Is Calling Someone Fat Body Shaming? The Impact

Hello there, my beautiful people! In recent years, the issue of body shaming has been a hot topic in public discourse, and it’s time we talk about it. We must address one form of body shaming: calling someone “fat.” Some people argue that it’s just a simple fact, but let me tell you, it’s not that simple.

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Calling someone “fat” can be hurtful and unnecessary, contributing to the victim’s emotional pain, which can have lasting consequences. Body shaming, in all forms, is a way of criticizing and harassing individuals about their weight or eating behavior. Our society’s obsession with appearance and the glorification of thinness have fueled these harmful attitudes and behaviors towards those who don’t fit into the arbitrary mold of what a “perfect body” should look like.

Weight-based stigma can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, often causing people to internalize these negative messages and believe they do not deserve love or respect.

It’s crucial to understand the implications of labeling someone as “fat” and to recognize that it’s indeed a form of body shaming.

That’s why we must engage in respectful, empathetic conversations about body image. Together, we can create a more compassionate and inclusive society.

Is Calling Someone Fat Body Shaming?

Body shaming occurs when someone is humiliated for their body size or shape, including being called fat or being criticized for being underweight (1). To understand if calling someone fat is body shaming, we can explore two aspects: the intentions behind the comment and the societal perception of the term.

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Analyzing Intentions

When determining whether calling someone fat is body shaming, it is essential to consider the intention behind the statement. If the comment is intended to humiliate, criticize, or hurt someone’s feelings, it can be categorized as body shaming (Psychology Today). However, if the comment is made to raise a concern about someone’s health with empathy and support, the intention may not be to body shame.

Societal Perception

Despite intentions, how society perceives the term “fat” can impact the outcome of the statement. Calling someone fat often carries a negative connotation, as society tends to stigmatize and discriminate against people who are overweight (2). It is essential to remember that words carry weight, and using them with care and sensitivity is crucial regardless of the intentions behind the comment.

Effects of Fat Shaming

Emotional Consequences

Fat shaming has been linked to various emotional and mental health consequences. Fat shaming can lead to reduced self-esteem and an increased risk of eating disorders like binge eating. Furthermore, Psych Central states that potential mental health consequences associated with body shaming include depression, anxiety, body dysmorphic disorder, self-harm, emotional distress, and low self-esteem.

Physical Health Risks

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In addition to the emotional consequences, fat shaming has been associated with negative impacts on physical health. Fat shaming can harm physical and psychological health. One study found that over 70% of adolescents reported being bullied about their weight in the past few years.

Moreover, Penn Medicine research notes that weight bias and stigma exposure negatively affects mental and physical health. Stigmatizing experiences can lead to a physiological stress response, such as increased inflammation and cortisol levels, and can escalate unhealthy behaviors like overeating. Fat shaming, linked to increased health risks, contradicts the goal of encouraging better health through weight loss.

Understanding Body Shaming

Definition and Context

Body shaming is negative comments or criticisms about someone’s weight, size, or appearance, whether perceived as “too fat” or “too thin.” This harmful behavior can manifest in several ways, including self-criticism, judgment or comparison to others, and criticizing another person’s appearance, with or without their knowledge (1).

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Labeling someone as “fat” or making derogatory comments about their weight falls under body shaming, even if it is perceived as truthful. This type of shaming is also known as “fat shaming.”

Impact on Mental Health

Body shaming can have significant negative impacts on an individual’s mental health. Constant exposure to critical and negative remarks about one’s body can lead to feelings of shame, comparison, and low self-esteem. This can contribute to developing eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues (1).

It is essential to recognize the harmful effects of body shaming and work towards fostering a more inclusive and understanding environment. This includes being mindful of the language used to speak about one’s or others’ bodies and promoting self-acceptance and self-love to combat the detrimental effects of body shaming.

Promoting Body Positivity

Body positivity seeks to break the stigma and shame associated with different body sizes, focusing on self-love and acceptance.

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Here are some ways to promote body positivity:

Changing Conversations

Replacing the negative conversations and discourse surrounding body shapes and sizes with positive, constructive discussions can contribute to fostering a more inclusive environment. For instance, instead of focusing on eliminating “fat,” the focus could be on embracing the diversity of bodies and understanding that everyone’s body is unique and valid. Cultivating self-love can lead to body positivity.

Encouraging Self-Love

Self-love plays a vital role in combating body shaming and promoting body positivity. Encourage self-love by:

  • Replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations
  • Managing time spent on social media and avoiding content that triggers unhealthy comparisons
  • Creating a supportive community that values each individual regardless of body size
  • Seeking professional help when necessary

Remember that calling someone “fat” perpetuates the harmful cycle of body shaming. We can work towards a more inclusive and accepting society by promoting body positivity, changing conversations, and encouraging self-love.





  • “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf
  • “Body Positive Power” by Megan Jayne Crabbe
  • “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body” by Roxane Gay
  • “The Body Is Not an Apology” by Sonya Renee Taylor

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Maggie Walker
Maggie Walker

Certifications: Fashion Design (BA)
Education: School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Lives In: Chicago
Maggie has invaluable experience working in the fashion industry. Regarding fitting and clothing, only a select few can match up with her experience.
She oversees every aspect and has put her heart and soul into MadisonPlus.

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