Published on June 1st, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Fat Prejudice Persists After Weight Loss, Study Finds
The internet is awash in body shame and body acceptance debates, and even this week, the fatkini debate drew both supporters and naysayers arguing for and against shaming fat people.
It’s inevitable that one of the last major okay prejudices is against the overweight, even as obesity skyrockets and average sizes increase. But even the few who manage to successfully lose and keep weight off are subject to “fat shaming,” as the previous stigma of obesity doesn’t always disappear with excess pounds.
Feminist icon Naomi Wolf observed that weight-related anxiety was a massively efficient way of controlling women, and it is probably no surprise that women are far more likely to fall victim to poor treatment even if they were just “previously” fat. In a study out of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, subjects were asked to read about women who were currently thin, some who maintained an average weight, and some who had lost 70 lbs.
What the researchers discovered was that the participants tended to perceive the women who had lost weight more negatively, and judgement of the women who’d successfully dieted was harsher:
“We were surprised to find that currently thin women were viewed differently, depending on their weight history,” Dr. Janet D. Latner, the study’s lead researcher, said in a statement. “Obesity stigma is so powerful and enduring that it may even outlast the obesity itself.”
Researchers determined that “believing that obese people can easily lose weight may make individuals blame and dislike obese people more.”