Ellery Rosenzweig makes an incredible point about current views of fat people in our society. As someone who has identified as a bigger person throughout the course of her life, I find that the current ideology toward fat people is extremely harmful and polarizing. I think that stereotypes involving this group of individuals were rooted in our minds during the formative stages of development and are currently perpetuated through the outlet of social media.
At a young age, we are shown that fat people, especially women, are evil or lazy. For example, the only fat characters that have significant roles in Disney movies just so happen to be the villains, such as Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” or the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland.” This is not to say that every evil character is heavier, but to suggest that the only time fat people are represented is when they are of minimal interest to the story or when they are the villain. This may cause children to associate fat people with negativity, whether they actually are cognizant of these messages or not.
Though we are not little kids anymore, we are still being influenced by these toxic narratives through social media. While higher numbers on the scale can and do lead to health problems, those with extremely skinny frames can also face these difficulties, though these people are often praised for their figures on social media. I don’t believe that we should normalize any exceptional weight, either low or high, as being “healthy,” but I do believe that we should encourage the perpetuation of all people as beautiful.
Once we stop associating a number with beauty and morals, “body positivity” will truly become a positive way to instill confidence instead of a response to society’s hatred of fat.
Sophie Holohan is a high school student at Notre Dame High School in San Jose, CA.