WHAT IS A STIGMA OR LABEL?
A stigma or label is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
SIGNS OF BEING LABELED
Stigmas against the overweight are becoming more and more common. Often stigmatizing takes the form of:
- Inaccurate or hurtful representations like "overweight people are lazy"
- Self-stimgas — characterized by accepting the prejudiced perceptions held by others.
Stigmas turn into discrimination, when they are acted upon. When the "fat" girl is not picked to play in a sporting event because of perceived issues associated with her weight, she's being discriminated against.
CONSEQUENCES OF LABELNG
People who are stigmatized often avoid situations where they fear they will face criticism and are afraid to ask for help. They often develop poor self-esteem which may lead to social withdrawal and harmful behavior. Being stigmatized as "fat" often contributes to additional weight gain.
YOU SEE OTHERS LABELING
Many people that are very vocal about labeling or stigmatizing others are bullies. Most schools and communities have rules against bullying behavior (see bullying).
Often times, the best help that a someone can give to someone experiencing challenges is to listen, let them know that they are not alone and to ask for help.
Fat People Stereotypes
Jess talks about common "fat" people stereotypes like the things people think bigger people do, but they actually don't do.
Transcending Negative Labels, Stereotypes and Expectations
Mario A. Salinas has conquered seemingly insurmountable challenges. Born with cerebral palsy and afflicted by a severe speech impediment most of his young life, he defied the odds. The (once) stutterer is now an engaging public speaker, valued public servant and political champion.