It’s not uncommon for people to make jokes about someone’s weight, or point out flaws in order to make them feel better. This is fat shaming. Over 40% of American adults say they’ve been shamed because of their weight.
Fat Shaming is a problem in all types of relationships, including romantic ones. In intimate relationships, partners may be faced with a significantly different attitude towards their body image. This can be expressed as criticism, insults, or even withholding love and affection. These feelings of low self-esteem, insecurity, and depression can result. Fat shame can have a negative impact on your self-talk. It can cause a poor body image, and even lead to weight gain. Obesity.
Fat Shaming was founded by Elizabeth Fedrick PhD., LPC. She says that fat shame is any behavior that causes someone to feel ashamed or criticised. Fat-shaming is a method of making someone feel bad about their appearance.
Although fat-shaming by a partner may be harmful, this is not abuse.
Akua Booteng, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist who can determine if this behavior occurs only once or repeatedly.
Dr. Fedrick agrees, explaining that emotional violence is any behaviour that causes another person to feel hurt, ashamed, or uncomfortable. Fat-shaming can be particularly harmful, as we see our intimate relationships in a positive light. Dr. Fedrick says that another reason we do this is because we want to be seen as attractive and worthy by our partners. She says that using demeaning or mocking language by a partner could be a sign that they do not love or value you.
How can you respond if you partner fat shames you?
You can use specific examples to explain what you partner did or said and how it made you feel. Dr. Fedrick believes it’s important to set clear boundaries about what you feel comfortable talking about.
This is how it looks in practice.
You can let them know that the first time they say something hurtful, you do not like to talk about your weight. It’s just not worth it.
The second time, you’ll have to be more firm. You could say something like “I asked you to not talk about my weight.” If this happens again, then I will stop the conversation.
Dr. Fedrick suggests leaving the situation either in person or by text until they stop increasing your weight. She says that we may have to leave relationships with people because they are not able to be kind, considerate, or respect our boundaries.
Dr. Boateng agrees, explaining that you can leave if your partner does not show respect, trust and dignity. She suggests that if this isn’t an option, you should speak to a mental health professional to learn how to stay safe and manage the negative effects of fat-shaming on your mental wellbeing.
How not to shame your partner for their weight
Dr. Fedrick says if you’re genuinely worried about your partner or think mental health issues could contribute to weight gain, it isn’t necessarily fat-shaming.
Take a moment before you discuss the topic with your partner to reflect on yourself and ensure that your concerns are real. Examining your own beliefs will help you to not project your insecurities onto your partner.
Dr. Fredrick recommends that if you decide to proceed, you should express your concerns to your partner with sensitivity and care, no matter their body type or weight. You should choose a convenient time to speak with your partner. You can then express your concerns about their mood or behavior, for example, if they seem more irritable or hesitant to leave the house as much as before.
Dr. Fedrick suggests that you start by saying that the topic is complex and that you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s not helpful or necessary to continue the discussion after you have expressed your concerns. Fedrick says that fat shame leads to repeated nagging.
You may hurt your partner, no matter how gentle or supportive you are. Dr. Boateng states that weight-related conversations can trigger fat shame in those who have been affected by it. If you want to avoid this, try not to make comparisons or give unwelcome advice.
To foster a positive connection, focus on healthy behaviors and self-care. Discuss the positive. If you feel that your partner is making negative comments about your weight or body, then it’s time to get up. You may be being fat shamed by the shape of your body. Refer to the HurtFull comments and express how they make you feel. Establish clear boundaries. Ask for support from friends and family or a mental health professional to help you take control of feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.