The social media debate on EDAwarenessWeek and World Obesity Day

Earlier this week a post appeared on my Instagram. Now I know the world is a little insane, and we have a day, week and month for just about everything. Personally I find it a bit over the top and I tend not to keep up with all of them.

This post was particularly shocking to me when I saw it, because it was just a perfect example of what is wrong with the way we view weight stigmas.

This idea that world obesity day directly follows eating disorders awareness week, is insane. It perfectly illustrates how two different body types are viewed in society.

Eating disorders awareness week, well that’s about raise awareness, while world obesity day is about “fighting the war against obesity.” It’s the language that is being used that has caused this debate, and I agree whole heartedly. To raise awareness and to fight against. One is something that must be treated while another is something that must be eradicated.

I saw a couple of posts around this time trying to get the same message across. It’s so backwards because half the reason most young people have eating disorders is through the fear of being fat/obese. It comes from bullying and being told they’re not good enough, that they need to lose weight. It’s a psychologically problem but in order to for them to be treated, first you need to make it safe for them to be fat. They need to know that if they gain weight, it’s safe and that they won’t be psychologically tormented as a result.

But instead, we’re still reinforcing the fact that fat is bad. How can we tell a person with an eating disorder it’s okay to gain weight while at the same time tell other people that fat is bad and it needs to be eradicated?

If we can’t create a society we’re it’s safe to just exist as we are, we will never be able to treat conditions like eating disorders and obesity. A person needs to know it’s safe to exist before they can start a journey to recovery. That’s it.

Instead what we actually have is a person in a room with the walls closing in. One side is being pushed by people telling you it’s not okay to be fat, and on the other side it’s people telling you that you to eat because being underweight is also unhealthy. At what point do those two walls meet and this person in the middle is crushed by a society with contradicting messages. How does this person come out alive?

Society needs to change its attitude if we ever plan to help people treat eating disorders; and that starts by eradicating fatphobia not fat people.


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