When the truth hurts

459047615Are you a fat-shamer? I think I probably am – mainly towards myself. I only ask because the institute of the blindingly obvious has come up with statistical proof that being nasty about other people’s weight may actually make them eat even more. According to research by University College London, “fat-shaming” – or discriminating against or being insulting to people about their weight – can lead people to putting on an average of almost a kilo of extra weight, whereas those who weren’t insulted about it lost almost three quarters of a kilo. It’s true – it was published in the journal Obesity.

The research has caused a flurry of indignant newspaper stories attacking a premise that no one in their right mind believes ie that people pick on people about their weight out of some bizarre form of altruism in order to “shame” them into losing weight. As if all the photographers’ obsession with the size of Dawn French’s bum was simply an attempt to help her “mend her ways”. “I’m sorry to say this Dawn, but do you realise your bum looks a bit big in that?” Click, click clickety click. “Course I’m only telling you for your own good – it hurts me more than it does you.” They then go on to write some sanctimonious tosh about how nasty and pointless it is to be er nasty to people about their weight.

Of course it’s nasty and of course it won’t help anyone – celebrity or teenager – to shift the pounds. The only reason people laugh at or insult other people about their weight is to make themselves feel better/thinner/more virtuous/more in control. They don’t – however deluded they may be – see it as a public service, however public their words might be. Katie Hopkins is not going on a reverse yo-yo diet on national TV to teach the world to slim out of the goodness of her heart. She’s doing it as a kind of elaborate trick – to prove, possibly to herself, how particularly fab and strong-willed and bewitching she is. “Ooh look – thin thighs. Now you see them, now you don’t. Ta-tah! Here they are again!”

She’s not daft – she knows most people will only be tuning in to snigger at her. And with that in mind, if you’ll excuse me I’m off to jump on the scales – I could do with a laugh.

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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