Sizeism (And Why It's A Big Problem)

Sizeism (And Why It's A Big Problem)

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The Obesity Epidemic: everyone knows what it is. I can hardly remember a time when there wasn’t one. When I was young, I remember telling a fat girl in my class to ‘go on a diet’ because I heard from others that that was something all fat people should do, me being completely ignorant of its meaning. The girl, of course, got deeply offended, and I spent that recess sitting inside to think about what I did wrong. The thing was, however, that anything I did or said back then was a clear reflection of what society had taught me. Thinking back on it now, I realize the real damage the ‘obesity epidemic’ has caused, and it goes by the name sizeism: to be prejudiced against someone due to their size. Sizeism most noticeably affects fat people. Although it is usually ignored and widely accepted by most of society, sizeism is a HUGE problem with real consequences, and the ‘obesity epidemic’ is under the wrong name.

Now, let’s think to ourselves: Why is sizeism so widely ignored and accepted? In the good old USA, that’s pretty much a silly question. All you have to do is take a quick look around at society, and it becomes pretty obvious. Society hates fat. From weight loss fads, to thin, attractive models on magazines, to the infamous ‘obesity epidemic’ (notice how I put quotes on this every time? It’s meant to be sarcastic). In almost all forms of media, the people you will see most are thin, attractive supermodels supposedly representing what is ‘beauty’. This is intended to teach society what is accepted as being ‘beautiful’, and so far it has been working. What’s worse, society almost encourages people to walk up to someone heavier, and tell them how to live their life 'correctly'. Beyond the whole ‘weight loss’ fad, the media also contributes to this negative stigma. In most media, a character of a larger weight is almost always comic relief, extremely disgusting, always hungry or eating, or all of the above. The idea that being fat is unattractive, however, only started in the early twenty-first century, around the same time that the ‘obesity epidemic’ became a thing. So when it comes down to it, sizeism is widely ignored for this one reason: the common belief that being fat is unhealthy.

Here’s some facts on the ‘obesity epidemic’. It is a ‘disease’ based off of having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or more. However, it is also connected to a series of symptoms, such as “increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and some cancers.” (nlm.nhm.gov). The thing is, almost none of these symptoms are related to increased flesh, and are almost entire related to bad life-style choices such as unhealthy diet and lack of exorcise. So, get this: I, a male with an average BMI, could have the ‘obesity disease’, yet not be ‘obese’.

In other words, the BMI system is complete BS.

Although there are still studies that go back and forth between whether you can be both fat and healthy or not, there are still a lot of other things that make less sense. For example, the ‘obesity epidemic’ is usually said to be cured when one is no longer obese. However, studies have shown that most of those who are overweight lose weight, but they usually gain the weight back. Moreover, the benefits in losing the weight are significantly below those of having a healthy lifestyle. In other words, if someone has a healthy lifestyle (good diet, regular exercise), they can still be considered healthy no matter what size they are. So when it comes down to it, the ‘obesity epidemic’ should really be called the ‘bad lifestyle choice epidemic’. It may seem like a trite change, but this small inconsistency has some HUGE consequences (pun intended).

One of the biggest problems (pun intended) with sizeism is the negative stigma that revolves around fat people. As case studies have shown, a large majority of people have negative first impressions about fat people, believing them to be “lazy, greedy, un-healthy, etc.” (Chin, Jean Lay). Because of this, people will automatically have a low opinion of someone who is fat, even if they know nothing about the person. What this does is cause a significant amount of mental trauma on all those with prejudice against them -- mental trauma that can cause more health problems than what obesity proclaims. In other words, people believing they are helping fat people are causing even more harm against them, and are encouraged to do so.

Nonetheless, fat people are not the only people negatively affected by sizeism. There has been a significant increase in adolescents with anorexia and bulimia. Although the eating disorders are usually caused by a want of control, the majority of cases come from a fear of being fat. In other words, encouraging sizeism is causing a huge increase of anorexia and bulimia.

