Why is Size Really Important?

Happy Saturday Everyone! FerociousFem here and it is GAME DAY for the dukes! You can catch me at the game but I’ll be working concessions! *insert sad overwhelmed face here*. Anyways.

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This past week JMU’s finest diversity educators of the D.E.E.P. Empowerment program stole the stage and the conversation on campus with the topic of Sizeism. Sizeism is defined as prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of person’s size. The dialogue’s purpose was to educate the audience on the movement #HAES (Health AEvery Size) and to educate the audience on various injustices that people of size face daily.

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The event started as the facilitators introduced potaoism, where the small group facilitators passed around two potatoes and had every one describe each one with one or a few words. This activity was meant to break the ice of everyone figuring out why they wouldn’t pick one potato over the other and would still essentially get the same result of french fries, mashed potatoes, tater tots, etc.

Each small group had a different topic for the night but the one that really stuck with me was, Fatphobia in the healthcare. Fatphobia is the fear and dislike of obese people and/or obesity. When I first learned of this topic I wondered, what was the necessity of connecting it with healthcare? As I continued research on the topic, I discovered some healthcare professionals are known for blaming and fat-shaming people of size and not only in America but in other countries as well. What is this trend and where did it start? Pictured below are some of the comments people of size have faced and have shared on this website.

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It is ridiculous that people of size have to be afraid and nervous to go to a place that is supposed to be a place known for healing. Studies have shown that people of size fail to receive treatment and are afraid to go due to being anxious about being weighed. Another fact from the dialogue that stuck with me was that people of “curvy” stature were more appealing during the great depression because it would mean that they were well off. When did being of size go from being appealing to not?

The dialogue ended with all of the groups coming together and sharing what each group learned, from my perspective, even before I was a part of D.E.E.P. Impact, the work they stand for and what they bring to campus, in my opinion starts conversations that everyone should have. AND, if you have not been to a dialogue, don’t worry there’s another chance, Wednesday, October 10th.

The topic for Wednesday’s event is on Afrofuturism — What does it mean for black people to have a future? Do we have one? Will it exist? If you’re not familiar with the term Afrofuturism then take the chance and meet the Diversity Educators on Wednesday! See ya there! 😉 

19 thoughts on “Why is Size Really Important?

  1. I really need to be going to these programs!! Sizeism is something that I’m familiar with and something I come across on social media All. The. Time!! I think it’s great that you and other facilitators for D.E.E.P impact are talking about these issues. I am so intrigued about the topic of Afrofuturism and you might just see me at your next event!!

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    1. Thank you! & Yes, every dialogue is different & that’s what drew me to become a part of this program! I hope to see you at our next event!

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  2. I think this is so important for us to think about. The using a potato to explain the differences in body shape reminded me of how when inexplicably categorize women’s bodies as foods. Pear-shaped, apple-shaped. And just like one potato is no better than the other, no fruit is better than the other. Remembering that we are still people deserving of respect and value no matter our physical size is so important.

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    1. Yes! The potato was a great idea to display different body types, I really think it added to the element of understanding that there are different shapes and they’re all just as perfect!

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  3. People often think that weight correlates to health. When someone is thin, they are perceived as healthy and ‘praised’ in a way by society for being thin. When someone is larger, then health officials correlate all of their health problems to their weight. For example, the sepsis story, there was something wrong but it had nothing to do with the weight of the individual. This is negligence of doctors, nurses and anyone who will turn individuals problems away due to weight. It is unacceptable that these problems keep occurring, especially doctors who should know there are other causes to health problems that do not relate to weight. Doctors should want to help and heal people – they should not be judging others as that gets in the way of efficient healthcare. Thank you for sharing this post, more people need to be aware of this fat-shaming problem in society as it is causing individuals health to be in greater danger due to neglect of doctors.

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    1. Thank you for your support! Exactly! I enjoyed researching the topic so much and the dialogue got all of us talking about how harmful it actually is for people of size in the health field and it should not be that way!

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  4. Size is a very uncomfortable topic to discuss in society today, and I am glad this topic was brought up. A person’s size should never define who the person is because we are all different and special for being who we are! It is good to hear that the DEEP program had a discussion on this topic because in order to fix the problem everyone needs to become aware that sizeism is a problem in society today. It is upsetting to read the comments by people who were treated wrongly by doctors due to their size. I hope that people begin to realize the negative effects caused by the issue of size.

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    1. Thank you for your support! DEEP always tries to tackle issues that are underrated and that need support especially on a college campus where future health professionals are basically grown. LOL. Also, exactly there were many other comments that I found too and I’m sure those are only the beginning of since this has been going on for so long.

