‘Mermaid thighs’?…….‘thigh gap’ forever

Posted On October 19, 2016 , 12:03 AM Contador HarrisonPeriscope

Since one of the world’s most popular tabloid The Sun published a story about ‘mermaid thighs’ versus the ‘gap thigh’ there has been heated debates on social and mainstream media about which of the two is the best.Those fighting obesity and over weight supported the ‘mermaid thighs’ while those like me who detest fatness, defended the ‘gap thigh’ with passion it deserved.I don’t condone discrimination of any sort let alone the people who are deemed overweight or obese who number hundreds of millions and almost all of them suffer discrimination, prejudice and humiliation from different fronts.Social media postings on obesity constantly display photographs of fat bodies with their heads cropped off such the “brainless fatty”, “headless fatty” representations among others and commonly use derogatory expressions ranging from “lazy” and “flabby” to “fat arses” and “unsightly slobs”.Weight stigma has significant effects on fat people’s lives. Compared with others, fat people are statistically more likely to live in poverty, earn less income or be unemployed, have lower education levels, be employed in lower status jobs and experience lower living standards.Female in professional occupations are particularly discriminated against in the workplace if they are overweight, failing to reach the higher echelons compared with thinner colleagues.In social terms, fat women receive less respect from others and are often subjected to derogatory humour and pejorative comments from co workers, friends and family members and, in public settings, from strangers. Most of male friends I know always openly admit to being “repulsed” by fat people.In elementary school days, i remember how fat children were subjected to greater harassment and prejudice than us who were slim, and most of them experience ostracism, teasing and bullying to a greater extent. Interestingly, even some parents i knew favoured thinner children over their bigger ones.Those who are pro ‘mermaid thighs’ have their right to support it but logically, there is no way ‘thigh gap’ phenomenon will ever be replaced in a world where almost a third of population are shapeless because of extended waistlines.

In a society in which most people understand that discriminating overtly against social groups such as women, people of minority ethnic or racial groups, gays and lesbians and people with disabilities is wrong, and where such discrimination is legally prohibited, fat people are apparently fair game.But when it comes to women selection, few blokes will go for a fat woman and even Lesbians like ‘thigh gap.’ My views are not a hostility and lack of compassion towards fat people with ‘mermaid thigh’ but its a true reflection of the world we live in.Truth be told, whether in developed or developing countries, there is apparent urge on the part of many to shame and blame women who are deemed to carry too much flesh.Fat women are culturally represented as inferior, deficient, ugly and disgusting. These meanings have developed over many years, derived from the Christian idea that the disciplined body is closer to God which means those who are fat are close to satan than God…no pun intended. We live in a more secular society that it was in 20th century but the value of self-discipline, read thigh gap, and how it is reflected in body depends on size and shape.Other ideas are derived from public health that an obesity epidemic has emerged globally that it is predicted will lead to higher rates of disease and premature mortality. Intensive mass and online media coverage of this issue has led to the idea that fat people with ‘Mermaid thighs’ are not only ill disciplined but also inevitably sick and physically unfit, regardless of where they fall on the body weight spectrum.Fat women are viewed as deserving of their fate because of their apparent lack of self-control and therefore i don’t see ‘mermaid thigh’ can be better option for majority of blokes. No doubt fat women are also often represented as leeches by attracting higher health care costs which ‘thigh gap’ types work hard for to pay taxes that instead of being used in building new railways end up paying the bills of the fast arses. This is the reasoning used to justify fat stigmatisation which i don’t approve but facts must be laid bare. Women who identify as fat or overweight like ‘mermaid thighs’ types are highly aware of the moral failure that their bodies represent.Studies on fat women has identified the shame they may feel about their bodies, and the social humiliation to which they are often exposed by others.

Picture by Mathilde Grafström
Picture by Mathilde Grafström

In a July 2016 case, an overweight friend told me about his emotional distress at being laughed at by some young boys while sitting in the sun in his shorts while on summer holiday in Spain and they could see him and they were laughing and joking and carrying on and it was only as they got past that I realised that they were laughing at me, about how fat I was.Fat women like those women with ‘mermaid thighs’ often express highly negative thoughts about their bodies and often feel very self-conscious about going out in public since they are highly aware that others are examining and making judgements about what and how they’re eating. Those women with ‘mermaid thighs’ feel out of place, open to mockery and very exposed. Given the discrimination to which fat women are subjected, it’s not surprising they’re more likely than others to suffer from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, which in turn may lead to a greater likelihood that they will eat for comfort and continue maintaining ‘mermaid thighs’….. The combination of experiencing stigma based on body weight and accompanying diminished social status causes continuing stress for the ‘mermaid thighs’ but that hardly happens to ‘thigh gap’ women who always get the best paying jobs, have a good life and are more likely to be successful in life three times more compared to the fat women. The lack of opportunity to exercise and consume a high-quality diet, ‘mermaid thighs’ exposure to stress may result in illness and disease as statistics show. Just visit twitter and you will see why fat shaming is all about seeing fat people as human beings who should be hurt and humiliated by their actions.Others simply don’t care about this in their belief that fat people deserve what they get for their supposed inability to control their urges and their lack of conformity to idealised notions of physical attractiveness.When I told a female friend few years back that I would rather be dead than be obese or overweight, she described me as one of those bigots who represents a group of thinkers who lack understanding, compassion and tolerance for bodily difference.When I sought her views while writing this article, she declined to comment only stating that both ‘mermaid thighs’ and ‘thigh gap’ offer the same menu however different the taste is.