As one can see, the hype over this ‘obesity epidemic’ actually causes more problems than it thinks it’s solving. Sizeism is commonly called the last acceptable social prejudice, but ‘acceptable’ and ‘prejudice’ should never be in the same phrase, because prejudice of any kind is never acceptable. Many people have the mindset that ‘if they can do it, why can’t others?’, or ‘if I can control myself and diet, why can’t they?’ This mindset is wrong on many levels, making it seem as if everyone were the same person, when they aren’t. Everyone is different, and not everyone is so easily able to lose/maintain weight. Even if being fat is unhealthy, prejudice against fat people is not only unhelpful, but also makes their situation worse as well as that of society in general. So next time you see someone picking on a fat person, go ahead and tell them to pick on someone their own size -- literally.

Cover Image Credit: https://0701.static.prezi.com/preview/tfhay7xbmwrxkyw4vzsgbehwbeadw6rhlm5vs2oll757hbaoaxlq_0_0.png

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

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One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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The 5 Types of Retail Customers

A run-down on the many forms of customers you either encounter as a retail employee or are guilty of being.

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We all get summer jobs or seasonal jobs at some place to get that extra cash when we find ourselves broke after spending $300+ on Ubers/Lyfts in under a month (possibly speaking from personal experience). This in turn led me to broaden my job searching horizons and led me to work at a fast food chain that goes by the name of 'Salsaritas' (ironic since my nickname is Salsa, also was not intentional) and currently a retail store at a local mall. So, I guess it's safe to say that I have come across a lot of different people with a whole lot of personality. Working in these types of industries, it can sometimes be really hard and pretty interesting. So voila, here we go:

1. The Always Angry Customer

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This is the customer that is constantly angry. They walk in pissed off and they want everyone else to know that they are pissed off. This type of customer also uses at least one of these following sentences: "Let me talk to your manager. Who's your manager?" or the "How long have you been working here for?" Honestly, there's not much you can do to help them other than try to just do what they ask for and get them the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

2. The Messy Customer

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Easily one of the most annoying types of customers (sorry). This person will walk and run their hands through an entire counter or rack full of perfectly folded clothes, unfold them, and then just leave them on the counter or on the floor. They also have the "it's fine, it's their job to fold them" mentality. Honestly though, how hard is it to put a jacket or shirt back on a hanger? And if you're this type of customer please, please, please, put what you found back where it came from. Sincerely, every retail employee ever.

3. The Super Nice Customer

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This customer is god-send and thank god that they exist. They are the ones who you can just tell are genuinely good people. New at work and don't know how the hell to ring up a customer at a register? No worries, they'll wait there patiently, smile at you, and occasionally tell you that "you're doing great sweetie." They treat you like you're not just a retail employee and at the end of the day, you just wanna give them a hug for making your day feel less shitty.

4. The Talkative Customer

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There's two parts to this one. This type of customer is either talking on the phone while you're ringing them up at the register or is just trying to get to know literally everything there is to know about you. If they're on the phone, it's impossible to know if they're responding to you or to the person who they're on the phone with. The worst part is when they hold up one finger to signal to you that they'll be just a minute and leave you to just awkwardly stand in front of them while trying not to listen to their entire conversation. The other part is when they just want to get to know you which is cute and all until they're just trying to analyze your entire background, where you're from, what you're studying, etc. Luckily if you're like me who wasn't born in the U.S. with a very ethnic name, you just scored yourself a talkative customer. Well done and good luck getting out of the conversation!

5. The Last Minute Customer

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Imagine that you just did an 8 hour shift and right when you're about to clock out and head out to go home, you see a customer walking in literally a minute or two before the whole mall is about to close. They'll probably ask you if you're about to close even though they can see that there's not a single person inside there other than you. They'll also probably tell you that they know exactly what they're looking for. It's never true and get ready for that OT. But hey, on the bright-side, you'll get a fat pay-check.


So, the next time you find yourself at a mall...Remind yourself to pick up something you might've accidentally dropped, keep in mind that workers are human beings too, and kindness goes a long way because at the end of the day, that employee could be one of your loved ones.

Until next time,

Salsa.


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