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  5. Growing up with a mother who is overweight, not because she chooses to be, but because of polycystic ovarian syndrome, I have seen my mother struggle and deal with so many people judging her for her weight when she is one of the healthiest people I know. So many people are judged over things they often can’t control and I feel like this topic being written about was honestly so important for people to see, read, and realize because I think people often misjudge others based on their weight.

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    1. Thank you for sharing and I think sharing your story as a person that has witnessed the experience of your mom is very important for others to see how it can affect themselves even if it does not directly deal with them! Thank you again for taking the time to share.

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  6. This is something I have being seeing in the media a good amount over the past couple of years. There seems to be a misconception amongst many people that sees any person who is “overweight” as being unhealthy. A weight is not what makes you healthy or unhealthy, a few women in the article mentioned the disrespect they encountered in medical centers due to their size. This a standard that needs to be changed and one that is apparent on a spectrum of body weights. It is easy for someone to see a skinny person and think they are healthy or fit when they may be underweight or have a myriad of health issues due to their weight. We rarely see this same issue with women who are classified as “overweight,” they tend to almost never be immediately judged as healthy and this is very dangerous problem.

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    1. Thank you for your support! I agree as well it is a double standard for people of size and people that are underweight I think that is why it is so important to change the way we view others and not only in the media but in various other sources that are encouraging a negative outlook.

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  7. If anyone is interested in learning more about this topic, go to JMU’s Bare Naked Ladies!!!!! We are a group of ladies (and some men- because men need self-love too) that preaches and teaches self-love and body positivity! Although I have never personally experienced body shaming at the same level as other people, I was still overwhelmed by society’s expectations about how my body should look and how I acted. BNL truly, and I cannot emphasize this enough, changed my ENTIRE life. It completely altered my outlook on life, and I am certain the other members of BNL feel the same way. So if interested, we have free meetings every other Monday in the Miller auditorium!!

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    1. Thank you for sharing! I’m here for self love & I think it is so important that we have an organization on campus like this to encourage others about their bodies because it can be hard to do that when some people aren’t educated on what is right. You might catch me at your meeting on one of these Monday nights!

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  8. I find the topic of this post to be extremely important. Sizeism is a real life thing and it is sad how we have gone from appreciating curves during times like the great depression to hating on them now in present day. The fact that our own physicians contribute to this issue saddens me. The quote from Gilian really stood out to me. When I was a freshman in high school I had a similar experience. At my annual physical, my doctor questioned my weight loss and associated it to an eating disorder. She immediately followed her question with a statement saying “well you were a little bit chunky anyway”. My previous weight (at the time) was 112 pounds. I feel as though many physicians contribute to body shaming. This follow up statement was completely unnecessary and only went to show the lack of concern she really had for me. I agree that we should not be afraid or nervous to go to our doctors. In theory, this should be a place of healing and understanding. How can we reverse or turn around these societal expectations in regards to body image if even our doctors are fat-shaming and enforcing these judgments?

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing, I’m sorry your doctor made this comment towards you, I can only imagine how that would have made you feel, being so young and being told by someone in this place of power saying such a degrading statement. I think the only way to reverse these societal expectation regarding body image is to educate how harmful hurtful comments can be and how it is empowering a system that was not made to uplift and encourage everyone to be proud of the skin they are in, one day I hope we can break this cycle. Especially by having more open conversations about sizeism and what it does.t,

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  9. I never realized before how often serious medical conditions just get brushed off as a “weight issue” when they have absolutely nothing to do with it, and it’s also horrible that the best advise some of these doctors were giving was “loose weight,” as though people don’t hear that all the time and weren’t already making tremendous progress. I’m sure there is a time when obesity needs to be addressed by a healthcare professional, but not every single time, not when the person is already working to become healthy, and not when the person has no health issues related to their weight but is simply a bit bigger, which often happens! I feel like a lot of these issues could be solved with regular trips to the same doctor, who knows the patient’s history and is familiar enough with them to know when something is abnormal, like sudden abdominal pain without any increase in weight. But of course, most people in America can’t afford to go to the doctor for regular checkups, making healthcare incredibly classist as it is! And since healthy food is already more expensive than fast and frozen food, class probably already has quite a bit to do with the prevalence of obesity.

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  10. Yes, I agree! This is a topic that can easily be overlooked if you don’t directly deal with it everyday and it is so important for people that don’t have to deal with it acknowledge that sizeism exists and why it does matter so much what a person’s size is and if it has anything to do with their health status! Also, thank you, you bring up other important issues about the healthcare system and people’s accessibility to the doctor, but I would also like to point out some people simply don’t want to go to the doctor because they may be afraid of the comments they may make towards them and I also feel like the entire healthcare system needs to be revamped so I again agree that people won’t go to the doctor because they are worried about the ridiculous amount of fees that may come along with it! Thank you again for your support and you may have given me my next blog topic!

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