Teens are unashamedly sharing fat-phobic comments on TikTok, laments a nutritionist who worries about the impact such comments can have on fat people.
“Grossphobia is pretty much one of the few forms of prejudice that is still acceptable in society and among young people,” says nutritionist Tania Valiquette. On social networks, she notices that comments and videos with grossly hostile messages are regularly circulating.
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This week she shared on TikTok a video of comedian Tommy Néron responding to a certain Fred Lagacé, who in another video regretted that Quebec society had to pay for health care for obese people.
For Tania Valiquette, such a speech is proof that there are also prejudices against fat people among young people.
“Especially on TikTok there are so many misconceptions about weight that when a kid makes a video like this and it’s super popular, […] Young people will believe this to be true, while these are long-established myths,” she affirms.
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Health and the number on the scale are two very different things, assures the person behind the @lamauditenutritutrice TikTok account. “There are a variety of factors that affect weight” that have nothing to do with diet or physical activity, she continues.
Videos like Fred Lagacé’s only reinforce the mentality that being fat is unhealthy and repulsive, the nutritionist denounces. She adds that it’s perfectly normal for your weight to fluctuate from month to year.
“People are so scared of gaining weight that when they see their weight is a little too much and they limit themselves, they use all sorts of strategies to avoid gaining weight or lose weight,” she says.
Effects on fat people
Tania Valiquette argues that comments like that of the young Québec tiktokeur can also increase the stigma of obese people, who may isolate themselves because of prejudice. Their self-esteem can also be affected.
“If we think we’re going to help them lose weight [avec des propos grossophobes], on the contrary, it makes these people more at risk of gaining weight. They will also be less motivated to take action for their health,” she says.
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What you can do
Tania Valiquette recommends blocking and reporting people who make grossly hostile comments on social media.
She also offers to subscribe to benevolent accounts that allow you to accept yourself in the body you have. That way you can potentially get the algorithm to understand what type of content you want to consume, she says.
Finally, don’t hesitate to tell your friends or family that you don’t want to talk about your weight or diet.