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Gordofobia: hatred and contempt towards obese people

Gordofobia: hatred and contempt towards obese people

March 21, 2023

In 2005, psychology professor and researcher Kelly D. Brownell, along with Rebecca Puhl, Marlene Schwartz and Leslie Rudd published a book called Weight Bias: Nature, Consequences and Remedies.

In this work an idea was raised that in recent years has been collected by many social movements: although obesity is a health problem, part of its disadvantages are not limited to the physical discomfort it produces. There is an extra discomfort, psychological type, that is produced by a discriminating bias against overweight people: the chordofobia .

What is phorophobia?

The concept of chordofobia serves to designate an automatic and usually unconscious bias that leads to discriminating, objectifying and undervaluing overweight people, especially if those people are women.

Fat people are automatically associated with the lack of self-esteem, the difficulties to live a sexuality in a satisfactory way and the need to attract attention by working hard. Definitely, it is understood that these people leave with a definite disadvantage that makes them worth less by not "being able to compete" with the rest. Seen with the glasses of the chordofobia, these people are perceived as desperate individuals, who will accept a worse treatment both informal and formal, and who will be willing to be more exploited labor.

It is, in short, a way of thinking that is characterized by making people with obesity carry a social stigma. That means that it is not part of a clinical picture, as it does, for example, agoraphobia. In the chordofobia, overweight is considered an excuse to be able to pass certain people by another moral standard. Somehow, aesthetics dictates the type of ethics that applies to this minority ... Because people who are overweight are a minority, right?

It is becoming easier to be obese

The chordofobia has a paradoxical aspect. Although obese people consider themselves strange and with less value because they go out of statistical normality, that same statistical normality is increasingly reduced, especially in the case of women .

Although from the medical point of view the standards on what is and what is not obesity have good fundamentals and are based on scientific knowledge about how a healthy body is, beyond these specialized and professional environments, it is fat, every time more, the normal. It is not that women are fed worse and worse, is that the threshold on what is considered obesity is increasingly low, it is very easy to pass it.

Even in the world of models, getting out of what beauty canons dictate gives rise to conflicts. Ask them, for example, Iskra Lawrence, who is especially known for her responses to the "accusations" about her weight. The fact that even these women have to face these deals serves to get an idea about what anonymous women have to endure and as much or more away from the canon of beauty.

The word "fat" is taboo

The chordofobia has left such a powerful mark in our culture that even the concept that alludes is a taboo. The fashion industry has had to invent a thousand and one neologisms and euphemisms to refer to the large sizes and the morphology of women who from other contexts are accused of being fat: curvy, plump, large size ... linguistic formulas that are intuited artificial and that, in a certain way, give greater strength to the term "fat" for its sonorous absence.

That is why from certain social movements linked to feminism it has been decided to start fight against gordofobia reappropriating the term "fat" and displaying it with pride. This is a political strategy reminiscent of a proposal of psycholinguistics known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and that said simply consists of the idea that the way in which language is used shapes the way in which one thinks.

This hypothesis may be true or not (at present it does not have much empirical support), but beyond this it can be imagined that reappropriating that word may be a way of defending itself from the phorophobia by fighting on its own terrain. It is clear that the fight for equality involves making these irrational biases disappear, which are psychological but also socially rooted, and which only interfere with human relationships. And it's expensive too, there's a long way to go.

Defend the possibility that all people can Living in a healthy way does not mean stigmatizing the one who is different .

The Fear of Fat - The Real Elephant in the Room | Kelli Jean Drinkwater | TEDxSydney (March 2023).

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