“I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too, no matter who you are or what you do.” –Lady Gaga, 2017.
I have to ask, what has become of us? Do mature adults routinely ridicule individuals for “pot bellies,” and make fun of tummy “rolls?” Have we regressed to the fifth grade playground?
Lady Gaga gave the world a truly impressive half-time show at Super Bowl LI, then was criticized for her body in the comments thereafter. I wonder how many of her critics could even approach her level of fitness, endurance and athleticism; yet many outspoken individuals on social media and elsewhere resorted to schoolyard bully tactics in order to cast a shadow on her great performance.
While I’m thankful to have such a high profile example to illustrate “fat shaming,” I’m pained by the continued pressure of media (social and otherwise) to conform to a certain ideal weight and appearance. The past president of the IFSO (International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders) once said, “We’re trying to make a patient a certain weight, where G-d and the genes say otherwise.”
People come in many shapes and sizes. We have the opportunity to influence those shapes and sizes, to some degree, as individuals and as physicians. Shaming someone for not conforming to a physique that represents an extremely small portion of the human species is not appropriate – especially when that someone totally rocked the Super Bowl half-time show.
Let’s get healthy together, and let’s grow up a bit.
Matt Metz, M.D., F.A.C.S.