Origins of Weight Stigma #11: The just-world fallacy

Why do people hate and fear fat bodies?

Weight stigma β€” also known as fatphobia, fatmisia, anti-fatness and fat hatred β€” ties into threads of power and profit going back centuries. Let’s look at one of the factors: The just world fallacy.

Our culture wants us to believe that bodies are simple machines with simple rules. Calories in vs. calories out. Do this, be healthier; do that, be unhealthier. The laughable wrongness of this view is made obvious by science, common sense and the fact that fat people still exist.

But this belief in β€œdo X, get Y result” simplicity dovetails neatly with the just-world fallacy, β€œthe cognitive bias that a person’s actions are inherently inclined to bring morally fair and fitting consequences to that person; thus, it is the assumption that all noble actions are eventually rewarded and all evil actions eventually punished.” (courtesy @wikipedia)

Thus, fat people’s flawed bodies are evidence both of their flawed inhabitants (because, of course, compliance with beauty standards is extremely simple unless one is somehow perverse or defective) and flawed minds (because anyone who can’t understand and follow such simple rules must be of low intelligence.)

This belief in thinness as evidence of moral superiority can drive the dehumanization of fat people by thin people. Unfortunately for these believers, fatness (and physical disability) are closer to them than they would like to believe.

Read more about the origins of fatphobia at bit.ly/originsoffatphobia.

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Hi there! I'm Lindley. I create artwork that celebrates the unique beauty of bodies that fall outside conventional "beauty" standards at Body Liberation Photography. I'm also the creator of Body Liberation Stock and the Body Love Shop, a curated central resource for body-friendly artwork and products. Find all my work here at bodyliberationphotos.com.