Some people blame the anonymity of the Internet for the rash of inconsiderate ignoramuses who find joy in calling someone else fat. If only it were that easy to place the blame.
I believe we’re in an age of cruelty – a time when many of us are immune to abusing others.
Or, maybe it’s a tidal wave of fat-shaming tirades that make the taunter feel better about himself or herself.
Super Fun Night sitcom star Rebel Wilson was one of the most recent victims of this fat-shaming plague. Yes, Rebel is overweight. No, she does not deserve the verbal abuse she took after attending a recent awards show.
Amazingly, celebrity beauties Tyra Banks and Alyssa Milano have also been targeted by fatheads who find it funny to take potshots at women.
Sadly, such verbal abuse doesn’t stop at celebrities. Far too many women fall victim to the slings and arrows of narrow-minded jerks.
So, what can an overweight person do when they are called fat by someone? We turned to our favorite counselor for advice.
Dr. Matthew Anderson tells eDiets:
“The old adage ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ is dead wrong. Words can do terrible damage that hurts the heart long after bruises and cuts have healed. People who call others fat are usually either ignorant of the painful complexities of food addiction (of which excess weight is the major symptom) or they are immature and have no sensitivity to the feelings of others, or both.
“My knee-jerk reaction to fat haters is to hit back verbally with similar childish comments like, ‘I may be fat but you are ugly and I can lose weight. You are stuck in ugly forever.’ But, like comedian Bobby Collins loves to say, that comment is better kept on the inside.
“It is better to respond with an honest comment without anger, ‘Wow, that hurts.’ Even ignorant and immature fat-haters are often shut down by such direct honesty and at the same time the overweight individual retains her/his dignity.”
A writer for Salon.com recently noted, “One of the many problems with the word ‘fat’ is that there’s no standard definition. ‘Fat’ is applied both to the seriously obese and female celebrities who’ve gone up a dress size. Depending on who’s talking and the body image of said speaker, ‘fat’ may refer to a person of furniture-breaking dimensions, or a size 8 ballerina.”
Being the victim of fat talk is nothing new to supermodel Tyra Banks. But that doesn’t mean she’s gotten used to it.
“I post pictures with no make-up, with a bit of jiggle in my butt,” sad Tyra, 40. “I get a lot of positive stuff and a lot of negativity. It just goes on and on and on.”
After posting a makeup-free selfie on Twitter, Tyra was slammed with comments like: “you look so ugly but I love your show. You look better with make up,” or "Ew, you look like E.T."
Other comments were too crude to reprint.
Tyra is attempting to turn the tide with her newest campaign: “Fight fat talk.”
“A lot of girls will post a picture and say something negative themselves,” says Banks. “That’s like digital fat talk. That’s reaching way more people. Some of it is a need for compliments and sometimes you just want to express yourself about how bad you feel.”
There’s no denying that social media has made it easier for people to talk smack – and talk fat!
“It’s a dark time and particularly now when it comes to women and their bodies,” Tyra said.
Alyssa Milano showed who’s the boss when she became the target of a cheap joke from comic Jay Mohr.
Alyssa may be 41 but she continues to turn heads. It was Mohr who had people shaking their heads when he zeroed in on Alyssa’s “gut.”
During a radio interview, Mohr called her “Melissa Milano” before making fun of her figure.
Mohr’s verbal assault: “She’s very tiny. In height. It seems like she had a baby and said, ‘I don’t really give a s—’ ... I read it on her gut.”
The New York Daily News noted: “Who’s the Boss star Milano, meanwhile, responded to Mohr’s mohr-onic talk with a tweet, writing: ‘@jaymohr So sorry you felt the need to publicly fat-shame me. Be well and God bless. Please send my love to your beautiful wife.”
The bottom line for all you fat shamers: Think before you speak – and remember, you are talking about a living, breathing person.
eDiets Chief Editor John McGran has an extensive background in online dieting and tabloid news. He covers the celebrity beat for eDiets.