Mom Says 'Fat Girls' Should Be Shamed for Their Size​​

overweight teen girl on the beachIn their latest attempt to peddle hate and lady-on-lady crime in exchange for dropped jaws around the globe, The Daily Mail ran a piece yesterday entitled, "Why are today's young women so unashamed about being fat?" written by Linda Kelsey, a self-described, unapologetic "fattist." In her own words, that means she believes that extra weight is "unattractive ... unhealthy, and, given the problems that being fat can cause, it should be as unacceptable as smoking."

Kelsey illustrates her spite with an anecdote about three young women she witnessed at the airport who were "not chubby, but fat. They had bulging bellies and billowing pillows of back and shoulder stuffing, punctured by flabby arms and lardy legs that no amount of fake-tan could disguise." As a result, Kelsey seems to believe these girls would hate their bodies and be "racked with self-loathing," but instead "they were doing a grand job of projecting exactly the opposite impression." Gasp!

Finding herself face-to-face with these young women's "let-it-all-hang-out faith in themselves and a don't-give-a-damn attitude to their evident obesity," Kelsey expressed shock and dismay. Don't these girls know they're supposed to hate themselves? Make a more concerted effort to HIDE themselves? Be perpetually apologizing for merely existing at a size 18?

And don't moms of these girls know that by sending a "dangerously misguided message of body acceptance," they're "guilty of benign neglect instead"? Like, hello, you need to be calling your daughter "fatty" and telling her that there's no way she'll be able to make friends, let alone find a man if she "lets herself go."


Kelsey's vile attack on these young women is precisely what's wrong with our culture's attempt to tackle the "obesity epidemic." Not only is fingerpointing and calling kids out as "fat" (and, thus, lesser than) scientifically proven to backfire, but what Kelsey doesn't seem to understand is that most frequently, no one is choosing to be overweight. Issues like lack of education about proper nutrition and exercise, lack of access to healthy foods, food addiction, or hormone imbalance are at the root of a young woman's weight problem.

More from The Stir: Stop Calling Your Daughter the F-Word

Very rarely is anyone -- let alone kids, who are subject to horrible taunting and judgment from peers on a daily basis -- simply too "greedy, ill-disciplined, and or ignorant," as Kelsey suggests, to lose weight. They're not totally oblivious idiots! They know they're overweight. They're not taking pride in it. Let's be real: Who would want to be a subject of ridicule and criticism? A target of those who've never had a weight problem (like Kelsey) but have no problem assuming they understand and passing judgment on those who do?

Angry pundits like Kelsey can rave out about how we're too accepting of the overweight and obese these days, but that doesn't change the fact that torturous discrimination against people for their weight -- no matter the root cause -- is alive and well. Women 18 to 25 earn 12 percent less than thinner counterparts and are more likely to be found in low-paying jobs. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

And I know better than Kelsey because I experienced it firsthand: From the time my personal "battle" with a fluctuating scale began at 10 years old, I had to endure name-calling and torture from peers. And from that point on, I did everything I could through my adolescence and 20s to try to fit a standard of attractiveness and fitness that can be extremely challenging -- even to this day -- to achieve and maintain.

It was only recently, at nearly 30 years old, that I started to feel comfortable in my own skin. Genuinely okay with not being a size 2, and positive that I'm worthy of everything someone who is more easily, naturally a size 2 is! Maybe even more so, because weight has nothing to do with self-worth, intelligence, ability, etc. And the threat that it does isn't going to work anymore -- at least not on me. Take that, fattists!

But maybe it all boils down to this: Kelsey, who is a mom of a 26-year-old son, openly admits she does not have a daughter. Maybe if she did, she'd realize that her attempt to knock some sense into "fat girls" is utterly misguided, hugely heartless, and thoroughly misses the point. 

What's your reaction to Kelsey's piece?


Image © Ton Keone/Visuals Unlimited/Corbis

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00NoW... 00NoWay00

Body shaming works both ways. I am naturally skinny and I get so sick of comments like "Curvy girls are better than skinny girls" "Meat is for men; bones are for dogs" "Eat a damn cheeseburger. It won't kill you." "Those curvy girls are so much more attractive than those skeletons" ... etc, etc, etc. It's just as disgusting as "fat shaming" and I am so sick of it!

nonmember avatar Jocelyn

I agree completely NoWay. This Kelly person came off insane in her rant. Why do people feel the need to get themselves into other people's business? I'm actually at the airport right now and haven't felt the need to write a scathing rant about random strangers. I'm sure those girls knew they were overweight. The way she wrote this seems so condescending. It's as if she was taking to 2 year olds. I doubt having any children would change her perception. She seems too close minded. Should they have been hiding? They paid for their tickets like everybody else.

nonmember avatar Kristi

She is entitled to her opinion but I don't agree with most of it. I agree that the parents should be the motivators of change for adolescents. Motivators not bullies.

abra819 abra819

Turn these fucking ads off. I'm sick of clicking on a page to read a story, that the ad is screaming in my ear.

nonmember avatar mellisa

It goes both ways, I would NEVER judge someone by their weight/looks but I get comments from people constantly asking me if I have an eating disorder and telling me I need to see a doctor and ear more (I'm 5'3 and a healthy 130lbs) but if I was to turn around and make a comment about their size it's a whole other story. I have a beautiful 5 year old little girl who carries her baby chubbys proudly and I have people telling me she needs to stop eating so much (which she doesnt) and she'll come home and tell me she's fat and disgusting. My five year old, FIVE YEAR OLD. This world is an evil place no matter how you look at it, the only thing I can do is remind my daughter every day how beautiful and perfect she is and to not listen to what anyone else says !

tbruc... tbrucemom

I don't think she should be fat shaming anyone, but I got the impression her writing was about the fact that they were proud of being overweight, and it doesn't sound like they were a little overweight. Obesity is a real health danger. I'm not talking about curvy. I'm also not talking about those that call a size 10 "Plus size". I'm overweight myself and I try to wear clothes that are flattering but I'm not going to wear things that draw attention to my bulges.

Em Chappell-Root

I'm with Abra, I'm done with CM because of the damn ads.

nonmember avatar Jena

I have an 11 yr old who is 5 ft tall and weighs 120 lbs. She eats healthy and swims every day at least 3 to 5 hrs in the summer and plays softball and basketball. We don't know what is going on with her weight except her dad was a chubby kid and had weight issues.

Elizabeth Coshatt

Unfortunately that woman is entitled to her opinion. That being said everyone who is overweight, obese whatever you want to call it knows that they are. they don't need to be told. Also just because they are big does not mean they aren't healthy. Some people as much as people hate it are genetically predispositioned to hold on to a lot of weight. There are some things i can change about what i do to lose weight but I will never get down to my target weight. Not to mention that the BMI is outdated and doesn't count muscle mass into it. So some people who are considered big my actually have more muscle than fat.
Shaming goes both ways and it's not right. I admit that I am guilty of it at times. I never say anything to anyones face but I have my thoughts.
We should be encouraging every age and size not shaming them. It backfires very easily.
Oh and I have several things against me to. Genetics, night job, lack of sleep, not greatest eating habits and not enough exercise. That's something I need to fix but I don't need someone telling me that I am ugly or people are stupid for loving me. Which has happened.


I agree with abra!! Fuck these ads!

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