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Woman Who 'Body Shamed' Overweight Sister Over Her New Job Outfit Praised

Newsweek 9/28/2022 Sophie Lloyd
A stock photo of an overweight woman holding up a pair of jeans in a clothing store with a concerned expression on her face. Reddit users agreed the sister's choice of work attire was inappropriate for an office job. © Zinkevych/iStock/Getty Images Plus A stock photo of an overweight woman holding up a pair of jeans in a clothing store with a concerned expression on her face. Reddit users agreed the sister's choice of work attire was inappropriate for an office job.

A woman who "body shamed" her sister has found support online, after her "kind solution" left her sister in tears.

Posting to Reddit's Am I the A******? (AITA) forum on September 27, user u/bubblebassjoe explained she hadn't meant to hurt her sister's feelings, but that her too-small shirt "was not appropriate for an office job."

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Her sister started crying and stormed out, leaving the poster to wonder if she was wrong to mention it.

Body Shaming Doesn't Equal Weight Loss

Body shaming is when someone criticizes another person's appearance with the intent to cause guilt or humiliate them. This includes picking apart their eating habits or calling attention to their weight in public to embarrass them. Although often associated with obesity (fat-shaming), body shaming can happen to anyone, regardless of their shape or size.

Fat-shaming is often an attempt to motivate someone to lose weight, but research shows that it can actually have the opposite effect.

A 2017 study found that obese people who had been fat-shamed had an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic illnesses. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 159 American adults and discovered that fat-shaming often discourages overweight people from exercising, along with fueling emotional eating.

Fat-shaming can also have a negative impact on mental, as well as physical, health. Participants who reported being influenced by fatphobia and depression were three times more likely to have a metabolic issue as well as higher levels of triglycerides (fat) in their blood.

Negative stereotypes participants had come to believe included that obese people are "lazy or unattractive," and they often "devalued" themselves due to their weight.

'You Were NOT Body Shaming Her'

In her post, bubblebassjoe explained that her younger sister had always struggled with weight issues. The word "fat" was banned in their house growing up, with weight being a sensitive topic for her sibling.

After their mother passed away a few years ago, her sister—now 24 years old—began to binge eat, leading to weight gain. However, she "refuses" to buy new clothes, which is causing issues with her work wardrobe.

"She got a 'big girl job," the poster wrote. "She started a week ago.

"We met up for lunch and as she walked in and her stomach was hanging out. She fixed it but then it immediately came out again.

"I asked her if she was WFH or in the office. She said in the office and I told her her stomach was out and she said that she knew and was fixing it all day."

The poster offered to take her sister shopping for new clothes in her size, offering to pay while she waits for her first pay check. Unfortunately, her sister didn't take the suggestion well.

"She said they do fit her and that I shouldn't body shame her," she wrote.

"I explained that she can wear whatever she wants but it's not appropriate for an office job. She started crying and stormed out.

"[Am I the a******?]

The majority of Reddit users agreed with the poster, with the story receiving 11,000 upvotes and over 1,600 comments at the time of writing.

"You were NOT body shaming her," said concernedreader1982. "You were simply stating she needed a shirt that covered her belly."

CaptainKimberly agreed, writing: "Body shaming would be if she was told that she needs to lose weight so her stomach doesn't show."

Amitychicky said it was much better to hear the news from her sister than a stranger.

"I know it's probably hard for the sister to hear, but I agree that OP definitely isn't the a****** for pointing it out," she wrote.

"I would be genuinely upset if my sister let me walk out of the house and go to my job without making sure I was aware."

While stewiecatballlacat commented: "I think you handled it very tactfully and offered a kind solution.

"She is obviously hypersensitive to this topic but can't stay in denial all the time. Something had to be said."

Newsweek has asked the poster for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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