Every day, it seems like there’s a new viral story on social media about how plus-size women are treated as lesser than everyone else. We see it in how they’re mocked in public transportation, how they’re often excluded in the conversation, and how their lifestyle choices seem to be everyone’s business. With how society keeps taking offense at everything they do, it’s as if they don’t deserve space to exist. It’s even seeped into the workplace, with plus-size women earning less than their colleagues. One economist even found that an increase of 10% in a woman's body mass decreased her income by 6%, as though this wage cut is a penalty for how much they weigh.
Sadly, all of this aggression stems from false beliefs. The problem, though, is that plus-size women are rarely afforded the chance to be heard. In reality, a deeper understanding of the truth can start with asking a simple question.
Is excess weight a choice?
People are too wrapped up in criticizing obesity that they fail to consider how it even happens. They hear about its statistics and warnings and instantly try to find something to fight. The bottom line is that they’re scared and want it gone. But somehow, the fight against obesity warped into the battle against obese people. And so, plus-size people found themselves at the center of misplaced blame.
Too much food is often suspected as the culprit. There’s a misconception that people let themselves go and eat to their heart’s content when in actuality, excess weight is much more complicated and layered. In analyzing the differences between overweight vs obesity, the latter is considered an abnormal physiological process. It’s a condition in the same way that asthma is caused by poor lung function. It’s influenced by several factors, including genetics, stress, medications, and economic status. The distinction of it being a disease rather than a decision is crucial, as it shows how unfair the world has been to plus-sized people, especially women.
Why self-love is the best way to respond
For years, plus-size women have been unjustly tasked with the responsibility of making the world understand these truths. Fortunately, the concept of self-love has given way to a new era. In a society that tries to bring you down, the best way to resist is to refuse and not let them win. In loving yourself, you’ll start gaining the empowerment that you deserve. To help you out, here are three pillars to live by:
Sometimes we hear too much negativity that we start believing it. Research has shown that overweight people have such poor self-perception that it affects their mental health. Self-love can help address this through acceptance. By learning to love yourself the way you are, you’re admitting that there’s no shame in something you can’t control. Instead, you are deserving of kindness, which should start from within. As an exercise, try being more mindful of your inner dialogue. Build up your self-compassion and speak to yourself like you would talk to a friend.
A challenge with being plus-size is associating thinness with good looks. Women are often told that they must look a certain way to be valued, and excess weight is something they shouldn’t aspire to. Yet, everyone still has insecurities, regardless of weight. Chasing after the “ideal look” will only inhibit you because it’s unattainable. The thing that’ll make you shine is being proud of what makes you unique. Remember that your weight does not define you. Celebrate the things that make you you, and you’ll notice how much more radiant you’ll be.
Excess weight can feel isolating, as you face issues that some of your colleagues might not have to. In tough times like these, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. In fact, this is the message behind the Show Off Your Fluff collection. It’s a reminder that an entire community has gone through the same challenges and is also working towards promoting self-love. Together, you can create a welcoming space wherein everyone feels uplifted and hopefully inspire others to do the same.