Josh Martin.

By Kara Hallam

Enterprise Editor


I pull up Facebook and my news feed fills with campaigns for body peace and body shaming. One thing out of all the posts suddenly catches my eye; it’s a photo of an extremely thin girl and overweight woman with the phrase “both of these are unhealthy and neither should be glorified.”

Pronouncing itself as the end-all solution to fat and skinny shaming, I can’t help but feel extremely uneasy. I have heard the debate everywhere, some believe overweight individuals are being discriminated against and others think they’re taking criticism and some “acceptable discrimination” too sensitively because someone needs to tell overweight individuals their lifestyle is unhealthy.

But when did it become OK again for us to set standards of what we should and shouldn’t look like just at one surface level glance?

Body shaming has been a consistent problem in society for ages. However, parading around in the name of “health”, this criticism has taken a new form on the Internet, in the classroom and in day-to-day life. Suddenly, the progress we have worked so hard for has been forgotten, and we have reverted back to our old ways, as if what we consider good intentions excuses for rash words.

In the news one day I see women campaigning for plus-size respect, the next a story featuring a trainer criticizing those who embody unhealthy eating habits and demand respect for it. In classes I hear snickers about someone who’s overweight, claiming it’s OK to make fun of them because “they did this to themselves.”

I agree that there are some people who need to be told their lifestyles are not practical and healthy, but I also believe that it is up to a doctor or a close friend or family member to tell them in the most beneficial and helpful way possible.

What I see going on around me today, is not for the sake of good intentions. Posting a harsh picture or making fun of your friend for their weight problems doesn’t mean you have someone’s best interest in mind. All it’s doing is suddenly making it OK again to judge people based off their looks.

Someone’s appearance is not enough to tell whether or not they are healthy. Studies have also shown this kind of criticism can cause low self-esteem and even result in more weight gain. When we go about things in a definite and irritated tone or mocking tone, it only makes people defensive.

Fat-shaming and skinny-shaming doesn’t promote the healthy attitudes people hope it’ll turn into. If it does have any effect at all on someone, it can resort to fast solutions like starving or overeating.

It takes a village to raise a child – don’t let them grow up thinking it’s OK to bluntly make judgements about someone’s appearance for the sake of their health or constantly fear the scrutiny they’d endure if their body looks different than everyone else’s.

Graphic by Josh Martin.
Graphic by Josh Martin.

Don’t get me wrong, being overweight can be unhealthy. Yes, something needs to be done, but defining what people should look like over the Internet or in harsh conversations is not the best way. That isn’t constructive criticism, it’s bullying. Don’t get so caught up in the heat, the stress and the scariness of the threat of obesity that you forget your humanity towards other people.

The same goes for the treatment of those who are underweight.

Obesity is a serious problem in America, but it’s up to doctors, educators, family and friends to teach others how to lead healthy lives and make the right choices. I know it’s hard to get people to change their eating habits, but being defensive can cause more harm than good.

We’re in this together if we really want to fight obesity. You can’t do that if you let your harsh words create a divide; skinny versus fat, them versus us – we’re all human and we all need to be treated with respect.

It is a scary thought to think we might live in a society where health is used as an excuse to disguise bullying, because that’s what this really is. Let’s do something about it, if we really want to help others lead healthier and better lives.

I understand how hard it is to get someone to change their lifestyle and how scary the threat of obesity is. But we need to start being more constructive than destructive before we create a society where judging people based off appearance is a norm again.

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