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Trigger Warning: Fat Shaming


Triggers trigger triggering…. The word makes me wince.  These days the internet is full of trigger warnings.  It’s a great idea, there are some issues where a head’s up makes sense.  I’ve been upset by things that I’ve read before, but I have never experienced how bad it can be when something “triggers” a reaction until today.  It can be totally random.

And intense.

You know what triggers me? People talking about how fat and gross they are.   People complaining that their spouse has gotten so fat and how they can’t stand to see them eat and want to scream. Or that they want to slap the food out of a fat loved one’s hand…. Average weight people who talk about how disgusting their body is and how no one will want to be with them or find them attractive.  How do you think it makes me feel when you say this to me, a person nearly twice your size?

Drastic and unhealthy weight loss regimes.  It makes me physically ill to the point of tears to talk about starvation dieting or binging/purging. I can’t stand hearing about how you can’t/won’t/haven’t eaten and don’t plan to. Don’t you dare tell me I shouldn’t eat something…. for my health. Which is rapidly becoming another code word for fat shaming fun.

I have huge food issues. Huge. My insides are all twisted up into a ball of shame and fear and memories of nearly thirty years of being told what to do with my own fucking body.  Memories of watching my mom skip meals when we didn’t have enough food, and later, because she wanted to lose weight.  Of feeling like I was starving because breakfast and lunch time slimfast shakes in my teen years did not fill me up.  Let’s not even talk about being put into a drug trial for redux at sixteen.  Hearing a relative complain, over and over, about how fat his wife had gotten… and she was still thinner than me.  Being told when I was twelve that I shouldn’t wear dangling earrings because my neck was too fat.  Stuff like reaching for the same food at family functions that everyone else gets to eat and having someone comment in front of everyone about my portion or choice.  Being treated like a criminal, shamed, and followed around when I would come downstairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night… because I might steal food.

I read a post last night, and it has totally consumed my thoughts today.  It hurt so bad it took me an hour to leave a one sentence reply and I burst into tears when I tried to explain to my husband what upset me.

Why is it that it’s social acceptable to talk like this in front of and to and about fat people? Even when you are operating under the guise of “health” or “caring” it is ridiculously hurtful.

In case you are unaware, body issues, shaming, and food issues can be just as upsetting to people (of any size) as any of the other topics labeled with a “trigger warning”.  So many of us who struggle with our bodies have an entire lifetime of hurtful words, thoughts and experiences stored up, just waiting for one careless, or even well-meant, wrong word.

Filed Under: Me

16 Responses to Trigger Warning: Fat Shaming

  1. I personally find it upsetting that people fail to put up trigger warnings. you are a brave person standing up for whats right. I admire you! lots of love!

  2. My mother always used to complain about how fat she was, dieting and whatnot. She was always so much smaller than me. I got my body type from my dad’s side. She never understood just how damaging that was, or what message she was sending me about MY body when she talked about her own, smaller body in that way. It always made me feel like a cow. Now I have a daughter of my own and I swear I will never do that to her. Anyway, I can empathize just a little with what you went through.

  3. I feel for anyone shamed or hurt for any reason, right or wrong. There isn’t a reason to break someone in that way. There are other, more compassionate ways to commiserate.

    That being said…someone who may weigh less than you but is still 50 lbs heavier than they were when younger and 20 lbs heavier than their biggest pregnancy (both me)…are valid in their concern and dislike and unhappiness with their body issues.

    We do need to support each through our issues.

    • I said no where in this post that people smaller than I am do not have a right to have a concern or dislike of their bodies. I just said that voicing, over and over, how disgusting they think they are, how fat they are to someone that is A LOT bigger than they are is hurtful. People need to be more aware of what they are saying and who they are saying it to.

  4. And I hope that that did not come uncaring or unfeeling and didn’t seem to flip the issue to me. I feel for you. My daughter has struggled with weight and I wouldn’t allow anyone to shame her…EVER…from puberty onward when the struggle started.

  5. I finally had to stand up to my own family about a year ago and basically posted on our family FB page: ” I am fat. I cannot have lived in this body for the last 40 plus years and not know that. However, there is NO comment you can make, EVER, about my size, weight, health, food choices, etc that will not be considered a criticism, even under the guise of ‘because you love and care about me’. And I”m not gonna listen to it, so back off. I haven’t nagged any of you about your cigarettes, your drinking, your eating disorders, the abusive relationships, the stress-related health issues…..

    Haven’t heard a word since.

  6. I still remember the sting of my mother telling me, when I was FIFTEEN, that “there are so many other girls out there that are prettier and skinnier than you, and if you don’t lose some weight you’ll never find a boyfriend”. I’m 41 now, and it still hurts. I battled bulimia, I’ve tried every diet, healthy and not. Diet pills, caffeine pills, you name it. My grandfather told me I was fat, and if I couldn’t afford the gym membership he’d pay for it, and take it out oft inheritance.
    Family hurts the worst, I think.
    10 years ago I told myself that I who I This isy body, and I love myself. Some days are harder than others, but I’m ok with it, mostly….

