Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Why we need to stop talking about people’s weight

TW- weight, eating disorders

Although as a society we have progressed in many ways, one thing that has unfortunately not been completely abolished is discussing people’s weight. It is time we stopped highlighting how much weight someone has lost or gained, and started to focus on what truly matters.

Weight commentary is particularly popular in the media, as journalists are often too quick to discuss the ins and outs of a celebrity’s weight fluctuations. It’s often the case that if someone has gained weight they are labelled as ‘lazy’, but if they have lost weight they are ‘inspirational’. This sort of mindset can be extremely toxic, and being exposed to this sort of commentary can lead to one attributing their self-worth to how much they weigh. 

Everyone is entitled to some privacy, whether they are famous or not

People believe that because celebrities choose to live in the public eye, they put their life out there by choice, which gives permission for everyone to dissect their lives. I don’t think this is true at all. Everyone is entitled to some privacy, whether they are famous or not.

Contrary to popular belief, celebrities are real people with real emotions. Although they may not see every comment and message, they can still be hurtful to ordinary people. Social media can be a very dark place as it gives people the chance to hide behind a screen and comment horrible things with no repercussions.

Getting comments on weight is not something that is exclusive to celebrities

However, with millions of followers you are bound to get nasty comments no matter what you do. Even when the world was astounded by Adele’s weight loss back in May 2020, some used it as an opportunity to be hateful. I have discussed the toxic nature of social media and ‘glow-up’ culture in a previous article. 

However, getting comments on weight is not something that is exclusive to celebrities. Ordinary people can also get unsolicited comments about their weight loss/gain from peers, colleagues or even family members. Although they would usually be coming from a good place (it is unlikely you are friends with people who want to be mean to you), they can have negative impacts on your mental health. 

Commenting on someone’s weight because you are worried about their health is usually unnecessary

Mental and physical health is incredibly important. There is no denying that being under, or over your healthy weight range can lead to some health problems. However, commenting on someone’s weight because you are worried about their health is usually unnecessary.

Firstly, you cannot always tell from looking at someone whether they are healthy or not. Secondly, if someone has lost or gained a lot of weight, chances are they already know this and do not need you to remind them. Ultimately, how people choose to live their lives is up to them. Smoking is deadly but we don’t see people shaming smokers half as much as they shame fat people.

How much a person weighs is dependent on a range of factors such as their genetic background, metabolic rate, lifestyle and diet. On top of this, weight can fluctuate due to a million reasons such as hormonal changes, side effects of medicines, altered eating habits due to stress or trauma. To put it into simple terms; weight loss does not equal good and weight gain does not equal bad.

Appreciate the body you have because it keeps you alive and breathing every day

Complimenting someone and saying they look great once they have lost weight can be really damaging, particularly if their weight loss was unintentional. It can lead to people believing that they are more attractive and worthy when they weigh less, which is a very slippery slope that can lead to eating disorders. 

Appreciate the body you have because it keeps you alive and breathing every day. Whether you have put on a few pounds over Christmas or not, if you are happy and healthy, that is all that matters.

People are so unique and interesting. It is about time we talk about their achievements and values rather than the numbers on their scales. Whether it’s a celebrity or your friend, what they stand for and believe in should hold much more value than what they weigh. 

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