Discrimination in Our Midst: Part 4 – Fatphobia: Advocating for Body Positivity


Unsplash by Mikelya Fournier

Advocating and listening to those who suffer and experience body discrimination could make them feel acknowledged, and it can also show them that they are not alone.

Trigger warning: Body image

What Fatphobia means-

Fatphobia is defined as discriminating against an individual’s body based on their size. This discrimination creates a phobia or a fear of overweight people. Mary Himmelstein, Assistant Professor at Kent State University, explained how people who are Fatphobic classify overweight people as foolish, idle, and revolting. This describes how people categorize overweight as people who are uneducated and not capable of making outstanding achievements, which is untrue. This characterization affects those who are overweight mentally and makes it hard for those who suffer from obesity to overcome the discrimination. 

The Examples of Fatphobia-

Fatphobia creates numerous adverse effects and problems, but the examples are just as harmful as the effects. Most of these examples harm women. According to the Vanderbilt University Law School, they studied that women who are seen as overweight are more likely to work in jobs that are more demanding physically and pay less. This indicates how others judge people who are overweight and underestimate their abilities. Women who are overweight also tend to get poor medical care, which expresses how doctors can dismiss those victims of fatphobia. Finally, fatphobia could also lead to anxiety and depression. This indicates how insulting others about their weight could cause serious mental distress and agony. 

Fatphobia from the Perspective of GC Students and Teachers- 

Rania Saleem ’24 said that people judge others that are overweight because “One, it’s not socially accepted in our society and two, fatphobic people do it towards those that look different from our society’s view of the ideal weight of an individual.” She also said that others offend people who are overweight “By thinking they are better than that individual when they are insulting and offending.” 

Mrs. Cabigas, GC Religion teacher, stated: “that people are now seeing what fatphobia is, but people are not familiar with the term fatphobia.” She said that we judge others’ weight by what we see on TV, the fashion industry advertisements, and social media, which promotes fitness products.” She gave an example of how there are advocates who are trying to spread awareness by “accommodating clothes for all people of sizes and supporting companies that advocate for better representation for overweight people.”

Mrs. Thompson-Jones stated that “People don’t choose to be overweight. Many factors like genetics, social-economic class, and mental illness can play a role. We live in a society where people value fitness and having the ideal body type.” She said that “overweight people may be discriminated against in public places like restaurants and amusement parks.”


Fatphobia has been in our society for an extended amount of time. Yet the lack of awareness of Fatphopia has caused it to stay in our community and grow and cause a lot of damage emotionally and mentally. If we discuss how Fatphobia affects those targeted, it could lead to people having increased awareness. It could also lead to the individuals feeling misunderstood, heard, and acknowledged. Some ways you can be an advocate are understanding the experience that plus-size people face, learning about how weight and size are a range, and finally, learning not to judge others by their appearance. 


Thank you to Mrs. Thompson-Jones and Mrs. Cabigas for their guidance. 



Dolgoff, S. (2021, March 8). The Harmful and Insidious Effects of Fatphobia. Good House Keeping. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/a35422452/fat-phobia/

NgYuen, S. O. (2022, March 1). Take Personal Action Against Fatphobia with these 74 ideas. Parade. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://parade.com/1238067/steph-nguyen/fatphobia/