Obesity, while a medical term, can be interpreted and perceived differently. Based on a scientific perspective, obesity is the state in which an individual exceeds the BMI of 30 (Dietz & Santos‐Burgoa, 2020). Thus, the status of being overweight is based on the number between the BMI of 25 and 30. While the explanation of the US government itself is flawed due to the consideration of weight without muscle mass, the social construction is solely based on looks. Thus, an overweight person is an individual with visible excess weight, which is often a stigmatized and ridiculed condition. Clothing sizes are also major problems for women and men sized 18, which is considered overweight. However, sizes 16 and 18 are, according to relevant sources, the most common in the US (Smith, 2022). Based on this information, most of the population is overweight, yet specialized clothing is needed for the majority of people in the US.
The fashion industry is not the only discriminatory area towards this particular population. The media often portrays plus-size women as the “before”, and, usually, the movie illustrates the character’s dreams coming true after the weight loss. In other instances, such characters are either comedic reliefs or secondary figures that are rarely portrayed as attractive or desirable. Research that has examined the treatment of plus-sized individuals has found that they are discriminated against in workplaces due to perceived laziness, social events, transportation, and even home lives (Palmeira et al., 2020). The treatment is exemplified through a lack of professional opportunities, verbal abuse in schools and social media, difficulty in terms of having romantic relationships, and other aspects. This creates a sense of inferiority and shame related to excess weight, which ultimately facilitates the establishment of an environment in which people do not feel safe or welcomed.
Dietz, W., & Santos‐Burgoa, C. (2020). Obesity and its implications for Covid‐19 mortality. Obesity, 28(6), 1005–1005. Web.
Palmeira, C. S., Santos, L. S., Silva, S. M., & Mussi, F. C. (2020). Stigma perceived by overweight women. Revista Brasileira De Enfermagem, 73(suppl 4). Web.
Smith, P. (2022). Topic: Women’s plus-size apparel market in the U.S. Statista. Web.