Supportive Friends & Family Can't Shield Women From Media Fat Shaming


Not judging friends and family members about their weight certainly makes you a better person, but it may not do anything to reduce their body issues. A new study found that women beat themselves up for being fat, even if they aren’t getting negative messages about their weight from people in their social network.

Researchers at Arizona State University interviewed 112 women from Phoenix ages 18 to 45, and 823 of their friends and family members, according to ScienceDaily. They found that women are usually bad at estimating what the people closest to them really think about their weight. Cultural anthropologist Daniel J. Hruschka said, “Women were a bit more attuned to the views of close friends and family, but even then, they generally perceived the judgments of others inaccurately.”

Knowing that Aunt Edna only remarked about you taking a second piece of pie because she’s excited you like her cooking may prevent family feuds, but it actually doesn’t do much to help your body image. So what does contribute to the stigma against fat? You guessed it: media and pop culture. The researchers said society views being overweight as a “profound personal failing,” and associates fatness with “laziness, lack of self-control, and being undesirable or even repulsive.” Previous studies have shown some Americans say they’d rather go blind or die years sooner than be considered fat. Lead author Alexandra Brewis says these, “messages are so pervasive and powerful that even the most loving support of those closest to us provides only limited protection against them.”

Fat-Stigma Study: Mass Media Messages Appear To Trump Opinions Of Family, Close Friends [ScienceDaily]

Image via Yuri Arcurs/Shutterstock.

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