scale

FAT! It's the most dreaded thing you can call a woman. It can crush her self-image quicker than any other insult, including the c-word and b-word.

Well if British politicians have their way, using that confidence-killing insult will become a hate crime. Yes. An actual hate crime. A parliament committee on body image recommended putting "appearance-based discrimination" right up there with race and sexual discrimination.

Now, I am not sure if someone should actually get prison time for lobbing a "whale," "jelly-belly," or "blimp" someone's way. But I will admit, it can certainly feel like an assault -- an emotional assault, that is. You see, we women can own lots of things -- gangly arms, big feet, huge forehead. However, few of us can feel beautiful after being called fat. For so many, plus-size cannot equal pretty. And that's a serious problem.

It's all about body image, not simply thinned skinned pudgy people. That committee found a quarter of all 7-year-olds said they tried to lose weight by dieting. That's not just sad, it's alarming that this issue starts so young.

More from The Stir: Tim Gunn Stands Up for Plus-Size Women Everywhere

We live our adult lives constantly on some kind of diet or get-thin-quick plan. How else are we going to slip into those skinny jeans without that dreaded muffin-top or hit the beach in a two-piece without feeling like a porker. We know it verges on unhealthy -- and for many woman it is -- but we just can't turn off this weight obsession. We let the sizes in our closet dictate everything from our mood to how much food we can enjoy. Now, it seems, that neurosis has invaded the Barbie-doll loving set and something has to be done.

It doesn't help that society freely pokes fun at people who are overweight. Sometimes it feels like the last socially accepted form of discrimination. They are kicked off planes, looked at with disgust, shouted at, mocked, and are always the butt of jokes on TV and movies. So maybe a little more tolerance isn't such a bad thing. After all, if it causes so much damage to young girls's self esteem, maybe it is a crime.

What do you of making it illegal to call someone fat?

 

Image via puuikibeach/Flickr