Lived Experience

Weight stigma is so common that people may not even realise that they are displaying such a bias. Hear from some of our members about their experience with weight stigma.

Some of our members and friends have shared examples of weight stigma they have encountered

Outside a gym

“I walked out of the gym and some ladies having coffee snickered “ok, so she needs more than one class” just a touch too loud.   I own a mirror- I know I’m fat, alas why I’m at thegym DUH!”

An anguished mum in responding to the article  “OBESITY CRACKDOWN: NO ESCAPING WEIGHTY TRUTH ON KIDS’ OBESITY” in The Daily Telegraph:

“The point I make is not every overweight or obese child got that way because their parents were lazy, ignorant or didn’t care. Often the problem is deeper and more complex and needs a range of specialists which is what we are looking at now. I wish the government would realise that instead of trying bandaid or blanket solutions or finger-pointing at parents as if we all feed our kids Coke and nuggets every single day”

In a busy Orthopaedic clinic in Sydney:

“One of the doctors (foot & ankle) made a nasty remark about ‘fatties’. We were getting some new chairs for the waiting room.  He commented, “they are for the fatties”.  He went on to say “if they could control what they ate, they needn’t have to come to me and spend $20,000 on surgery”

In primary school:

Year 4 student: “mum we saw a televised kid quiz show at school today. The whole class was trying to guess who would win. Finally, one boy who nobody …I mean nobody …had guessed, actually won the quiz. Nobody could believe it!!”   
Mum:  Why didn’t anybody vote for that particular boy?
Year 4 student (thinking): “Well… let’s see… I guess he was super fat. That’s why! (Shrugging) Everybody thinks somebody who is so fat can’t be so clever.”

In employment:

“I work in the health system. Sadly I have seen people attend for an interview and immediately they are judged on the basis of their weight. While nothing is said to their face, they are frequently culled out for some other minor reason. The thinking is that they are ‘not a good look’ for the service – regardless of how smart or qualified they are. I am constantly stunned by such narrow-minded and cruel attitudes can be”

..and this just sums the state of affairs:

“I just think that sometimes the obesity stigma is so loud and so normal that it can overshadow the reality of the situation, which is that it’s actually really hard. I’ve only ever had the obesity conversation from a weight loss perspective, but if I’ve learnt anything it’s that the physical impact is nothing compared to the toll it takes psychologically, but nobody talks about it.”