Let's End Fat-Shaming among Kids, Shall We?

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

“What do you weigh? Like 400 pounds? It’s like running into a snowplow.” -Marcus, Fat Kid Rules the World “Oh, at least you don't look like some kind of a bloated roadside piñata! You should really go on a diet!” -Puss in Boots, Shrek the Third “ Am I really that Fat?” - Buzz Lightyear,Toy Story 2 "Lilo, have you been eating okay? Coz you're looking all round and you're rolling over people. It's not nice." - Lilo and Stitch Admit it, you laughed at the jokes and you even laughed at the fat guy or kid in the show. For some reasons, cartoons and movies have been bombarded with fat jokes, have depicted fat people as funny or, if not, the antagonist in the movie. From the big screen, cartoon movies such as Shrek, Wall-E, Up, Little Mermaid, to television series such as the Biggest Loser, to movies like Bridget Jones’ Diary and Shallow Hal, and even commercial ads like that of PEPSI Obesity ad, they think they’re educating the people about obesity. The thing is, they are educating people that being fat is NOT good. ​ As a parent, whether it’s in the cartoons or in the playground, the bias that media is presenting to children at an early age is an alarming sight. Fat shaming is a process where fat people are stigmatized, bullied, and discriminated just so they would be somehow motivated to lose weight. Obesity is indeed an issue for all ages. The sad part is, we do not realize that even at a young age, we are shaming them, putting down their confidence in the process of educating them. Children see movies about fat kids being laughed at or even left out during playtime in the playground. Other ads even portray fat children with a text that says "Chubby kids may not outlive their parents" or another that says "Big bones didn't make me this way. Big meals did." Wherever you turn to these days, it seems that fat shaming is something we are interested in. For some, this fat-shaming epidemic running across media aims to educate people about healthy eating, but does it really work? Fat Jokes and Fat Humor In an article by Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D. he says: “When it comes to reinforcing negative attitudes about minorities, laughter isn't always the best medicine.” A recent study titled "Weight-Related Humor in the Media: Appreciation, Distaste and Anti-Fat Attitudes," featured in the June issue of Psychology of Popular Media Culture, revealed that "Although disparaging jokes about physical disability, religion and ethnicity are often considered to be in poor taste or not politically correct, obesity stands out as a condition that is commonly made fun of in entertainment media." This entertainment labeled as “fattertainment” is gaining popularity on its funny fat jokes and even celebrated. ​ Long before fat shaming, body shaming has been introduced by the media whereby people are being judged based on their physical appearance, being too tall, too skinny, too short, too smart, just about everything that’s too much. Fat shaming is specifically targeted to fat people, including children. Some parents think of fat shaming as a way to battle obesity effectively that they support ads and campaigns so people would be more conscious of healthy eating. At a very young age, parents are cultivating a thinking that being fat is bad, so children tend to hate themselves in the process. Research from the University of Carolina revealed that 70 percent of children’s films are showing behaviors leading to obesity or the fat stigma. As to why people are too comfortable with the fascination about fat humor, studies revealed that Americans see that obese children are responsible for their situation including the humiliation and the bullying. ​ Robyn Silverman, author of “Good Girls Don't Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It,” explains that “Fat-bashing in all its varied forms–criticism, exclusion, shaming, fat talk, self-deprecation, jokes, gossip, bullying–is one of the last acceptable forms of prejudice. From a very young age, before they can walk away or defend themselves, women are taught that they are how they look, not what they do or what they know.” The Weight of Fat shaming Situation In the movie Fat Kid Rules the World, Troy Billings is seventeen, overweight, and