Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. Body shaming on either side of the weight spectrum (emaciated or obese) is sickening. However, society still makes terrible remarks (from both a civilians and professionals) about both emaciated and obese people. I have been borderline emaciated my entire life and recently got diagnosed with a stomach bacteria that causes horrible heart burn (which means I am only eating small meals the past 2–3 months, which has inevitably caused even more weight loss).
I work a hospital job and we somehow got the subject of the stomach bacteria I got diagnosed with. This person was a doctor and the doctor made the comment “Oh, I wish I could drop 20 pounds that easy” (I never mentioned any weight loss), which made me internally cringe.
The reality is: it is currently estimated that a minimum of 30% of men will have an eating disorder (thank you National Eating Disorder Association for this statistic) and a recent study suggests a minimum of 75% of American women will exhibit symptoms related to eating disorders during their life (thank you UNC School of Medicine for this statistic). However, it is estimated that the amount of men who go through eating disorders is actually much higher, since not many men feel comfortable seeking out help from a professional when it comes to an eating disorder. The point I am making with these statistics is that eating disorders are an epidemic. However, given the diverse nature of eating disorders (PICA which makes people feel the urge to eat things that don’t hold nutritional value, anorexia nervosa which often causes extreme weight loss, ARFID which often causes panic attacks over different types of food, among others), there is really no place in society to make “fat jokes” or “skinny jokes.”
I am not trying to turn “fat people against skinny people.” I am not trying to say “skinny people have it worse than fat people.” The point I am trying to make is that body shaming is alive and all in both the civilian and professional community. There are numerous misconcieved notions about eating disorders, even among the professionals (some doctors and psychologists absolutely refuse to believe that boys can suffer from eating disorders, just to give an example).
There’s also people out there who have sensory problems and digestive problems, both situations can make eating a nightmare. Making comments about someone’s weight (whether “joking” or not) is absolutely not appropriate, unless you know said person on a personal level and know they are ok with those kinds of comments. It is not appropriate to ask someone across the room if they’ve gained weight. It is not appropriate to make comments like “Wow, I wish I could lose 10 pounds like you did!”. You do not know the person’s story. You do not know if they have an eating disorder that they are constantly at war with.