Are you really fat? Or are they just saying that?

Picture from Devon at https://blogs.longwood.edu/burnettedncomm200/2012/05/28/symbolic-interactionism-blog-draft/

 Are you really fat? In today’s world, the standards of what is considered fat are pretty low to say the least. In the media’s eyes, being average is considered fat. This would not help people’s self-esteem and this issue affects many people; people you may know or it may be happening to you and you just don’t know it. However, women are mostly the victim. In today’s society and especially in modeling, a woman to be considered beautiful has to have this criteria- a fit body. This beautiful body “needs” to have a tight waist, long legs, etc. In most ads on TV, especially Victoria’s Secret or weight-loss ads, they advertise “beautiful” as being just that. Wouldn’t you think that the media can send out the wrong and potentially dangerous message? The answer, yes.

Photo from Ali. B from http://www.highschoogle.com/abercrombie-fitch-want-only-thin-cool-people-wearing-the-brand/

Photo from UsWeekly

Recently, Abercrombie & Fitch has received a lot of controversy over the fact they do not have plus size models or even clothes for “bigger” customers. Celebrities like Kirstie Alley and Ellen Degerenes have given the clothing brand some backlash. Kierstin Gruy, who was a former employee at A&F, was recently featured in an article by Huffington Post where she says she literally had to “squeeze into the second-largest A&F women’s size available-an 8 and dieted to stay that size.” (Gruy, 2013) According to a recent article by International Business Times, even Kim Kardashian has been slammed because she has been gaining too much weight while with child. Kim response was “You call this fat?!” (Kardashian, 2013) The media really does have a high standard, wouldn’t you think? I have worked with a young woman for years who was average in weight where she would have multiple people tell her that she is too fat. By these comments, she began eating just one meal a day to even a spoonful of Nutella (very delicious nevertheless). When she got down to “model size”, they still told her she was too fat. In the end, she became anorexic. You may even know or knew someone that went through a similar situation. From witnessing this, it is very heartbreaking to see someone go through this.

Photo from Courtney Lippert at http://blogs.longwood.edu/courtneylippert/2012/06/30/body-image-and-symbolic-interactionism/

A symbolic interactionist who studies Symbolic Interactionism,  which is the study on the meanings of objects society’s behaviors, this , particularly on the theory of Generalized Other, where a person believe comments or statements from what others perceive us to be when in actuality, it can be false. In a paper written by assistant professor of speech communication, Prof. Renee Edwards states in the paper titled Sensitivity to Feedback and the Development of Self that  the “sense of self arises in communication as a result of the feedback received from others.” (Edwards, 1990) When you hear hurtful comments, definitely about your appearance, you will think of yourself as fat when you may not be and will try anything to fit in, such as my co-worker who went down to eating just one meal a day.

From witnessing my co-worker go on a destructive path and hearing about Abercromie & Fitch and Kim Kardashian controversies, my thoughts have been with people like this, always have. I feel for people like this and especially those in the public eye. I hope you feel for these people too and if you personally know people that are going through this, help them the best way you can. Thus, it is important for you to have learned about Symbolic Interactinism and its’ theories such as Generalized Others. By doing such, we can lead people to better and happier lives. 🙂