Is Kim Kardashian fat or is she just an average woman gaining the average weight for a pregnancy? The press seems to be banking on the public’s hatred of her, and reflecting it with such recent virulent and hot-selling headlines as; “I’ll Never Be Sexy”, “Dumped At 200 Pounds”, “I Can’t Stop Eating”, and “Paid To Get Fat” all recent InTouch magazine covers. Or Life and Style’s recent cover, “This Baby Is Ruining My Life” and Us Weekly’s “Don’t Call Me Fat”, both graced covers “I’ll Eat As Much As I Want”, was Star magazine’s April 15th cover.
But many are arguing that an attack on Kim, is essentially, an attack on all women–and a societal blemish we could all stand to take a serious look at.
79-year-old feminist-activist and journalist, Gloria Steinem said in an interview recently that, “criticizing a woman’s body is not only hurts the victim but society as a whole. If others are mistreating women because of their bodies, it devalues everyone’s brain.
Rebecca Puhl, the director of research at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, has been studying the negative effects of weight bias and stigma for over twelve years. Pregnancy, she reminds everyone, is a time when a woman’s body is supposed to look different. After all, a baby is growing inside her. But pregnant women are routinely stigmatized for deviating from a thin ideal.
As Puhl explains, the culture of fat-shaming doesn’t stop with celebrity moms or tabloid covers. Being constantly bombarded by these images has “real-life” consequences for many more folks than just the celebrity target of the day.
“It’s ridiculous, unfortunate, and potentially harmful, that women in our society are vulnerable to public shame if their pregnant bodies don’t look thin enough. Negative health implications are particularly concerning for a woman who is pregnant,” says Puhl warns
Puhl published research in the journal Pediatrics this past January that found 64 percent of teens reported being bullied because of their weight, and the risk of verbal teasing, cyber bullying, and physical aggression increased with a teen’s body weight.