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Gender: Male
Hometown: New Hampshire
Home country: USA
Member since: Sun Oct 3, 2004, 03:16 PM
Number of posts: 12,879

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Even though I've been obese, I'm not sure what counts as "fat shaming"...

...when other people talk about that.

I'm no stranger to shaming and humiliation in general. I was nerdy, non-athletic, and socially awkward as a boy. My peers made my life hell for that. I was taunted and bullied. I was picked last, often dead last, for teams in gym. My friends were few, and I never dated until after high school. My childhood and teen years are not fond memories to say the least.

But weight at least wasn't an issue in my youth. I was called "faggot" a lot, but never "fatso".

Weight crept up on me in my twenties, until I hit around 245 lbs on my 6' frame. I started eating better and exercising, kept fit and trim for a bit over seven years during my thirties, then fell off the wagon, slowly building up to a new high of 263 about two and a half years ago, when I once again attacked the problem. Now I've been under 200 for over a year and a half, and at or near 178 for over a year.

Suffice to say I've spent a fair number of my adult years being overweight or obese even though I'm currently slim.

Of course, I'm sure adult males get the least flack for excess weight of any group. I was harder on myself for letting myself go than anyone else ever was. Probably the most shaming thing I recall experiencing about my weight wasn't from anyone being personally insulting to me: I'd gotten a ticket for indoor skydiving for my birthday. When I went to try it out, it turned out there was a weight limit of 250 lbs, and they made me get on a scale which, to my surprise and embarrassment, showed that at the time I'd gone just a bit over their limit. Since I was only a couple of pounds over they let me continue anyway, but the reason for the limit became clear when I found it was hard for the vertical wind tunnel to get me more than a few feet above the ground.

On the more personally directed side of things, the only thing that stands out in my mind were a few unsolicited comments from my father, which he made from the perspective of someone who'd battled weight himself, in the manner of offering friendly advice. On other issues my father could be incredibly nagging, but on this he was pretty low key.

So for other people, what is it that hits your as shaming? Except for those few on DU who still might be young enough to be in high school, I don't imagine many of you who are overweight deal with flat-out open bullying and taunting -- although perhaps you'll surprise me in that regard, having a very different adult experience than mine.

Perhaps you experience "fat shaming" in the form of comments from friends and family, people offering unsolicited advice or criticism? Either thinking they're genuinely being helpful, but failing, or perhaps only putting on a mask of helpfulness while just being insulting or condescending?

Maybe it's comments and/or reactions from strangers, perhaps not made directly to you, but you notice them anyway?

Is some of what's being called "shaming" general cultural attitudes toward excess weight, how being fat is depicted in movies and TV, how it's talked about on talk shows, etc? Attitudes of people in clothing stores maybe, or just the attitude indirectly expressed by the available sizes of preferred clothing?

Perhaps part of it is the way that weight issues are discussed right here on DU? If so, what particular types of comments?

Would you count my own being hard on myself for being fat as "fat shaming", considering that an internalization of societal prejudices that I should have rejected?
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