  7. I come from a tiny-sized family. We are small in stature and weight, at least my mother’s Irish/Sicilian side of the family is. My father….well, we don’t know what his ethnicity was. Likely German or Austrian.

    I currently weigh 140, which is fine for a 48yo woman who is 5’4″ and has had two children….but my mom calls me “fat”. All the time. When I was pregnant she called me a “hippo.” When I was nursing she called me a “cow.”

    I too, used to be afraid to eat. I had serious issues with anorexia as a teenager…and I only weighed 102 pounds at my high school graduation. My mom thought that was too fat as well. She REALLY thought I was “fat” at 118 when I graduated college. I just don’t get it.

    I am lucky enough to be among Goddesses who do not care a whit about weight and am now able to enjoy food and the company that goes with it. And I am very careful not to ever, ever, EVER point out my daughter’s thinness….it goes both ways. She is small because she is small and that’s that.

    Hugs and love. You are perfect. Goddess made you so <3

  8. Amen.

    This sort of talk is alarming to me. It’s hurtful. It does nothing to heal, help, support, or build people up.

    My husband is a product of an environment where his mom fat shamed herself all the time. He was obese, too. And then he was anorexic. And bulimic. And he has body dysmorphic disorder. He will struggle for the rest of his life.

  9. Thank you SO much for making this post. I wish more people would read this and it would shed some light into their lives about how much it hurts to hear or see other people talk about “fat people” and how fat they are, or fat someone else is so badly that it literally ruins their life and they starve themselves, etc. Your post actually has me in tears, just because I can relate so much. My entire life (before I met my current boyfriend/best friend) all my past relationships were filled with fat-shaming. All of those boyfriends told me that if I didn’t lose weight, they were going to cheat on me, they would leave me, they would look elsewhere or they would flirt to make me jealous. I was badly abused by them all, and a lot of it had to do with my weight. I wasn’t even as heavy as I was last year (I gained a lot of weight last year due to depression creeping in and thoughts resurfacing) when I went out with any of them in the past. It was awful, just brutal things. I have also always struggled with my weight fluctuating. I hate it.

    My brother’s (recently) now ex girlfriend fat-shamed herself and there is not an inch of fat on her. She’d post pictures on Facebook and Instagram of herself eating one donut and saying, “This is the reason why I’m fat”. A good friend of mine now, just recently had me follow her ‘secret’ twitter account (which leads to her ‘secret’ tumblr account) and everything I have read on there has brought me to tears and even crying. My stomach turns and I feel anxious when I read the things she types on Twitter (I have not gone to her Tumblr because I am all set with the anxiety factor). I told her last night that I never knew she had an eating disorder and she said “You don’t know because I’m fat. And I will only get better when I am skinnier”. It breaks my heart, it really does. I wish more women felt more empowered by who they are by default, whether they were born smaller or a bit bigger.

  10. Embrace your opulence. Don’t be the least bit ashamed of being ample. Attractiveness is mostly about confidence. Unfortunately many larger women don’t feel confident so they don’t take care of their overall appearance or health and they don’t project vivaciousness.

    There is no point in allowing your self worth to be determined by your body mass index. You are never going to be a thin person so resist obsessing about your weight and just work on being a healthy person. Real women don’t look like movie stars anyway. Movie stars don’t even look like movie stars, they are all photo shopped and/or have had cosmetic surgery. Additionally just because someone looks ‘good’ doesn’t mean that they are a good or even a happy person.

    I have found that focusing on eating more healthy things, rather than on depriving myself of things helps me manage my weight better. Overtime you will develop a preference for real foods rather than over processed, salted, sugared and unsatisfying edible garbage that always leaves you feeling slightly sick and bloated, but at the same time strangely empty and wanting more. Don’t look for a quick fix. Drop a couple of things from your habitual eating patterns and replace them with something more healthful gradually. Even dropping sugar from your coffee helps.

    But most of all don’t hate yourself just because you have extra fat cells. They aren’t who you are. They are just the result of a North American lifestyle and lots of us have them. However, we aren’t completely powerless. We can improve our lifestyles.

  11. Hi Joni, I came looking for your henna recipe and stumbled upon this. I hear you. There can be so much out there that’s triggering. Years ago I came across a video that haunted me for years. This might have been before the trigger warning, or maybe I entered it regardless. Either way, nowadays I need to remind myself that I may be getting into something that will want to consume my attention and do I really want that right now. Most times, no. It’s taken me many times of diving right into the triggers, though, to become sensitive enough to take care of myself and just say no to reading other people’s thoughts about stuff that have no positive effect on me. Gremlins are out there, for sure. Sending many healing thoughts coming your way.

  12. They mess you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had,
    and add some extra, just for you!

    Philip Larkin was a grim fella, but he got this one right. It’s so hard to release yourself from issues that have been inherited and passed down through the generations. Love and light to you.

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